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Preclinical Years

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The preclinical years of medical school are important for students considering a career in Internal Medicine.

Internal Medicine residency programs value involvement in extracurricular activities, community service, leadership, and research. According to the 2018 NRMP Program Director Survey:


  • Leadership qualities are cited by 50% of programs as a factor used to make interview decisions.

  • Demonstrated involvement or interest in research is cited by 26% as a factor used to make interview decisions.

  • Volunteer/extracurricular activities are cited by 44% of programs as a factor used to make interview decisions.

In our book, Success in Medical School: Insider Advice for the Preclinical Years, we provide you with a detailed blueprint on how to do just that. 

The preclinical years are an excellent time to build these credentials

3 ways to Build your Credentials in Internal Medicine as a Preclinical Student

  • The American College of Physicians (ACP) has created a Mentoring Database. To access the database, which includes program directors, clerkship directors, chairs of medicine, practicing internists, and residents, you must be a member. Mentors are available to answer “specific questions about scheduling your summer preceptorships, getting through the match, and preparing for clerkships and residency interviews…” The database allows you to narrow the list of potential mentors based on specialty, geographic location, type of practice, gender, ethnicity, and other factors. If you're not sure how to select a mentor from the database, ACP can pair you with an appropriate individual depending on your interests or specific questions.

  • Medical student members of the ACP may enter abstract competitions at both the local and national level. Abstracts can be submitted in one of four categories – clinical vignette, basic research, clinical research, and quality improvement/patient safety. Winners of the National Clinical Vignette and National Research Paper competitions are showcased at the ACP annual scientific meeting.

  • Osteopathic medical students interested in internal medicine can become members of the American College of Osteopathic Internists (ACOI). Through the organization’s mentoring program, you can be paired with a physician in the field. Chapters of the student branch, known as the Student Osteopathic Internal Medicine Association (SOIMA), are active at osteopathic schools.

For more information on how to stand out in Internal Medicine as a preclinical student, turn to our book Success in Medical School: Insider Advice for the Preclinical Years

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