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100+ page excerpt of

The Successful Match

Pathology: Preclinical Years


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


With so many highly qualified applicants to choose among, pathology residency programs also look for involvement in extracurricular activities, community service, and research. According to the 2016 NRMP Program Director Survey:


  • Leadership qualities are cited by 56% of programs as a factor used to make interview decisions.

  • Demonstrated involvement or interest in research is cited by 54% as a factor used to make interview decisions.

  • Volunteer/extracurricular activities are cited by 37% of programs as a factor used to make interview decisions.


The preclinical years are an excellent time to build these credentials.



3 Ways To Build Your Credentials In Pathology As a Preclinical Student



1 In schools with academic pathology departments, students will often find opportunities to participate in pathology research during the summer following their first year. The American Society for Investigative Pathology (ASIP) sponsors the Summer Research Opportunity Program in Pathology. This program, which targets underrepresented minority students, allows students to participate in research at prominent institutions. For students interested in a longer period of research, some schools offer a one year experience.


2 Medical students may be honored with the Award for Academic Excellence and Achievement by the ASCP. Each medical school’s pathology department can nominate a single second-year student. To be eligible, students must attend school in the US, Canada, or Puerto Rico. Recently, 47 second-year students were honored.


3 Join your school’s pathology interest group. If no chapter exists at your school, consider starting one. ICPI provides Medical Student Interest Group (MSIGs) Grants to schools to start new groups or enhance existing groups.



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