Pediatrics (Preclinical Years)
The preclinical years of medical school are important for students considering a career in pediatrics.
With so many highly qualified applicants to choose among, pediatrics 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 60% of programs as a factor used to make interview decisions.
Demonstrated involvement or interest in research is cited by 31% as a factor used to make interview decisions.
Volunteer/extracurricular activities are cited by 60% 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 Pediatrics As a Preclinical Student
1 Since pediatricians are actively involved in preclinical education, you may locate a mentor through your coursework. In a survey of pediatric clerkship directors, it was learned that 63% taught in the preclinical years, with 23.5% having administrative responsibility for a preclinical course. Some schools have created a list of faculty members interested in mentoring students. If no such list exists, you may directly introduce yourself to your pediatrics department. Take advantage of any opportunities to meet with the program director, chairman, or clerkship director. Mentors may also be located through your school's Pediatric Interest Group.
2 Pediatricians are active in the community, and students have opportunities to take part. You can directly contact the involved pediatricians, or you may be introduced to these activities through your invovlement in a pediatrics interest group. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, these groups offer "numerous opportunities to serve the public and children through community-oriented projects. Some of these projects give you practical training interacting with pediatric populations."
3 The American Academy of Pediatrics holds its National Conference in October. Several years ago, the Academy developed the Medical Student Subcomittee, which has worked on developing resources for medical students. Students interested in applying for a position should visit the organization's website. The American College of Osteopathic Pediatricians holds its Spring Conference in April. Students may be able to present their research findigns at these meetings, and network with physicians in the field.
For more information on how to stand out in Pediatrics as a preclinical student, turn to our book Success in Medical School: Insider Advice for the Preclinical Years.