What Should I Do With My Summer?

You may be wondering how you should spend your summers in preparation for applying to medical school. The honest answer is that there are many way one can spend one's summers and successfully apply to medical school. There is "good" or expected way. Students who allow their interests to be their guide tend to experience a high level of satisfaction and personal growth throughout their undergraduate years.

Some students use one or more summers to explore alternative careers through internships. Others return to summer employment that helps pay tuition and develops important interpersonal or management skills. If you are interested in research, you might spend your time in the laboratory full time, either at Penn or elsewhere, or assist with a clinical research study. You might also take time to volunteer in a clinic, shadow a health care professional, or volunteer abroad.

Here is a list of the summer activities of some Penn students and alumni recently admitted to medical school:

  • Participant, Summer Medical and Dental Education Program (SMDEP)
  • Public Health Intern, Lourdes Center for Public Health, Camden, NJ
  • Bioengineering Research Assistant, National Science Foundation/Research Experiences for Undergraduate (REU)
  • Intern, Sotheby's art auctioneer
  • Intern, J. Weiss Design, architects
  • STEM Intern, Department of Homeland Security, Environmental Science
  • Clinical volunteer, Unite for Sight, India
  • Literacy/Baseball Coach for children, Harlem RBI
  • Howard Hughes Medical Institute Research Intern, genetic research, Oregon Health & Science University
  • Research Assistant, Ecology Department, University of Minnesota