Gain Skills for Med School

Develop Your Skillset through Research, Volunteering, and Internships

You know that managing your coursework, getting good grades, and doing well on the MCAT are important.

Medical schools also want to see that you have non-academic qualities. The AAMC includes these personal qualities in their list of core competencies.

 Personal skills include:

  • Service
  • Teamwork
  • Compassion
  • Cultural competence
  • Resilience
  • Responsibility
  • Communication skills

Doing research, volunteering, and taking on internships will help you develop and show these qualities.


Research experience is essential if you are interested in an MD/PhD program or academic research. If you are interested in clinical medicine, research experience will increase your knowledge.

Find research opportunities through:


Volunteering for organizations like homeless shelters, soup kitchens, and nursing homes shows a commitment to service. Look for activities where you can serve people directly. Find opportunities through:

Read CAPD’s tips for volunteering to learn more.

Do an Internship

An internship—health-related or not—can help you learn and develop skills. Internships related to health can confirm your interest in the field. They can also help you grow a network of professional contacts to draw on for more opportunities or letters of recommendations.