Dear Pre-Meds,

A letter of advice to high school students interested in medicine



Dear Pre-Meds,

You have chosen an incredible career path. A competitive and educationally extensive field, medicine will one day become the center of your life— if not already.

I was blessed to have a lot of support around my decision to become a doctor, which I made near the end of my sophomore year. With a friend considering medicine (coming from a medically focused family), great family friends who practice internal medicine, and other forms of advising, I was able to receive a great deal of help as I set my career on its tracks. I am writing this letter as a general reference point for those who may not have the same support I did throughout high school. 

First off, I think that it is very important to start exploring medicine early on. I did so by shadowing and volunteering. Shadowing may be difficult with a lack of connections, however it is a great idea to start by emailing the Job Shadowing Department at MUSC. It is worth noting that you must be 14 years of age to shadow and 16 to attend the OR. If you do not meet the age requirements you can reach out to doctors you know in private practice, as their rules could be different. Here is a link for more information:

While the onboarding process is most certainly daunting, with a series of screenings and forms you have to go through, the experience you gain will be incredibly valuable moving forward. I have shadowed the HIV Clinic, the ER, the Psychiatry clinic, Orthopedic Hand/Wrist surgery, and Neuro Research. Having a shallow yet diverse range of shadowing experiences will really help you shape your desired specialty as you move towards medical school.

Additionally, I think volunteering is essential for a high school pre-med. MUSC has a very great program available that is open for students above the age of 16, so most of you could get started sophomore or junior year. Here is the link for more information:

The application process is relatively easy, and the interview is nothing to be afraid of. However, please be aware that the application window is very narrow, with the next cycle opening August 7-18, 2023. I volunteer in 6-West Burn/Trauma Unit and the experiences I have gained are incredible, ranging from great life advice the nurses give me to seeing chunks ripped out of people’s calves. It is also a good way to experience communication with patients, as there have been a wide range of people I have interacted with and overall understood that this is something that I can and want to do. Additionally, it counts towards the required AMHS service hours and looks pretty good on a college application.

One thing that I wish I would’ve done is participated in research. MUSC offers a plethora of research opportunities for high school students— all you have to do is reach out. There is a wide range of disciplines that you can choose from depending on what your career aspirations are. Never hesitate to send an email to someone who is openly offering to teach and assist a student! Reaching out to people is one of the best ways to get involved in any career field, especially medicine. Here is the link to research opportunities at MUSC:

Finally, I would like to end with some general wisdom for those embarking upon the college search journey. Do not sheep behind the standard pre-med track. Instead, explore a unique path that you can take in your pursuit of medicine, specifically tailored to what you want to do. I personally am attending a liberal arts school to receive a well-rounded education while exploring subjects such as policy and poverty studies, to help propel me towards my career interest of addressing social disparities. Additionally, I am planning on taking a Gap year after undergraduate (also called a Glide year in the medical world) to have more time to breathe as I work on research in a different part of the country, offering a break in the beginning of a life-long race. Explore what works for you, and never forget that pre-med is a track, not a tunnel.



Boris Pekar