Experiential Learning

Experiential Preparation

A competitive GPA and entrance exam score are only a couple of the many factors considered by an admissions committee when making a decision about your application.

Admissions committees look beyond the numbers to holistically review an applicant’s candidacy for their program. In addition to academics, students should have well-rounded set of experiences that will support their application and provide context to their narrative towards medicine. Relevant experiences include, but are not limited to, community engagement and service, clinical work, research, co-op, and global opportunities. How each applicant gets these experiences will be unique to the individual.

Through experiential preparation applicants gain understanding of their desired profession, technical skills, and interpersonal and professional competencies. While those listed below are the AAMC’s Core Competencies for Entering Medical Students, they are applicable to all health professions. Use these as a framework for your experiential preparation.

AAMC Core Competencies for Entering Medical Students

  • Commitment to Learning and Growth: Practices continuous personal and professional growth for improvement, including setting and communicating goals for learning and development; reflects on successes, challenges, and mistakes; pursues opportunities to improve knowledge and understanding; and asks for and incorporates feedback to learn and grow.
  • Cultural Awareness: Appreciates how historical, sociocultural, political, and economic factors affect others’ interactions, behaviors, and well-being; values diversity; and demonstrates a desire to learn about different cultures, beliefs, and values.
  • Cultural Humility: Seeks out and engages diverse and divergent perspectives with a desire to understand and willingness to adjust one’s mindset; understands a situation or idea from alternative viewpoints; reflects on one’s values, beliefs, and identities and how they may affect others; reflects on and addresses bias in oneself and others; and fosters a supportive environment that values inclusivity.
  • Empathy and Compassion: Recognizes, understands, and acknowledges others’ experiences, feelings, perspectives, and reactions to situations; is sensitive to others’ needs and feelings; and demonstrates a desire to help others and alleviate others’ distress.
  • Ethical Responsibility to Self and Others: Behaves with honesty and integrity; considers multiple and/or conflicting principles and values to inform decisions; adheres to ethical principles when carrying out professional obligations; resists pressure to engage in unethical behavior; and encourages others to behave honestly and ethically.
  • Interpersonal Skills: Demonstrates an awareness of how social and behavioral cues affect people’s interactions and behaviors; adjusts behaviors appropriately in response to these cues; recognizes and manages one’s emotions and understands how emotions impact others or a situation; and treats others with dignity, courtesy, and respect.
  • Oral Communication: Effectively conveys information to others using spoken words and sentences; actively listens to understand the meaning and intent behind what others say; and recognizes potential communication barriers and adjusts approach or clarifies information as needed.
  • Reliability and Dependability: Demonstrates accountability for performance and responsibilities to self and others; prioritizes and fulfills obligations in a timely and satisfactory manner; and understands consequences of not fulfilling one’s responsibilities to self and others.
  • Resilience and Adaptability: Perseveres in challenging, stressful, or ambiguous environments or situations by adjusting behavior or approach in response to new information, changing conditions, or unexpected obstacles, and recognizes and seeks help and support when needed; recovers from and reflects on setbacks; and balances personal well-being with responsibilities.
  • Service Orientation: Shows a commitment to something larger than oneself; demonstrates dedication to service and a commitment to making meaningful contributions that meet the needs of communities.
  • Teamwork and Collaboration: Collaborates with others to achieve shared goals and prioritizes shared goals; adjusts role between team member and leader based on one’s own and others’ expertise and experience; shares information with team members and encourages this behavior in others; and gives and accepts feedback to improve team performance.
  • Human Behavior: Applies knowledge of the self, others, and social systems to solve problems related to the psychological, socio-cultural, and biological factors that influence health and well-being.
  • Living Systems: Applies knowledge and skill in the natural sciences to solve problems related to molecular and macro systems including biomolecules, molecules, cells, and organs.
  • Critical Thinking: Uses logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
  • Quantitative Reasoning: Applies quantitative reasoning and appropriate mathematics to describe or explain phenomena in the natural world.
  • Scientific Inquiry: Applies knowledge of the scientific process to integrate and synthesize information, solve problems and formulate research questions and hypotheses; is facile in the language of the sciences and uses it to participate in the discourse of science and explain how scientific knowledge is discovered and validated.
  • Written Communication: Effectively conveys information to others using written words and sentences.

Core competencies for entering medical students. AAMC. (n.d.). Retrieved August October, 30, 2023, from The Core Competencies for Entering Medical Students | Students & Residents (aamc.org)