If you plan on applying to med school, you probably already know that good quality activities, or extracurriculars, are an important part of your application.
Being a TA is a pretty popular choice among premed students. Does it look good for medical school?
Yes, being a TA does look good for med school. As a TA you learn how to teach other students which is an important trait of a physician. In addition to this, you are developing organizational skills, a deeper understanding of the sciences, and leadership traits in a lab/classroom environment.
However, there’s a lot more to it. Keep reading to learn how being a teacher’s assistant factors into your overall application, who it’s a good fit for, and other perks that come from the job.
Can TAing or Tutoring Be Considered a Leadership Role?
As I hinted at earlier, being a TA can develop your leadership skills. When talking about this role in your application, you should highlight certain traits:
- As a TA did you help any particular students succeed?
- Did you mentor any students while working as a TA?
- Did you make suggestions to the faculty that ultimately changed something in the curriculum?
- Did you start any study groups that helped students in need of some extra studying?
You see, if you just go through the motions, a TA job might not really display any leadership qualities.
But when you go the extra mile, you can see how there are plenty of leadership opportunities that you can demonstrate on your application.
Can Being a TA Count As Volunteer Experience?
If you are getting paid as a TA through work-study, class credits, or something similar, this won’t count as volunteer experience.
If you aren’t paid, you could write something along the lines of “I volunteered as a TA…” on your application and count it as volunteering.
But if you are doing this because you lack any other form of volunteering, this could look bad. In this case, you are clearly just checking a box.
If it were me, I would rather classify the TA experience as leadership or teaching. Unless I was specifically tutoring underserved students which is more of a volunteer role.
Learn More Through Teaching Others
One huge benefit of being a TA is that you gain a deeper understanding of science subjects due to the fact that you are answering all kinds of questions from students. This will ultimately help you excel in your own classes!
Teaching others is an active form of learning.
Being a TA Is An Opportunity For a Good Med School Letter Of Recommendation
Getting teachers to write a good quality letter of recommendation for you is not so simple.
Sure, your biology advisor is pretty much obligated to write a letter of recommendation for you. But will it really speak high volumes for you if you don’t know the teacher that well?
Being a TA will put you in constant contact with professors. The better you are as a TA the more your professors will think highly of you. A letter of recommendation in this context is very valuable.
Only Be a Premed TA If You Are Passionate About It
When it comes to being a TA, it’s important to understand that it isn’t intrinsically better than any other extracurricular. It’s more important that you are passionate about the activities you are doing as a premed.
When you aren’t passionate about being a teaching assistant, this will reflect in your overall experience and you won’t have anything great to talk about on your application.
If you love teaching other students, then great. Go all in. Go the extra mile and really impress the teacher you are TAing for.
Not only will you get a great letter of recommendation but you will also have valuable stories to tell on your application and interviews.
Plus you shouldn’t do things you don’t actually enjoy doing. Otherwise, you will end up burning yourself out.
This Reddit user is a great example:
What Makes You Stand Out For Med School?
When it comes to things like being a TA, what makes you stand out is being passionate about the activity you are doing.
Med schools can tell when you are simply going through the motions to check off some boxes on your application.
When you are passionate about something you will accomplish so much more with the activity or extracurricular you are doing. You’ll get opportunities to be put in leadership roles. And ultimately you’ll have a more interesting story to tell med schools that you are applying to.