Extracurricular: outside the regular academic curriculum OR outside the regular duties of your job or profession

I’m going to talk about The Canadian Resident Matching Service (CaRMS) application shortly, but before I do, I want to talk about some complementary information.

Before you read on, if you intend applying for a residency program in Canada, please read this first: IMGs applying for post-graduate medical training/residency position in Canada: An Overview.

Today, I’ll talk briefly about the importance of getting involved in activities outside of your actual medical school curriculum or work as a physician. To make a good impression on your CaRMS application and CV, it is a good idea to have a previous history of:

1. Memberships, Associations, and Committees. Be eager to serve on a student board, work in a committee within or outside your hospital, etc, because, in the long run, it shows that you are able to demonstrate advocacy and leadership qualities, one of the six essential CanMEDS competencies required for Canadian doctors.

CanMEDS roles are Communication, Collaboration, Health Advocacy, Medical Expert, Professionalism, Scholar, and Leadership.

2. Honours, Scholarships, and Awards. This might be tough to obtain because the truth is not everyone can receive an award. However, it doesn’t necessarily have to be something academic. For example, if you served on a planning committee and you received a certificate or you were honoured for your work, that can suffice.

3. Leadership/Administrative position in Medicine

4. Scholarly Work and Research. Scholarly activities are defined as opportunities to be engaged in research, conferences, journal clubs, structured clinical discussions, and rounds. Be actively involved in any research going on your medical school or hospital, or initiate one and when you do, please try to find out the possibility of having your name included in the publication.,

5. Volunteer Activities. Canadians believe very strongly in the spirit of volunteerism and many residency programs consider prior volunteer experience when selecting residency applicants.

6. Interests. Having a hobby shows that you are capable of living a balanced life and of handling the stress that comes with the profession. It is a good idea to have many interests and at least one should involve some form of physical activity.