When it comes time to buy gifts, pre-meds can be even more challenging than any MCAT question or biochemistry final. Here is a list of ideas that any pre-med is sure to enjoy. If you have any additions, add them below in the comments!
1. Coffee shop gift cards: Every pre-med student will appreciate this gift. Even if your student isn’t a big coffee drinker, they can pick up a tea or pastry pick-me-up. Try to find their favorite local shop, or go with Starbucks. The Starbucks smartphone app will let you reload their card when funds go dry. Either way you can’t lose.
2. Evernote Premium: Evernote is a revolutionary digital notebook that keeps notes organized and synced across devices and the cloud. The subscription service provides your student with more space, powerful search tools, and the ability to annotate directly on PDF files. Premium service is $5/month or $45/year
3. Light reading: Break up your student’s study day with some fun reading. Books by Atul Gawande, Abraham Verghese, and Fitzhugh Mullan all provide a unique perspective on the author’s own career, personal life, and what it means to become a physician. Bonus; these books will give your student something to talk about during their medical school interviews. My favorites are Atul Gawande’s Complications and Better.
4. Ipad: More medical schools are making iPads mandatory for incoming students, so get ahead of the game and make it an awesome gift. Besides studying and MCAT question blocks, an iPad is great for keeping up with the news and the rapidly changing world of modern medicine. Checkout the refurbished and education store for discounts.
5. Clothing subscriptions: Grueling class schedules are no excuse to look beat down. Subscription clothing services can provide fresh styles and professional looks at a decent price without having to spend time shopping. For men, check out Bombfell, Manpacks, and TrunkClub. For women, Stitch Fix and Cypress & 5th offer clothing and accessories, while Birchbox provides beauty and grooming products.
6. Shadowing time: If you’re short on cash, or have a good connection, consider asking a physician-friend to let your student shadow for a day. Giving a shadowing date may sound odd, but can provide educational and networking opportunities, even letters of recommendation further down the line. Before offering, be sure the physician would be open to the student shadowing and has agreed to it, as some offices may have policies against shadowing.
7. Noise canceling headphones: Give the gift of peaceful study time. You can’t always shut up the noisy library users, but you can block them out. There are a ton of options, from the affordable Sony MDR-NC7-CBB’s for $35 to the opulent Bose QuietComfort at $299. A good compromise may be the Monoprice headphones, modeled after the Bose QuietComfort at a more affordable price.
8. Leather portfolio: Part of acing an interview is looking the part. Keeping an extra resume and paperwork tucked in a nice portfolio keeps your student looking professional and prepared. There are numerous options and many can be personalized, some are even able to fit an iPad. I recommend keeping it simple and understated.
9. Backpack/messenger bag: Keep your student organized and stylish while running across campus with a new messenger bag or backpack. Bags like the J Crew Abingdon Messenger bag are popular and will withstand the beating of campus life. Inside, the Cocoon Grid-I-T will keep all their cables and chargers organized.
10. Accepted.com services: For the pre-med who has everything, consider giving the peace of mind that comes with a perfectly written resume and personal statement, reviewed by the experts at Accepted.com. No portfolio or clothing thing service will make them standout better than having a polished application. You’ll be the first person they call when their acceptance letter arrives.
Any other good gift ideas? Leave a comment below with what you would like to receive!