Students speaking with doctors in an operating room.
Atlantis students speaking with doctors in the hospital (Athens, Greece, 2019).

Why 360 Shadowing?

Overview

What is 360 Shadowing?

Atlantis 360 Shadowing is a unique, time-tested model we have developed with over 100 hospital partners around the globe. When compared with regular shadowing or typical clinical experience, 360 Shadowing has far greater depth, breadth, quantity of hours, and intercultural perspective. And it takes place over college breaks, usually for a few weeks, almost always as a study abroad program in a developed-country healthcare setting, in one or more countries.

Students chatting in a hospital hallway.
Atlantis students in a hospital hallway where they are shadowing (Genoa, Italy, 2019).
At a Glance

What Do Med/PA Schools Want?

Med schools want applicants to have three things: (1) exposure to healthcare, to show vocational commitment; (2) a high GPA/MCAT, to show ability; and (3) certain personal competencies, also to show ability. The point of focusing on these three pillars is not just to get in anywhere; the goal is to have choices, ideally multiple offers with scholarships. Medical schools may talk about other things they would like to see in applicants, but for most schools, including top ones, everything else is subordinate to or less important than these three pillars (exposure, stats, and competencies).

Students walking out of the entrance of the hospital.
Atlantis students walking out of the entrance of the hospital (Genoa, Italy, 2019).
Medical School Admissions Pillars

Pillar #1: Healthcare Exposure

When compared with regular shadowing or typical clinical experience, Atlantis 360 Shadowing has far greater depth, breadth, quantity of hours, and intercultural perspective.

An Atlantis student smiling while walking through the hospital.
Atlantis students walking through the hospital where they will be shadowing (Genoa, Italy, 2019).
Medical School Admissions Pillars

Pillar #2: Grades/MCAT

The major obstacle to excelling in academics tends to be students spreading themselves too thin. The 360 Shadowing model of Atlantis programs accomplishes so much at the extracurricular level during a school break that it allows you the “luxury” (perhaps necessity) of focusing more on your academics during the school year.

Students speaking to a doctor while shadowing.
Atlantis students speaking to a doctor while shadowing (Athens, Greece, 2019).
Medical School Admissions Pillars

Pillar #3: Competencies

Atlantis lets you refine and showcase most of the 15 AAMC competencies which medical schools use to assess applicants. In a PhD-authored outcomes study with a large sample of Atlantis alumni, 93% of them progressed on the AAMC competencies.

A student standing in front of a historical site.
An Atlantis student standing in front of the Acropolis on a program excursion (Athens, Greece, 2019).

Watch Video: The Atlantis Experience

 

Alumni Outcomes

Students leverage their Atlantis experience to gain admittance into medical schools including Duke, Columbia, Mayo Clinic, Harvard, WashU, Cleveland Clinic, Baylor, and many others. They’re also admitted to many PA, DO, and other healthcare programs.

An Atlantis alumni speaking about his experience at a conference.
George Bugarinovic, Atlantis Alum and Harvard Medical School MD student (MS3), presents at Atlantis Connect Conference at the Italian Embassy in Washington D.C. (2018).

Our Alumni Enter Great Medical Schools

John Daines headshot.

John Daines

  • Atlantis '17
  • Brigham Young University '19
  • Washington U. in St. Louis MD '23
Zoey Petitt headshot.

Zoey Petitt

  • Atlantis '17
  • U. of Arizona '18
  • Duke MD '23
Yong hun Kim headshot.

Yong-hun Kim

  • Atlantis '17
  • Stanford '19
  • Mayo Clinic MD '24
Megan Branson headshot.

Megan Branson

  • Atlantis '18
  • U. of Montana '19
  • U. of Washington MD '24
Sarah Emerick headshot.

Sarah Emerick

  • Atlantis '19
  • Eckerd College '20
  • Indiana U. MD '25
Elorm Yevudza headshot

Elorm Yevudza

  • Atlantis '16
  • Amherst '19
  • Columbia MD '24
Tiffany Hu headshot.

Tiffany Hu

  • Atlantis '16
  • U. of Maryland '17
  • U. of Michigan MD '22
Lauren Cox headshot.

Lauren Cox

  • Atlantis '18
  • Louisiana Tech '20
  • U. of Arkansas MD '24
Kayla Riegler headshot.

Kayla Riegler

  • Atlantis '18
  • U. of Kentucky '20
  • U. of Kentucky MD '24

Watch Video: 20+ Alumni Now In Med School Explain:
Atlantis Is a Major Reason I Got In Here

25 More Reasons To Do It

Getting into med school is one reason among many to consider Atlantis programs. Here are the first 3 of the 25:

  • Travel the world now while you still have time
  • Fit multiple countries into a few weeks
  • Study abroad in a way that’s relevant to your pre-health path
A student learning how to kayak.
An Atlantis student learning how to kayak on a program excursion (Barcelona, Spain, 2019).

Take the Quiz: Is It For You?

We’ve built the “Shadowing and Extracurricular Readiness Score” calculator to allow you to look at several expert statements and track to what extent your current extracurriculars follow best practices. We believe this exercise to be very useful regardless of whether you end up considering Atlantis.

An Atlantis student smiling outside of the hospital.
An Atlantis student outside of the hospital where she will be shadowing (Genoa, Italy, 2019).

Ask Your Pre-Health Advisor About Us

More than 1 out of every 10 US pre-health advisors have visited an Atlantis program in person. Ask your advisor for an opinion on Atlantis. If the advisor hasn’t visited our programs, encourage the advisor to reach out to their advisor peers at other universities asking about their opinion.

A basic table showing two comparison columns to indicate the benefits of 360 shadowing.

Alternatively, See a More In-Depth Version of The Above Table

Compare A Typical Applicant With an Atlantis Alum
*(In-Depth View)*

Med School Concern #1: Exposure to Healthcare

Average Applicant to Med School

Average Applicant to Med School

Typical/Possible Atlantis Alum

AAMC-compliance

  • Did hands-on volunteering, possibly without proper training
  • Did hands-on volunteering, possibly without proper training

AAMC-compliance

  • Did observation-only, AAMC-compliant shadowing

Complexity of procedures

  • Observed day-to-day office tasks + appointments
  • Observed day-to-day office tasks + appointments

Complexity of procedures

  • Often observed complex procedures like a C-section, or a partial hip replacement

Closeness to MD-level work

  • Exposed to healthcare setting in general
  • Exposed to healthcare setting in general

Closeness to MD-level work

  • Focused on the MD profile + perspective

Number of specialties

  • Exposed to 2 or 3 specialties
  • Exposed to 2 or 3 specialties

Number of specialties

  • Saw 6 specialties in 6 weeks (typically one per week), and 8 or 9 total

Number of environments

  • Experienced one local environment and one hospital setting
  • Experienced one local environment and one hospital setting

Number of environments

  • Experienced a variety of cultures, department dynamics, hospital sizes, and city sizes

Number of doctors

  • Shadowed 2 or 3 doctors and potentially met their colleagues
  • Shadowed 2 or 3 doctors and potentially met their colleagues

Number of doctors

  • Shadowed 10 or more doctors and met many department staff and residents

Total number of hours

  • Completed a smaller number of hours
  • Completed a smaller number of hours

Total number of hours

  • Did 100+ shadowing hours in 5 weeks (20+ hours per week)

Hours over time

  • Picked up hours piecemeal throughout the year
  • Picked up hours piecemeal throughout the year

Hours over time

  • Concentrated hours over 6 weeks during summer break

Value per hour

  • Had less valuable experience in a given time
  • Had less valuable experience in a given time

Value per hour

  • Had highly valuable experience in a short time

Multi-country shadowing

  • Shadowed only in the U.S.
  • Shadowed only in the U.S.

Multi-country shadowing

  • Shadowed in Spain, Italy, and Hungary, plus the U.S.

Relevant study abroad experience

  • Had done non-healthcare study abroad
  • Had done non-healthcare study abroad

Relevant study abroad experience

  • Combined the best of study abroad’s cultural immersion with world-class clinical shadowing

View of the medical profession

  • Wasn’t aware of the parts of medicine that differ across cultures
  • Wasn’t aware of the parts of medicine that differ across cultures

View of the medical profession

  • Developed a balanced view, identifying what’s essential vs. culturally contingent in medicine

Knowledge of comparative healthcare policy

  • Lacking firsthand knowledge of different advanced healthcare systems
  • Lacking firsthand knowledge of different advanced healthcare systems

Knowledge of comparative healthcare policy

  • Informed and able to maturely analyze comparative healthcare

GPA

  • Achieved similar results to peers
  • Achieved similar results to peers

GPA

  • Spent more time studying and achieved better results than peers

MCAT

  • Scored average on the MCAT
  • Scored average on the MCAT

MCAT

  • Scored above average by focusing more on academics and doing more MCAT prep

Number of distractions

  • Spread thin with commitments to volunteering, clubs, societies, publications, sports, hobbies, leadership roles, etc.
  • Spread thin with commitments to volunteering, clubs, societies, publications, sports, hobbies, leadership roles, etc.

Number of distractions

  • Focused on one or two extracurricular activities they were passionate about

Energy level

  • Was tired and overwhelmed but felt like they hadn’t done enough
  • Was tired and overwhelmed but felt like they hadn’t done enough

Energy level

  • Was less overwhelmed, with space to enjoy classes and fall more in love with medicine

Confidence in healthcare path

  • Is fairly confident, but hasn’t had it “click” that medicine is their calling
  • Is fairly confident, but hasn’t had it “click” that medicine is their calling

Confidence in healthcare path

  • Is very confident, having seen incredible procedures and realized, “This is where I want to be, serving people”

Service Orientation

  • Wrote in their personal statement about approaching medicine with a service mentality
  • Wrote in their personal statement about approaching medicine with a service mentality

Service Orientation

  • Actually spent quality time with passionate, other-oriented doctors abroad whose salaries are relatively lower

Social Skills

  • Shared in their interview some examples of doctor-patient interactions and some takeaways
  • Shared in their interview some examples of doctor-patient interactions and some takeaways

Social Skills

  • Shared unique stories from a wealth of experiences where their social strengths and weaknesses played out

Cultural Competence

  • Was able to talk generally about personal growth with study abroad or with an academic program serving immigrant communities
  • Was able to talk generally about personal growth with study abroad or with an academic program serving immigrant communities

Cultural Competence

  • Showed a rare perspective, having seen different cultural backgrounds on display, in a healthcare setting, as a genuine outsider

Teamwork

  • Saw multiple examples of teamwork while shadowing
  • Saw multiple examples of teamwork while shadowing

Teamwork

  • Saw an even wider range of teams within the hospital departments, with unique stories about doctors in Surgery versus doctors in Internal Medicine, for example

Oral Communication

  • Showed no/little practice with another language in a clinical setting
  • Showed no/little practice with another language in a clinical setting

Oral Communication

  • Talked passionately in their interview about communicating across the language barrier within the hospital; even though most doctors will speak English, there will be some language barrier some times

Resilience & Adaptability

  • Shadowed close to home in a familiar setting
  • Shadowed close to home in a familiar setting

Resilience & Adaptability

  • Stepped outside their comfort zone and managed lack of sleep or changes of plans, showing resilience with interesting travel stories

Note that some elements in the above only take place in certain programs e.g. multi-country experiences only happen in multi-country programs. Also, Atlantis programs do have far greater depth, breadth, quantity of shadowing, and degree of intercultural perspective, than the vast majority of clinical experiences that premeds have; however the examples above are illustrative of why that generally is, i.e. not all Atlantis participants have seen a certain exact type of surgery. Please see our many testimonials to obtain many perspectives on the program.

 

 

A basic table showing two comparison columns to indicate the benefits of 360 shadowing.

Compare A Typical Med School Applicant With an Atlantis Alum

Compare A Typical Med School Applicant With an Atlantis Alum

Med School Concern #1: Exposure to Healthcare

Average Applicant to Med School

Average Applicant to Med School

Typical/Possible Atlantis Alum

Depth

  • Surface-level
  • Surface-level

Depth

Breadth

  • 1-3 medical specialties
  • 1-3 medical specialties

Breadth

Quantity

  • Average quantity
  • Average quantity

Quantity

  • 50-200 hours in one school break
  • Concentrated
  • Time, energy, and academic focus saved by not having to find–and travel weekly to and from–a weekly 2 hour campus clinical experience, for instance

Intercultural Perspective

  • Shadowing/volunteering in one country, one cultural context, one regulatory environment
  • Shadowing/volunteering in one country, one cultural context, one regulatory environment

Intercultural Perspective

  • Shadowing in a new country, context, and environment (but at the same sophistication level as the US)

GPA/MCAT

  • Average stats; study time taken by inefficient extracurriculars
  • Average stats; study time taken by inefficient extracurriculars

GPA/MCAT

  • Such an intensive experience during breaks allows for the “luxury” of focusing on academics during the year

Stories

  • Ordinary stories for apps/interviews, fewer opportunities to develop competencies
  • Ordinary stories for apps/interviews, fewer opportunities to develop competencies

Stories

See a much deeper version of this table.

 

 

A chart comparing different income level countries.

Compare the Hospital Environments

The Essence of Healthcare in The U.S. and Europe Is the Same, but With Cultural Differences — Making Europe the Ideal Place for U.S. Students to Shadow, Since It Is Both Realistic (for Your Future) While Also Allowing You to Build Cultural Competence (1 of The 15 AAMC Competencies)

  U.S. Hospital European Hospital Low-to-Middle-Income

Country (LMIC) Hospital

Population
Health
Conditions
High High Low
Technology
Level
High High Low
Complexity
of Regulatory
Environment
High High Low
Complexity
of Healthcare
Processes
High High Low
Degree
of Hospital
Specialization
High High Low
Cultural
Perspective
Unique Unique Unique

Europeans Have Higher Life Expectancies
Yet Spend Far Less on Healthcare

A chart comparing life expectancies and healthcare costs in Europe vs the US.