Students sitting on a set of stairs enjoying the atmosphere.
Atlantis students sitting on a set of stairs enjoying the atmosphere (Barcelona, Spain, 2019).

25 Reasons to Join Atlantis

Medical schools want 3 things: healthcare exposure, GPA/MCAT, and AAMC competencies. Atlantis gives you the best version of the 1st, frees you to focus on the 2nd, and cultivates/shows the 3rd to medical school admissions committees. But there are many more reasons to consider our programs. Read on for more things to love about Atlantis.


You may also download the list below as a PDF if you’d like to keep it.

1. Travel the world now while you still have time

College is the perfect time to explore new cultures before other responsibilities kick in. Shadowing over break means you’re utilizing your breaks to their utmost potential.

2. Fit multiple countries into a few weeks

From Bologna to Budapest, Barcelona to Belgrade, you can shadow in several countries back-to-back and then use your free weekends to explore practically anywhere in Europe.

Atlantis Alumna on Her 3-Country Program Experience

3. Study abroad in a way that’s relevant to your pre-health path

Most study abroad programs are only somewhat valuable for your pre-health path, in that they develop your cultural understanding but don’t give you an in-depth understanding of healthcare. Atlantis does both at once.

4. Be advised by someone experienced with med school admissions

All first-time Atlantis students are invited to attend a set of alumni-only Q&A sessions run by someone experienced with admissions to U.S. medical schools. As a complement to that, students can also sign up for mentoring with an incoming top ten medical school student.

5. Obtain a Harvard Medical School Pre-Health credential

Some of our programs include enrollment in a self-paced, HMX online course, with the potential to earn a certificate from Harvard Medical School upon completion.

6. Leverage your experience for Uniqueness Projects

We have seen alumni do many unique projects after shadowing abroad with us, projects that set them apart in medical school application pools as some of the very few people bridging international healthcare systems.

7. Do a Service-Research Project

With Atlantis Service-Research Projects, you get to add elements to your med/PA applications and interviews, namely, a service opportunity, a unique research experience, and an elite brand (at a level where 90%+ of med/PA applicants are not exposed to).

8. Develop a theme/edge for your med/PA applications

Successful medical school applications often have a theme, which allows admissions committees to then build a class with a diverse set of experiences. Suppose your undergraduate experience and medical school applications focus on an interest in pediatrics or healthcare policy. You might have taken classes in college related to these topics or you might have already participated in extracurriculars surrounding these themes. With Atlantis, you can not only shadow (and request certain specialties), you can participate in a project with an institution such as Children’s National Hospital in D.C., or in similar institutions. This is done through our Service-Research Projects, which can fit many themes.

9. Meet passionate pre-health students from across the country

You’ll have many new friends to hang out with in the evenings and on free weekends, and Atlantis students often stay in touch with their fellow participants long after their program ends. This is also an opportunity to obtain a broader and more geographically diverse pre-health peer network. As you later go through med/PA applications (and beyond) everyone can benefit from this.

10. Be part of an incredible alumni network

Atlantis alumni hail from 500+ universities and go on to pursue MD, DO, PA, and many other health professions. Some go on to attend top medical schools like Harvard, Stanford, Duke, and beyond.

11. Observe procedures you couldn’t in the U.S.

Shadowing complex procedures in the U.S. is not always possible, and where it is available, it’s time-consuming to arrange. Atlantis allows you to observe surgeries and high-level work that most pre-meds don’t get to see.

12. Shadow for over 200 hours in leading hospitals throughout Europe

Students shadow for 1–10 weeks in leading European hospitals, with a minimum of 20 hours per week. With 200+ shadowing hours – especially high-quality shadowing in other developed countries – you’ll have no shortage of stories.

13. Join a program attended by 1 out of 10 pre-health advisors

Each year, pre-health advisors and university partners visit our sites and come away with enthusiasm for how much the program helps students preparing for the medical field.

14. Free up your time to focus on grades

360 Shadowing covers your bases in terms of extracurricular activities, most of which are sadly often uninteresting to interviewers anyway, whereas Atlantis is often a key topic of med/PA school interviews.

Better, Concentrated Healthcare Exposure Lets Pre-Meds Focus on Grades, While Still Increasing Relevant Experience for Interviews

A chart demonstrating how Atlantis students have more time to focus on grades.

There is very little in your premedical coursework which actually prepares you for the difficult task of taking care of sick people.

Columbia University Pre-med Advising(This is not an endorsement)

Each interview is different, but it’s common to be asked, “Why do you want to be a doctor?” To answer, you may want to tell a story about an experience or series of experiences that have led to your decision.

AAMC(This is not an endorsement)

15. Shadow up to 10 specialties in one summer

Programs range from 1–10 weeks long, and students generally rotate between departments every week. Examples include General Surgery, Orthopedics, Anesthesiology, Pediatrics, OB/GYN, and Gastroenterology. Although not every specialty that you request can always be granted, Atlantis participants generally receive many (and often all) of their requests.

Watch Video: 3 Alumni Describe the Depth and The (Specialty) Breadth of Their Program

16. Bring unique stories to apps/interviews

Our alumni in med school have told us things like, “This was always a topic of conversation in interviews.” (Thomas C., UVA School of Medicine, ‘22)

Watch Video: Impact on Interviews and Applications

17. Observe doctors 1:1 or 2:1

Atlantis programs are almost always small. We take great care to arrange for students to (almost always) shadow in pairs or individually, allowing you the greatest opportunity to grow familiar with the physicians and to (when possible and not disruptive) ask questions.

18. Confirm if medicine is really for you

Atlantis helps you envision your own future and determine where your passion lies – whether that is in medicine or not. The time will be well spent as you discern your vocation and develop confidence in your career path.

19. Get firsthand knowledge of global healthcare

Atlantis gives you firsthand knowledge of global healthcare to bring to interviews. If you read medical school blogs, they often talk about the big question of our society’s healthcare costs problem, and these and other healthcare blogs often talk about the pros and cons of universal healthcare systems such as those in European countries, that Atlantis participants visit. Atlantis alumni who are today in medical school (and most medical schools have Atlantis alumni as we speak) are some of the very few people in the student body who have had direct experience with universal healthcare (and its many pros and cons). This is an asset you bring into your Med/PA applications (likely), and later to the healthcare community and society (certainly).

Alumni Explain Atlantis’ Impact On Their Med School Applications, Specifically on “Cultural Competence,” A Key AAMC Competency

20. Progress on AAMC competencies like 93% of Atlantis alumni

Atlantis helps you develop hard and soft competencies more effectively than your average clinical experience. You’ll be exposed to more medical situations in more cultural contexts, shadowing doctors particularly motivated by a spirit of service.

21. Meet more doctors with a service-first attitude towards their careers

There are many pros and cons of this, but one thing is for sure: the profit motive plays a lesser role in European healthcare, and generally in universal healthcare systems. Atlantis is an opportunity to understand these differences. Alumni often share what a privilege it was to witness and be inspired by service-driven healthcare professionals.

22. Ask for recommendation letters from physicians who care

With a bit of intentionality, you can certainly ask physicians you shadow for rec letters – this opportunity arises all the time on Atlantis, and we think you’ll find that physicians are very happy to help. They want you to succeed! However, keep in mind the advice you have already received on letters of recommendation: they are only worthwhile when you have really met the person in question at a significant level.

23. Show that you have both “can do” and “will do”

Med/PA schools look for ability and passion. With physician burnout on the rise, it’s not enough to demonstrate your skills with a high GPA and MCAT. You need experiences that show a tried and true love for medicine.

24. Step outside your comfort zone (AAMC competency #8: resilience & adaptability)

There’s nothing like getting on a plane and observing busy doctors in a foreign country while overcoming the unpredictabilities of travel. You’ll have ample opportunity to show the AAMC competency of resilience and adaptability. Staying at home in a place you already know can have many advantages (and can be the right thing to do), but generally does not cultivate resilience and adaptability in the same way.

Alumni Explain Atlantis’ Impact On Their Med School Applications, Specifically on “Cultural Competence,” A Key AAMC Competency

25. Advance your career in healthcare for a small fraction of your overall tuition

Atlantis costs a small percentage of the cost of college and graduate/professional school, but it has an outsized impact on your being accepted to medical school learning about global healthcare.

Atlantis Costs Little in Comparison with Other Elements

A chart showing the relatively low cost of Atlantis with other elements.

Students learning how to make pesto.
Atlantis students learning how to make pesto in Italy (Genoa, Italy, 2019).
Students lined up with surfboards on the beach. (Lisbon, 2019)
Atlantis students lined up with surfboards on the beach (Lisbon, Portugal, 2019).

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
Snow Nwankwo headshot.

Snow Nwankwo

  • Atlantis '19
  • Catholic U. of America '21
  • Georgetown U. MD '26
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



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