Gaining Experience

Medical and Healthcare programs want to know if applicants have gained valuable experiences. Admissions committees will review students' understanding of the medical field, clinical experience, volunteer/community service, and research experience. There are many paths to take in order to gain these types of experiences. The Office of Premedical Professions suggests the following:

Shadow

Shadowing a healthcare provider is a great way to find out if a career in medicine is the right path.  It allows for better understanding of what a healthcare provider typical day is like, and may provide good experience to present in applications and interviews for medical programs.

How to find a doctor to shadow

If students have a relationship with any healthcare providers, we recommend starting by asking them. It is also an option to ask teachers, professors, and premed advisors if they know any healthcare providers that other students have shadowed in the past. It is appropriate to contact hospitals through their volunteer office, or search online for local healthcare providers. It is a good idea to call their office or email them at least a few weeks in advanced.  It is always good practice to send thank you notes after participating in a shadowing experience.

Research experience 

Working in a lab setting will help make for a competitive applicant with scientific inquiry and building a strong foundation or a continued science and medical education.  It will also help to determine if medical research is the correct path.

Where to start

Students currently enrolled in college can first check the science department bulletin boards or web sites for opportunities to assist with faculty research projects. Also, it is a good idea to express interests in research to academic or premed advisors. It never hurts to approach instructors, both science lab and lecture, about any research they might be involved in.

Pipeline programs

Pipeline and outreach programs are designed to prepare and inspire students to pursue careers in medicine and medical research. Information for each state is available at the Association of American Medical Colleges website.

Volunteer

Volunteering is a great opportunity for students to show personal interests and aspirations in the application. Getting involved on campus and joining clubs is a way to find community outreach experiences. Check out these Premed Clubs, or True Blue Connects for ways to get involved.

Reflect 

Admissions committees evaluate applicants based on the AAMC Core Competencies. When gaining experience it is important to reflect on what competencies are being gained and how they can apply to being a healthcare professional

 

Next Step: Letters of Recommendation