Health professions programs want well-rounded applicants involved in campus and community activities and meaningful experiences outside the classroom. Join a pre-health student organization. Volunteer. Do research. Join other student groups. Study abroad. Get experience, and have fun!
Admissions committees expect you to have experience in health-care settings. It is essential to have job-shadowing, clinical observation, or other health-related experiences like volunteering, working, or in certain research settings. No matter how you get your experience, you need to show that you've had some type of patient interaction or engagement in addition to observation. The more patient engagement you have, the better. Experiences will also help you with content for your personal statement and topics to talk about during your interview.
Job shadowing is observing a professional working in your field of interest. It helps you confirm that your area of interest is the right path for you, and provides insight on day-to-day roles and responsibilities.
Job shadowing can also build relationships with health-care providers, leading to the kind of letters of recommendation that admissions committees value, and other opportunities for guidance and mentoring.
"Our proximity to hospitals and clinics gives our students a better chance of securing the clinical experiences and internships which are critical to getting into professional health programs."
Direct Patient Care
Some programs, like physician assistant schools, require direct patient contact experience, like taking blood pressures, drawing blood, or giving patient baths. This experience, known as Direct Patient Care (DPC), takes place on either a paid or volunteer basis. School requirements vary, so check with each school you're applying to, to find out what is accepted for required DPC hours.
Students can gain hands-on patient experience in a number of ways. For example, working as a Certified Nurse Aide at a local nursing home (our local CNA training program) or a Phlebotomist at a local hospital. Another excellent way to gain direct patient care experience is by becoming a Certified Emergency Medical Technician (EMT).
Other examples of positions where you can gain DPC hours include:
- Registered Nurse (RN) or Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)
- X-Ray Technician
- Emergency Room Technician
- Medical Volunteer
- Medical Assistant
- Patient Care Assistant/Tech (PCA)
- EKG Technician
Volunteering and Community Service
Volunteer and community service is also essential for a successful application. It demonstrates your character and desire to give back to your community. Volunteering can be clinical, like helping at hospice or becoming an EMT, or non-clinical, for example tutoring or helping at a church.
Students can also be personally enriched by clinical and non-clinical experiences. Choose experiences that you enjoy, and try sticking with what moves you the most. Commitment to a specific experience over a prolonged period of time carries weight with admissions committees and allows you to make an even more significant contribution to something you care about. Leadership roles also impress committees and foster personal development.
Admissions committees value research experience. It shows your strong commitment to academics and helps develop skills that professional schools find appealing, including analytical skills, critical thinking skills, logic and reasoning, and responsibility. It demonstrates that you can work as part of a team and, depending on your position in the lab, can demonstrate strong leadership skills.
Michigan Tech is a public research university, so there are many ways to get involved with undergraduate research on a volunteer, paid, or for-credit basis.
Search for research projects that interest you and reach out to the department or individual researchers to find out how to be involved.
- Biological Science Research Projects
- Biomedical Engineering Research Projects
- Chemistry Research Projects
- Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology Research Projects
- Physics Research Projects
Michigan Tech has pre-health-related student groups that offer more volunteer opportunities, and the ability to network and work with student peers with the same interests as you. Joining student organizations and working your way up to an executive board position helps develop leadership skills.
Leadership skills are crucial in the health-care field. Admissions committees want to see that applicants assume ownership in every task and have the ability to direct a team. They are looking for successful health care providers and future leaders.
Cultivate leadership skills at Michigan Tech by working toward a leading role in your student organization, research project or community service initiative. Learn what it takes to lead with integrity by enrolling in LeaderShape Institute, a week-long experience designed to help you take skills to the next level.
"Graduate programs look for leadership experiences. It is easier to take on leadership roles at a smaller school like Michigan Tech."
Study abroad makes your application stand out, demonstrating cultural competence and life experience. Pre-health students can travel to the University of Nicosia (UNIC) Medical School in Nicosia, Cyprus, for courses in human anatomy and physiology, and learn about the European health-care system. One of the unique benefits: learning with human cadavers in the anatomy labs.
Pavlis Honors College
Learn to lead. Immerse in product development, international service, internships, and co-ops. Design a custom pathway that combines your pre-health professional school prep with the most unique honors colleges in the country. Learn more about Pavlis Honors College—where exceptional students are mentored and enriched, and student success is more than GPA.