When you are preparing for a career in the health sciences, what you do outside of class matters. Experiences like volunteering at a local clinic, serving as a CNA, or working as a medical scribe offer opportunities to identify your interests and talents, as well as the chance to observe the various roles within a medical team. Spending significant time in a clinical or hospital setting will not only deepen your understanding of the career you are interested in, but will also help you identify and gain the skills that are needed to succeed. Finally, opportunities like these provide excellent material for discussion in your professional school applications, diversify your resume, and create connections with working professionals.
Check out our list of health-related opportunities for
- educational programs, research, and internships
- study abroad
- gap year ideas
If you are interested in medical school in particular, the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) has an excellent site designed to help students gain medical experience: https://www.aamc.org/students/aspiring/experience/
Volunteering works best, for both you and the organization, when done over a sustained period of time. You can build relationships with patients, understand the workings of your organization and its various roles, and increase your skills and abilities much more when you volunteer regularly at one location. Through these volunteer and opportunities you will also get to know professionals who may allow you to shadow them or even write a letter of recommendation for you.
Care Partners (Recommended by Augsburg Alumni)
Fairview Hospice- Contact Anne Myers-Richards (612-728-2408 or email@example.com)
- Delivery shifts- Serve a meal at a community center, homeless shelter or senior apartments
- Gleaning shifts- Collect surplus produce from farmers markets and move fresh, organic vegetables into low-income communities
- Augsburg/Brian Coyle Farmers Market shifts- Help set up and run the weekly West Bank Farmers Markets (Tuesdays) and contribute to making fresh food more accessible in this community
- Cooking shifts- Lead or participate in a cooking class and help make healthy meals to be delivered around the community
Education, Research, and Internship Opportunities
Research is an important part of the health field, with labs throughout the world focused on finding new discoveries and treatments that will be relevant for today’s most pressing health issues. If you have an interest in both health care and biomedical research, it may be beneficial to gain experience in both areas to help you discover which you find most engaging. Research experiences offer students the opportunity to collect, analyze, and think critically about data, and to practice writing and presentation skills in a professional setting. Below you will find research opportunities that will allow you to build these skills while researching important health-related issues.
The Summer Dental School Experience is a two-week, intensive program that will provide participants hands-on experiences in dentistry, exposure to prerequisite courses and Dental Admissions Test review, health disparities research experience, and workshops designed to enhance academic skills or to teach students more about dentistry.
The Dental School Preparation Course offered at the University Of Minnesota School Of Dentistry is a 20-hour intensive program designed to prepare students for the field of Dentistry.
Des Moines University’s Health Professions Advanced Summer Scholars program – DMU Health P.A.S.S. – is a great way for promising college sophomores and juniors to prepare for and enhance their chances of getting into medical school and other health professions programs.
The Jackson Laboratory is an independent, not-for-profit research institution. The Laboratory’s work is dedicated to the betterment of human health through research in mammalian genetics.
Mayo Clinic scientists have developed new products that may be marketable. These products are submitted to the Mayo Clinic Office of Intellectual Property (OIP) for a thorough investigation of marketability. One of these products or inventions is assigned to each MISP team. Augsburg’s team of five will work together to understand the science and applications of the projects or innovations and analyze the market potential. The end result of the team investigation will be a business plan and final presentation at Mayo Clinic.
Mayo Clinic Research Opportunities:
Medical College of Wisconsin Summer Research Program (Recommended by an Auggie)
The Summer Program for Undergraduate Research (SPUR) provides the opportunity for students to learn first-hand the potential of the biomedical sciences as an interesting and fulfilling career. The SPUR program provides laboratory experience in science, in which the undergraduate works with graduate faculty, students, and staff on significant ongoing basic science research issues.
Minnesota’s Future Doctors (MFD) prepares pre-medical students from Minnesota communities underrepresented in medicine for admission to medical school.
NIH Undergraduate Scholarship Program-The NIH UGSP will pay up to $20,000 per academic year in tuition, educational expenses, and reasonable living expenses to scholarship recipients. Scholarships are awarded for 1 year, and can be renewed up to 4 years. For each full or partial scholarship year, you get to experience two NIH service obligations: a 10-week Summer Laboratory Experience at the NIH and employment at the NIH after graduation. Must have “exceptional financial need” to be eligible (see link for details).
SMDEP is a free (full tuition, housing, and meals) six-week summer academic enrichment program that offers freshman and sophomore college students intensive and personalized medical and dental school preparation. It is intended to introduce low-income or underrepresented college freshmen and sophomores to what medical or dental school might be like.
The Summer Research Program in Global Health is an eight-week program open to: full-time college undergraduates; graduate students pursuing a Master in Public Health (MPH), Social Work (MSW), or Population Health Sciences (MPHS); and medical students looking to gain experience in the field of global health research.
There are a number of ways in which you can get experience in the medical field while earning money. Below is a list of jobs that students may do during the school year, during the summer, or immediately following graduation to gain medical-related experience.
- Pharmacy Tech
- Phlebotomy Tech
- EKG Tech
- Operating Room Tech
- Medical Scribe
If you are planning on applying for medical school, we strongly recommend that you consider working as a Medical Scribe. Scribes provide medical documentation services for physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners or other providers. Under the physician’s close direction the scribe will usually witness the patient interview and physical exam, and create a medical record for the patient based on the interaction. Scribes synthesize and enter this information into the electronic medical record. Scribes are also fundamental to workflow in the clinical setting, following up on lab results, facilitating specialist consultation, and assuring that the radiological procedures and results are obtained in a timely manner.
Check out the local scribing companies and organizations that hire scribes listed below:
Study Abroad Programs for Pre-Health Students
University of Glasgow
The University of Glasgow offers a variety of unique courses to students who study abroad there. Of particular interest to pre-health students, the U of G offers Functional Anatomy for Pre-Med Students. In this course, students learn basic medical terminology, core concepts in regional anatomy, clinical correlations and applications of anatomy, and basic radiology. The school is also working to broaden its course offerings for U.S. science students so that pre-health students can study there without compromising their U.S. curriculum.
Atlantis Project participants immerse themselves in a transformative educational experience the encourages both personal and professional growth. An internship in public hospital, allowing Atlantis Fellows to observe many facets of medicine and to gain an understanding of how the European government-run system works.
For more information visit www.atlantis-project.org
For more information about study abroad programs, please visit the Augsburg Abroad Office.
Many students are now choosing to take a year (or more) off between their undergraduate studies and professional school. There are many worthwhile ways to spend this time including working in the health field, gaining lab experience, traveling or studying abroad, and working in community service. Below you will find a number of opportunities that may help you gain skills and encourage personal growth during your time between programs.
Apply for National Fellowships and Scholarships through URGO - Teach, study or research abroad, all while adding an impressive award to your resume.