Many students on a pre health track, visit the Career Development Office to look for internship opportunities. Internships offer students hands-on opportunities to work in their desired field. However, in health professions finding an internship is uncommon unless it is incorporated as part of the curriculum because of student liability issues.
Our office has developed the Six Pillars which represent six core areas pre-health students can develop in, to prepare for professional school. The Following six pillars will allow you to stand out amongst other candidates when applying to professional programs such as Medical School.
Pillar 1: Academic success
Pillar one is Academic success. Each program has a set standard for required GPA and test scores, academic success shows a students’ ability to handle challenges. In your first year you are going to want to build a relationship with your academic advisor to plan out what the next four years will look like. You will also want to make an appointment with a Career Advisor to learn about opportunities on and off campus in which you can put your classroom knowledge into practical application. Throughout the year you should touch base with both offices to make sure you are on track. Finally, it is important to research the entrance requirements for your program. Maintain a high grade point average and study in advance for the entrance exams. You can research exactly what is required from each school by using Student Doctor Network, an online forum where students share details about professional school interviews, tips, and additional resources.
Pillar 2: Confirming your Passion
Pillar two is confirming your passion. Being able to confirm your passion is important because it will allow you to better articulate your motivation for the field or career choice and if you are a right fit. There are multiple ways in which you can confirm your passion such as shadowing or volunteering at a local hospital. The benefit of volunteering is they offer you a flexible schedule. You can also participate in the Clinical Exploration Program which puts you in a clinical setting of your interest whether it is Dentistry, Sports Medicine or Internal Medicine etc. Confirming your passion early on is important because it will keep you determined throughout your studies and allow you to gain insight about what you like most about the profession.
Pillar 3: Research
Pillar three is research. Research is valued because it provides you with an avenue to immerse yourself within the knowledge base in healthcare while enhancing your critical thinking skills as well as creating a lasting influence on future goals. Research also shows a students’ commitment to continue to expand their knowledge on various topics. Considering healthcare is ever changing and direct clinical experience may not occur until professional school; research is a key selling point to your ability to stay on top of trends and knowledge necessary in the healthcare field.
Pillar 4: Leadership
Pillar four is leadership. Leadership is important because healthcare professionals are leaders in their industry. Taking on a leadership role will allow you to develop strong characteristics that are needed to succeed in health professions such as motivation, the ability to delegate tasks to others, creativity and communications skills. Note, you do not have to have a leadership position in an organization in order to gain these skills.
Pillar 5: Transferable Skills
Pillar five is developing transferable skills. Transferable skills are skills like leadership, time management and problem solving that are developed in a previous setting and can be applied anywhere. For example, as a doctor you need to be a problem solver with your patients, similarly although done in a different setting, if you were a resident assistant on campus you probably utilized your problem solving skill which prove valuable when entering healthcare settings. As a health professional, the transferable skills you can acquire outside of a clinical setting will allow you to make your patients feel comfortable.
Pillar 6: Community Involvement
Finally, pillar six is community involvement. Entering the health care field means joining an industry that is focused on serving others, being involved in community initiatives showcases how your values align with that of the industry.
The admission committee members value students who not only have done an internship, but have also taken on challenging courses and went the extra mile to make time for a summer research opportunity or completed a mission trip. Gaining experiences and developing skills from each pillar will prepare you for your next steps.