pre-health tips

The undergraduate journey for a pre-health student is complex! For students to be strong applicants to health professional schools (i.e. medical, dental, PA, pharmacy, nursing schools, etc.), they should seek to be well-rounded beyond academics. Medi-Futures has a team of student Ambassadors, as well as faculty, who often share information about what it takes to stand out to professional schools; some of their detailed are included below.

Check out some the information below to learn more about how you can be prepared to apply to health professional schools when the time comes. Students can choose to take a gap year(s) between undergraduate education and health professional school to enhancing their experience in any of the below areas. Click on each card for more detailed information.

As you learn about each of the areas below, remember that you are human with varied interests! Though the ultimate plan may be to apply to health professional schools and become a healthcare professional, your extracurriculars do not need to focus solely on health. If you have passions, interests, or talents outside of medicine, polish those passions – this is what shows that you are a well-rounded individual!


Shadowing is a passive activity in which students experience a ‘day in the life’ of a healthcare professional. Shadowing is vital for students to explore health careers of interest and to solidify their plan to pursue one!


Volunteering can be clinical or non-clinical (it is great to have experience in both areas)!

Serving your community (or outside communities) is a wonderful way to make a positive impact.

Clinical Experience

Clinical experience is hands-on patient interaction. This experience can be volunteer or paid (this page will discuss paid clinical jobs; the volunteer page discusses unpaid clinical experience). Some clinical roles may require certification, whereas others may not. Clinical experience is important for students to truly understand how to support patients and their families, while providing well-rounded care.

Letters of Recommendation

Almost every health professional program will require letters of recommendation. As you progress throughout your academic journey, think about who could write you a strong letter when it comes time for you to apply, and make an intentional effort to stay connected with those individuals.


Conducting research alongside faculty is a great way to learn about the research process (i.e. conducting research, IRB, grants, writing a paper) while focusing in on a specific research question.

Research does not necessarily need to be related to medicine or health! If you are passionate about something, consider doing research in that area!


Though ‘leadership’ may be self-explanatory, one can lead in many ways! If you are involved in a particular activity for a period of time, consider gaining a leadership position. Being a general member is great; however, if you want to make a stronger impact for the group (and for yourself), strive to be in a position of leadership, become a mentor, or be a coach.