Gaining pre-health experience

 Check out the table below to learn how different types of experiences may help you towards professional health programs.  

  What is it? How do I do it? What will I gain?
Complementary Academics The selection of majors & minors that reflect your strengths, interests, & values. Unique combinations make you a better candidate and (eventually) professional. Browse the Majors & Programs at UWL. Meet with an academic advisor in the Academic Advisng Center. Taking courses that reflect who you are will make you a better and more engaged student. Better GPA and reflections in essays and internships will follow!
Job Shadow

In-person observation of someone in a specific healthcare job or department. Ranges from a few hours to a full day.

Contact family, friends, alumni (use your network connections) to find a job shadow opportunity. Often easiest in your "hometown".  Find out whether a career path is right for you and learn more about how healthcare settings operate. A chance to build your network.
Part-time or Summer Job A paid position where you gain patient care experience. Positions available in a variety of settings (clinical, nursing homes, summer camps, etc.)

See Handshake's part-time job listings. Attend part-time job fair and/or Prepping for a Health Career.

Earn money, increase responsibility, & gain skills such as patience, empathy, and teamwork. Increase your understanding of patien care.
Undergraduate Research &
Conduct research independently or as part of a team. Develop your own research or work on a faculty research project; potentially present and/or publish your own work. Visit Undergraduate Research & Creativity and talk with faculty about their research and opportunities for you to get involved. Develp scientific communication skills through writing, presenting, and collaborating. Enhance critical thinking skills.
Student Organizations Find pre-health student orgs related to your career interests; take leadership roles in students orgs that support causes you are passionate about. Visit myorgs for more information on over 200 student organizations. Attend Involvement Fest (Fall) and/or WINvolvement Fest (winter). Build leadership & teamwork skills. Take on a leadership role, serve on a committee, or organize events. Learn from other students and guest speakers.
Volunteering & Service Learning Volunteer your time & talents independently, as part of a class, or as part of your involvement with an organization. Can take place locally or as part of a trip. Visit the COVE in the Student Union for volunteer opportunities and check out Ugetconnected. Develop empathy and an understanding of the social determinants of health. Gain transferrable skills, including interpersonal & organizational skills.
Study Abroad & International Volunteering

Take courses or volunteer your time to assist healthcare providers in another country -  sometimes called "Medical Mission Trips"

Visit Study Abroad (International Education & Engagement) to discuss educational and internship programs. Talk with student organizations about completing a volunteer trip.

Expand your worldview, adapt to a new culture, & increase your independence. Be careful to consider the ethics of providing medical care abroad.


Short-term, hands-on learning experience. May count as academic credit; may be paid or unpaid. In healthcare, often tied o a degree program. See also "fellowships".

Not particularly common for pre-health/pre-med students. Attend an internship information session. Search for internships in Handshake.

Learn about and test-drive specialty areas. Learn about professionalism in healthcare. Gain valuable contacts in the field.