Admission committees at health professions schools will not only evaluate your ability to handle the academic rigors of graduate education, but will also take into consideration what you have accomplished outside of the classroom. Activities that have meaning for you and that demonstrate your leadership qualities, initiative, perseverance, and compassion will help schools learn about your personal qualities.
Admission committees want to know what steps you have taken to find out about the health profession of your choice. Although there is no “magic” number of hours of clinical experience that is required, working in such an environment is essential and provides a valuable learning experience. Depending on your path, volunteering at hospitals, shadowing in dental offices, or interning at aquariums or zoos, can allow you to “try a profession on for size” and see if you “like the way it fits.” In addition, volunteer work in a range of community-based organizations can demonstrate your ability to relate to many kinds of people and your problem-solving techniques.
Research in a variety of settings can provide an additional medium through which you can demonstrate your motivation to do indepth work, your dedication to intellectual pursuits, and your critical-thinking skills. However, we recommend that research not be done in lieu of obtaining experience in a clinical setting.
In seeking opportunities to learn about your intended profession and to demonstrate your personal qualities to admission committees, you may want to consider volunteer opportunities in Boston or near your hometown. You may choose to participate in a summer program that exposes you to research or expands your knowledge of a specific profession. Or you may apply to a summer enrichment program that is designed for underrepresented minority students and students from disadvantaged backgrounds.
There are many opportunities to become involved with the Boston University Community, as well as the greater Boston community. We encourage you to check out health-related student organizations that pique your interest and our Community Service Center where you can find many opportunities to volunteer in Boston.
In thinking about which types of experiences would be most beneficial to help schools learn about you and to build your portfolio for the application process, do not hesitate to schedule an appointment with a prehealth advisor to discuss your interests and accomplishments.