Aside from metrics, admissions committees also take into consideration (and sometimes require) various experiences. You will have to research programs you are interested in to get specific requirements but here are a some common types of experiences most programs like to see in a competitive applicant: clinical, service, leadership, and research.
Volunteering and shadowing in clinical settings allows you to better understand what a day in the life of a health professional is really like. This type of experience is important for 2 reasons:
- it allows you to confirm this is the right career for you and
- it demonstrates to an admissions committee that you understand what you are getting yourself into and are committed.
Participation in and dedication to community service is a great way to demonstrate compassion, an important attribute of most health professionals. Participation in this type of experience will also allow you to practice time-management and take on leadership roles. We advise participating in something that is meaningful to you that way you can enjoy the experience and will want to be more involved. It does not necessarily have to be health-related.
Most health-professionals will need to take on leadership positions in their career. Demonstrating an ability to do this as an undergraduate can strengthen your application. This type of experience also allows you to develop time-management skills which will be crucial for your success in health professional school.
Some health-professional graduate programs highly value, or even require, research experience. West Virginia University is a major research institution and there are many opportunities to get involved on campus. Find an area of research that you are passionate about and get involved early. To learn how to get started check out the Office for Undergraduate Research website.