Experiential Opportunities

Local Hospitals | Local Opportunities | National | International | Summer Experiences, Courses, Training | UNH and External & Clinical Research | Post-Baccalaureate Programs and Opportunities

Health professions schools are interested in well rounded, broadly educated students. The classroom is only one component of the educational experience. A strong community service record and experience in a health-related field are important components of an application to a health professional program. Opportunities can be found through community involvement, medically related activities, undergraduate research, and campus organizations, as well as national and international exchange programs. Find something you like to do, not just something you think will look good to an admission committee. Keep a journal of your experiences.

In addition to health related volunteering, extracurricular activities should demonstrate a commitment to caring, encourage personal growth, leadership and teamwork, and show that you are people centered. Five hundred hours of sustained involvement is generally the accepted minimum, and a significant portion of an applicant's experience should involve direct patient contact. Participating in a formal “internship” is not required. Medically related experience may be paid as well as volunteer. Seek out opportunities that help you learn more about the health care field. Admission committees want to know that your decision to become a health care professional is well informed and based on actual exposure to the people and settings of your desired profession.

Health-related experience can be found by volunteering at local hospitals, hospice centers, Aids prevention programs, community health clinics, rehabilitation centers, long term care and skilled nursing homes, etc. If you have never volunteered in a medical setting, an ideal place to begin is with your local hospital's volunteer program. Many organizations will expect a set time commitment from the volunteer over a period of months. Although a volunteer, organizations depend on your reliability and commitment to the schedule. Volunteers should expect to attend training sessions and, in most hospitals, will be required to obtain specific immunizations.

Job shadowing, or volunteering, with an individual practitioner is another means of gaining experience/knowledge. You may want to approach your family practitioner or a doctor who has seen you previously as a patient. The experience may allow more one-on-one in-office exposure. In addition, your family doctor may be willing to recommend you to other colleagues who can offer additional opportunities.

Local Hospitals

Students are usually asked to make a commitment for the semester to volunteer for up to four hours a week.

For exposure to busier and more urban/diverse settings consider the 45 minute drive to Manchester or Concord:

Check the yellow pages or do an on-line search for Clinics, Hospitals, Hospices, Nursing Homes, Dentists and Physicians to find other local health-related settings in which to volunteer.

Local Opportunities

National Volunteer Opportunities

International Volunteer Opportunities

The following organizations provide opportunities for exposure to healthcare in a wide variety of settings. A listing here in no way endorses a program. It is simply a resource for students to explore.

Be sure to review the medical and dental school policies on "Providing Patient Care During Clinical Experiences Abroad".

Summer Courses/Training /Internships

Most summer programs have application deadlines in February and March if not earlier.

Courses, Certifications, and Training

  • EMT Certification
    Some health professions students gain paid experience by working as a certified Emergency Medical Technician (EMT).It is important to note that simply completing a course and becoming certified is not sufficient experience for an applicant to a health professions program. Once certified, be sure that you have ample time to volunteer/work with your local ambulance corp so that you gain exposure to patient contact vs. on-call hours. Do an internet search in your community for EMT courses.

    The UNH Kinesiology Department offers a credit course (KIN 684/685) called Emergency Medical Care: Principles and Practices that prepares students to take the EMT certifying exam.

    McGregor Memorial EMS
    (formerly Durham Ambulance Corps) (DAC) 862-3674
    A volunteer organization, located on the UNH campus, providing primary emergency medical care to the communities of Durham, Lee, Madbury and UNH. Currently about one third of the 55 volunteers are UNH students. Volunteer opportunities are available for UNH students who have an interest in medicine and either have obtained or are interested in obtaining their EMT certification. DAC provides a unique opportunity to gain valuable field experience and provide actual hands-on medical care.
  • Certified Nursing Assistant/Aide and Patient Care Assistant CNAs work under the supervision of a nurse, and since they have extensive daily contact with each patient, they play a key role in keeping the nurse up-to-date on vital information about the patients' conditions. The CNA provides hands on nursing care to patients, residents, clients and customers in a variety of health care settings. CNA employment provides direct patient contact; especially for those interested in PA programs and medical school. Many nursing homes offer the training; the Red Cross does classes too- contact your local chapter. Tech colleges are another source where training is offered. Do an internet search in your community for CNA courses.
  • Phlebotomists collect blood for donation or so the blood can be analyzed in a clinical laboratory. Phlebotomists work in clinical laboratories, hospitals, community health centers, nursing homes, doctor’s offices, blood donation centers, and other health care facilities. UNH offers a phlebotomy course: BMS 640/641.
  • Medical Scribes are individuals trained in medical documentation who assist the physician, shadowing them throughout their shift. The primary function of a scribe is the creation and maintenance of the patient's medical record, which is done under the supervision of the attending physician. The scribe performs a variety of tasks, including recording patients' histories and chief complaints, transcribing physical exams, ordering x-rays, recording diagnostic test results, and preparing plans for follow-up care. This type of work can provide pre-medical students with excellent observational opportunities in a wide area of settings including doctor offices and emergency departments. It may not be adequate for direct patient contact experience for PA applicants. One company that some UNH alum have trained with as ED scribes: http://www.elitemedicalscribes.com/
  • Summer Medical Education Program (SMEP) SMDEP is a free (full tuition, housing, and meals) six-week summer medical and dental school preparatory program that offers eligible students intensive and personalized medical and dental school preparation.
  • The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Summer Institute in Anatomy, the Institute will offer a four week Human Anatomy course in June, on the campus of the JHU School of Medicine in Baltimore
  • Robert Wood Johnson Medical School SUMMER CLINICAL INTERNSHIPS program. Participants will have the opportunity to shadow clinical faculty members at the medical facilities in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Distinguished faculty from a variety of specialties will host students. Students will be paired with faculty in specialties representing students’ interests. Students are encouraged to keep the hours of the clinicians in order to get a real sense of the specialty, the issues in patient care and the practice of medicine. A lunchtime seminar series will complement the clinical experiences. Students will also take part in a pedagogic exercise at the end of the program. Students will make brief presentations to their peers on topics selected and researched with the guidance of the faculty preceptors http://rwjms.umdnj.edu/education/admissions/clin_intern_program.html
  • Des Moines University’s Health P.A.S.S. summer program The Health P.A.S.S. program is targeted at students who are underrepresented in medicine – this includes individuals who are racially/ethnically underrepresented, first generation college students, and/or students who come from low-income backgrounds. Rising sophomores and rising juniors are encouraged to apply to the Health P.A.S.S. program. http://www.dmu.edu/healthpass/
  • Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine (OU-COM) Summer Scholars Program. The Summer Scholars Program a six week experience that emulates what a first year medical student will encounter relative to academic course work and rigor. The six week program includes course work in gross anatomy (including cadaver dissection), immunology, biochemistry, histology, integrated biomedical science, an introduction to case based learning, and exposure to osteopathic practices and principles, as taught by the OU-COM faculty. The program also includes clinical shadowing experiences, an overview of research at the medical school and workshops on study skills and time management. The program provides room and board, a modest living allowance, a travel allowance to assist getting to and from the program and the potential for a guaranteed interview for the next years entering class to those that are eligible. Preference is given to rising seniors. Detailed information, eligibility requirements, and application materials can be obtained by going to the Summer Scholars web site at www.oucom.ohiou.edu/SummerScholars . The application deadline is March 1.
  • University of Minnesota- Duluth Campus The Native Americans into Medicine Summer Program is for Native American students who are pursuing an education that will enable them to become health professionals. The aim of this program is to provide promising students with experience and support to help them become more informed, better prepared, and more competitive as they move toward their health professions goal. http://www.caimh.org/ See “Summer Programs”.



  • Bellevue Hospital in New York City offers a 10-week summer volunteer program for premed students called Project Health Care.



  • Univ. of California Berkeley Optometry Opto-Camp
  • Pacific University (Oregon) College of Optometry InSight residence experience. Those wishing to attend the program must be enrolled in an accredited college or university for next fall, have a demonstrated interest in the health professions, have a cumulative grade point average above 2.75, and identify as part of a minority group that is underrepresented in the optometry profession. Application requirements and materials may be obtained at www.pacificu.edu/optometry.
  • Illinois College of Optometry will host the third annual Focus on Your Future Summer Program for underrepresented minority undergraduate students. The program is a weeklong experience that will expose undergraduate students to the profession of optometry in a variety of settings. Participants will have the opportunity to meet and work with current optometry students, ICO Faculty & Staff, as well as practicing optometrists. Students will be housed at no charge in our Residential Complex. There is no cost to participate in this program. Participants are responsible for their travel expenses and/or transportation cost to and from ICO. For eligibility and application information, visit http://www.ico.edu/admissions/summerprogram/index.html.

Research Opportunities

Research at UNH

  • Research may be an opportunity to demonstrate the strength of your academic commitment. You may develop your own research project, work as part of an ongoing research project or develop an independent study supervised by a professor. The value is not solely in the research itself but the quality of your personal involvement. Opportunities are available in all disciplines. Talk with your professors/advisors and investigate UROP and IROP.

External Research / Clinical Opportunities

  • Weill Cornell Medical College Travelers Summer Research Fellowship Program for Premedical Students. The Travelers Summer Research Fellowship Program is designed to give 25 premedical students deeper insights into the field of medicine, including issues that greatly affect the health of traditionally underserved groups. Students must be at least in their junior year to be eligible to apply for this program. The program is designed for declared premed students who preferably have already taken biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry and physics. http://www.med.cornell.edu/education/programs/

Post-Baccalaureate Opportunities

For more information on post-bac programs: