Plan to Make the Most of Your Summer — Now

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Summer is a great time to get medically related experience, which can be an important piece of a medical school application. You can volunteer, shadow a doctor, work in a lab, or participate in a summer program that may include several of these experiences.

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What kinds of summer programs are there?

There are many different types of medical- or health-related summer programs available. Some are research based and involve lab work, while others are one-on-one experiences within a community or clinic.

Some programs, like the Summer Health Professions Education Program (SHPEP) include both workshops and clinical exposure. This program is available to freshman and sophomore college students interested in careers in medicine or dentistry. SHPEP is a free program, and participants receive housing, meals, and a stipend, during the six-week summer academic enrichment program.

Where can I find out about programs?

If you’re currently enrolled in college, talk to your pre-health advisor, mentor, and/or professors to find out about local opportunities that fit your interests. Also check the science department bulletin boards or websites for opportunities to assist with faculty research projects.

Throughout the year, professional organizations may host open houses or presentations on your campus, so make sure you are aware of any pre-med email lists or social media groups that may share details about these events. Be sure to attend and ask representatives about paid and volunteer opportunities.

If you’re specifically looking for a paid position, make an appointment with your school’s career center. They will let you know about job openings, and they can also offer resume help and go over interview tips and techniques.

You can also search the AAMC's listings of summer enrichment programs, summer undergraduate research opportunities, and public health training opportunities. is another great place to search for enrichment programs.

When should I think about applying?

Every program has its own timeline, but applications tend to open earlier than you might expect, which is why you should start planning your summer now. Many of these programs are competitive, so make sure you give yourself plenty of time to complete the application. It’s also a good idea to have a few options in mind in case your first choice is not available.


Public Health Pathways

Public Health Training Opportunities Across the Education Continuum
male student working in chemistry lab

How to Get Research Experience

How to get research experience as a premed student.

Shadowing a Doctor

How to shadow a doctor as a premedical student.

Finding Health Care-related Volunteer Opportunities

How to get health care-related volunteer opportunities as a premed student.

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