Prepare: Gain Medical Exposure

Get Hands-On Experience

You’re considering a career in health, but need to find out if this is really the right choice for you. Take the time to explore while at MIT or beyond! Start early, ideally, as you can do some of these activities as early as your first year and continue throughout your time at MIT.

Shadow Health Professionals

Shadowing a health professional is a great way to explore a career in medicine and demonstrate to admissions committees you’ve gained an awareness of the practitioners’ role.  You can find tips and strategies to shadow a health professional in our Guide to Shadowing a Physician.  We also offer opportunities to connect with health professionals, MIT Prehealth Advising runs a half-day or full-day physician shadowing program at local hospitals. Instructions for the shadow program will be sent to the prehealth email lists in the late fall or early winter.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic has prevented many applicants from getting the desired experience shadowing healthcare providers, virtual shadowing may be a way to gain exposure to healthcare. This experience does not carry the weight of in-person shadowing or other clinical experiences. Some places to start with virtual shadowing are: VTReach and VirtualShadowing.

Research and Network

Website likes AAMC’s Aspiring Docs and Explore Health Careers can get you started. If you are interested in becoming an MD-PhD, AAMC has info on this dual-degree career path.

Talk to people. Do you have friends or family in the field? They can help you connect with others. Find MIT alumni in your field of interest through the MIT Alumni Advisor Hub.

Volunteer and Join Clubs

Volunteering at a hospital or other healthcare setting can teach you about the field. Help patients, speak with doctors and healthcare professionals, and learn about the workplace.

Check out our list of hospitals that offer volunteer opportunities.

Join clubs and organizations to learn about medicine. The Minority Association of Pre-Medical Students (MAPS) and MIT Pre-Medical Society (MPS) are two good places to start. Look for other clubs at MIT or join local or national organizations.

Do an Exploratory Program

The summer and IAP are great times to do a program that includes shadowing, lectures, medical research, and other clinical experiences. Apply for these programs in late fall, early winter and spring.