Information about professional healthcare programs - applications, testing, requirements,
etc. - continues to evolve due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Links to some of the latest
resources and updates can be found here:
If my internship or research experience was cancelled, should I include the experience
on my resume?
Please check individual program websites as well.
If you have additional questions, contact Michele Darnell, Pre-health advisor, at email@example.com. You can schedule an appointment with Michele through your Handshake account here or calling our office at 309-556-3095. Please visit
here or more information on summer opportunities, resume/
interviewing tips, and more resources. The Hart Career Center is here to assist you
as we navigate COVID-19.
at Illinois Wesleyan provides support for students who are considering a career in
Many of our students, in a variety of majors, are interested in pursuing professional
programs—medicine, dentistry, physician assistant, occupational/physical therapy and
more--after graduating from IWU. In addition to the academic advising the students
receive from our faculty, we have a dedicated pre-health advisor who can offer guidance
and resources so students can learn about a range of career paths and are knowledgeable
about creating a competitive application. Students planning to apply to professional
school after graduation seek ways to build profiles of meaningful experiences that
will enhance their chances of admission by volunteering, job shadowing and conducting internships.
This is your journey and you should take time to consider what’s important to you.
Planning for a career in healthcare will require you to make a plan and seek advice.
Think about experiences you want to pursue in college. Do you want to research or study abroad while you are in college? Have you considered how and when you will find the time
to secure the necessary experience to be a competitive applicant? We are here to help.
Make an appointment with your academic and pre-health advisors to discuss your plans.
There are many reasons one may wish to pursue a career in healthcare. For one,
healthcare occupations are projected to add more jobs than any of the other occupational
groups. This projected growth is mainly due to an aging population, leading to greater
demand for healthcare services.
But at the heart of most every decision is a strong desire to help others. Students
often begin by volunteering at one of our local hospitals or at a community clinic
or organization and are encouraged to work with different populations and age groups
to learn about themselves and to confirm that they want to dedicate their professional
lives to assisting others in this way.
A student’s resume, then, must show that the student has made an effort to experience
and to learn about their future profession. Our students are encouraged to build strong
resumes that reflect an attitude and aspiration for serving others.
Resources for healthcare careers:
Explore Health Careers
Health Care Pathways
What major should I pursue?
Pre-med (pre-dental, pre-OT, etc) is not a major but rather a track of courses to
best prepare you for the professional school of your choice. While some majors require
courses that better align with prerequisite courses for professional schools, there
is no specific major required for a career in healthcare.
Select a major that represents your interests because you are more likely to excel
in courses that interest you and your GPA will matter when you apply for professional
How well you do in your coursework is more important than your choice of major. Pre-health
professional programs are built on a strong foundation in the sciences and mathematics.
Admissions committees will strongly consider the rigor of your course selections in
addition to how well you perform in these classes. The more science and/or upper division
courses, the more competitive you will be.
Different programs may have different pre-requisites. Check out “Pre-requisites &
Program Guides” to see what classes will best prepare you for the professional program
that interests you.
Be a leader--in healthcare activities and otherwise.
Professional schools are looking for individuals who are active and engaged as well
as those who assume leadership roles. They want students who are committed to their
studies but are also involved outside of the classroom and lab. Learning to successfully
manage your time and balance a number of activities and commitments as an undergraduate
will prepare you for all the “busyness” of professional school. There are
opportunities at IWU to get involved—you may choose to join science or healthcare
clubs as well as continue with athletics, music or even try something new. Build a
collection of experiences that you enjoy in addition to acquiring leadership roles.
IWU strives to provide various opportunities to expose students to a range of healthcare
careers and practitioners. Our pre-health advisor is a staff member of the
Hart Career Center
where great efforts are made to coordinate events--panels and luncheons--and professional
school practice interviews. Students gain valuable insight by interacting with healthcare
providers. Students can benefit by conducting informational interviews and shadowing
to see firsthand what a future in healthcare looks like.
Giving back to the community and making a difference to the people around you shows that you care and have concern
And, perhaps it provides an opportunity to develop new skills or build on existing
experience and knowledge. Professional schools want to see sustained involvement in a variety of volunteer activities
(in and out of healthcare); this commitment demonstrates that you are engaged locally,
nationally and/or globally. Students interested in pursuing a career in healthcare
can secure volunteer experiences by reaching out to local hospitals, and other community
organizations. IWU has excellent relationships with
OSF St. Joseph Medical Centers
as well as numerous other community organizations.
Examples of Bloomington-Normal community organizations; more can be found on
Easter Seals Central Illinois
Special Olympics Illinois
Miracle League of Central Illinois
Illinois Heart and Lung Foundation
Job Shadowing & Internships
Shadowing healthcare professionals is a great way to determine if a particular path
might be right for you. It provides meaningful insight and allows you to observe daily
routines (and different specialties and healthcare settings) and give you good experiences
to talk about in your applications and interviews for professional school.
Many shadowing opportunities often come from your personal contacts in the healthcare
industry. Start by reaching out to your own physician(s) or contact hospitals/clinics
through the volunteer office. Our pre-health advisor can assist you in navigating
the search process to obtain a shadowing or internship opportunity or help to connect
you with practitioners. See Job Shadowing guide for tips and Code of Conduct agreement if you are seeking opportunities through
the pre-health advisor or the Hart Career Center.
Job Shadowing/Code of Conduct
Summer Health Professions Education Program
Some professional schools require a certain number of patient care or contact hours
in order to apply. Positions like CNA, EMT, medical assistant, phlebotomist, scribe,
rehabilitation aide can help you acquire those experiences and hours but may involve
prior certification so plan ahead.
Research can be a valuable component when applying to professional school but it’s
not a requirement.
Research is directly connected with critical and independent thinking, creativity
and most importantly, discovery and
you should pursue research opportunities if interested but not merely to “check a
box” for applications. There are research opportunities
during the academic year as well as during the summer. And, many options across the
Summer Undergraduate Research Programs
Studying abroad demonstrates that you have interests beyond the sciences and you are
actively pursuing those interests. It is increasingly important to improve your ability
to listen and understand those dissimilar to us.
This concept is especially crucial in the field of healthcare where practitioners
help people from all walks of life, and are likely to be working alongside team members
from a variety of backgrounds. There are a number of options for
, but some of the more popular IWU experiences with healthcare and/or research focus
Global Medical/Dental Brigades
, started in the Fall of 2019, is an IWU registered student organization (RSO) for
students who have an interest in healthcare. Students who join this group will learn
about a variety of healthcare fields through presentations from a range of career
paths. They will also interact with alums (some currently in professional programs
and others who are experienced practitioners) who are excited to serve as mentors
for students exploring careers in healthcare. Valuable components of this organization
will be peer mentoring and discussions centered around preparing for, and building,
experiences to be a successful applicant for professional school.
Schedule an appointment with the Pre-Health Advisor on
We'd love to have you join us!