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Get Involved

Student Organizations

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 many 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.

Pre-Health Events

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 for others.

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 Carle BroMenn and OSF St. Joseph Medical Centers as well as numerous other community organizations.

Examples of Bloomington-Normal community organizations; more can be found on Handshake:  

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.

Additional resources: 

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 on campus during the academic year as well as during the summer. And, many options across the country (SURF, REU, Summer Undergraduate Research Programs).

Study Abroad

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 study abroad, but one of the more popular IWU experiences with healthcare and/or research focus is Global Medical/Dental Brigades.