What You Need to Know About Pre-Med Internships

August 11, 2023
6 min read


Reviewed by:

Akhil Katakam

Third-Year Medical Student, Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University

Reviewed: 8/8/23

Pre-med internships provide students with valuable hands-on experience and exposure to the medical field. This guide will explore the benefits of internships for pre med students

So, you're a pre-med student, passionate about pursuing a career in medicine. You've aced your coursework, shadowed doctors, and volunteered at healthcare facilities

But you know there's more to becoming a successful healthcare professional than just studying the textbooks. That's where pre-med internships come into play. A pre-med internship is an immersive experience that takes you into the real world of medicine. 

It's like a backstage pass to the medical field, giving you a front-row seat to witness the day-to-day realities of patient care. These internships provide hands-on experience that sets you apart from the competition and prepares you for the rigors of medical school. There are a slew of benefits to experiencing a pre-med internship. Let’s get into them. 

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Benefits of Pre-Med Internships

Pre-med internships bring a range of benefits to the table for aspiring medical professionals. They offer experiences that go beyond the confines of the classroom and textbooks, among other great benefits. Keep reading for more insights. 

Exposure to the Medical World

These internships offer an immersive experience where you can observe doctors and nurses in action, witnessing firsthand the challenges and rewards of patient care. It's like having a backstage pass to the medical world, allowing you to gain a deeper understanding of the field.

Hands-On Experience

Internships for pre-med students go beyond observation; they provide valuable hands-on experience.You may find yourself taking vital signs, assisting with procedures, or interacting with patients. These practical skills are crucial for developing your clinical expertise and learning how to deliver exceptional care.

Networking Opportunities

Engaging in internships allows you to connect with professionals in the healthcare industry. You'll have the chance to meet doctors, researchers, and other healthcare professionals who can offer guidance, advice, and potentially open doors for future opportunities. Building these connections can be a game-changer for your medical career.

Explore Different Specialties

One of the advantages of pre-med internships is the opportunity to explore various medical specialties. You may rotate through different departments, such as pediatrics, surgery, or emergency medicine, allowing you to discover which area of medicine resonates with you the most. It's like trying on different hats to find the perfect fit.

Improve Your Medical School Application

Participating in internships for pre-med students sets your medical school application apart. Admissions committees highly value practical experience, as it demonstrates your commitment, passion, and readiness for the challenges of medical school. By gaining hands-on experience, you showcase your dedication and potential to excel in the medical field.

Pre-med internships offer a range of benefits. By taking advantage of these opportunities, you'll be one step closer to realizing your dream career in medicine.

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Types of Internships for Pre-Med Students

There are plenty of internships for pre-med students out there that provide hands-on experience and a chance to explore the medical field. So, if you’re wondering, “what are good internships for pre med students?” keep reading. 

Clinical Internships

Clinical internships take place in healthcare settings such as hospitals, clinics, or private practices. They provide hands-on experience and allow pre-med students to observe and assist healthcare professionals. 

One clinical internship example for pre-med students is shadowing an oncologist at a cancer center. You can observe patient consultations, treatment planning, and chemotherapy administration, gaining valuable insights into comprehensive cancer care.

By closely observing the work of oncologists, you can gain insights into the diagnosis and management of various types of cancer. This experience allows you to witness the challenges and triumphs of providing care to cancer patients and deepens your understanding of oncology as a medical specialty.

Research Internships

Research internships focus on medical research and provide pre-med students with the chance to work alongside professors or researchers on scientific projects. These internships involve tasks such as data analysis, literature review, and laboratory work. 

One example of a research internship for pre-med students is joining a laboratory focused on cancer research. In this internship, you would have the opportunity to work with a team of researchers conducting studies on cancer treatments. 

Your responsibilities may include assisting with data collection, conducting experiments, analyzing research findings, and contributing to scientific publications. This experience exposes you to the research process, enhances your critical thinking skills, and allows you to contribute to the ongoing efforts to advance cancer treatment options.

Public Health Internships

Public health internships occur in government agencies, nonprofit organizations, or community health centers. These internships focus on improving population health, implementing health education programs, or conducting community outreach initiatives.

An example of a public health internship for pre-med students is collaborating with a local health department on a community outreach program. In this internship, you may participate in initiatives aimed at raising awareness about preventive measures for infectious diseases, such as vaccination campaigns or educational events. 

You might also assist in data collection and analysis to assess the effectiveness of public health interventions. This experience provides a broader perspective on healthcare, emphasizing the importance of prevention, community health, and the social determinants of health.

Specialty-Specific Internships

Some internships cater to specific medical specialties, allowing pre-med students to gain focused exposure to a particular area of medicine. 

One option for a specialty-specific internship for pre-med students is to intern at a pediatric hospital. This opportunity allows you to work closely with pediatricians and healthcare professionals who specialize in caring for children. 

During the internship, you would assist in pediatric examinations, observe procedures specific to pediatrics, and gain valuable knowledge about child development and specialized pediatric care. This internship experience provides a focused understanding of the unique aspects of healthcare for young patients.

Overall, these different types of internships provide valuable experiences for pre-med students. They offer opportunities to gain hands-on experience, observe healthcare professionals in action, contribute to research, engage in public health initiatives, and explore various medical specialties. 

Participating in these internships not only enhances understanding and skills but also strengthens a pre-med student's medical school application by demonstrating their commitment and readiness for the challenges of medical education.

How to Get a Pre-Med Internship

Getting a pre-med internship requires a proactive and strategic approach. Here are some steps to help you secure a valuable internship in the medical field. 

Do Your Research 

Start by researching and exploring different internship opportunities. Look for hospitals, clinics, research institutions, and public health organizations that offer pre-med internships. Check their websites, reach out to contacts in the medical field, and consult with your academic advisors or career services to discover potential internship options.

Tailor Your Resume and Cover Letter

Customize your pre-med resume and cover letter to highlight relevant experiences, coursework, and skills that demonstrate your passion for medicine. Emphasize any previous healthcare-related experiences, research projects, volunteer work, or leadership roles that make you a strong candidate for the internship.

Network, Network, Network 

Networking plays a crucial role in finding internships. Attend career fairs, medical conferences, or local events where you can meet professionals in the field. 

Connect with alumni, faculty members, or mentors who may have connections to internships or can provide recommendations. Networking helps you tap into hidden opportunities and increases your chances of finding the right internship.

Turn to Online Resources

Use online platforms and resources specifically designed for finding internships. Websites like LinkedIn, Indeed, or specific internship directories can provide a wide range of opportunities. Set up job alerts and regularly check for new internship postings to stay updated.

Apply Early and Be Persistent

Pre-med internships positions can be competitive, so it's important to apply early and stay persistent. Keep track of application deadlines and submit your materials well in advance. Follow up with the organizations to express your continued interest and inquire about the status of your application.

Prepare for Interviews

If you're selected for a medical school interview, be prepared to showcase your enthusiasm, motivation, and knowledge about the organization and the medical field. Research common interview questions, practice your responses, and highlight your relevant experiences and skills.

Consider Volunteer or Research Opportunities

If securing a formal internship proves challenging, consider alternative options like volunteering at healthcare facilities or seeking research opportunities. These experiences can still provide valuable exposure and enhance your understanding of the medical field.

Remember, persistence, networking, and tailored applications are key when it comes to getting a pre-med internship. By following these steps and actively seeking out opportunities, you can increase your chances of securing an internship that aligns with your goals and sets you on the path to a successful medical career.

FAQs: Internships for Pre-Med Students

Curious about internships for pre-med students? Look no further! In this section, we'll answer some commonly asked questions. 

1. Are Internships Important for Pre-Meds?

Pre-med internships  are incredibly important for pre-med students. They offer practical experience, allow for exploration of different medical specialties, provide networking opportunities, and strengthen medical school applications. 

By gaining hands-on experience, pre-med students can develop a range of skills. They can build clinical skills, and demonstrate their dedication and readiness for medical education. Internships are also a great way to build motivation as a pre-med

2. What Should I Do in the Summer as a Pre-Med?

As a pre-med student, there are several productive activities you can pursue during the summer

Consider participating in pre-med internships, volunteering at healthcare facilities, taking additional coursework, or preparing for standardized tests like the MCAT. You can also consider participating in pre-med programs and research opportunities. These activities will help you make the most of your time by enhancing your medical school application, and further your understanding of the medical field.

3. Is It Hard to Find a Pre-Med Internship?

Securing pre-med internship can be competitive, but with effort and careful planning, it's possible to find one that aligns with your goals.

Final Thoughts

Pre-med internships are a key part of your journey to becoming a healthcare professional. They offer hands-on experience, expose you to the medical world, and provide networking opportunities. 

By actively pursuing these internships, you demonstrate your dedication and enhance your medical school application. So, make the most of these experiences, choose internships that align with your interests, and let them shape your path towards a successful career in medicine.

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