Developing your candidacy for professional school

Upon admission to ETSU, we strongly recommend you contact the Office of MPA as soon as possible to discuss the process of preparing to apply to the professional school of your choice.

Most professional schools evaluate applicants holistically, looking not only for academic excellence, but also for community service and volunteerism, leadership, character, and strong communication and people skills. We encourage students to maintain a notebook to track all volunteer, shadowing and practical experiences, leadership opportunities, research, and extracurricular activities. 

Clinical observation and practical experience

It is never too early to start acquiring clinical experiences, whether by shadowing health care professionals in a diverse array of settings, participating in research, or gaining internship experience. Professional schools want to know that a student has spent considerable time in the field, has observed what is involved, and still has the desire to pursue the profession. Students should gain as much experience as possible without sacrificing grades.

You can start to gain experience by shadowing your own practitioner or a family friend who practices in your chosen field. Use that time to ask questions about the profession and to ask for referrals to colleagues who practice in other areas that might be of interest to you. 

Locally, Quillen College of Medicine offers a number of shadowing and internship programs to help aspiring health care professionals learn more. These programs have application processes; deadlines and application forms are available on the websites linked below.

Medical Horizons is a four-week, full-time program that allows students to participate in 4 different clinical rotations. 

Quillen COM also offers an Anatomy Internship ,which affords students hands-on experience in the gross anatomy lab. Students may participate in projects, observe dissections, and practice suturing.

Summer Internships provide students with experience in both the anatomy lab and the patient simulation labs.

The Rural Health Community Project is best suited to students who are interested in rural health careers. These projects are 6-8 week endeavors that allow students to address real health problems within a community by performing data collection, interviewing the public, preparing health education materials, and/or working in health promotion.

Volunteer experience

Professional schools are looking for candidates who express a commitment to community service and who follow through by developing a record of volunteerism throughout their undergraduate years. Seek out volunteer projects that allow you to give back to your community, especially those that focus on your chosen health field.

Extracurricular experience

Pre-professional students should demonstrate the ability to balance full academic schedules with extracurricular involvement both on and off campus. ETSU has many student organizations and the Office of MPA sponsors several of those health-related organizations. While being involved in various groups or clubs is very highly recommended, it is not enough to simply belong to an organization. To be competitive for professional programs, you must also seek leadership roles in those areas.

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