Internships and Job Shadowing

Register for two important Wellesley networks: MyCWS and the W Network.

The former provides information about and links to resources and opportunities, and the latter, sponsored by the Alumnae Office, to people. As a Wellesley student, these sites offer a wealth of opportunities. It is one of the great benefits of being a Wellesley student. Within the W Network is the Wellesley Women in Medicine Group, which includes alumnae from all areas of the health professions. One of their goals is mentoring undergraduates, so be sure to join.

It is helpful to explore the field you are interested in through an internship, term-time work, volunteering, summer jobs, or extracurricular activities. Not only do such experiences help you gain insight into the nature of various occupations and develop specific interests, but they also provide the opportunity for you to test your own strengths and weaknesses. These experiences add credibility to your application, and their absence can lead schools to question whether you really understand the nature of the profession you are planning to join.

In addition to direct experience, you should shadow professionals in your field. Some professions have specific requirements. For example, some osteopathic medical schools require a letter from an osteopathic physician you have shadowed. Dental schools require shadowing and pre-veterinary applicants must have experience in order to apply. Some schools stipulate how many hours they require. Check out the web sites of the individual schools for more details. Even if you have grown up in a family with a doctor/dentist/vet you need to find out about the profession through experience in the field and by shadowing and talking with professionals.

Remember that shadowing does not replace experiences that bring you in direct contact with patients. The Center for Work and Service offers competitive stipends for summer internships and opportunities. There are places you can volunteer during the academic year also. Check the CWS website and make an appointment to speak with someone. Look at the Tanner Conference programs (they are available online) to get ideas about what other people have done. Even if you have a lot of research experience, you need patient contact. The schools understand volunteering in a medical setting provides you with limited experience and you are not going to perform surgery. But patient contact is important because you get an idea of what it is like to work with sick people (or animals, for vets). You get an understanding about the life of the professional you want to become. You should do it for yourself, not just to enhance your application. If you find that you do not want to step foot in a clinical setting, you should reconsider your career choice.