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PreHealth Professions Extracurricular Ideas

Extracurricular activities allow you to supplement a strong academic record. Admissions committees like to see evidence of an orientation toward service, the ability to work with all kinds of people, leadership and teamwork stills, and an understanding of your chosen profession. However, activities will not substitute for poor grades, so don’t sacrifice study time.

Please remember that you are not limited to activities on these lists.  They provide just a sample of the opportunities available at the U of U and in the community. Follow your interests and passions, but also find ways to stretch yourself beyond your comfort zone.

Because you are preparing for a humanitarian profession, it is important to have volunteer learning experiences which demonstrate a commitment to service to others, and experience working with a variety of people who are different from yourself. This should be ongoing throughout your college years prior to application for admission.

Lowell Bennion Community Service Center 101 Union, 581-4811. Nationally recognized center for community engagement on campus. Includes a wide range of opportunities with projects organized by students in a variety of community outreach areas. Bennion Scholar designation can also be earned.

Other Service Opportunity Ideas

  • Animal Volunteer 
  • Camp Kostopulos
  • CFHI Health Education ProgramChild Family Health International (CFHI) runs 20+ Global Health Education Programs in 7 countries, placing students in clinics and public health facilities alongside local health professionals. CFHI's 4-16 week experiences immerse students in global health realities in Latin America, Africa, and India. CFHI is an NGO recognized by the United Nations.
    • CFHI has 20+ programs in 7 countries (Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, India, Mexico, South Africa, Uganda)
    • Have sent 8,000+ participants on their programs to date
    • CFHI offers scholarship funding for their programs
    • 50% or more of CFHI program fees go to support underserved communities abroad
    • Eligibility: Online application. Must be at least 20 years old with an interest in health or medicine. This program is NOT affiliated with the University of Utah.
  • Student PIRG InternshipStudent PIRG's mission statement says "Together, we can make things happen," and it looks as though they're making a difference. Check out their website to find out more about this dynamic group. This program is NOT affiliated with the University of Utah.
  • The Family Support CenterA local child abuse prevention organization, with numerous programs focused on strengthening families and communication. They offer parenting classes, therapy, crisis nurseries, daycare programs, and so much more. Check out the opportunities on their website where your skills might fit their needs, all to support preventing child abuse. This program is NOT affiliated with the University of Utah.
  • Junior League of Salt LakeHas various volunteer opportunities. 
  • Volunteer at LGBT Resource CenterUnion Rm 409, 801-587-7973, Please contact with your hours and the type of volunteering you would like to do. You can help in the office (we are open from 8-5 MWTHF and 8-6 on Tuesdays), Safe Zone trainings, speaking on panels, tabling, mentoring, or planning events.  Volunteers are especially needed for office hours. 
  • Volunteer w/ Agua Muisne A non-profit organization dedicated to providing rural Ecuadorian communities with sustainable and safe water solutions. Agua Muisne has been working in Ecuador researching water conditions, educating the local population about the health risks of contaminated water, and constructing water treatment systems. In the summer of 2007, we constructed our first water treatment system in the southwestern county of Muisne, which has since been providing water for 200 families a day. We are continuing to build water treatment systems in rural towns and villages where we are the sole provider of safe drinking water for thousands of people.
  • Unite For Sight 
  • The Road HomeSupport shelter for overcoming homelessness. 210 South Rio Grande Street, 801-359-4142
  • Volunteers of America511 West 200 South, Suite 160, Salt Lake, 801-363-9414 
  • Salt Lake County Aging Service(801) 468-2454. 2001S State St. #S1500. Assisting seniors with transportation, shopping, activities, etc. 
  • Planned ParenthoodAdministration 654 South 900 East., 801-532-1586
  • Utah AIDS Foundation1408 South 1100 East, 487-2323.
  • Rape Crisis Center2035 South. 1300 East., 467-7282.  Apply for training program (36-40 hours required).  Must commit 20 hours per month as volunteer.
  • Special Olympics4 Triad Center, Suite 105, 363-1111.  Help with organizing games and work with Special Olympics athletes.
  • American Lung Association1930 South 1100 East, Salt Lake City, 484-4456. Public education programs, Children's Asthma Camp.
  • American Cancer Society941 East 3300 South, 483-1500. Public education, service and rehabilitation help for cancer patients.

As a healthcare provider, you will be a leader and team member in many ways – with your patients, your staff, your colleagues, and your community. Examples includes offices held in organizations, committee work; leadership in church activities; coordinating a project; managing, training, supervising at work or in other activities; teaching experience of any kind; peer counseling or mentoring, etc.

Associated Students of the University of Utah (ASUU) More than 200 student organizations.

Also student government, student boards and councils, employment opportunities, and more.

Other Leadership Opportunity Ideas

  • Student Organizations:
    • Premedical
    • Predental
      • Predental Society (PDS), Helps establish social networks and helps pre-dental students get into dental school. Provides opportunities to provide community service. Contact email:
      • Future Women Dentists (FWD) Encourages interest in dentistry as a career among women and provide a support network. Contact email:
  • Pre-Veterinary Student ClubEmail:
  • Pre-Optometry ClubEmail:
  • Health Occupation Student of America (HOSA)U of U Chapter: Contact:
  • Prehealth organization (PrePHO) for students interested in a variety of health professions. Contact:
  • Advancement of Chicano and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) Website: sacnas.orgContact:
  • Organization of Women in ScienceScience club open to all students of University of Utah who support Women in Science and Math. Opportunities include networking, volunteering, guest lectures, and science based activities. Contact:
  • Society of Women EngineersTo stimulate women to achieve full potential in careers as engineers and leaders, expand the image of the engineering profession as a positive force in improving the quality of life, and demonstrate the value of diversity. Website: Contact:

Interacting well with patients is one of the key indicators of a successful future healthcare provider, so exposure to your intended health profession is crucial to your preparation and to your decision to pursue this career.  This experience should include observing health professionals and patient contact. Look for experiences related to the profession you wish to pursue (e.g. Medical school, dental school, pharmacy school, etc.) Your experience can be either paid or unpaid, and may or may not require certification depending on the program. Talk with an advisor about your specific interests.

Career Services

Intermountain Healthcare Job Opportunities

Other Patient Care Opportunity Ideas

Summer Camps

  • Camp Hobe Summer Camp for kids with cancer and their siblings.  MARCH 1 priority volunteer deadline for each year's camp!
  • Muscular Dystrophy Association Summer Camp Needs volunteers for MDA Summer Camp and support groups. Contact Health Care Service Coordinator: 801-278-6200.
  • Camp Wyatt Asthma Camp allows 7-12 year olds who have moderate to severe asthma to enjoy an exciting range of camping activities (under medical supervision), while learning to understand and manage their condition through educational activities.  Volunteers are always welcome!
  • Girl Scout Summer Camp Employment

International opportunities—It is important to remember that international experiences, while valuable, will not substitute for getting experience with patients in the US, and the US healthcare system.

  • International Service Learning Consider joining an International Service Learning Health Team and traveling abroad to serve the underserved while gaining valuable experience in Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama, Belize, Dominican Republic, Haiti, or Peru. We have nine-day teams open to students during your spring break. This program is NOT affiliated with the University of Utah.
  • Humanitarian Aid Relief Team Partner of the World Health Organization in the international effort against the Buruli Ulcer. Volunteer opportunities include: raising funds, gathering/organizing medical supplies, education, and research.

Observing a healthcare provider in action will help you gather the information you need to fully commit to the profession you have chosen and to learn about a variety of specialties within that profession.


There are very few formal programs for shadowing. Most students find their opportunities through networking, both with healthcare professionals where they volunteer or work, or through other preprofessional students and student groups.

  • You should begin by making an inventory of all the medical professionals you know well in your personal life. They will often be a useful resource in finding shadowing opportunities.
  • You may also consider talking to your own primary care doctor, or any specialists you see for your own care: your dentist, your vet, your optometrist, etc.  Often, these contacts may not be willing to allow you to shadow them, due to privacy or other concerns, but very often they will know another doctor who you can contact who will not have the same issues. 
  • Volunteering or working in a hospital setting (e.g. PEDS 5900 clinical shifts) is another excellent way to meet and get to know doctors. Doctors in one department will still know colleagues in a variety of specialties, and they can be very good resources in finding others to shadow.
  • Cold calling doctor's offices from the a website or the phone book is certainly the way people least like to find a doctor to shadow, but nevertheless is the way most people do find some of their doctors to shadow, particularly in the specialties. 

FIND A DO doctor: Use the AOA's link on their website to look for a DO in an area or specialty that interests you.

PCMC Shadowing ProgramShadowing opportunities for pre-medical students at the Primary Children’s Medical Center are available. Eligible students must be actively applying to medical school within the next 12 months to qualify for this program.

Research is the foundation of medical knowledge, and you will learn from and participate in research during professional school. Healthcare professionals depend on medical literature to remain current in their field during their entire career. Medical schools generally require, and most professional schools highly recommend, participation in independent, hypothesis-based research using the scientific method. (The University of Utah School of Medicine, and School of Dentistry, both require it.) Your research experience can be from many different areas – it does not have to be medically related or in a lab.

Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP)

Other Research Opportunity Ideas

Last Updated: 7/17/19