Clinical Experience (Not Just Shadowing)

While shadowing is an important aspect in your preparing for a health professional career, it is important to understand the difference between shadowing and clinical experiences.  Through shadowing you will be able to observe the role of the physician (or health profession of interest) but will be limited in the ability to interact directly with patients and other health professionals.  Ideally, having a balance of both shadowing and clinical experience will provide you with the information and the experience to be a competitive applicant.

  • To learn more about shadowing and how to find opportunities see what the AAMC recommends.
  • Review and share this document with doctors you plan to shadow

Gaining meaningful experience will clearly impact your application by your ability to reflect and describe your experiences in different phases of your application included but not limited to the personals statement, secondary/supplemental applications, and ultimately in the interview.  Medical schools and all health professional programs are interest in knowing

  • How did you test your decision to pursue your career of choice?
  • How did you confirm that a specific profession (e.g. MD, PA, OT, etc.) is the best match for you?
  • What experiences will you be able to highlight to give as examples of understanding what it take to work with patients on a day to day basis?

Many medical schools will be evaluating your clinical experience by the length and time of commitment, the depth of the experience, and the lessons you learned from them.  It is strongly recommended that you have at least a minimum of one solid year of clinical experience prior to submitting your application to medical school (other health professions may have more extensive clinical hour requirements) and that you will be continuing that work throughout the application process until matriculation to their program.  See our Clinical Opportunities handout on the Office of Pre-Health Piazza site.

Advice from the Association of American Medical Colleges  

Other Unique opportunities at Georgia Tech: