It is in applicants' best interests to gain experience in their desired health profession. By being involved in extracurricular opportunities, applicants will be able to ensure that their chosen career is their best fit. Also, some schools require a large amount of specific types of activities such as shadowing or hands-on, patient contact experience.

It is also highly encouraged by professional schools to have passions outside of one's health field(s) of interest to be a well-rounded candidate! To connect interests to one's chosen field, applicants are encouraged to consider ways in which they can utilize their specific skills in their chosen profession. For example, an applicant's passion for playing the piano can also impact patient care by analyzing the influence of music on patient care and recovery.

Experience Log

The main purpose of an experience log is to help applicants complete their professional school applications. It is a record of applicants' experiences that are required by health profession application services (e.g. AMCAS for medicine, PharmCAS for pharmacy, etc.).

General Experience Log Template

Field-Specific Templates

Field Template Link
Dentistry AADSAS Achievement / Experience / License Log
Medicine (Allopathic) AMCAS Experience Log
Medicine (Osteopathic) AACOMAS Experience Log
Nursing NursingCAS Achievement / Experience / License Log
Occupational Therapy OTCAS Achievement / Experience / Observation / License Log
Optometry OptomCAS Achievement/Experience Log
Pharmacy PharmCAS Achievement / Experience / License Log
Physical Therapy PTCAS Achievement / Experience / Observation / License Log
Physician Assistant CASPA Achievement / Experience / License Log

Personal Development

It is not enough for admissions committees to see that completed experiences. Applicants also need to share what they gave and got out of the experiences.

Gave = What and how did you contribute to the organization and/or the people through the organization? How did you make an impact?

Got = What did you get out of the experience? What skills did you gain or establish? What knowledge did you gain?

Admission committees seek applicants who demonstrate certain qualities that will make them strong practitioners, such as empathy, compassion, a commitment to public service, high ethical and moral standards, a conscientious work ethic, and maturity. These qualities should be demonstrated through the previous experiences mentioned. If this is not the case, find other experiences from which you can grow.

Applicants should ask themselves why are they doing this activity. Admissions committees can differentiate between checking off a list and doing something applicants are passionate about.

Credit: Dr. John Barclay & Alana Olswing from INGenius Prep from the Cornell University Webinar

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