Extra-Curricular Experiences

Extracurricular Experiences

In-Person Experinces During the Pandemic

Dear UCSB Pre-Health Students, 

We understand that some of you may be confused and even frustrated due to the current lack of opportunities for in-person experiences.  Please keep in mind that pre-health students across the country are all facing similar circumstances, and also keep in mind that, while there may seem to be no end in sight, the current pandemic will eventually end.  In the meantime, there is still much to do and to learn in the coming months!  Please consider some of the suggestions below. 

  1. Keep an eye on our Health Professions Advising newsletters and monthly bulletins (scroll to the bottom of this page) for virtual opportunities, such as virtual shadowing experiences.  While certainly not the same as in-person shadowing opportunities, these virtual shadowing experiences can provide unique insights into different health profession, particularly to students who have recently begun pursuing a pre-health track.  Check our Instagram for more information!  @ucsbprehealthadvising 
  2. Learn more about your career choices by exploring the websites of professional organizations associated with your intended profession, such as AAMC.org (Medical school), ADEA (Dental school), and so on.  You can find links to these pages at the bottom of each Pre-Health Track.
  3. Begin reseaching the individual requirements at the professional schools you want or even might want to apply to later.  This is something all pre-health students should do, no matter what, but doing it earlier than normal will help you to make well-informed decisions regarding courses and experiences throughout your time at UCSB.  We've created a template to help you keep the information you find organized.  The link can be found in the middle paragraph of the Pre-Health Tracks page.
  4. Consider starting a draft of your personal statement essay.  We've added an excellent resource to help you get started, courtesy of UCSB's own Janet Mizrahi, who has taught the Writing 109HP Writing for Health Professions course at UCSB for several years.  These resources, in the form of six short vidoes, with accompanying worksheets, are located in the Application Info section, under the Personal Statements button.
  5. Consider taking UCSB elective courses that are specifically designed to enhance your understanding of healthcare, particularly in the area of cultural competencies.  Information can be found on the Current Students section of our site, in the Pre-Health Enrichment Courses sub-section.
  6. Lastly, consider reviewing information on the content, structure, and costs of entrance exams, such as the MCAT and DAT, and also begin reviewing the application guides associated your professional schools (AMCAS (MD medical schools), AADSAS (DO medical schools), PTCAS (Physical Therapy schools) and so on.  Links to websites with this information can also be found in the Additional Resources section at the bottom of each of the Pre-health Tracks.

We hope you take advantage of this time to make yourselves more knowledgeable in these various areas.  If you have questions, please email us at prehealthinfo@ltsc.ucsb.edu

Stay safe, stay healthy, and keep learning! 

UCSB Health Professions Advising Staff

Although academics are extremely important when considering a career in the health professions, it is also important to gain practical, in-person experiences. The types of experiences our pre-health students participate in are as varied as the students themselves, but some common opportunities that UCSB students take part in include becoming an active member in one of the organizations identified below, becoming an EMT, and working in clinical and non-clinical settings.  Through some of these opportunities, you can witness firsthand what your future career might involve.  It isn't enough to just participate; students should also consider the purpose of these activities in terms of how they are meant to shape them into well-rounded, competitive applicants.  To help students better undersand what they should be gaining from these experiences and how participation in these activities are viewed by professional schools, we encourage students to review the AAMC's Anatomy of an Applicant Guide.  This guide is especially useful for helping students determine how they have demonstrated the AAMC's Core Competencies for Entering Medical Students, which are applicable across all health professions.

Virtual Experiences During COVID-19

Many students are struggling to find extracurricular experiences during COVID-19. Please consider the ideas above for other activities to partake in during this time. If you are interested in virtual opportunities, or alternative experiences, some resources include:

NAAHP's Summary of Ideas

The Red Cross

Virtual Shadowing:

  1. U Colorado School of Medicine: email breanna.mckercher@cuanschutz.edu
  2. Webshadowers
  3. Prehealthshadowing.comhttps://www.prehealthshadowing.com/


Shadowing healthcare professionals as a means to gaining intial experience into a particular health profession is becoming increasingly more and more difficult to obtain.  Much of this has to do with laws and policies that are in place to protect both patients and healthcare facilities.  While shadowing opportunities are very valuable and not impossible to obtain, we encourage students who are newly considering careers in healthcare to first seek out opportunities to volunteer in various healthcare settings.  These initial experiences may help pre-health students to decide whether or not a career in healthcare is actually the best fit for them, which, when realized early on in one’s undergraduate career, can save a great deal of time and anxiety.  Additionally, volunteering in a healthcare setting may also help students to develop meaningful connections with staff and professionals, which in turn could make obtaining a shadowing opportunity a reality.

The first link below provides some deeper insights into clinical volunteer opportunities, shadowing, and even employment opportunities that might be helpful while you plan out your potential involvements.  The second link describes what you may expect and what you should seek to gain from your shadowing experiences.  Please feel free to download and print this document for your own personal reference.

Click here for more information on clincial volunteering, shadowing, and employment.

Getting the Most out of the Shadowing Experience 

Clinical Experiences (Direct Patient Contact)

Clinical experiences are crucial to becoming a well-rounded, competitive applicant to any professional school program.

During these experiences, you will begin to gain a practical understanding of what it means to work in healthcare and, more importantly, gain vital experiences interacting with patients from a variety of backgrounds.  The information below can be used to help you begin to consider which clinical opportunities might be best for you.

Job Postings and Employment sites such as Indeed.com and monster.com might be good resources to help you determine the employment needs of local hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare facilities.  Consider using this information to help you determine which, if any, training program might be best for you. Chek out the Tips for Seeking Shadowing and Clinical Experiences document before reaching out to providers and businesses for shadowing and clinical opportunities.

Medical (PA, DO, MD)



Physical Therapy




Important information regarding taking part in International Clinical Experiences!

Volunteering & Community Service

Involvement on and off campus is a great way to demonstrate commitment to serving others, but more importantly, working with people whose backgrounds differ from your own helps make you more aware of the very diverse needs of our population and your future patients.  Consider both medical and non-medical volunteer and community service opportunities. 

Explore Volunteer & Community Service Opportunities 


Participating in undergraduate research can be an excellent way to develop thinking, reasoning, and science competenceis, all of which are imporatnt for healthcare professionals.  Some programs, such as combined MD/PhD programs, will even require applicants to have undergradaute research experience.  At UCSB our students have ample opportunities to get involved in ground-breaking research that students at other universities do not. The type of research can vary depending on the interest of the student.

Undergraduate Research and Creative Activies (URCA) Grant. To learn more about URCA, Click Here

Faculty Research Assistance Program (FRAP).  To learn more about FRAP, Click Here

If you are interested in seeking further research or clinical experiences during a gap year(s), consider seeking employment and volunteer opportunities at medical and research institutions, such as Stanford Medicine. Standford and other insitutions are often seeking to fill much-needed positions in their labs and clinics and may make excellent opportunities to continue to develop yourself as an applicant.

Santa Barbara-Area Clinical Employment Opportunities

Note:  Some positions may no longer be available. If you are an employer, supervisor, or contact person for one of the positions listed below, or if you would like to advertise a position that would be of interest to UCSB pre-health students, please send an email to prehealthinfo@ltsc.ucsb.edu.  

ENT Associates of Santa Barbara is looking for a full-time Medical Assistant Click Here

Santa Barbara Cottage Scribe Hiring Announcement Click Here

Senior Helpers of Santa Barbara Click Here

Health & Wellness: Marketing & Communication Internship Leader position for 2021-2022 academic year Click Here