Applicants to health professional schools are advised to engage in meaningful extracurricular work. Participation in health-related activities (such as clinical and research internships and externships, hospital and clinic volunteering, etc.) helps students clarify their interests in the health fields. Additionally, such work indicates to admissions committees the applicants' motivation to pursue--and their ability to devote time to--such endeavors, along with their exposure to many aspects of the health-care system. Clinical and volunteer work (whether health-related or not) also demonstrates applicants' willingness to serve others, a core foundation of the health professions.
Numerous volunteer opportunities are available for students at hospitals, nursing homes, and community service organizations throughout the region and elsewhere. Two major health-care networks with affiliated medical schools are located in the Lehigh Valley (Lehigh Valley Health Network and St. Luke’s University Health Network) as well as a number of smaller health-care facilities. Lehigh's Community Service Office offers many ways to serve not only the South Bethlehem area but also the larger community. Opportunities to get involved in research and clinical activities are posted weekly on the Pre-Health Advising Course Site. Additionally, students are encouraged to connect with alums practicing in the health professions, through its extensive and committed alumni network, for informational interviews and shadowing opportunities. Each year students may apply for winter-break externships to job-shadow Lehigh alums who are health-care practitioners, a program offered through the Center for Career & Professional Development.
Lehigh's Biomedical Externship/St. Luke's Shadow Program is a three-credit course offered on a competitive basis to juniors and seniors each semester. Students spend a minimum of 60 hours per semester at St. Luke's University Hospital, shadowing physicians, residents, and medical students in four rotations, and are able to attend medical conferences, rounds, and even a night on-call.