For most graduate programs in the health professions, candidates must demonstrate a commitment to serving others, the ability to work in and/or lead teams, personal and professional growth, critical thinking, problem solving, and ethical decision making. You can develop these skills through engagement with co-curricular activities both within and outside of the Gonzaga University community.
The Health Professions Pathways Program has developed six core competencies that reflect the qualities that health professions programs look for in candidates and embody the values of Gonzaga’s Jesuit and humanistic tradition. We encourage students interested in pursuing a career in the health professions to focus your interests and activities toward proficiency in these competencies.
Here are some additional tips as you think about engaging in co-curricular opportunities:
- Feel free to explore your interests and seek out new opportunities as your interests change. At the same time, try to find opportunities for a sustained level of commitment; choosing to pursue a healthcare career requires extensive training, and admissions committees take note of the longevity of your experiences.
- Play to your strengths, but also seek out opportunities that challenge you or push you out of your comfort zone. Sometimes this is the best way for you to learn about yourself and develop new skills or personal qualities.
- Time management is important. Get involved in co-curricular activities and experiences while ensuring you maintain academic success. While co-curriculars are important, there is plenty of time during school after graduation to gain these experiences. It is more difficult to make up for deficiencies in academic performance.
Leadership and Club / Organization Involvement
Healthcare professionals work together to care for patients. Therefore, you should seek out opportunities to develop interpersonal skills such as teamwork, communication, reliability, and respect for others. Student Groups and Activities provides many on-campus opportunities, including but not limited to pre-health clubs and organizations. You may also have interests outside of the Gonzaga community that allow you to demonstrate leadership skills.
Although not necessary for admissions to most programs, students are strongly encouraged to engage in at least one semester of scholarly research. Research need not be related to health care or the sciences but should reflect either original individual work or contributions to a collaborative team project. For some majors, research is incorporated into the academic experience or curriculum. You can also check out opportunities at Gonzaga Science Research Program or off campus.
Participating in research allows you to gain critical thinking and problem-solving skills and demonstrate to your research advisor your ability to integrate scholarly literature, work independently or on a team, and a willingness to engage in reflective growth. Research advisors often write letters of recommendation an important part of the admissions process.
Service / Volunteer Opportunities
Healthcare is a service profession. Pre-health students, especially at Gonzaga, should demonstrate service to others and in solidarity with the poor and the vulnerable. The Center for Community Engagement is a great resource for finding volunteer opportunities that match your interests or help you gain an understanding of backgrounds and perspectives that are different than your own.
Students are highly encouraged to participate in study abroad programs if interested and it fits in with your academic plan. Global engagement can help you increase your cross-cultural competency, participate in immersive language learning, or gain knowledge of international healthcare systems. Some students choose programs that offer courses that are directly beneficial to their goals in a healthcare profession, such as the world-class anatomy course at the University of Glasgow. Visit the Center for Global Engagement for more information.
Admission committees value work experience, which can include on-campus student employment or a job in your home or the Spokane community. These experiences allow you to demonstrate resiliency and commitment. Working is a great way to develop skills such as effective and professional communication, reliability, dependability, and more.