5 - 7 Ways Your Pre-Health Student Can Use Their Winter Break

Jessica Bowers – December 7th, 2016

If your student is preparing for a future career in clinical health professions, you can expect they just completed an intense semester of coursework and extracurricular commitments. They are finally in the home stretch and will need the next month to rest and rejuvenate! If you are wondering how you might encourage them to maximize their time during winter break, here are several suggestions to consider:

Begin seeking summer plans

Exposure to valuable experiences in the field of healthcare is important to demonstrate to admissions committees. They want to see applicants who explored their chosen health profession and know why it is the right fit for them. It's not too early to seek out and apply for summer positions or programs - some of which have application deadlines in February - March. Encourage your student to begin by using this resource as a guide for their search!

Read for fun.

Your student undoubtedly completed pages upon pages of required reading all semester long, so break is a great time to read something just for them. It doesn't have to be related to healthcare! But if they're looking for book recommendations for aspiring healthcare professionals, check out our book list. We'd love for them to seek out other recommendations too and share about what they're reading on social media with #prehealthoosread.

Reflect

Reflect on why they are pursuing a career in the health professions. One question that will be essential to answer when writing a future personal statement or interviewing is "why X health profession?" It is important to have an response that is specific and personal. If their initial answer is "I like science and helping people," we encourage them to dig deeper into their experiences and reflect on more specific reasons why they are motivated to pursue this path. Perhaps encourage your student to keep a journal or written document about their experiences, expressing what has been meaningful and significant about them.

Volunteer

There are many opportunities to get involved in the community, especially around the holidays, such as volunteering at a food bank or sorting donations. Your student does not necessarily have to look solely for health-related opportunities to find a valuable and meaningful experience!

Relax and recharge

Take a step back and take a break from pre-health related activities. Encourage your student to sleep in, spend time with family and friends, catch up on a TV show, or anything else that will help them start the New Year and new semester strong and motivated. Finding a balance is an essential skill that will help them be successful in the short-term for their undergraduate academic career, as well as in the future as a healthcare professional.

Start on the Application Process

If your student is preparing to enter the 2017-18 application cycle for a health professional program, they may also find winter break a great time to get started on a few aspects of the application process:

Personal Statement

Brainstorm topics and formulate a draft personal statement. Formulation of a personal statement requires a lot of reflection, so hopefully the down time over winter break will offer your student the head space they need to get started. Here are some tips to help them begin! 

Understand the Process

The application process for each health profession is a time-consuming endeavor. It's helpful to become familiar with application components before they open in the summer. Encourage your student to explore the Application Process section of the Pre-Health website for their health profession of choice. Pre-Health Advisors will also hold Application Meetings for each health profession in late January, so encourage your student to keep their eye out for specific dates and times on their Handshake account calendar!