Summer Activities for Juniors Interested in Healthcare

Summer is a great time to get ahead in the college application game. While your competition is busy binge-watching Grey’s Anatomy, we recommend kicking it into high gear and setting yourself to pursue health care in college. There are a number of different ways you can impress the admissions committee, from taking a great internship to spending the summer in a serious college course. Whatever you choose, make sure you challenge yourself and make sure you get specific. There will be hundreds, perhaps even thousands of other applicants who want to pursue careers in healthcare. In order to set yourself apart, you should spend the remainder of your high school career developing yourself as the best within a niche within healthcare. In other words, market yourself as the kid who is going to be the best nurse in the pediatric ICU, the top doctor in medical bionics, or even a successful healthcare marketing professional.

Take a College Course

Luckily for you, there is no shortage of college courses for students interested in healthcare. From Harvard to Johns Hopkins, most of the nation’s top medical programs offer summer courses for high schoolers. You just have to zero in on a focus.

Stanford offers a myriad of courses between two and eight weeks long. Hands-on programs include a cardiovascular surgery internship, courses within the anesthesia summer institute, clinical internships, and lecture series on research. Penn offers a four-week residential programs at the esteemed Perelman School of Medicine. Students will learn the basics of medical training, from suturing to drawing blood and get the chance to observe live surgery.

While college courses can be expensive, kids from low-income backgrounds should not be discouraged from applying. Initiatives like Stanford’s Medical Youth Science Program offer fully-funded courses for kids from low-income and underrepresented minority backgrounds.

A note: Taking a course at a university does not curry favor with that specific university. While it will look good on your application overall, Yale just needs to fill its dorms this summer. They don’t care that you took their course of Penn’s course. 


Interning is one of the best ways you could spend your summer. Start by identifying your niche. Then, make a list of the top companies doing the specific area of work you think you would like to do one day. Just because a company doesn’t offer a structured internship, doesn’t mean you can’t pitch your own. Whether it’s the CDC or MD Anderson, you can always make inroads at leading companies with the right strategy. We have helped plenty of our students secure internships at prestigious organizations.

Other organizations do offer internships for high schoolers. The Arthritis Foundation places aspiring scientists interested in rheumatology in labs at both Stanford and UC San Francisco. Similarly, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke offers internships to high schoolers interested in Neurological Science. 


Research is another great way to spend your summer. Luckily, there are a plethora of structured research programs available for ambitious high schoolers. The Stanford Institutes of Medicine offers an eight-week program specifically for high schoolers from diverse backgrounds. UC Santa Barbara has a six-week research program in which students are paired up with a research mentor.  Similar to our recommendations for finding an internship, we advise our students not to wait for a structured research program, but rather, to identify the scientists and professors doing cutting-edge research in your area of interest and reaching out. Who knows? You might even get published.

Need help securing a prestigious internship this summer? Call us. We’ve helped our students secure internships at some of the nation’s top companies.