Exciting Summer Opportunities to Learn about the Medical Profession and Being a Doctor
Introduction – Summer Medical Programs
A career in the medical field can be rewarding, as it provides the opportunity to help and assistance to people. Doctors play an important role in our society and there is a need for effective practitioners. As high school students begin the process of considering career paths, they may want to find out about becoming a doctor. A medical summer program is one way that high school students can learn about the training and responsibilities of a physician. This article focuses on programs that help students learn about the process involved with becoming a doctor and get a better sense of what it is like to work in the medical field. There are descriptions of 10-plus medical summer programs included below.
Learning about Medical School and Becoming a Doctor
Many summer medical programs provide students with information about the educational pathway that can lead to entering the medical field as a doctor. Students may learn about academic courses that are valuable for aspiring physicians, the structure of medical school, and career options in the field.
Some programs provide high school students with the opportunity to interact with current medical students and/or professors so that they can ask questions and learn more about medical school. Structured summer programs also give students the chance to gain develop their understanding with regard to the different specialization areas for doctors such as gastroenterology, neurology, ophthalmology, radiology, and more.
Through summer medical programs students can begin to get a feel for what it is like to be a doctor. For example, during a structured summer program students may find themselves interacting with current doctors, discussing topics with medical school professors, visiting medical facilities, and engaging simulated exercises that allow them to get a feel for the responsibilities of a doctor.
In addition to medical programs, high school students can consider summer opportunities in areas that relate to the healthcare field or that can be useful in preparing to study medicine. More information about summer programs that focus on subjects related to the medical field can be found on the following pages:
- Interesting summer programs for students who would like to learn more about the field of pharmacy.
- Summer options that enable students to gain experience with STEM topics (science, tech, engineering, and math).
- Engaging psychology summer experiences for high schoolers.
- Unique summer programs that provide the chance for students to examine math at an in-depth level.
Sponsoring Colleges and Organizations for Medical Summer Programs
Summer programs that focus on the medical field are typically sponsored and coordinated by colleges and educational organizations. Recently, there has been an increase in the number of summer experiences that enable high school students to learn about medicine. This may be due to the ongoing need for qualified professionals and the number of high school students with an interest in learning more about becoming a doctor.
Many of the summer medical programs are also considered to be pre-college experiences because they take place on a college campus, give students a preview of the academic expectations in a higher education setting, and/or help students with career planning. Additionally, some pre-programs give high school students the chance to stay on a college campus while they are participating in the program. As a result, students can stay in university dorms, eat in campus dining halls, and get a sense of life in a college setting.
There are several colleges that host low-cost summer programs with a focus on medicine. These include Stanford’s Medical Research Program and SMASH Med Program, Stephen F. Austin University’s Pre-Med Summer Camp, and Arizona State University’s Health Institute. More information about these programs is included on the low-cost summer programs page of this directory.
Learning about Becoming a Doctor Outside of a Structured Summer Program
If it is not feasible for a high school student to attend a structured summer program, there are other beneficial options that can used to learn more about becoming a doctor. It can be a helpful exercise for students to shadow doctors to learn more about the types of occupational tasks that they engage in regularly. Some hospitals or medical facilities have opportunities for high school students to shadow physicians.
Students can also consider asking a primary care physician about shadowing or they can inquire in the guidance office at their school for potential opportunities. It can also be useful for a high school student to ask if they can interview or have a conservation with a doctor to learn about the profession. This can be particularly helpful if students prepare in advance by writing out questions about topics such as recommended academic coursework, the medical school experience, and career options with a medical degree.
Information about Summer Programs in this Article
This article contains information about 10-plus summer medical programs. These summer opportunities are examples of the types of summer opportunities that are offered to high school students who have an interest in learning about becoming a doctor.
The examples of opportunities included in this article are not meant to constitute a comprehensive list of programs. Instead, they are intended to provide a sample of programs that high school students can consider in order to learn about being a doctor and working in the medical field.
Summer Programs for High School Students with an Interest in Medicine
The University of Connecticut Medical Summer Pre-College Program
U Conn has an extensive pre-college program that is offered during the summer. One of the pre-college options for high school students is a medical program that involves learning about the field of medicine and working as a doctor. This program enables students to engage in a variety of learning activities to enhance their understanding of the medical field.
During this week-long summer experience, students have the opportunity to visit the University of Connecticut hospital, learn from doctors in different medical specialties, and find out about the way that the university integrates academics, research, and clinical practice in medicine. Students participate in interesting exercises to facilitate their learning. For example, students learn how to perform tasks that are conducted during a medical examination (e.g. using a stethoscope, determining pulse rate).
Students also gain experience with resources that are utilized by pre-med and medical students. For example, under the guidance of an instructor, students take part in medical lab-based activities with cutting edge technology. This serves to enhance their understanding of important concepts. Additionally, participants have the opportunity to engage in simulations, which allows them to learn about medical practices through hands-on activities.
The summer medical program focuses on academic learning, but it can also provide students with a comprehensive pre-college opportunity. Participants can stay in undergraduate dorms, have meals in dining halls, and explore the university’s campus. These experiences can help students learn about living and learning in a college environment and get an idea of the type of post-secondary opportunity that they may want to pursue.
Participants: The program is intended for rising high school tenth, eleventh, and twelfth-grade high school students. There is an application for the program.
Learn More: U Conn Summer Medical Program
Boston University Summer Program – Introduction to Medicine
BU offers a variety of summer academic opportunities for high school students. One of the programs held at the university focuses on providing upper grade-level high school students with information about pursuing a career in the medical field. Participants learn about a variety of topics pertaining to medical school, the training involved with becoming a doctor and working in the medical field.
The three-week summer program balances classroom-based learning with experiential exercises. Students discuss topics related to physiology, medical conditions, and current issues in the field of medicine. Students also participate in simulated activities that give them a sense of what it is like to be in medical school. The simulated activities provide the chance to gain experience with tasks that doctors perform such as taking a pulse, determining blood pressure, using a stethoscope, and more.
Participants also work cooperatively in small groups to engage in medically-based laboratory work that addresses some of the tasks that are done in medical school. Additionally, students have the chance to hear about different areas that doctors can opt to specialize in.
One of the features of the program is the opportunity that high school students have to interact with current medical students as well as medical instructors. These interactions serve to help students gain an understanding of medical school, the types of courses that can be taken to prepare for medical school, and activities that can be useful leading up to medical school.
The medical program is a pre-college experience. High school students can stay in dormitories at the university, get to know the campus, and become more familiar with college life. There are also opportunities for students to participate in recreational activities and visit sites in the Boston area.
Participants: The program is intended for high school students who will be going into the eleventh or the twelfth grade. There is an application for the program.
Learn more: BU’s Summer Medical Program
Columbia University Summer Immersion Program: Medicine as a Career
As a part of the Summer Immersion Program, Columbia offers a track that is designed to help high school students learn about a career in the medical field. This track involves a medical course that enables students to explore the medical profession, learn about becoming a doctor, and gain insight into the way that practicing physicians make decisions. It also provides participants with the opportunity to learn about the training, knowledge, skills, and responsibilities that are needed to serve as a doctor in the medical profession.
During the week-long course, students participate in diverse activities to help them gain insight into what it is like to be a physician. Students engage in lively discussions, learn from current practitioners, and take part in experiential learning exercises. The course enables participants to enhance their knowledge of the medical field and begin to get a sense of the types of skills that are utilized by doctors.
One of the features of the summer course is the variety of topics that are covered. Topics have included areas such as anatomy, medical ethics, decision-making, current issues in the medical field, and more. Additionally, participants learn about the preparation for medical school, the way that medical school is structured, and the steps that are taken to become a practicing doctor.
The summer medical course enables high school students to gain experience with learning in a college environment. Students can also explore the campus and participate in co-curricular activities.
Participants: The program is intended for students who will be going into the ninth, tenth, eleventh, and twelfth grades. There is an application for the program.
Learn more: Columbia’s Careers in Medicine Summer Course
Johns Hopkins Pre-College Summer Institute: Medical Programs
Johns Hopkins offers several pre-college options for high school students. The Summer Institute at the university offers one-week programs that enable students to focus on a topic of interest and learn at an in-depth level. Several of the summer institutes include topics related to the medical field. There is an institute that focuses on sports health and an interdisciplinary institute that examines medicine and the body through narrative mysteries. The institute that may be particularly useful for students with an interest in becoming a doctor is called Medical Exploration. This is the institute that will be the focus of the description below.
The medical exploration program is designed to help high school students learn about the field of medicine, medical school, careers in the medical field, and more. This institute may be useful for high school students who would like to learn more about pursuing a career as a doctor. This week-long program allows students to examine historical and current issues in the field of medicine and different approaches that can be utilized to address medical care.
Program participants engage in diverse learning experiences including active discussions, trips to medical facilities, and interactions with clinicians, and more. Students learn about medical practices such as using stitches, applying casts, reducing bleeding from wounds, and more. Students also learn about the way that medical school is structured and recommended activities that can be done prior to applying to med school.
One feature of the summer medical exploration institute is the balance between obtaining information about the medical field and engaging in hands-on exercises to get a feel for the types of skills that are employed by doctors. The institute is structured in a way that enables students to learn information from instructors and guest speakers and then reinforce the learning through simulations that involve practical medical tasks.
The summer institute provides high school students with a pre-college experience that goes beyond academic learning. Participating students can get a feel for a university campus, reside in dormitories, and preview college life.
Participants: The program intended for high school students who will be between the ages of fifteen and seventeen by the start of the program. There is an application for the program.
Learn more: Johns Hopkins Summer Institute – Medical Tracks
University of Southern California (USC) Summer Future Physicians Course
USC offers a wide range of academic course options within its summer program for high school students. Participating students can focus on a particular area of interest and one of the options is a course that focuses on becoming a doctor. The course is designed for upper grade-level high school students and the curriculum designed to give students an understanding of what it is like to practice medicine as a physician.
One of the features of the four-week summer course involves students participating in interesting learning activities to become more familiar with the roles that doctors play in the medical field. Students take part in exercises such as shadowing physicians at a hospital in the Los Angeles area, engaging in interesting discussions about issues and scenarios pertaining to the medical field, and listening to current doctors who share information about practicing medicine as well as the specialization areas in the medical profession.
The program’s activities and discussions help students learn about the work that doctors do, the responsibilities associated with caring for others, and the impact that medical professionals can make.
While the course concentrates on helping students learn about a career as a doctor, there is also information shared about the training pathways that lead to becoming a medical professional. Participants gain insight into what medical school is like by interacting with doctors and hearing from current pre-medical and medical students at the university. The information that is shared by doctors and current students can be very useful for high school students with an interest in finding out about the steps that are taken to become a practicing doctor.
Students can participate in the summer medical program as a residential student or as a commuter student. Residential students have a chance to become familiar with campus living, college life, and the facilities and resources at USC. Commuter students from the local area can participate in the academic experiences as well as the extracurricular activities that occur in the evenings. Both options allow students to gain valuable experience being on a college campus.
Participants: The medical summer opportunity is intended for high school students who will be age seventeen or older before beginning the program. There is an application for the program.
Learn more: USC Summer Program: Course for Future Doctors
Georgetown University Medical Summer Program
Georgetown offers a summer academy for high school students with an interest in the medical field. The summer program provides a solid foundation of knowledge that for students, who would like to learn about the education and training involved with becoming a doctor and the career opportunities in the medical field
Through the one-week summer program, students have the chance to explore a variety of topics and participate in a range of activities relating to the medical field. The topics include areas such as physiology, disease, ethical decisions in medicine, contemporary medical issues, different specialties within the medical field and more.
The utilization of resources at Georgetown serves to help students extend their knowledge about becoming a physician and working in the medical field. The activities in the program provide students with a unique opportunity to get an up-close view of what doctors regularly do. There are visits to the Georgetown University Medical Center to see doctors and other medical professionals in action.
Students have the chance to engage in exercises that are employed to train doctors such as participating in lab work and using a patient simulator. Students also gain experience with performing initial medical exam tasks such as recording a pulse rate, taking blood pressure, and checking vitals.
High school students who participate in the summer medical program at Georgetown can also get a preview of college life. Students can stay in residence halls, learn about the campus, utilize the university’s facilities, and get a feel for living in a college environment.
Participants: The summer medical academy is intended for rising high school tenth, eleventh, and twelfth graders. There is an application for the program.
Learn more: Georgetown’s Medical Academy
Tufts University Mini-Medical School Summer Program
Tufts offers a summer program that provides the opportunity for high school students to learn about becoming a doctor. Participating students have the chance to take part in a range of different experiences that are designed to help them gain insight into the medical field and healthcare professions.
Through the two-week program, students have the chance to visit and utilize resources at the Tufts University School of Medicine. This allows students to engage in hands-on activities that give them a feel for what it is like to train to become a doctor. Participants also interact with current medical students, professors, and doctors. This enables students to find out more about experiences that can be helpful prior to medical school, the type of training that medical school provides, and careers in the medical field.
During the program, students participate in a wide range of activities that help them to learn more about contemporary issues in medicine. For example, students engage in interesting discussions, collaborate with peers, reflect on ethical challenges, examine scenarios, and more.
There are two particular issues that students learn about at an in-depth level: infectious conditions and infections that can be resistant to treatment. These issues are explored in a global context and participants learn how different entities within the medical field are working to address the challenges.
One of the features of the summer program is the cross-curricular way that health and healthcare are viewed. The program is designed to draw on the vast resources that are a part of the university in order to give students an idea of the ways in which medical professionals can work cooperatively to address health issues. As a result, students can gain insight into professional pathways involved with healthcare such as nutrition, dentistry, and more.
There is a residential and commuter option for students. The residential option enables students to stay in university dorms and get experience living on a college campus. Commuter students have the chance to participate in the program activities and then return home in the evenings.
Participants: The program is intended to be for students who will be going into sophomore, junior, and or senior year after the summer. It is recommended that participants enter the program with a year of biological science taken in school. There is an application for the program and limited scholarships may be available.
Learn more: Tufts University Summer Mini-Medical School
Rowan University’s Medacademy Summer Program
The Medacademy summer program is designed for upper grade-level high school students, who would like to pursue a career as a doctor. This unique program enables students to learn about the expectations, rewards, and commitment involved with becoming a doctor and working in the medical field.
Through the four-week summer program, students participate in a variety of educational activities to enhance their knowledge of medical school, specialties within the medical field, and the responsibilities involved with being a doctor. Students also have the opportunity to participate in experiential learning exercises, which include simulations, case studies, group work, and visiting a medical center.
Participants: This summer day program is intended for high school students who will be entering the 11th or 12th grade after the summer.
Learn more: Summer Medacademy Program at Rowan
University of Arizona Summer Scrubs Medical Programs
The College of Medicine at the University of Arizona offers summer programs for high school students with an interest in becoming a doctor or pursuing a career in a healthcare profession. Participants engage in various learning activities to become more familiar with the work of medical professionals and to learn about the training pathways that lead to a career in the field.
One of the programs, known as Exploring Medicine, is designed for students who would like to become doctors. This program has two different sessions. One session is residential, which allows students to take part in a mini college experience through living and learning in a university environment. Another session is commuter-based, which enables students to engage in educational activities and return home when the program concludes each day.
Participants: This program is designed for high school students who are currently in their junior year and will be going into their senior year after the summer.
The College of Medicine also offers a program for students who are interested in exploring careers in the broader healthcare field. This program is designed to give students a better idea of different career paths in the healthcare field such as being a nurse, doctor, or physician assistant.
Participants: This program is designed for high school students in their freshman or sophomore year.
Learn more: UA College of Medicine Summer Medical Programs
Additional Summer Medical Program Opportunities for High School Students
UCLA Summer Medical Program: Pre-Med Scholars
- The Pre-Med Summer Scholars Program is designed to provide high school students with a chance to learn about the medical field and becoming a doctor. There are a variety of learning opportunities that students participate in during the program, including hearing from current medical professionals, visiting a medical center, and taking part in experiential activities.
- There are three sessions of the summer program and there is an application for admission. The program is intended for current ninth and tenth grade high school students.
Learn more: UCLA Pre-Med Program
University of Georgia Mini Medical Summer Camp
- UGA runs summer camps that are designed for students who are interested in learning more about becoming a doctor or going into another healthcare profession. Participating students learn about a variety of topics that connect to medicine and healthcare.
- There is a residential and commuter option for students participating in this program.
- There are multiple sessions of part of one and part two of the summer camp. Mini Medical Summer Camp Part 1 is intended to be students ages 11 – 15. Part 2 of the summer camp is designed to build on foundational knowledge and intended to be students between the ages of 12 – 16.
Learn more: UGA Mini Med Summer Camp