Pre-Professional Health Programs

Beyond the Classroom

In order to build a competitive resume outside of the classroom, students should take advantage of opportunities available both at Cleveland State University and in the surrounding community. The vast majority of competitive candidates gain exposure to their field through shadowing, volunteer in the healthcare community and at relevant organizations, and engage in research opportunities both internally with faculty on campus and externally within the medical community around Cleveland. 

Students can also take advantage of one of the three pre-professional student organizations to learn more. We have a chapter of the American Medical Student Association (AMSA), the Pre-Dental Society, and the Pre-Pharmacy Club on campus. All groups are active and welcome new members year-round. 

Students should make sure that their grades are the top priority, but beyond that, engaging in activities to build their resume is another way to build a competitive applications. Students should not take on too many activities to the detriment of their GPA, but should evaluate what they can add onto their schedule that will be beneficial to their future. 


Meaningful research opportunities are plentiful for Cleveland State pre-professional students.  Student researchers thrive in lab and field.  Students conduct groundbreaking research alongside professors who hold prestigious awards.  The Cleveland State’s summer research program, Engaged Learning, encourages undergraduate students to investigate new ideas that serve as the foundation for future endeavors.

Unless applying to an MD/Ph.D program, having experience with scientific research is not required. However, in order to make your application stand out and be competitive, it is highly recommended to get as much experience with research as possible. A great place to start is to approach your science faculty and explore available research opportunities with them. Enrolling in "REEL LAB" offered by the Chemistry Department is a great way not only to have a poster presentation at the end of the semester but also applying classroom knowledge in a lab setting. Visit the Chemistry department for more information. Each science department offers independent studies under the guidance of outstanding faculty members who can enhance your science knowledge further.

For up-to-date Cleveland State research activities, visit the Research website.

WebGURU is a great resource on external research opportunities and tips for getting started in undergraduate research. 

Volunteer Opportunities

MetroHealth/CSU Pipeline Program
In 2015, Cleveland State Pre-Professional Health Programs partnered with the volunteer office at MetroHealth Hospitals to provide about 50 students each year with the opportunity to engage in volunteer activities. Selected participants go through four rotations (available in fall, spring, and summer) to complete the program. They gain exposure to different facets of healthcare and the working of a city hospital system. Possible rotations include patient transport, Emergency Room, Child Life, and other sites both at the main hospital and at other sites in Cleveland. 

Other Volunteer Opportunities
Fortunately for students, there are many opportunities to serve as a volunteer in the Cleveland area. All pre-professional students should consider volunteering their time to interact with diverse populations as an essential part of their application and experiences. Students volunteer both in hospitals and non-profits, in areas that relate to healthcare and areas that do not. Volunteering your time shows compassion, empathy, and a dedication to others, all skills that professional schools are looking for. Search among the many hospitals and hospital systems, clinics, and more for opportunities to engage in the Cleveland Community.


Shadowing Opportunities

Students interested in professional schools should note that it involves more than just patient interaction and treatment. Before considering professional school or while preparing to apply, shadowing can provide a wealth of knowledge about the profession and help solidify your decision. Shadowing may enable you to build a good relationship with a professional in the field who could provide you with a recommendation letter. It is advisable to shadow not only in your area of interest but also other disciplines.

It is advised that Pre-Dental students shadow in both private practice and corporate practices. They should consider shadowing both in general dentistry and specialty areas.

Pre-Medical students should should both MD's and DO's, both in primary care and specialty areas. 

Pre-Pharmacy students should shadow both in the hospital/clinical setting and in a retail setting. They should shadow in specialty areas as well.

Pre-Veterinary students should shadow in private practice and corporate practices. They should consider shadowing in as many areas of veterinary medicine as possible including small animal, large animal, etc.

Student Organizations

The American Medical Student Association has an active chapter at Cleveland State University. To learn more about the national association, click here. AMSA brings in speakers to their meetings every other week throughout the fall and spring semester, host volunteer opportunities and social opportunities for members, take trips to medical schools, and more. You can join online through OrgSync or just show up to a meeting. All first meetings are free and students pay dues to continue to attend beyond the first meeting.

Pre-Dental Society
The Cleveland State Pre-Dental Society meetings are held monthly. The club provides learning opportunities for members to engage with others, often bring in dental schools, talk about the DAT, bring in panels of current dental students, and attend dental school visits together as a group. There are no dues for this organization. You can join online through OrgSync to start receiving emails about upcoming meetings.

Pre-Pharmacy Club
The Pre-Pharmacy Club at Cleveland State University meets monthly. The organization provides students access to information about pharmacy school, visits to our partnership school, NEOMED, PCAT information sessions, student panels, and more. There are no dues for this organization. You can join online through OrgSync to start receiving emails about upcoming meetings!