Volunteering, Extracurriculars, Research and Employment for Pre-Dental Students

Pre-dental students are strongly encouraged to engage in additional activities outside of the classroom and dental-related areas to help competency development. These types of activities may include (but are not limited to): 

  • Volunteering in a healthcare setting with patients 
  • Volunteering at a non-profit organization  
  • Joining student organizations or clubs 
  • Taking on a leadership role within a student organization, club, or community organization 
  • Employment in a healthcare or non-healthcare setting 
  • Research 

A pre-dental student's time outside of the classroom and studying is limited. It is important to spend that time involved in activities that an applicant is passionate about, and that make a difference. The PMHSC encourages students to use the core competencies when evaluating additional commitments. There is no 'right' or 'wrong' set of experiences.  

How to Get Started

One fantastic way to start looking for volunteer or extracurricular opportunities is by joining a student organization on campus. The Dean of Students Office coordinates all the student organizations and their activities. With over 500 recognized organizations on campus, there is a group with a topic or cause that many find interesting. Some pre-dental students will be active members while others are elected to leadership positions. Pre-dental students are encouraged to attend a few meetings to see where they lead.  

Pre-dental students can also choose to continue volunteer work they started in high school. While the hours 'earned' during high school will not be recorded on a dental school application, the connections and relationships built during that time can be helpful. Examples of activities pre-dental students have continued engaging in include coaching, tutoring, and serving with their religious groups. 

Employment in any kind of setting is also a wonderful way to build transferable skills. Many pre-dental students have worked in the food and retail industries and, as a result, are able to talk at great lengths about their learned time-management, prioritization and decision-making skills.  Pre-dental students who are looking for leads on part-time jobs may want to check out the WSU Career Services Office.   

Research experience is not required to apply to either of the dental schools in Michigan.  It does, however, provide students with unique opportunities to develop soft skills such as teamwork, dependability, adaptability, communication, and inquiry.  There are several opportunities to engage in research on and around the WSU campus.  To get the ball rolling, the PMHSC advisors suggest talking to a science professor about their current work or reviewing departmental websites for current research projects.  Once an interesting project is identified, reach out via email to express interest and fit within the project. To discuss further, schedule an appointment with a pre-dental advisor.