Skip to content Skip to navigation

Experiential Learning

Experiential Learning and Leadership Development are critical parts of the path to medical school and there are ample opportunities for this at UC Merced. Two physicians, writing for U.S. News and World Report (How Premeds Can Develop Strong Leadership), recommend that pre-medical students acquire leadership skills that strengthen them as individuals and convey them in their medical school applications.

Students volunteering in a medical clinicLEAD Pre-Health Leadership Program 

WE BELIEVE that future health-leaders, ready for 21st century challenges, are studying at UC Merced.  And we've built a leader-development program designed to support these aspiring leaders as they prepare for a career serving our communities. Click the link above for details on how to participate.


Service Orientation is one of the AAMC’s 15 Core Competencies that are desired for medical school applicants. To learn more about how to demonstrate Service Orientation, read this article. UC Merced offers a myriad of volunteering opportunities for service oriented students to participate in community service during their undergraduate years. Among these opportunities are some of particular interest to students preparing for a medical education.

Volunteer opportunities:

  • Mercy Medical Center Merced Volunteer Program 

Mercy Medical Center offers volunteering opportunities to UC Merced undergraduate students. Students can volunteer in areas such as Mercy Outpatient Surgery, Family Birth Center, and patient care units. MMC also provides UC Merced students exclusive volunteering opportunities in Critical Care and Emergency Department. To apply, volunteer applications can be found on the Dignity Health website

  • Bristol Hospice Volunteer

As a volunteer, you will be an integral part of the hospice care team providing support to a person in their final months and weeks of life. To apply to this program applications can be found on the Bristol Hospice of California website. 

  • Hinds Hospice 

As a volunteer, you will be an integral part of the hospice care team providing support to a person in their final months and weeks of life. To apply to this program applications can be found on the Hinds Hospice website. 

  • Valley Children's Hospital

To apply to this program applications can be found on the Valley Children's Hospital website. 

To find other community service opportunities please visit: 

Community Engagement Center
Volunteer Match 

Job Shadowing/Pre-Clinical Experience:

Job shadowing can be a valuable tool to a student who is wondering if a medical career is the right choice for them, and who wants to see what a doctor's day and workload are like. The AAMC's page on Shadowing a Doctor provides information about finding a doctor to shadow, and what to expect. An AAMC article, Five Ways to Gain Experience Without Shadowing, suggests that there are some alternatives to job shadowing to show medical school application reviewers "that your application conveys evidence of empathy, service orientation, ethical responsibility to self and others, an awareness of what a career as a practicing physician entails, as well as other characteristics and strengths." 

Clinical Experience

There are many ways to gain clinical experience, paid and non-paid, that provide beneficial experience on your medical journey.  

Medical Scribe 

Medical scribes are responsible for taking notes during a provider-patient interview, recording the encounter in the patients' medical chart, and inputting other pertinent information such as laboratory results, radiology results, physical exam findings, and other various tasks. 

Scribing positions are commonly found in the emergency departments of hospitals, but some medical offices have private scribing programs.  


High School diploma/GED  


To find medical scribing positions, you can use job search sites such as Indeed and LinkedIn to apply to open positions in the area you seek to work.  

The local Mercy Merced Hospital offers a scribing program that is Emergency-Medicine based. Click here to apply to their program.

Other Scribing Programs:  

UCSF Fresno (Direct link)

Emanuel Hospital (Turlock)   (Click this link and search for this location)

Doctors Medical Center (Modesto)  (Click this link and search for this location)

Madera Community Hospital  (Click this link and search for this location)

Saint Agnes Medical Center (Fresno)  (Click this link and search for this location)

Virtual Job Shadowing:

AAMC notes, "With the recent rise in telemedicine, premeds and medical students may find virtual shadowing opportunities an option while waiting for in-person shadowing to resume." Please see their article, Virtual Shadowing — Tips From a Current Medical Student and Physician, for more information.


A UC Merced pre-med student, Nina Bouzamondo-Bernstein, created an online platform called Pre-Health Shadowing to help students like herself continue shadowing during the pandemic. So far over 37,000 students have signed up. See a local news report here.

UPDATE: Some volunteer or job shadowing activities have been curtailed for the time being due to COVID-19. It is important to check with the specific program that you are interested in for more information.