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Medical Immersion Summer Academy (MISA) -Should You Attend?

If you’re considering pursuing a career in medicine, participating in a summer immersion program is a great way to demonstrate your interests while developing important skills for a career in healthcare.

In this blog, we’ll showcase one opportunity to expand your medical interests through the Medical Immersion Summer Academy (MISA), an independently-organized enrichment program based in California. We’ll cover the key details, such as eligibility, location, as well as some pros and cons regarding the program.


What is MISA?

The Medical Immersion Summer & Spring Academy (MISA) is a 5-day program from Monday through Friday (9-3 pm) at the MISA office in Oakland, California. It was founded in 2012 by an Emergency Medicine physician at Highland Hospital. The goal is to introduce interested students to hands-on clinical experience, providing them a competitive edge in college admissions and future healthcare fields. The program is offered twice in early April, as part of their spring cohorts, as well as four times in the summer. Summer dates are throughout the month of July.



Am I eligible for MISA?

MISA is an extremely inclusive program in terms of eligibility. MISA is open to all 9th-12th grade high school students (age 15+) who have completed at least their freshman year in high school. There are no GPA requirements nor any specific academic requirements, meaning that most students can apply for this opportunity. Although the program is based in California, students across the country are welcome to apply! However, students make their own transportation arrangements.


Is MISA prestigious?

Despite its relatively flexible eligibility requirements, MISA is not an inherently simple program to be accepted into. MISA receives hundreds of applications for only a limited number of spots each year. It is considered a moderately selective and prestigious program. MISA offers an opportunity to learn a lot of valuable skills, but is not affiliated directly with a university nor with a healthcare institution. For this reason, MISA may not be as well known amongst college administrators. However, the insights and skills that are supplemented through program participation would make great additions to a resume or application.


How do I apply for MISA?

Eligible students can apply for the program via the online application on their website. The applications open in November and there is an associated application fee of $50. No letter of recommendation is required.


The program itself costs $1,400 for the week and includes: program materials, health certifications, clinical equipment, and daily lunch/snacks. However, transportation and housing during the program is the responsibility of individual participants.



What are the advantages of participating in MISA?

MISA offers hands-on clinical training to high school students through workshops on suturing, reading EKGs, taking patient vitals, among other things! Its biggest benefit is that it offers an opportunity to learn these skills at an earlier age. Most pre-medical students don’t have exposure to these skills until they arrive at medical school, so this is a solid opportunity.

Within a short five days, students will also receive national certifications in CPR, First Aid, Stop the Bleed, and Teen Mental Health First Aid. These are all certifications that can be included on one’s resume for college and impress admissions! While doing so, students can connect with health professionals in a diverse array of fields through professional development workshops.


Furthermore, MISA is a really well-rated program whose alumni speak highly of their experiences. 100% of 2022 MISA participants recommend the program!


Read what some alumni have to say:

“The internship exceeded my expectations. I didn’t expect to cover so much in five short days. We covered a lot from learning how to insert an IV to handling mental health crises. I didn’t expect to have such real and exciting hands-on experiences while walking away with training in a wide variety of areas.”

“The staff bonded very well with all of us and were always available for questions throughout the internship. I was able to get good contacts in order to learn more about medical careers through the staff. They were excellent instructors and made sure everyone was engaged throughout the program.”

Our Verdict:

There aren’t many disadvantages to applying for (or participating in) MISA! However, the program does not offer housing or financial aid to any participants. Students from financially-disadvantaged backgrounds may not find this an accessible option when considering their summer plans. Especially in California, there are other free or financed summer medical programs that students should consider instead.


Ultimately, if you are interested in medicine and are based in the California area, the MISA program is an excellent opportunity! Particularly if you’re a student looking for clinical experience prior to college and graduate training, this program grants a lot of exposure to these skills. Participation in this program is sure to be an enriching experience while impressing colleges and other admissions programs.


If you are passionate about conducting research in medicine, you could also consider applying to the Lumiere Research Scholar Program, a selective online high school program for students founded with researchers at Harvard and Oxford. Last year, we had over 4000 students apply for 500 spots in the program! You can find the application form here.


Aisha is a student at Princeton University, studying Anthropology and Global Health. On campus, she is involved with student groups centered around health equity and cultural affinity. In her free time, she enjoys podcasting, learning languages, and trying new recipes.

Image Source: MISA


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