ECs and competitiveness?

So far my extra-curricular activities are horribly light. I have:

  • Shadowed 40 hours in a county hospital ER
  • Shadowed 20 at a DO’s office (and scheduled to do about 30 more next week)
  • Volunteered as co-leader of an outreach Girl Scout troop since last September
  • Done two school-related service event days (one at a food bank, the other at a care facility with DD kids, reading and talking with them
  • Trained as a student mentor, although I officially mentored only a handful of freshmen I used the skills to assist a lot of classmates for the past two eyars

Since I’m applying in June I want to spend the summer fixing this lack.

I have a chance to get a job working in a spine surgeon’s office, or as a medical scribe - both giving me lots of clinical experience and patient interaction. The children’s hospital has a summer intensive volunteering opportunity, which would get me 100 hours of volunteering and clinical experience, working directly with the kids there.

Is that a good combination? Should I be looking into community service that isn’t hospital related, or is the CH a good way to combine clinical and volunteering?

Finally, as a non-trad, are there specific volunteering opportunities I should be looking for?


I spent too much time on VolunteerMatch last night and found a lot of great opportunities working with a few shelters and food banks.

Now I’m conflicted about the clinical experience as employment, because the need for volunteers is during typical work hours.

On the one hand, I’m already a year ‘behind’ because of this gap year. On the other, I feel that my ECs are just not gonna cut it for most DO schools…

The children’s hospital opportunity sounds great, IF you are excited about it. Whatever you pick to volunteer at,(sorry about the grammer!) it should be something that you are enthusiastic about. It will definately show in your interviews.


Thank you Kate. I tend to fell back into the old habit of comparing myself to other pre-meds and panicking that I won’t do/look good enough.

Sometimes I just need that little reminder that this isn’t about comparing myself to them, it’s about being sure about the path I’m on.

I think I’m going to skip the clinical jobs and start working from home again, so I can really devote my time to the two volunteering opportunities I really want to take part in.

I should add that whatever you do for volunteer work, stick with it for a long time (at least a year, if not more). AdComms dislike applicants who jump or flit around from one volunteer gig to another without staying too long at any one.