Volunteer Question


I am sitting here filling out my schools committee application and I am unsure of where some of my volunteer experience fits in.

For the past 3 years I have been one of the head facilitators of a program that teaches a theatre class for teenagers with down syndrome. The class is every Friday night and between that and lesson planning as well as all of the odds and ends that go into planning the shows we do twice a year and the field trips ect: I have logged a lot of hours with the program.

The section I am filling out asks for “health related experience” instinctively I would say that this program does not fall under that category… However we do a lot of physical therapy/occupational therapy type of work (dance, stretching, diction) and many of our kids have health issues beyond the primary disability that we are aware of and strive to adapt the class to fit all needs.

I also volunteer at the Children’s hospital in the CCU and NICU but I have not been there for nearly as long. If I am only able to put this experience on my application I will have just barely the minimum # of hours I need to apply (although I am hoping I will be able to get on the schedule more as times open up).

I am curious to know what you guys think. I know this is only a committee application but I have wondered where this class fits in for a long time. I am curious if anyone has any insight as to how it will be viewed by adcoms ?

As a side thought: I also worked as a personal trainer/pilates instructor for 4 years (which happens to be how I found myself heading down the premed path) I don’t suppose that would count as health related experience?

I know this might just be a question for the lovely people in the pre health office but I would love to know your thoughts : )



Hello Mallory,

Welcome to the tedious confusing world of the application. LOL

I would play up the fact that “although I wasn’t’ directly involved in the health care of the participants of the theater group, I did learn a lot about the unique medical issues of people with downs syndrome and ways to accommodate them.” something to that effect. I would definitely find a way to weave that into your medical volunteer section. I can’t hurt.

Just a thought. Best of luck.


Agreed… I wouldn’t specifically code any of that as “health related experience.” (The way I took that is did I directly work in a hospital, hospice, nursing home, doctor’s office, home health care, etc. where patients are being cared for/treated medically)… that may have been too conservative, but that’s the way I took it to be safe.

Having said that, each of the experiences you mention can be tied back to compassion, caring, healthcare, etc. in one way or another–just not directly. In that respect, if you have the option to describe the experience, I would make sure to make the connection in your narrative.

I had a similar issue, because I had 4 years of experience doing behavior therapy with autistic pre-schoolers in college. I didn’t code it specifically as healthcare related, because it seemed more psych/social to me… but I made the connection in my description.

Again–I could be totally wrong. But I stayed safe. I just didn’t want to exaggerate or misconstrue any of my experience. The only things I coded as healthcare related were my volunteer hours in the ED and the NICU, and the physician shadowing I’ve done.

Thank you, Thank you for the advice! I too feel better playing it safe but I will make sure to make a point to connect those experiences to health care. : )

Carrieliz, I hadn’t seen before that you volunteered in the NICU! I was unsure of what to expect when I started on that floor and was surprised when I really did spend my whole 4 hours going from room to room and holding babies! it’s silly but I didn’t realize that was a real volunteer job! I am there in the mornings during rounds so it has been really interesting too.

Again thank you for the words of wisdom and I hope you had a happy Halloween!