Volunteer Work

Hello - How many hours of volunteer work do you think is competitive when applying to medical school?

I have been advised by a physician, who has spent years on the board of admissions, that the more hours and time spent the better. I have done 6 months. I am being advised to head on back to volunteer. He says it is impressive to see someone’s dedication to their goal. I guess anyone can go to school, not everyone takes the time to observe (shadow) and regularly volunteer. I don’t believe there is any number you are required to get. At my local SOM they do require 40 hours of job shadowing. I don’t recall specifics on vol work. Of course, check with your top schools or call.

At the OPM conference this summer it was advised (during a presentation) that you should aim for 4 hours of clinically-oriented, and 4 hours of community-oriented, volunteer work per week. I’ve been trying to use that as my general guideline since then. I think it really varies though. I’ve also heard from several admissions people that if your grades are less than stellar you should elect to work on academics rather than on countless hours of EC’s.

From what I can tell, it seems that the quality of your experiences is what’s really important. Doing something just to get hours is probably not the best idea. I’ve also heard that recent experience is important. The take home message for me has been to find something that you love, and dedicate yourself to it as much as possible, without sacrificing grades. HTH!