Just a question about volunteering. Is there any specific area where med schools like to see a focus or are they just interested in the fact that you’ve volunteered in the community in some capacity? I mean, I’m sure it would look great if I did something medical ;o) but since I work in a hospital 40 hours a week, I’m sort of looking to branch out a little. I am interested in doing something with the homeless or maybe Habitat for Humanity. Maybe something with AmeriCorps. I don’t know. Any thoughts?


Hi Alicia -

They’re more interested that you show a spirit of altruism. Many pre-meds do some sort of medical volunteering either because they think it’s necessary or just because it’s a way to knock out both clinical exposure and volunteering with one activity. Since you work in a hospital, medical volunteering definitely isn’t a necessity. Far better that you volunteer in something that truly interests you and you can speak passionately about at interviews.

I agree with Emergency - find something that you enjoy doing, and do it for its own sake.

Wow, it’s been a while since I’ve been to this site. Hi everyone.

I have another question along these lines. My church does a lot with Habitat for Humanity and they have some established, ongoing outreaches that they do in our city. If I were to get involved in these on a regular basis, will that “count”? Do schools look at volunteering through churches the same as, say, if I were to volunteer through Americorps or something like that?

I know these may be silly questions but I really want to maximize my time as well as join something that I know I’m going to be passionate about. Thanks.


Volunteering through a church is just fine! It still shows your commintment + altruism. Most pre-med students choose to volunteer in a hospital, b/c they got two things out or this: volunteering + some exposure to health care.

I personally didn’t have a good time volunteering in a hospital. With HIPAA laws it was really hard to get any patient interactions + I didn’t learn to much about how hospital functioned either. That’s why I finally chose to volunteer somewhere elaw and got my health care-related experience working at doctors’ office + shadowing.

The bottom line and most important is: Do what you like and what makes you happy.

And make sure that you can support your desire to become a physician with sufficient personal experience, meaning shadowing a doctor on top of your church volunteerig or something like that.

Hope it helps,


Thanks for your reply Kasia.

I actually work full time as a nurse technician for a rehab hospital. I’ve been a tech for six years (four of the six as an ER tech in a level I trauma center–I even got to ride along in the helecopter for a few shifts!) and I tried to pick the doctors’ and nurses’ brains as much as possible while in the ER.

I asked a lot of questions…I may have been a little annoying. :o)