Decided this topic needed its own thread. I’ve read very mixed things about volunteer experience. Some say it’s entirely optional, others say it’s 100% vital for getting in. Does anyone have some perspective on this?

If it is vital, what kind of time commitment are admissions folks looking for? And are they looking specifically for clinical exposure, or just something loosely health related?

For example, I have done some pro-bono legal work for abused children seeking guardianships. Would this count? How about volunteer tutoring in computer science for students with cerebral palsy?

Thanks for your thoughts.

I would not say it is vital but I do recommend it. But I would look at it from a different perspective perhapes. I don’t think you should volunteer for anyting because of how it will look on your resume. Instead, think of it this way:

  1. first - do it because helping people is a really cool thing to do

  2. this may or may not apply to you, but many of us are entering the medical field without a lok of first hand experience as to what it is about. Your participation here suggests you want to make a very big change that involves a major commitment to that world. volunteering gives you a chance to see a little of what that world is about and help you make informed choices about what you want to do.

    ok - that said - it won’t look bad on your resume either - at least the reviewers will see that you have at least a little sense of what you are getting into if you demonstrate some medical experience and voluteerig is a good way to do it.

    In my own case I volunteered with the local VNA/Hospice - however - it was the experiene there that pushed me to medicine, not a tactical move to spruce up my resume. Still - I think it did help.

Thanks for the thoughts. I do enjoy volunteer work, but up until now it’s focused on pro bono legal work and tutoring.

So volunteering is not just a strategy for me per se - it’s something I’ve bee doing for years. But I could shift its focus to something a little more relevant if it would help with admissions. No reason not to.

As for the environment, I come from a family of doctors, and have spent plenty of time rounding, with them, etc. I have a pretty good idea what it’s all about - about as good as it’s possible to have without going through it myself.

If you’ve rounded with doctors and have a history of other volunteer work, then you’re probably in pretty decent shape as far as admissions strategy. I’d say the next thing might be to spend time volunteering with patients just for your own benefit, to make sure you really like being around sick people. Hospice volunteering is very nice and much needed most places, so that’s a possible way to start.