It’s Sunday afternoon and you have no plans. You block off the remainder of the day to complete your medical school application.
You have all of the paperwork necessary filled out, have your letter of recommendation ready to go out to all of the schools on your list, you have your transcript and resume all set, you then get to the point of the application where they ask for your “volunteer and shadowing” experience and you aren’t coming up with anything more than the 20 hours that you shadowed your family doctor.
If you feel that you are coming up short on your volunteer and shadowing experience don’t worry about it yet, there is still time to get some great experience.
You may already know why you should be volunteering to round out your application, but if you don’t, take a look at these five reasons to give you a little extra motivation.
1. Shows that you know what you are getting into
2. Proves that you are committed to a career in the medical field
3. Shows that you have a heart
4. Helps boost your leadership skills
5. Allows you to expand your horizons
Since you now understand that volunteering is important, you may be racking your brain to figure out how to get some volunteer opportunities and how to get them quickly. Well, I’m here to help. Below are three different volunteer options to bolster your medical school application.
1. Volunteer at a medical camp for children
Camps that focus on ill children are located all over the world, these camps can range from focusing on cancer to diabetes. They allow the kids to get together and have fun and connect with others that are fighting the same battle as they are.
Pre-med students can typically become camp counselors at these camps. But beyond being a counselor, there are also pre-med students who are volunteers. This means that if you are able to get involved early in your undergrad career, you can gain experience by caring for the kids and working with the physicians that are at the camp. You will also be able to talk with the medical students and get a little more insight into what you will be taking on during your remaining years in school.
2. Volunteer at an assisted living community
Residents of assisted living communities are always looking for different activities that get them out of their room and socializing. This is something that often goes overlooked by pre-med students. This is because the residents aren’t typically thought of as patients, but the nurses and doctors that you will be working closely will be able to guide you and give you insight. The geriatric and palliative fields are desperately in need of medical professions. Having experience in these fields will help you out as you interview for jobs after school.
3. Raise funds for a medically related cause
There are a plethora of different organizations out there that would love a donation from you. Taking this route doubles as not only getting some clinical experience but also serving your community.
If you choose this path, it is important that you constantly express your desire to work directly with survivors and current patients. You could ask to coordinate survivor outreach to talk to and learn about what they had to go through. You could offer to work with the loved ones who lost a family member to the disease. You could help connect survivors to each other so they have someone to swap stories with.
Keep in mind that raising funds is about more than just getting a big check and donating, and is an often overlooked way to secure some volunteering experience.
Image taken from Wikipedia