How Many Hours of volunteering are required for med school

How Many Hours Of Volunteering Are Required For Medical School?

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For every aspiring medical student, it’s important to know how many hours of volunteering are required for medical school. In this article, we will answer that question and discuss everything you need to know about volunteering for med school applications

Although it’s not technically required, most universities highly encourage applicants to have relevant medical experiences before applying. Having little to no volunteering activities can negatively affect your chances of getting into a medical school. 

Participating in various volunteer works will let the school know that you are serious about taking this path and you have what it takes to survive in the medical industry. Volunteer work helps you develop the essential skills needed to become a successful healthcare professional.

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Why Is Volunteering Important For Your Medical School Application?

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Gives You Experience Needed In Healthcare Industry

To become an excellent med student candidate, you must arm yourself with meaningful experiences. Although medical-related ones are mostly preferred, you can also participate in other volunteer works. 

These tasks will give you an idea of what it’s like to help and serve people. Through this experience, you will also develop the necessary skills and qualities that med school committees are looking for in their candidates.

Lets You See The Bigger Picture

Even though being in the healthcare field is fulfilling and rewarding, it’s not always rainbows and sunshine. As a volunteer, you get to work behind the scenes and see for yourself how the entire process works

As you see how doctors and other healthcare professionals work, you’ll get an idea of what you’re getting yourself into. From this standpoint, you can think about whether you can see yourself doing this for the rest of your life. 

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It Shows Commitment And Dedication

Most schools will ask their potential candidates some common questions such as “Why do you want to be a doctor?“. The usual answer is because you want to help people. However, they will ask you to elaborate on your answer. 

This is an excellent chance to provide examples from your experience and let the committee know that you are committed to this path and are passionate about helping other people.

Check out this post to learn how to answer the med school interview question: Why do you want to be a doctor?

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It Will Help You Develop Empathy

Most medical admission committees are looking for students who know the importance of empathy in this type of work. Empathy is developed through healthy communication between the patient and their physician. 

As a future doctor, putting yourself in your patient’s shoes can help you make a better diagnosis and provide a more effective treatment. Empathy increases patient adherence and high recovery rates.

Volunteering Promotes Good Leadership Skills

If you want to be a great doctor in the future, you should work on your leadership skills as soon as possible. Volunteering will allow you to practice and improve this competency.

Taking the initiative and learning how to deal with the challenges you face during your volunteer work will help you hone your leadership skills. This is what a lot of medical schools are looking for.

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How Many Hours Of Volunteering Do I Need?

Let me tell you right away that volunteering isn’t a numbers game. In this line of service work, how you spend your hours of volunteering is worth more than the hours you’ve finished. 

Medical schools see community service as your demonstration of commitment and dedication in pursuing medicine. It is why most institutions don’t set rules on volunteer activities for their prospective applicants. 

For the admissions committee, it doesn’t matter whose candidate has the longest hours or who finished first. What matters is how well you carry out your duties and how it affects your technical and emotional intelligence

Recommendations for volunteer hours may vary. However, the general rule is to have a consistent 10 to 15 hours worth of volunteer work per month for at least half a year

During this period, it would be best to build your character and create a positive impact on your community. It is a way to show your passion and commitment to the organization you will be working for.

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How To Find Volunteering Activities

Many students may find it tricky to find suitable volunteer work, but it’s actually easier than you think. You have to exert effort and time searching for organizations you’re passionate about

The first step is to let your friends and family know that you’re interested in doing some volunteer work. Even though these people may not be directly connected with volunteering, they may know someone who does and put you in contact with that person. 

You may also consult with your academic advisor or pre-med instructors to look for the best volunteer opportunities to help you with your med school application. You may also scan through your current institution’s bulletin board or web pages for announcements and events posting. 

Another way to find volunteering activities is to consider joining pre-med clubs and other student organizations. Being active in these associations can lead to more potential leads for volunteer opportunities. 

Lastly, use the power of the internet to your advantage. Quite a few websites offer pages dedicated to helping aspiring med students look for the best volunteer activities.

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Best Volunteering Activities

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Healthcare-Related Activities

If you want to make a favorable impression on your preferred medical school, go for healthcare-related activities. Being in a hospital setting will help you understand and see firsthand how the healthcare system works

However, you should apply as early as possible because most of these hospital volunteering projects tend to have lots of applicants. Make sure to register in advance to secure your placement.

Charity Work

As said earlier, communication skills are essential in the medical field. One way to develop this skill is to participate in charity work.

There are several charities out there and lots of ways to be involved. You may join charities such as the Alzheimer’s Society which raises awareness about dementia, or Red Cross, which helps people seek mental health assistance.

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Medical Research

Having experience in medical research before your application shows that you like learning and discovering the unknown. Applying as a lab assistant is a great way to acquire exposure to research studies. 

The admissions committee will highly consider people who show interest in this field. Research is highly valued because it teaches students to sharpen the mind and enhance critical thinking.

Community Services

Being a doctor means you prioritize other people’s needs before your own. What better way to practice this attribute than participating in community service? 

This type of extracurricular activity will convince the medical school you’re applying to that you’re not just someone who wants to be a doctor but a person with a passion for helping other people

Bonus: Want better grades with more free time (and less stress)? Get access to our free 3-step study system here to see what other top students do that you may not be doing!

Teaching

Aside from prescribing treatments and medications, it is also the doctor’s responsibility to spread accurate information to their patients. However, there are some instances where specific medical issues can be complicated. 

Having teaching experiences will help you break down complex information and explain the problem to your patients in a simple and understandable way. This skill will help improve patient-doctor communication, which will lead to better recovery.

Tips on Volunteering for Medical School

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Tip #1. Pick A Type Of Work You’re Passionate About

Don’t just choose something you think the admissions would like, but pick a type of work that you’re passionate about. Working for an organization you care about can make these activities more fun and fulfilling

For example, you may participate in autism learning centers because you’re related to someone with autism and want to learn more about them. It will help if you look for organizations that are meaningful and important to you.

Tip #2. Don’t Be Afraid To Seek Challenging Areas

Many people don’t have access to healthcare, especially those in slum areas. Don’t be afraid to help out people in these areas as they are the ones who need help the most. 

Look up research clinics in medically underserved communities. Remember that these are the type of projects where volunteers are needed, and you can rest assured that you may find readily available volunteering placement for you here. 

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Tip #3. Look For Long-Term Projects

As mentioned earlier, medical schools prefer applicants who can prove their commitment to medicine. It’s easy to tell them that you’re committed, but the hard part is how you’ll be able to persuade them that you are keen on taking the medical path. 

The best way to convince the admission staff is to apply for volunteering activities that offer long-term projects. It will also help if you do this consistently to boost your medical school chances. 

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Tip #4. Keep Everything Recorded

You may tell the admissions committee about all the volunteering you’ve done. However, be prepared when they ask for documents because they sometimes double-check everything. 

You may start by making a spreadsheet. Then, input necessary information such as start date, end date, hours spent, and the name of the organization or place you volunteered in. 

Tip #5. Learn As Much As You Can

Lastly, don’t forget to reflect on each volunteer activity that you’ve completed and learn as much as you can from them. It would help if you had a diary to write down your thoughts and reflections regarding your volunteer projects. 

Doing this can help you recall what you’ve learned, making it easier to write excellent personal statements or essays needed for your application. It can also help you get ready for future interviews.

FAQ’s

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Do Medical Schools Fact-check Volunteer Hours?

Since medical schools often receive a lot of applicants a year, it’s going to be difficult for them to verify all hours of each applicant. That’s why the admission staff will only check your contacts if your experiences seem unrealistic or they suspect that you’re lying. 

Regardless of whether they check or not, it would be best to avoid exaggerating your experiences and be honest.

How Many Volunteer Hours Do You Need For An Ivy League School?

The answer to this question depends on each school. There is no exact number of hours required by any Ivy League institution, but we recommend going for 50 to 200 hours of volunteer work

Please note that when applying for Ivy League colleges, it’s essential to create balance in all areas of your application so you won’t overlook one aspect over the other. 

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Does Volunteering At A Hospital Look Good For Med School?

It will definitely look good on your med school application if you have some experience in the hospital setting. The admission committee highly considers applicants with an excellent background in healthcare.

Hospital volunteering will help you get a preview of what you will most likely be doing in the future. It will also display that you are an adaptable and community-minded individual.

Bonus: Want better grades with more free time (and less stress)? Get access to our free 3-step study system here to see what other top students do that you may not be doing!

Medical school takes several years and lots of clinical training to complete. That’s why several institutions prefer students who can prove that they can commit to this ordeal

Now that you know how many hours of volunteering are required for medical school, it’s time for you to decide which type of activities you want to join in. Remember that the quality of your extracurriculars outweighs the quantity

There’s no denying that volunteering activities are important. It can either make or break your medical school admission.

If you are also wondering about getting a job as a pre-med student, here is an article on the best pre-med jobs.

However, remember that your GPA and MCAT scores also matter to the admissions committee. Make sure to balance your time efficiently to prepare for everything you need to secure a placement in your preferred university. 

If you are curious how high your GPA must be to enter med school, then check out this article.

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Until the next one, my friend…

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