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ECs and when to apply

deophob

Full Member
May 27, 2020
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  1. Pre-Medical
This thread was inspired by another thread I saw about ECs; didn't want to hijack their thread so I'm posting my question here.

I am just under 30 years old and recently decided on the pre-med route, therefore I have no long-term volunteer hours. I am only starting my volunteering now, and I am at odds with when my target application cycle should be.

I am wondering how many of you nontrads are addressing the continuity issue with regard to ECs, and determining when your extracurricular activities are on a level playing field with what's competitive for a nontrad. I'm aware that we shouldn't be focusing on numbers, and instead be focusing on contributing in a meaningful way, such that it will translate well in the PS and during the interview. Because of my age, time is sorta of the essence. At the same time, I am worried that rushing my application may lead to a second application cycle. How did you decide on what cycle to apply?
 

lumya

Indoor Cat
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Aug 7, 2018
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Where are you with your other requirements? Are you done with your pre-requisites? Have you taken the MCAT? That's what I used to figure out what cycle to apply to. I would think in general, as long as you have meaningful experiences spanning a year, it would be enough. On your application you can write about other experiences such as your work experience, were you part of any professional organizations, did you have any volunteering from before you started pre-med?
 
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JanetSnakehole

I’m a very rich widow with a terrible secret.
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Jun 18, 2018
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the West Coast
  1. Medical Student
Longitudinal volunteering >>> high number of hours in a short timeframe. No matter when you want to apply, start volunteering right now (or ASAP).

You’ll want to have minimum of 150 hours nonclinical/community service type activities and at least 150 clinical hours (paid or volunteer) by the time you apply. Anything less than that isn’t going to be very competitive.

I applied with roughly 400 clinical and 1000 community service hours over a 4-year timespan, although the community service hours included 1 year of a 25 hour/week project I was working on. You don’t need to have that many community service hours unless you really want to.
 
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esob

Article 14
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Sep 28, 2015
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One of the ways I handled this was by getting involved early with organizations that would allow me to have as many or few hours as I could handle. So, for example, the food bank, habitat for humanity, and hospice all had super flexible scheduling and basically unlimited hours when I wanted them. So, while I was active in all of these organizations for years AND had significant hours with each, I was able to pull back when needed (for example when studying for the MCAT or when dealing with family needs) and then make up those hours when I had extra time (like during Christmas break, etc).
 
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jhmmd

supernatural
Apr 28, 2020
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desert highway
deophob said:
I am just under 30 years old and recently decided on the pre-med route, therefore I have no long-term volunteer hours. I am only starting my volunteering now, and I am at odds with when my target application cycle should be.

I am wondering how many of you nontrads are addressing the continuity issue with regard to ECs, and determining when your extracurricular activities are on a level playing field with what's competitive for a nontrad. I'm aware that we shouldn't be focusing on numbers, and instead be focusing on contributing in a meaningful way, such that it will translate well in the PS and during the interview. Because of my age, time is sorta of the essence. At the same time, I am worried that rushing my application may lead to a second application cycle. How did you decide on what cycle to apply?
Rather than compare yourself to other non-trads or premeds, buy a MSAR or one of the many books designed to guide premeds throughout the process. I'd recommend making a spreadsheet or document or something so that you can chart your progress, and reach out to your PCP to see if (s)he can recommend anyone that you could shadow. Remember that clinical exp. is of the essence; in other words, you really really really need clinical exp. to det. if this is the right path for you. Remember to draw examples from your clinical exp. in your essays/secondaries/interviews. Try to find a doctor who's willing to mentor you--a lot of them are closer in age to nontrads, and sometimes this makes it easier to facilitate a mentor relationship. Remember to put your heart into your application. Good luck!
 
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