tayloreve

10+ Year Member
Feb 17, 2010
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Hi SDN!


I have read so many posts on here where people say they have 100, 200, 300, sometimes even over 1000 volunteer hours.


My question is, how do people get so many volunteer hours? Obviously this isn't something you can do overnight. Do these people that have hundreds of volunteer hours usually start doing a lot of volunteering their freshman year of college? I'll be a junior this year and I did absolutely no volunteering freshman year and a little bit my sophomore year (20 hours maybe). I know I really need to increase that number for when I apply next cycle.

I've been looking into volunteering at a local animal shelter. But say if I only did ~3 hours a day, 3 times a week, for 2 months, thats still only about 70 hours.

What kind of things to people volunteer for to get 300 something hours? I'm just getting a little discouraged because I went to volunteer for the Food Bank, and after an hour and a half they sent me home because there was nothing else for me to do. -____-

I'm just nervous my lack of community involvement will have a negative impact on my application. On the bright side, I do have a whole year to work on it.

Advice?

Thanks all.
 
Dec 13, 2011
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Personally I play guitar in church twice a month for 5 hours at a time. Started in high school, but only included college hours. Totalled up to 360 volunteer hours, and thats just for worship leading. I chaperone weekend trips with 24 hour supervision. Add another 40 hours for a weekend of that every once in a while. It adds up, it's not about length, it's about consistently getting out there and doing something.
 

tayloreve

10+ Year Member
Feb 17, 2010
823
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Louisiana
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Personally I play guitar in church twice a month for 5 hours at a time. Started in high school, but only included college hours. Totalled up to 360 volunteer hours, and thats just for worship leading. I chaperone weekend trips with 24 hour supervision. Add another 40 hours for a weekend of that every once in a while. It adds up, it's not about length, it's about consistently getting out there and doing something.

Oh wow, guitar huh? I bet the adcoms will love that. Manual dexterity. Haha. Thank you for the insight!
 
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Bereno

Smoking Monkey
7+ Year Member
Apr 15, 2011
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I would volunteer for 5 hours every Friday sterilizing, along with an addition 20 or so hours every school break working with a dental lab, etc. This is how I got the majority of my time in haha. :)

As an aside, I made sure to NEVER miss a day or even show up late. I also made sure to offer to help whenever I could. I think this helped me obtain a very solid LOR as well. :thumbup:
 

Dgeorg6

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Jun 21, 2011
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Just find a program that needs help and go there once every week.. I know thats hard in Ruston but you gota do what you gota do.

I go to a thrift store/program that deals with helping ex-convict women get back on their feet and change their lives. It's pretty cool.

Try YMCA or volunteering at a dentist office.
 

dsoz

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Apr 8, 2011
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I volunteer at a local hospital in the ED. For the first year I would volunteer 3 hours every Thursday evening, and another 3 hours every other Saturday. I would sometimes go in an hour early, or stay an hour or two later, depending on my schedule and how busy the place was. In the first year, I accumulated just under 200 hours.

After that, I dropped the Thursday evening shift (was taking A&P and working a full time job). So since January, I have volunteered another 100 hours (I just hit the 300 hour mark this week).

It is not hard to accumulate hours if you just do the same thing every week. Even 2 hours a week x 52 weeks gives 104 hours. Put in 4 hours a week and you will get 208 hours. Simple math.

More importantly, do something that you like doing. I go to the hospital to volunteer because I like it. I will probably keep doing it until I actually leave for med-school, hopefully next fall. I was just made into the "lead trainer" for the volunteers at the ED. Every new person will go through a three hour shift with me to get trained from now until I leave the position. If I start doing trainings throughout the week, then my hours will really rack up. Right now, there are about 10 people on the list to get trained this summer. That will be 30 extra hours. I am hoping to break 500 hours before I leave to go to med-school a year from now.

dsoz
 
Apr 26, 2012
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Your local hospital is a gold mind for volunteering. I have begun coordinating volunteer event for students at a local community college. They might not be university kids, but they're still good people and they mean well.

You can explore virtually every field quite easily at a hospital. I highly recommend you volunteer at your local oral surgery clinic in your hospital.
 
Dec 14, 2011
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ive wondered the same. i have here and there hours that i have to add up.. maybe to around 100 hours but seeing numbers from others on here is intimidating... does it still make an impression if i plan to accumulate more after my app goes out?

i was considering an animal shelter since i love dogs and animals in general... would this be sufficient? or should i stay dental and medically related?
 
Oct 24, 2009
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I had a majority of my hours with habitat for humanity. It does not have to be dental or medical related. I earned these hours over 7 years so I had the longevity and commitment to the community they like to see.
 

AlbinoPolarBear

7+ Year Member
Jun 18, 2011
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I got around 1000 hours in volunteering.

I joined the tennis club during my freshman year, became an exec during sophomore, and was president for 2 years. It was 5 hours a week as an exec (5/week = 20/month = 160/year) and 8 hours a week as president (~240/year). That already puts at over 600 hours. I would have been playing tennis and setting up tournaments anyways, so I never felt like it was actually volunteering. I also volunteered teaching English to orphans in Africa for 4 weeks full time (160 hours), and a bunch of random small clubs that take like 2 hours a week, like Big Brother/Big Sister.

It's probably easier to find something you're passionate about stick with it. You'll add volunteering hours without even thinking about it.
 
Dec 14, 2011
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are these high numbers another SDN thing like high DATs lol or are they fairly common in the applicant pool?

I got around 1000 hours in volunteering.

I joined the tennis club during my freshman year, became an exec during sophomore, and was president for 2 years. It was 5 hours a week as an exec (5/week = 20/month = 160/year) and 8 hours a week as president (~240/year). That already puts at over 600 hours. I would have been playing tennis and setting up tournaments anyways, so I never felt like it was actually volunteering. I also volunteered teaching English to orphans in Africa for 4 weeks full time (160 hours), and a bunch of random small clubs that take like 2 hours a week, like Big Brother/Big Sister.

It's probably easier to find something you're passionate about stick with it. You'll add volunteering hours without even thinking about it.

president of the tennis club- what would you be doing during those hours? would president of my fraternity chapter count then too? obviously totally unpaid, but never 8hr shifts of working... def would be a couple hours a week here and there handling fraternity business and organization, etc though
 
Jan 9, 2012
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I volunteered at a biology lab in university during one summer, participating in various experiments with a graduate student. Went there from 9am-4pm (1 hr lunch break, some days even longer) everyday for 2 months so that was already approx 400hrs.

I was lucky to have the professor allow me to come in as a volunteer because most of the times, its a paid research assistant position but that would limit to just doing PCR, sterilization, etc.
and this would be a "job", NOT a "volunteer work"

I actually participated in the experiment itself and article writing.
Just spend one summer doing what I did, so now I don't really have to worry about volunteer hrs except the hospital volunteer work I do every week for 2 hrs. :)
 

sacapuntas

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Feb 25, 2011
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The best way to do it is to not volunteer only 3 hours at a time unless you have to. Shoot for day long experiences on Saturdays that might give you 12 hours. You can do this 1-2x a month and 10-20 days a summer and pretty soon you have hundreds of hours. I found it much easier to commit to fewer, longer days rather than more, shorter days.
 
Jun 14, 2012
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I had 485 service and leadership hours documented my senior year of college.

It's called time management.
 
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