How does my non-clinical volunteering look for service-oriented schools?

About the Ads

brockhamptonfanacct

Full Member
2+ Year Member
Mar 2, 2018
757
707
116
  1. Pre-Medical
Your hours are equivalent to 5 weeks of full-time work. You will be up against people who worked or were full-time volunteers over several summers or during 1-2 gap years. Proceed with caution when applying to schools that put a big focus on service or clinical experience.

Just to clarify - I am not applying this cycle. I will be applying either next year, or the year after that.
 

DrStephennmnm

Full Member
Oct 17, 2019
148
299
41
  1. Pre-Medical
Rising junior; applying either next cycle or the cycle after next
  • Student-led national PPE outreach effort (currently 33 hours)
    • April 2020-present
    • Conduct needs assessment for local healthcare facilities, such as hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and homeless shelters to determine how much PPE is needed and of what kind
    • Coordinate deliveries, contact points, donations, etc.
    • I also oversee volunteers and delegate tasks as part of my Regional Coordinator role
  • Women's shelter childcare and respite volunteer (currently 26 hours)
    • September 2020-present (but paused because of pandemic)
    • Provide childcare at a women's shelter, assist in educational programs and recreational ones with the kids
    • Volunteer weekly with outreach programs that teach women and their children about healthy relationships through art
  • Sliding-scale psychological clinic resource navigator (currently 132 hours)
    • October 2020-present
    • Low-income, sliding-scale psychological evaluation clinic primarily for children/adolescents; all clinical services are offered purely by PsyDs, so I have this categorized as non-clinical (is this categorization appropriate?)
    • I maintain a large database of referrals such as outpatient psychiatric services, autism services, etc. for three different counties
    • I conduct follow-ups by calling the parents/guardians of the children who were evaluated and asking whether therapy has been implemented/beneficial, what recommendations of the psychologists worked effectively and what didn't, help point them to additional resources such as marriage counseling, etc.
  • Crisis hotline (currently 0 hours - in training)
  • Current total at the end of sophomore year: 191 hours
I have a couple of questions:

  1. I know the numbers for a couple of the programs are low, because I'm not applying this cycle and just finished sophomore year. However, if I stay on track, would I be competitive for service-oriented schools? I know some want 1000+ hours, and moreover, some really emphasize service to the underserved--I'm afraid that since I didn't seek out the traditional food bank volunteering or tutoring in low SES districts, I won't appear as good of a mission fit.
    1. Is my longevity/commitment up to par? I transferred after my freshman year, so I tried to get started as early as I could. I plan on continuing all of these opportunities throughout junior year (and senior year, if I take a gap year).
  2. The psychological clinic volunteering is non-clinical, correct?
Thanks!
Less than average for most schools and probably less than 10th percentile at the service oriented schools
 

LizzyM

the evil queen of numbers
15+ Year Member
Mar 7, 2005
25,675
44,017
326
  1. Academic Administration
Thank you; that makes sense. I likely will be taking the gap year. Do you think the volunteering itself is alright, in terms of this part that I mentioned:

"...and moreover, some really emphasize service to the underserved--I'm afraid that since I didn't seek out the traditional food bank volunteering or tutoring in low SES districts, I won't appear as good of a mission fit."

Aside from women and children in a shelter, you don't seem to have other direct service to members of the community who are unlike yourself. You might want to get out of your comfort zone and do something face-to-face with those who are very poor.
 

HouseJC

If nobody hates you, you're doing something wrong
2+ Year Member
Mar 22, 2019
427
525
116
New Orleans
  1. Medical Student
I agree with what Lizzy and Goro said, but at the same time (from my perspective of reading your questions and answers), I'm under the impression that you are "checking boxes". Don't do something that you aren't passionate in, because during an interview or even on your app, passion in activities is really easy to see. In addition, hours are important, but more importantly it is what each experience has taught you and motivated you to pursue medical school. Think about those topics in next 1-2 years before you apply.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

brockhamptonfanacct

Full Member
2+ Year Member
Mar 2, 2018
757
707
116
  1. Pre-Medical
I agree with what Lizzy and Goro said, but at the same time (from my perspective of reading your questions and answers), I'm under the impression that you are "checking boxes". Don't do something that you aren't passionate in, because during an interview or even on your app, passion in activities is really easy to see. In addition, hours are important, but more importantly it is what each experience has taught you and motivated you to pursue medical school. Think about those topics in next 1-2 years before you apply.

I mean this respectfully - I'm not sure what about my answers implied that I am checking boxes, but that's not my situation. The free clinic that I brought up as an additional point to check LizzyM's thoughts on is something I didn't initially include because it's clinical--but it's something that I've been doing since high school, and sought out of my own volition. I have relationships with patients and administration there, happily helped the clinic grow from a three-room clinic to a larger and more capable one, etc. Their mission aligns exactly with my own goals for the future; one of my dream careers is blending primary care and preventive medicine. I am specifically interested in what I've heard called "boring bread and butter" (like diabetes management), because it's in those preventable, manageable commonalities that I best see myself making a tangible difference.

The reason I even made this post, and specifically asked if this volunteering is not as ideal due to its unconventional nature, is because I went against the grain and pursued these opportunities for my passions. The mental health clinic was, again, one I sought out specifically because it serves low-income populations and destigmatizes mental healthcare; the women's shelter is one I sought out specifically because I am interested in women's health, maternal health disparities, helping women identify warning signs and escape plans for domestic violence, etc. I do appreciate you taking the time to offer advice, though, and I know it's good advice for those it applies to!
 
Last edited:

DrStephennmnm

Full Member
Oct 17, 2019
148
299
41
  1. Pre-Medical
I mean this respectfully - I'm not sure what about my answers implied that I am checking boxes, but that's not my situation. The free clinic that I brought up as an additional point to check LizzyM's thoughts on is something I didn't initially include because it's clinical--but it's something that I've been doing since high school, and sought out of my own volition. I have relationships with patients and administration there, happily helped the clinic grow from a three-room clinic to a larger and more capable one, etc. Their mission aligns exactly with my own goals for the future; one of my dream careers is blending primary care and preventive medicine. I am specifically interested in what I've heard called "boring bread and butter" (like diabetes management), because it's in those preventable, manageable commonalities that I best see myself making a tangible difference.

The reason I even made this post, and specifically asked if this volunteering is not as ideal due to its unconventional nature, is because I went against the grain and pursued these opportunities for my passions. The mental health clinic was, again, one I sought out specifically because it serves low-income populations and destigmatizes mental healthcare; the women's shelter is one I sought out specifically because I am interested in women's health, maternal health disparities, helping women identify warning signs and escape plans for domestic violence, etc. I do appreciate you taking the time to offer advice, though, and I know it's good advice for those it applies to!
I think the reason why he said it appears that you are checking boxes is because you are specifically asking whether your service hours are competitive for service oriented schools. Honestly that was the vibe I got as well.

Regardless, usually people who get accepted to these schools don't ask about how many hours is competitive, but rather how their experiences shaped them as a person and how it will contribute to their care as a doctor. They care about quality over quantity. Just my two cents. Good luck
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

brockhamptonfanacct

Full Member
2+ Year Member
Mar 2, 2018
757
707
116
  1. Pre-Medical
I think the reason why he said it appears that you are checking boxes is because you are specifically asking whether your service hours are competitive for service oriented schools. Honestly that was the vibe I got as well.

Regardless, usually people who get accepted to these schools don't ask about how many hours is competitive, but rather how their experiences shaped them as a person and how it will contribute to their care as a doctor. They care about quality over quantity. Just my two cents. Good luck

I can understand that--it's just that since I know my quality will be good, and I will be able to speak about these passionately at length, I'm concerned now about the other aspect (hours). I think it's a fair concern to have - your initial post outlined why as well.

Thank you!
 

DrStephennmnm

Full Member
Oct 17, 2019
148
299
41
  1. Pre-Medical
I can understand that--it's just that since I know my quality will be good, and I will be able to speak about these passionately at length, I'm concerned now about the other aspect (hours). I think it's a fair concern to have - your initial post outlined why as well.

Thank you!
I think if you continue volunteering, and can speak in depth about how these experiences affected you and will contribute to your future as a physician, you will have a great shot at these schools.
 
About the Ads
This thread is more than 1 year old.

Your message may be considered spam for the following reasons:

  1. Your new thread title is very short, and likely is unhelpful.
  2. Your reply is very short and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  3. Your reply is very long and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  4. It is very likely that it does not need any further discussion and thus bumping it serves no purpose.
  5. Your message is mostly quotes or spoilers.
  6. Your reply has occurred very quickly after a previous reply and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  7. This thread is locked.