Kpw101

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Hey guys. Just wanted to hear your opinions. I'm a volunteer EMT and it's the only volunteer work I have. I absolutely love doing it and never found the urge to look for another volunteer setting. Now I'm a bit nervous because it seems like adcoms are looking for non-clinical volunteering as well. Is this a deal breaker for them? Truthfully speaking, I'd rather pick up another volunteer shift on my squad than find another volunteer gig. I love serving the community in this way and would want to stick with just this if I could.
 

Pagan FutureDoc

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How does your current volunteering demonstrate that you have a desire to help those less fortunate that you?

That's one of the main things they want to see.
 

candbgirl

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It's very important. Time to step outside your comfort zone and do some volunteering with underserved or those less fortunate that you. Look into homeless shelters, soup kitchens, Habitat for Humanity. Etc.. Many churches have opportunities for these kinds of activities so check out your local churches.


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Catalystik

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Hey guys. Just wanted to hear your opinions. I'm a volunteer EMT and it's the only volunteer work I have. I absolutely love doing it and never found the urge to look for another volunteer setting. Now I'm a bit nervous because it seems like adcoms are looking for non-clinical volunteering as well. Is this a deal breaker for them? Truthfully speaking, I'd rather pick up another volunteer shift on my squad than find another volunteer gig. I love serving the community in this way and would want to stick with just this if I could.
Some med schools will look at your current volunteering as covering their expectations. Others won't, and it may not be possible to guess which they are from reading med school mission statements. In order for your application to have the broadest possible appeal, it would be wise to to include off-campus, hands-on, nonclinical community service to those in need. Surely there is some cause you could come to care about?
 
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ChrisMack390

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Its such low hanging fruit. Spend 1-2 hours a week at a soup kitchen. Its easy and its fun. You will learn a lot and have extra material for interviews and essays. There is no downside.
 
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Swish16

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Important but not as essential as clinical exp, research or shadowing. Try participating in a philanthropic endeavor or a local outreach effort.


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bunchesonothing

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And it doesn't necessarily need to be undeserved populations or soup kitchen volunteering. Volunteer for a cause that matters to you, even if it's not something like what others are recommending. Or even necessarily for the less fortunate (although that is a great thing). Do you have a talent or an interest you can use to serve the community? Sometimes I feel like much of the community service opps premeds do end up looking like blatant app boosters. The less it looks like that, the better.
 
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LizzyM

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And it doesn't necessarily need to be undeserved populations or soup kitchen volunteering. Volunteer for a cause that matters to you, even if it's not something like what others are recommending. Or even necessarily for the less fortunate (although that is a great thing). Do you have a talent or an interest you can use to serve the community? Sometimes I feel like much of the community service opps premeds do end up looking like blatant app boosters. The less it looks like that, the better.
Part of this is to get outside your comfort zone and to see people you might not otherwise interact with. Granted EMT means going into peoples homes and work places and seeing a side of life that most people don't see but volunteering shows that you want to help people and non-clinical volunteering shows that you want to help people even when it doesn't double count for clinical experience.
 

bunchesonothing

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Part of this is to get outside your comfort zone and to see people you might not otherwise interact with. Granted EMT means going into peoples homes and work places and seeing a side of life that most people don't see but volunteering shows that you want to help people and non-clinical volunteering shows that you want to help people even when it doesn't double count for clinical experience.
I get that. It's just people tell you do things you're passionate about, but then everyone recommends the same cookie cutter ECs.
 
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LizzyM

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I get that. It's just people tell you do things your passionate about, but then everyone recommends the same cookie cutter ECs.
It is only cookie cutter if you go with one of the commonly suggested, and commonly performed, ECs because you "have to" rather than finding something unusual or particular to your community. There are dozens of non-clinical volunteer opportunities in any given community. Find something you enjoy that is non-clinical and go for it. But ideally it should be involving the poor or those who couldn't pay for your services (e.g. tutoring young kids from a poor neighborhood) rather than throwing charity balls for the city opera.
 

bunchesonothing

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It is only cookie cutter if you go with one of the commonly suggested, and commonly performed, ECs because you "have to" rather than finding something unusual or particular to your community. There are dozens of non-clinical volunteer opportunities in any given community. Find something you enjoy that is non-clinical and go for it. But ideally it should be involving the poor or those who couldn't pay for your services (e.g. tutoring young kids from a poor neighborhood) rather than throwing charity balls for the city opera.
I feel like that was a rather extreme flip of examples. There are things that fall in between that can show an interest in helping the community at large.

I'm a pace-leader for a local runners organization. I physically show novice runners how to run long distance races and teach them things like nutrition, hydration. How to do things safely. I'm a leader. I'm a mentor. The organization charges for the "program" I pace for, but no one would be able to afford the program if the pacers were paid. Also the organization takes the funds from the program and puts it into fixing and making running paths in the area safer for everyone. They also put the funds into a running program for underserved youth.

I want to go into sports medicine, so this fits my personal mission well.

I've done this for over 10 years. And I love it. I would have done it anyway, but as far as my app goes, I do feel like this was an efficient use of my time.

I also have other service on my app with undeserved clinical populations, but this is by far, my biggest and best contribution to my community.
 
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LizzyM

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I feel like that was a rather extreme flip of examples. There are things that fall in between that can show an interest in helping the community at large.

I'm a pace-leader for a local runners organization. I physically show novice runners how to run long distance races and teach them things like nutrition, hydration. How to do things safely. I'm a leader. I'm a mentor. The organization charges for the "program" I pace for, but no one would be able to afford the program if the pacers were paid. Also the organization takes the funds from the program and puts it into fixing and making running paths in the area safer. They also put the funds into a running program for underserved youth.

I want to go into sports medicine, so this fits my personal mission well.

I've done this for over 10 years. And I love it. I would have done it anyway, but as far as my app goes, I do feel like this was an efficient use of my time.

I also have other service on my app with undeserved clinical populations, but this is by far, my biggest and best contribution to my community.
Is the local runners organization a not-for-profit? Are you helping people who couldn't afford to join a program with paid professional pacers (if such a program were available) and so your volunteerism is helping people who couldn't otherwise afford these activities? I think that's fine and that is one of those "one off" things that really wouldn't be feasible for most applicants but is a good fit for you.
 

gonnif

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Having served on a student run volunteer ambulance corps on a very large state university campus, you can show an indepth volunteer commitment as well as leadership if you move up to crew chief or officer. However, if it is your only volunteer experience, it does present some issues for adcoms to explore and possibly create unanswered questions in their mind of "does the applicant have a narrow view of both community service as well as medicine, especially if EMT is your largest provider of health care experience?" You can certainly express that this is the only thing your passionate about, but if anything has been seen over the past twenty years is that medical schools are looking for applicants who can provide diversity by the breadth of their experiences as well as all other factors. This would especially be true of the schools that attempt to summarize and quantify ECs, which by now most do. In other words, with thousands of applications that schools receive and multiple adcoms members reading various parts, each part (or subpart) of the application will be "scored" or "evaluated" usually by some guidance characteristics a numeric value, something like 6=truly outstanding, 5=extremely well qualified, 4=well qualified, 3=qualified, 2=subpar, 1=not qualified. At some schools zero can equal none as in fully lacking anything in that area or it can mean blackballed. Guidance characteristics that a reader may judge this on could include things like "leadership." "commitment," "total hours," "breath of experience," etc. To extend this further, most parts of the application are scored/summarized this way of your total score can be considered your priority for review, interview, etc. So if you have no other volunteering, you may get a zeros in some categories or certainly low score, hence lowering your chances for acceptance. To add data to this, take a looks at the attached chart below and you will see what the a 2013 AAMC survey with 127 medical schools responding said about this all


*https://www.aamc.org/download/434596/data/usingmcatdata2016.pdf
see page 3 (pdf p7) Table 1. Mean Importance Ratings of Academic, Experiential, and Demographic Application Data Used by Admissions Committees for Making Decisions about Which Applicants to Receive an Interview Invitation and Offer Acceptance (N=127)


277 MCAT Student Selection 2014 - mcatstudentselectionguide-page-012.jpg
 

Goro

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It's important to demonstrate your altruism. Medicine is a service industry, and so showing evidence of your service to others will be important, especially service to those less fortunate than yourself.

Service need not be "unique". If you can alleviate suffering in your community through service to the poor, homeless, illiterate, fatherless, etc, you are meeting an otherwise unmet need and learning more about the lives of the people (or types of people) who will someday be your patients. Check out your local houses of worship for volunteer opportunities. The key thing is service to others less fortunate than you. And get off campus and out of your comfort zone!

Examples include: Habitat for Humanity, Ronald McDonald House, Humane Society, crisis hotlines, soup kitchen, food pantry, homeless or women’s shelter, after-school tutoring for students or coaching a sport in a poor school district, teaching ESL to adults at a community center, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, or Meals on Wheels.



Hey guys. Just wanted to hear your opinions. I'm a volunteer EMT and it's the only volunteer work I have. I absolutely love doing it and never found the urge to look for another volunteer setting. Now I'm a bit nervous because it seems like adcoms are looking for non-clinical volunteering as well. Is this a deal breaker for them? Truthfully speaking, I'd rather pick up another volunteer shift on my squad than find another volunteer gig. I love serving the community in this way and would want to stick with just this if I could.
 
OP
Kpw101

Kpw101

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It's important to demonstrate your altruism. Medicine is a service industry, and so showing evidence of your service to others will be important, especially service to those less fortunate than yourself.

Service need not be "unique". If you can alleviate suffering in your community through service to the poor, homeless, illiterate, fatherless, etc, you are meeting an otherwise unmet need and learning more about the lives of the people (or types of people) who will someday be your patients. Check out your local houses of worship for volunteer opportunities. The key thing is service to others less fortunate than you. And get off campus and out of your comfort zone!

Examples include: Habitat for Humanity, Ronald McDonald House, Humane Society, crisis hotlines, soup kitchen, food pantry, homeless or women’s shelter, after-school tutoring for students or coaching a sport in a poor school district, teaching ESL to adults at a community center, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, or Meals on Wheels.
Was actually part of habitat for humanity before I became an EMT! I enjoyed EMT more and so dropped hours in habitat for humanity to focus on that. Guess it's time to switch out the black boots for brown boots for a few days a month. Thank you for your help everyone!
 
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gonnif

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I know plenty of people that got into good med schools with little to none nonclinical volunteering, so do it if you have free time but focus more on clinical and research and especially grades and MCAT
As noted before, in a 2013 AAMC survey* where 127 medical admissions offices responded, found research experience is only of medium importance at private schools and of low importance to public schools as an experiential factor in offering both interview invitations and acceptance. Healthcare experience, community service/volunteer experience, experience with underserved populations, navigated through cultural barriers or challenges, leadership experience were considered of higher importance in factors for interview invites and offers of acceptances

*https://www.aamc.org/download/434596/data/usingmcatdata2016.pdf
see page 3 (pdf p7) Table 1. Mean Importance Ratings of Academic, Experiential, and Demographic Application Data Used by Admissions Committees for Making Decisions about Which Applicants to Receive an Interview Invitation and Offer Acceptance (N=127)