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how many extra-curric's is enough????

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by woohoo, Dec 26, 2001.

  1. woohoo

    woohoo Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Oct 15, 2001
    This post is probably going to sound dumb and maybe i'm worrying over nothing but here goes anyway. My question has to do with extra-curriculars. I'm aware that there are no "right" activities but I'm frustrated because i don't know if what I'm doing is enough. This is what I've done(am doing): volunteered w/ Red Cross for almost a yr, helping with blood drives and fundraising; recently joined my campus newspaper writing features and editorials. Within the next year or so: a psychology co-op or internship with a youth camp that cares for disabled children; volunteer at a local Hospice center where my dad's friend works.
    My advisor said that I should volunteer more, possibly in a hospital, even though i would rather not since i'll probably just wind up carting around patients and answering the phone. He also says that i should join the school's "Pre-Health Society", but i feel that this would be a great waste of my time, since all that they seemingly do is meet and hold bake sales every other week. I've considered joining a religious club just for my own personal benefit, the trouble is squeezing it into my already busy schedule. Even though time is scarce, i feel like I'm not doing enough and i don't know what else there is left to do. anyone hear what i'm saying?
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  3. serpiente

    serpiente Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Jun 28, 2001
    You'll hear this over and over I'm sure--it's quality, not quanitity that counts. You could have 30 extracurrics, but if your participation in them is negligible and the activity is trivial (ie a pre health club that holds bake sales every week) then they will be meaningless to med school admissions committees.
  4. jmejia1

    jmejia1 Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Apr 20, 2001
    There was a post a while ago with people posting the number of extracurrics they put on thier amcas application. The average must of been somwhere around 14, and the range anywhere from 6 to 40. When I read about the vast majority of applicants having much more than my six or seven activities, I worried a little, but both my interviewers in my first interview mentioned they liked my extracurrics and where impressed. I never joined any pre-health clubs nor I was I the treasurer for any student government: I worked with kids because that's what I liked to do. I wasn't about to pad my resume with stuff I hated to do. Apparently the six extracurrics was good enough and I ended up getting into the school. So I agree: go for quality as opposed to quantity.
  5. none

    none 1K Member 10+ Year Member

    Jul 27, 2001
    There is a lower and upper limit. Too few and you look disinterested in life in general, too many and the schools don't believe you, even if it's true. It sounds to me like you're doing perfectly well and should not be concerned in the least. Focus on your classes and MCAT now.
  6. megkudos

    megkudos Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Dec 18, 2001
    New Jersey
    You sound like you've done a lot. Whatever you get invloved in I would recommend helping organizing things or getting involved in leadership positions--you get more out of it this way. It sounds like you have clinical experience already so you wouldn't necessarily have to volunteer in a hospital--definatley not if you think you get more out of what you are doing now! Good luck!
  7. DrBlueDevil

    DrBlueDevil god 10+ Year Member

    Nov 10, 2001
    Houston, TX
    Exactly 7. No more, no less.
  8. UCLA2000

    UCLA2000 7+ Year Member

    Dec 19, 2001
    the hospital
    I agree with what many of the other posters have said. It's about the quality of the volunteer work, not the sheer magnitude of it.

    I've been doing a variety of community service since junior high school. Most of it was non medically oriented until I got to college. After that I did research, and volunteered in various hospitals(it was all very hands on, and great experience).

    Long story short, I've been doing volunteer work all my life. I received a Presidential award, and UCLA chancellors award. However, even with all of my volunteer work, above average gpa, and mcat (all dbl digits).....I STILL got rejected from several schools without an interview.... some of which include: Dartmouth, Stanford, and UW. I'm sure I'll be adding alot more to that list shortly because my file has been complete at another 10 schools for a few months now, and still no word.

    This just goes to show that no matter what you do, you'll never make EVERY school happy. There's no real point where you can say THERE! I've done enough!

    Just do whatever you think you can gain experience from, and do what makes you happy. Don't kill yourself overloading on volunteer work. It's not necessary. If you have to, take a summer off to volunteer or something. Go do the NIH research program, or study abroad. Have fun with your volunteer work. DON'T JEOPARDIZE YOUR GRADES by taking on too much stuff.

    Good Luck
  9. I agree with DrBlueDevil...almost. Except I was told eight. Always eight in case one of the Seven is just not good enough. :)
  10. Tweetie_bird

    Tweetie_bird 7+ Year Member

    Nov 20, 2001
    Holy crap! Are you guys kidding me or is this serious??
    I have 4 ec's on my CV. I had to pay my way through college, and I just didn't have the time to invest in ECs. However, whatever I did, I did it to the all those activities, I was either President..VP..etc. But still, 4 is nothing compared to 8!! You guys have me scared now. :confused: :confused: :rolleyes:
  11. rikkitikki

    rikkitikki Member 10+ Year Member

    Sep 27, 2000
    numbers of activities are not importantf- what people want to see is that you can handle at least something outside of schoolwork- this could be a paying job if that was what you needed to go to school- and that if you are involved in an acitivity that you have actually contibuted significantly in terms of it. Often some kind of health related or volunteer position in which you've participated is good' Leadership positions are also a plus. And med schools do have extracurrics also so musical interests, sports etc are fine. THey are also good interviewing discussion points.
  12. MUN2005

    MUN2005 Miner? 7+ Year Member

    Aug 19, 2001
    Something else to add; don't do a certain activity because it will look good on your application, do it because you really love to do it, and if that is in a health field, then great! But don't force yourself to do anything to influence someone else, not that this is what you are doing, just another thought. For example, one of my friends is in med school, and throughout his undergrad he volunteered to coach kids hockey. That's my two cents.
  13. Resident Alien

    Resident Alien What? 7+ Year Member

    Jul 21, 2001
    6 trouble so far. Quality as opposed to quantity. :)
  14. reesie0726

    reesie0726 Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Dec 23, 2001
    arlington, tx
    I do not think that there is a magic number of ec's that you should do. Just do something worthwhile to you. I do think you should have some sort of hospital or clinic experience which I am sure is being fulfilled by your work at a local hospice. Don't do anything though just to boost your resume. Do the activities that you will actually get the most personal benefit from.
  15. Keith

    Keith Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Mar 27, 2001
    East Bay, California
    This was one of my major concerns on my application. I have spent 11 years as a police officer. I worked full-time while doing all of the pre-med requirements and had very little free time. Prior to this endeavor I did community service, was a Big Brother, and spent 65 days in the I.C.U. (as a patient) for a total of 3 mos. in the hospital. I did the ECs I did because I wanted to long before I ever developed and interest in medicine. I think it is quality over quantity. I have gained far more insight into medicine and life via my life and work experience than I ever would have as a candy striper or a volunteer at the local emergency department. If you have had medical exposure great; document it, however, running X-rays and cups of water does not give you any more insight into medicine. Yet, we all worry about if we'll stack up in the EC department. The things that really matters is who you are as a person, what your motivations for medicine are, and if you are capable of being a compassionate and caring person, period!!!!!!!!!!!!
  16. AnnaB

    AnnaB Member 7+ Year Member

    Oct 23, 2001
    Here is my 2 cents on the topic: I have worked in a teaching hospital for a while and have had the opportunity to speak to several med students...some of whom were part of the admissions committee and interviewed potential med students for their school. Here is what I have been told about ECs. DO WHAT IS IMPORTANT TO YOU..and means something to you to do...NOT what you think an admissions committee will "want." I was told that admissions committees like to see "interesting" people....and that means that ECs can range from medically related volunteering time at a day care center. Do what makes you feel good doing and you enjoy..and strive to do it well. The rest will fall into place. Also, I disagree that there is a set number for how many ECs one needs to be involved in. Every med school is different however. I work full ECs some second to everything else....but I still feel well rounded and have a shot at med school. Hope this helps, Anna
  17. Amy B

    Amy B I miss my son so much Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

    Aug 7, 2000
    At both of my interviews my volunteer time was talked about.

    Interview School 1 - "You have a very impressive volunteer record. How do you feel you have learned from your time volunteering."
    Interview School #2 - "We are impressed with your volunteer time. Did you volunteer anywhere before you deceided to return back to school."

    Now let me tell you how many places I volunteer.... 2

    I have been at a free health clinic for 2 and 1/2 years. My duties have grown with the length of time I have been there ;checking in patients, taking vitals, drawing blood, administering immunizations, depo shots, glucose levels, pregnancy counseling,etc.
    I also volunteer at the hospital's cancer center, where I deliver snacks to patients who are getting chemo and or radiation treatments.

    Aside from those two things I have been a Pre-Med Society officer for two years and I was on the police executive board of the county's neighborhood watch group, which was the only volunteer thing I did before I became a pre-med student.

    So total EC activities = 4.

    Now, point #1 - is GET STARTED AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. The more time you can be at the place the better it will look on your applications. So many applicants have volunteer time that starts in February of the year they have applied.

    Point #2 - I also fully believe it is not the quantity but rather the quality of your time giving that you should focus on. In both of my interviews the people said they were very impressed with the dedication I had shown to both places where I volunteer. They said my reference letters from both places spoke quite highly about my dedication and my interaction with the patients.

    I very much enjoy being at the places I volunteer. I have had scheduling problems this last semester that has prevented me from volunteering as much as I have in the past and I have to tell you, I really miss it.

    My last point :When you can be excited about showing up for a volunteer job, where you don't get paid (in money), where you enjoy being there and miss it when you aren't there, where the time passes so quickly when you are working there.... well then you know you are doing it because you want to, rather then doing it just to put it on an application.

    Learn from the experiences and make them have meaning in your life.

    Amy :)

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