How much non-clinical volunteering needed to be competitive?

GrayArea

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Hello!

So I will be applying next cycle, and have my mind focused on a top tier school.

I have a bunch of clinical volunteering hours but not as much non-clinical volunteering hours. Is there a certain minimum of non-clinical that is "sufficient" to be competitive? Do the amount of non-clinical and clinical hours need to be some what balanced?

What do you guys think?
 

Chelsea FC

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Hello!

So I will be applying next cycle, and have my mind focused on a top tier school.

I have a bunch of clinical volunteering hours but not as much non-clinical volunteering hours. Is there a certain minimum of non-clinical that is "sufficient" to be competitive? Do the amount of non-clinical and clinical hours need to be some what balanced?

What do you guys think?
Use the search function. This has been asked and answered over 20 times recently
 
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Boogy'sChick15

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Some schools have a minimum requirement for how many volunteer hours are required, so do some research on the schools you are interested in and see if they have that requirement.
Also, it has been stated many times that although a large amount of clinical volunteer experience is needed to get you accustomed to healthcare and patient interaction, it is nice to see applicants that have equal if not more non-clinical volunteer experience. Most clinical volunteer work or shadowing is done to benefit you, to educate yourself and gain experience in the field of work you are interested in. Non-clinical volunteer work, however, is done to benefit others, and shows that you have compassion towards those less fortunate than yourself. In short, clinical is for yourself, and non clinical is for others.

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GrayArea

GrayArea

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Some schools have a minimum requirement for how many volunteer hours are required, so do some research on the schools you are interested in and see if they have that requirement.
Also, it has been stated many times that although a large amount of clinical volunteer experience is needed to get you accustomed to healthcare and patient interaction, it is nice to see applicants that have equal if not more non-clinical volunteer experience. Most clinical volunteer work or shadowing is done to benefit you, to educate yourself and gain experience in the field of work you are interested in. Non-clinical volunteer work, however, is done to benefit others, and shows that you have compassion towards those less fortunate than yourself. In short, clinical is for yourself, and non clinical is for others.

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Thank you! Does it have to be non-clinical work done from undergrad onwards? If I count ALL the volunteering I have done (high school included), my non-clinical and clinical are pretty balanced.

Quality of experience is far more important than number of hours.
I agree. The quality of my non-clinical hours is great, but not many. I am simply fearful that the perception of a limited number of hours will be misinterpreted as, "he did not do enough".
 

Boogy'sChick15

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Anything done in high school has no meaning towards your application unless you continued it into college. If you continued it, then include all of it.

Also keep in mind they like to see commitment to your experiences. Multiple volunteer gigs done for a couple months each, spread out over time is not as good as one or two volunteer gigs continued for a year+

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GrayArea

GrayArea

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Depends on where you apply. Some places, like Rush, want 1000+ hr of community service.
Wow that is a lot of hours... do most schools require that many or is it just a handful? I don't understand why they would screen based on quantity of hours versus quality. Shouldn't the community service be evaluated on the impact it has on others?
 

Boogy'sChick15

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Wow that is a lot of hours... do most schools require that many or is it just a handful? I don't understand why they would screen based on quantity of hours versus quality. Shouldn't the community service be evaluated on the impact it has on others?
No not all schools require this. Most schools that have this large of requirement are due to their schools mission statement and whether or not they focus on serving the community.

And the reason they screen on quantity vs quality is because they want to determine which applicants simply checked off boxes for their application and those who truly did it because it means something to them, and that they truly wanted to help.

Quality volunteer experiences also provide the applicant with more to say about why they did it and what they enjoyed about it. Someone with 1000 hrs in something they only did to check off the box will have very little to say compared to someone with maybe 200 hrs in something they truly enjoyed. It really makes a difference, especially during interviews

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Wow that is a lot of hours... do most schools require that many or is it just a handful? I don't understand why they would screen based on quantity of hours versus quality. Shouldn't the community service be evaluated on the impact it has on others?
Nono. My point was it depends on schools. I would focus on quality, like has been mentioned by other posters. I think (not sure!) that 200+ hr is competitive. But find things you are passionate about. Lots of hours and no spark in your eye during interviews says a lot.
 
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GrayArea

GrayArea

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Anything done in high school has no meaning towards your application unless you continued it into college. If you continued it, then include all of it.

Also keep in mind they like to see commitment to your experiences. Multiple volunteer gigs done for a couple months each, spread out over time is not as good as one or two volunteer gigs continued for a year+

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Ok. So one of the organizations I volunteer for requires at least an 18month commitment. It has a great impact on others but only really requires 6 hours a month. Obviously that is not enough to meet the quantity of hours required for a school like Rush. However, it definitely shows leadership, compassion, and all other qualities that medical schools want to see in community service. So now I am thinking, do I really need to find more gigs simply to add on "hours". I do not mind doing that at all, but it just seems to me that the experience of the community service should weigh more than the quantity.
 

Boogy'sChick15

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Ok. So one of the organizations I volunteer for requires at least an 18month commitment. It has a great impact on others but only really requires 6 hours a month. Obviously that is not enough to meet the quantity of hours required for a school like Rush. However, it definitely shows leadership, compassion, and all other qualities that medical schools want to see in community service. So now I am thinking, do I really need to find more gigs simply to add on "hours". I do not mind doing that at all, but it just seems to me that the experience of the community service should weigh more than the quantity.
If it is something you care about, and will therefore put an effort into the organization, then go for it. You can decide to add another volunteer opportunity if you would like down the road if you haven't been able to meet the requirements for some schools. 6 hrs a month is not much time taken away, given that your schedule isn't already hectic, so you should be able to fit in something else if you want.

Just make sure you know which schools have a requirement, and if you wish to apply to those schools during your application cycle, then do what you can to meet it.

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Ok. So one of the organizations I volunteer for requires at least an 18month commitment. It has a great impact on others but only really requires 6 hours a month. Obviously that is not enough to meet the quantity of hours required for a school like Rush. However, it definitely shows leadership, compassion, and all other qualities that medical schools want to see in community service. So now I am thinking, do I really need to find more gigs simply to add on "hours". I do not mind doing that at all, but it just seems to me that the experience of the community service should weigh more than the quantity.
Quality matters yes. But rememberthat they look for people who ENJOY community service and choose to do a significant amount of it. That is the career of a physician!
 
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GrayArea

GrayArea

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Nono. My point was it depends on schools. I would focus on quality, like has been mentioned by other posters. I think (not sure!) that 200+ hr is competitive. But find things you are passionate about. Lots of hours and no spark in your eye during interviews says a lot.
Ok. I easily have 200+ hours, and all for causes I am passionate for. My worry is that I could be screened out on primaries or secondaries because I do not have a crazy amount of community service, like 1000 hours.
 

Goro

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Hello!

So I will be applying next cycle, and have my mind focused on a top tier school.

I have a bunch of clinical volunteering hours but not as much non-clinical volunteering hours. Is there a certain minimum of non-clinical that is "sufficient" to be competitive? Do the amount of non-clinical and clinical hours need to be some what balanced?

What do you guys think?
Over 100 hrs. The more, the better.
 
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GrayArea

GrayArea

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Quality matters yes. But rememberthat they look for people who ENJOY community service and choose to do a significant amount of it. That is the career of a physician!
And I do enjoy it. It makes sense however that I am biased to do volunteer work for medical organizations because that is where my interest lies.

But to be safe, I will most likely find another volunteer gig I am interested in so I can have more hours on paper.
 

Boogy'sChick15

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Ok. I easily have 200+ hours, and all for causes I am passionate for. My worry is that I could be screened out on primaries or secondaries because I do not have a crazy amount of community service, like 1000 hours.
If you use the search function and search topics similar to your question, you will see that not every applicant has 1000+ hrs. Many people have been accepted with a lower number of hours than that. Getting over 100-200 should be the goal, and any more than that will simply benefit your application. I will repeat though, do what you enjoy. Don't be a box checker!

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GrayArea

GrayArea

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If you use the search function and search topics similar to your question, you will see that not every applicant has 1000+ hrs. Many people have been accepted with a lower number of hours than that. Getting over 100-200 should be the goal, and any more than that will simply benefit your application. I will repeat though, do what you enjoy. Don't be a box checker!

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Thank you. Never a box-checker. I do not continue things that I don't genuinely enjoy simply to "look better"
 

Boogy'sChick15

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And I do enjoy it. It makes sense however that I am biased to do volunteer work for medical organizations because that is where my interest lies.

But to be safe, I will most likely find another volunteer gig I am interested in so I can have more hours on paper.
Everyone here is biased towards medical organizations or clinical experience, we are all here because of our interest in medicine (except for those just interested in the money lol.)
That's where hobby's or personal experiences come into play. If you know someone who was homeless, then give back at soup kitchens or clothing drives. Did you struggle in highschool? Give back by tutoring teens. Lose a loved one to some type of illness?? Join fundraisers to help fund research.

For example, I had 3 family members battle breast cancer, and one friend pass away. So I volunteer for the Susan G. Komen foundation by raising money throughout the year and then participating in a 3 day walk where we walk 60 miles to raise awareness. Its something I am very passionate about, and I could easily spend 30 minutes talking about my experiences.

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Over 100 hrs. The more, the better.
Does it matter if the volunteering was completed through one day service events? I should have over 100 hours but they mainly come from one day events like soup kitchen, park clean ups, and other things like that.
 

Goro

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Good question. It depends upon what you were doing. Quality >> quantity. I personally beleive that service towards others less fortunate than yourself is what really counts.



Does it matter if the volunteering was completed through one day service events? I should have over 100 hours but they mainly come from one day events like soup kitchen, park clean ups, and other things like that.
 

JB50

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I think I read somewhere on here that some applicants get in with very minimal quantity of hours but I'm 100% positive they had another area that made up for it (paramedic, emt, nurse, etc). Like everyone else is saying, I think it's more the quality of the experiences and how much it impacts you versus checking a box with shallow-level experiences.

One thing to think about is if you're asked about it during an interview and you scrape to come up with meaningfulness. I feel like that would show rather quickly. Not saying this is you but I always approached my experiences, clinical or non-clinical, with what impact they may have on me. It's something my advisor always stressed when talking about gathering experiences.

EDIT: I always like to throw in that I am not a physician, an ADCOM, nor an accepted pre-med. It's just what I've gathered from several resources including SDN. Take my advice with a grain of salt ;)
 

Turkishking

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Hello!

So I will be applying next cycle, and have my mind focused on a top tier school.

I have a bunch of clinical volunteering hours but not as much non-clinical volunteering hours. Is there a certain minimum of non-clinical that is "sufficient" to be competitive? Do the amount of non-clinical and clinical hours need to be some what balanced?

What do you guys think?
If your stats are decent, do as many as you can for an extended period of time (1 year) . Don't neglect leadership and forget about what these people who say 1-2 activities is fine. In an interview I can pull off my passion for every non-clinical activity I did. If I can so can you
 

Boogy'sChick15

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If your stats are decent, do as many as you can for an extended period of time (1 year) . Don't neglect leadership and forget about what these people who say 1-2 activities is fine. In an interview I can pull off my passion for every non-clinical activity I did. If I can so can you
I'm sorry, but I do not agree with the advice you have given. First of all, telling someone that if YOU can pull off passion for all of your activities in an interview then THEY should be able to as well is ridiculous and lacks sound judgement. Not every person has perfect interview skills, nor does everyone have the ability to pull reasons out of their butt as to what they enjoyed about their experiences if they truly had no passion or interest in it. Also, you are giving advice on how you do in interviews when you are barely entering your sophomore year of undergrad and haven't even experienced a med school interview. I would leave advice pertaining to med school interviews to adcoms and students who have already gone through the process.

Secondly, you have posted monthly updates asking for improvements of your own ECs, where you were given advice exactly like the advice that was given here. 1 to 2 long term volunteer experiences in something that truly matters to OP IS FINE if that's all they can do. Not everyone has the spare time to dedicate 20 hrs a week to volunteer work. If they have the time, they can add more, but telling OP to ignore the advice given by almost every SDN user will only do more harm than good.

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LizzyM

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with regard to non-clinical volunteering

Most applicants have been out of high school for at least 3 years; I like to see at least 2 years of service averaging 2 hours per week. It is more important to me to see the 2 years than the cumulative hours and I think that 200 hours is a bare minimum over 2 years but that 200 hours is not equivalent to 200 hours acquired during an intensive period of full-time service for a short period of time.

Military service and Peace Corps is usually > 2 years full time. Those certainly count.
 
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Chromium Surfer

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Most applicants have been out of high school for at least 3 years; I like to see at least 2 years of service averaging 2 hours per week. It is more important to me to see the 2 years than the cumulative hours and I think that 200 hours is a bare minimum over 2 years but that 200 hours is not equivalent to 200 hours acquired during an intensive period of full-time service for a short period of time.

Military service and Peace Corps is usually > 2 years full time. Those certainly count.
If an applicant has significantly more nonclinical volunteering than clinical volunteering is that okay? For example a 1:3 ratio of clinical to nonclinical volunteering, assuming you have a minimum of 100 hours of clinical volunteering?
 

Boogy'sChick15

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If an applicant has significantly more nonclinical volunteering than clinical volunteering is that okay? For example a 1:3 ratio of clinical to nonclinical volunteering, assuming you have a minimum of 100 hours of clinical volunteering?
I mentioned earlier in this thread that it is ideal to have equal if not more non-clinical volunteer experience than clinical as long as you have a sufficient amount of hours for clinical.
Keep in mind that clinical volunteer experiences benefit you, so showing that you do more to benefit others and those less fortunate than yourself simply makes you a better applicant.
Just make sure the amount of clinical experience, including shadowing, is enough to show that you are familiar with healthcare and the fields that you are interested in.

Edited: misread previous post
 
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LizzyM

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I mentioned earlier in this thread that it is ideal to have equal if not more non-clinical volunteer experience than clinical as long as you have a sufficient amount of hours for clinical. Follow @LizzyM 's advice on what is expected for clinical hours.
Keep in mind that clinical volunteer experiences benefit you, so showing that you do more to benefit others and those less fortunate than yourself simply makes you a better applicant.
Just make sure the amount of clinical experience, including shadowing, is enough to show that you are familiar with healthcare and the fields that you are interested in.
Hey, my advice was specifically for NON-clinical!
 

LizzyM

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Clinical exposure whether through employment and/or shadowing and/or volunteering is meant to help you determine if a career in medicine is the right choice for you and if you have what it takes to work with the sick and injured and their families and/or with people seeing routine preventive services (e.g. management of hypertension, diabetes and other chronic conditions, immunizations, cancer screening, etc).

Non-clinical volunteering demonstrates your willingness to help others, particularly the face-to-face service to those in need. If you are motivated to help people, walk the walk. Even without clinical skills, you can help people and the way to do that is often in non-clinical settings doing things like providing food to the hungry, assistance with resettlement of refugees, friend, coach or mentor to a child or adult who is poor or who has a disability, literacy volunteer, etc.
 

Chromium Surfer

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Hey, my advice was specifically for NON-clinical!
If you don't mind me asking, is the the scenario I posed in my initial question okay or should I be focusing more of my time on clinical volunteering? I have over 50 hours of shadowing and should have at least 100 hours of clinical service by the time I apply. But I'm more drawn to the nonclicnal volunteer work that I do and want to invest more time in that.

Thanks for your time.
 

LizzyM

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If you don't mind me asking, is the the scenario I posed in my initial question okay or should I be focusing more of my time on clinical volunteering? I have over 50 hours of shadowing and should have at least 100 hours of clinical service by the time I apply. But I'm more drawn to the nonclicnal volunteer work that I do and want to invest more time in that.

Thanks for your time.
I'd be cool with 100 hours of clinical service, 50 hours of shadowing and many years/hours of non-clinical. That is admirable.
 

Matthew9Thirtyfive

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Military service and Peace Corps is usually > 2 years full time. Those certainly count.
Military service counts even though we get paid? I mean I know we volunteer to join, but I still get a paycheck twice a month.
 

LizzyM

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Military service counts even though we get paid? I mean I know we volunteer to join, but I still get a paycheck twice a month.
They don't call it "the service" for nothing. As you know, it counts big time as service to country and to fellow service members.
 

Akewataru

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Clinical exposure whether through employment and/or shadowing and/or volunteering is meant to help you determine if a career in medicine is the right choice for you and if you have what it takes to work with the sick and injured and their families and/or with people seeing routine preventive services (e.g. management of hypertension, diabetes and other chronic conditions, immunizations, cancer screening, etc).

Non-clinical volunteering demonstrates your willingness to help others, particularly the face-to-face service to those in need. If you are motivated to help people, walk the walk. Even without clinical skills, you can help people and the way to do that is often in non-clinical settings doing things like providing food to the hungry, assistance with resettlement of refugees, friend, coach or mentor to a child or adult who is poor or who has a disability, literacy volunteer, etc.
Say I had year or two worth of clinical experience from my full-time employment, how much shadowing and/or clinical volunteering would I need to do?

I've also seen @Goro mention Habitat for Humanity on several of his post as a suggestion where to volunteer. I recently relocated to a city that has a chapter which happens to be very active. They ask for a commitment of one day a week for a morning or afternoon shift. How long of an commitment should I be expecting to make?


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Matthew9Thirtyfive

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Say I had year or two worth of clinical experience from my full-time employment, how much shadowing and/or clinical volunteering would I need to do?

I've also seen @Goro mention Habitat for Humanity on several of his post as a suggestion where to volunteer. I recently relocated to a city that has a chapter which happens to be very active. They ask for a commitment of one day a week for a morning or afternoon shift. How long of an commitment should I be expecting to make?


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I'm sure if you call them, they'll give you all the pertinent info.
 

raf1ki

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with regard to non-clinical volunteering

Most applicants have been out of high school for at least 3 years; I like to see at least 2 years of service averaging 2 hours per week. It is more important to me to see the 2 years than the cumulative hours and I think that 200 hours is a bare minimum over 2 years but that 200 hours is not equivalent to 200 hours acquired during an intensive period of full-time service for a short period of time.

Military service and Peace Corps is usually > 2 years full time. Those certainly count.
My premed advisor said that 10-30 unpaid hours a week in a lab counts as volunteering.
Obviously, it doesn't touch the community service aspects, but does it count for something/explain less community service? I have over 2 years of research, 1+ year in two different labs.

Research is not fulfilling me anymore, so I'm transitioning from research to service volunteering now (I'll apply this May).
 
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Akewataru

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I'm sure if you call them, they'll give you all the pertinent info.
I meant the time commitment to be competitive for medical school admissions purposes. Would volunteering for one day a week for a year be enough? It would be all I could manage to do between my full-time employment and course load.


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Boogy'sChick15

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I meant the time commitment to be competitive for medical school admissions purposes. Would volunteering for one day a week for a year be enough? It would be all I could manage to do between my full-time employment and course load.


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How many hours would you spend volunteering for that day? A 2 hour shift for one day a week would give you ~100 hrs for one year, 4 hr shift would give you ~200, 8hr shift would give ~400, and so on.

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LizzyM

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My premed advisor said that 10-30 unpaid hours a week in a lab counts as volunteering.
Obviously, it doesn't touch the community service aspects, but does it count for something/explain less community service? I have over 2 years of research, 1+ year in two different labs.

Research is not fulfilling me anymore, so I'm transitioning from research to service volunteering now (I'll apply this May).
Typically, any laboratory work is labeled "research" (presuming it is research and not analysis of samples for clinical care). Therefore, it is not labeled "volunteer, non-clinical". Almost every successful applicant has some research experience and just about every one has some volunteer experience. It sounds like you will have some of both.
 
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LizzyM

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I meant the time commitment to be competitive for medical school admissions purposes. Would volunteering for one day a week for a year be enough? It would be all I could manage to do between my full-time employment and course load.


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Is there no way to do two years at the rate of one half day per week? (or one day every other week -- or if you are generous, one day per week for 2 years)? Two years is really ideal. One year is really the bare minimum of acceptability. Too many times we see people who start in January and apply in June and that is box checking at its worst.
 

ciestar

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As stated before, check out the mission statement's of the schools you plan on applying to to really get an answer for this. Rush has the biggest service requirement that I know of but they're not alone. There are a lot of mission-based schools out there. Drexel, for example, values services to the underservered a great deal.

Last year, basically all of my intererviews focused a lot of my nonclinical volunteering. Find something you're passionate about and try to make it a lengthy commitment. Whatever you do, don't make it look as though you're just trying to check the box on your application. I guarantee you that adcoms can see right through disingenuous activities. So find what you love and completely own it.
 

Akewataru

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How many hours would you spend volunteering for that day? A 2 hour shift for one day a week would give you ~100 hrs for one year, 4 hr shift would give you ~200, 8hr shift would give ~400, and so on.

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After talking to them, it looks like you can volunteer on construction projects as little or as much as you like however when you come for the day expect at a minimum four hours (8-11:30 or 12:30) but typically it would be a 8a to 4p shift. If you volunteer in their ReStore they ask for a six month commitment and have a morning and afternoon shift 10a-1p or 1p-4/5p.



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Akewataru

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Typically, any laboratory work is labeled "research" (presuming it is research and not analysis of samples for clinical care). Therefore, it is not labeled "volunteer, non-clinical". Almost every successful applicant has some research experience and just about every one has some volunteer experience. It sounds like you will have some of both.
What category would diagnostic lab work fall into?


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LizzyM

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What category would diagnostic lab work fall into?


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Usually diagnostic lab work would be employment. I can't imagine a situation where someone would be doing diagnostic lab work as a volunteer as this generally requires specific training and expertise.