karats

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Hi,
So in college I held an officer position in a student org my senior year (I was an active member before that). This allows me to check off the leadership box.

But I don't have anything official going for this year (I recently graduated & am applying summer 2017). Would this hurt me? I am involved in a few things but have no official leadership position (for instance, a hospital isn't really going to make me a leader of anything).

Thanks in advance for any input.
 

Doctor-S

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Do any of the medical schools to which you are applying seem to emphasize leadership? Short answer: some might mention leadership, but without a huge emphasis, whereas other schools might not fixate on leadership at all. Besides, you already checked off the box by being an officer/active member in a student organization when you were an undergraduate student. You're okay. If you're still feeling anxious, feel free to ask your current EC organization or employer to provide you with some "leadership/training" opportunities before the 2017 application cycle. Most organizations can always find leadership-oriented activities for its members.
 

CliveStaples

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I would recommend that you view your application as a "narrative" of sorts - one which tells an interesting story about yourself. Namely, where you are coming from and where you are intending to go in the future (naturally, the narrative should end with you becoming a physician - the personal statement is the culmination of this conclusion).

You write the narrative of yourself in large part by the activities which you deem important enough to list on your application. This is where you often hear people talk about the 'depth' of your experiences, not just the 'breadth.' You see, they're more interested in having people who have demonstrated devotion to something that the applicant finds passion in. The difference between somebody who has a token leadership position and somebody who lists no leadership positions is essentially nothing. In neither case does your narrative suddenly become "I am a person with leadership experience" because that narrative belongs to the person who has demonstrated leadership time and time again and who can write and speak passionately on the skills cultivated by such leadership.

Now I don't say that to discourage you, because not everybody's narrative is that of somebody who devoted themselves to leadership. Some people have a narrative of community service (and I mean more than just a few hours in a soup kitchen with your pre-med club which sponsored the event so everybody could "check that box off") and their devotion to community service prevented them from having the inclination or time to dedicated leadership positions. Some people have a narrative of research. Some have a narrative of clinical medicine (because they switched careers from nursing to medicine, perhaps). Each of these narratives is infinitely stronger than the narrative of the pre-med student whose activities consist of "treasurer of pre-med group" and "soup kitchen volunteer once a semester."

Finally, every medical school is going to value each narrative in different light. This is why you apply broadly and do your homework as to the kinds of medical students that tend to matriculate at each institution. I wish you luck on cultivating your narrative between now and next summer - you have plenty of time to do so.
 
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karats

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@Catalystik you give very good ec advice, can I get your opinion on this?

I would take Docter-S's advice except I volunteer at places that are very strictly regulated so they are not going to give me a leadership role out of nowhere.

I do feel like in class and in research and other areas I am someone who takes initiative but I wouldn't know how to show that in my application so I wouldn't mind something concrete to showcase my "leadership abilities." Or do you feel like it doesn't matter that much?
 

Catalystik

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Hi,
So in college I held an officer position in a student org my senior year (I was an active member before that). This allows me to check off the leadership box.

But I don't have anything official going for this year (I recently graduated & am applying summer 2017). Would this hurt me? I am involved in a few things but have no official leadership position (for instance, a hospital isn't really going to make me a leader of anything).

Thanks in advance for any input.
Can you give more detail about your recent leadership role and hours of involvement?
 
Sep 5, 2016
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Can you give more detail about your recent leadership role and hours of involvement?
I have been doing some of my own research into the average number of hours to aim for my own app. I have found that 150 seems recommend for clinical hours and 100 for non-clinical hours but never thought about the hours for leadership but now I can certainly see why it's still important. For successful applicants, what seems to be the average hours for leadership when it comes to leadership for student clubs? I want to try to complete as much by the time I apply.

I know focusing on hours may seem a bit much but I've read schools often have expected minimums for applications so I figure aiming for a certain # hours that successful accepted students typically have might be a good idea.
 

Catalystik

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For successful applicants, what seems to be the average hours for leadership when it comes to leadership for student clubs?
Leadership isn't an expectation of most schools. The point of my question was to sort out whether she has <30 (less than weekly involvement) vs 100+ hours (implying duties beyond typical official meeting times) during her last academic year. More important is the level of responsibility, initiatives proposed and actuated, and/or organization/management of groups to get a job done, etc.
 
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karats

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Can you give more detail about your recent leadership role and hours of involvement?
Leadership isn't an expectation of most schools. The point of my question was to sort out whether she has <30 (less than weekly involvement) vs 100+ hours (implying duties beyond typical official meeting times) during her last academic year. More important is the level of responsibility, initiatives proposed and actuated, and/or organization/management of groups to get a job done, etc.

Hi! Ok so I was Vice President of the student org from 9/2015-5/2016 (9 months?). I would have to check with Student Activities but I wouldn’t be surprised if we had the largest enrollment out of all the student orgs on campus but we were def one of the biggest student orgs on campus (not sure if I’d mention this tidbit if I can’t back it up somehow). I know there is a leadership tag on amcas and I’m inclined to use that one since this is my only leadership activity! I was just a general member my junior year.

To be honest if I were to include ALL the meetings I attended during the 2015-2016 academic year (meetings with advisor, individual meetings with other executive board members, meetings with student government, meetings with subcommittees, and many many more), all the events that we hosted for the general body to attend, multiple bake sales (which would last all day), I feel like it would roughly come out to ~140 hours or so. There was a lot of paperwork stuff that I handled but I was also in charge of delegating tasks to our subcommittees to make sure our events were a success. I don’t know if 140 hours seems too high. I never documented it so I’m just estimating everything. I didn’t include all the time it took to well prepare things for the events…there were powerpoints and other props and stuff we had to prepare for events and many times where we had to go out of way our to get things. Just strictly all the time spent in meetings and events while I was Vice President.

I don’t know if there is stuff I shouldn’t be including though…I don’t mind underestimating or lowering the total hours if it seems too high though?
 
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karats

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Other things I forgot to mention that might or might not be relevant: raised around 3000 dollars (should I mention the dollar amount? don't know if it's large enough to mention) and I would emphasize that I accomplished all this with the help of my executive board (I feel like it doesn't sound good if I were to take all the credit because our org def could not have accomplished what we did without the entire exec board). So I would make sure in my description I say, "my exec board and I did X, Y, Z."
 
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Catalystik

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Hi! Ok so I was Vice President of the student org from 9/2015-5/2016 (9 months?). I would have to check with Student Activities but I wouldn’t be surprised if we had the largest enrollment out of all the student orgs on campus but we were def one of the biggest student orgs on campus (not sure if I’d mention this tidbit if I can’t back it up somehow). I know there is a leadership tag on amcas and I’m inclined to use that one since this is my only leadership activity! I was just a general member my junior year.

To be honest if I were to include ALL the meetings I attended during the 2015-2016 academic year (meetings with advisor, individual meetings with other executive board members, meetings with student government, meetings with subcommittees, and many many more), all the events that we hosted for the general body to attend, multiple bake sales (which would last all day), I feel like it would roughly come out to ~140 hours or so. There was a lot of paperwork stuff that I handled but I was also in charge of delegating tasks to our subcommittees to make sure our events were a success. I don’t know if 140 hours seems too high. I never documented it so I’m just estimating everything. I didn’t include all the time it took to well prepare things for the events…there were powerpoints and other props and stuff we had to prepare for events and many times where we had to go out of way our to get things. Just strictly all the time spent in meetings and events while I was Vice President.

I don’t know if there is stuff I shouldn’t be including though…I don’t mind underestimating or lowering the total hours if it seems too high though?
From what you describe, you've definitely "checked the box" for a Leadership activity. Unless your stats and research are all strong enough to appeal to top research schools, I don't think you need to go out of your way to take on another leadership role.

An exception to what I just said would be if you are particularly weak in any component of your application. In such an instance, you might want to go above and beyond to find something else leadership-y for the next 9 months in the hope that it might sway adcomm opinion in your favor if they are on the cusp.

Leadership need not be exercised through official organizations (but they do help with validation). Leaders see a need and act to fill it. Does your town have an area that needs trash cleaned up regularly? Find friends or relatives to help with the work. Perhaps there is a homeless or women's shelter in your area that would benefit from your organizing a drive to collect toiletries or used books. Maybe the elderly of a local place of worship wouldn't mind some help with yard cleanup and snow shoveling if you got some members on board with a plan. Etc, etc, etc.
 

Catalystik

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1) Other things I forgot to mention that might or might not be relevant: raised around 3000 dollars (should I mention the dollar amount? don't know if it's large enough to mention) and

2) I would emphasize that I accomplished all this with the help of my executive board (I feel like it doesn't sound good if I were to take all the credit because our org def could not have accomplished what we did without the entire exec board). So I would make sure in my description I say, "my exec board and I did X, Y, Z."
1) Yes, it's OK to mention the $ amount.

2) Don't share all the credit. Be sure to highlight any initiatives you came up with or roles where you were the lead person organizing things.
 
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