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is volunteering absolutely a must

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - DO' started by dr.kicia, Aug 3, 2006.

  1. dr.kicia

    dr.kicia Senior Member
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    In my situation volunteering is just impossible to do. I have very unsettled schedule and unfortunately have to work to support myself (an immigrant in US by my self, no fin support from anyone). I would love to volunteer the only problem is that all those volunteer programs do not have an option to work around the schedule. They need a commitment for at least 6 months at the same time and same hours, which I cannot do since my schedule changes all the time and when it doesn't that is the time when i have classes. I do manage to shadow an MD (still looking for a DO), because this is more like on call and easier to set up with no longterm commitment. I also feel like doing something just to look nice for adcoms is simply not right.
    So my question is, is it absolutely a must for admissions to valunteer?
    Maybe there are some other options i do not know of...
    I would greatly appreciate any input. :D
     
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  3. Soccer885

    Soccer885 Senior Member
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    From what I understand, volunteering is really important for applicants. However, there are probablt exceptions based on such circumstances as yours. My advice would be to try to get some volunteer hours in. There are places that offer flexible hours and schedule... you just heve to look. I volunteer at a free clinic and I can go when I want, for as long as I want, whenever I want. They are real flexible, and due to their flexibility I have been able to regularly voluteer there for the past year and a half.

    Maybe someone else will have some better suggestions for you. Good luck!
     
  4. dr.kicia

    dr.kicia Senior Member
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    thanks a lot...i am still learning new things about this country...LOL. I didn't know there were free clinics out there but this sounds like something that would really work for me.I will do some research on it. Oh, and if anyone knows about such place in Chicago area i would bake a cheesecake in exchange for that information :D
    Thanks again
     
  5. erleichda

    erleichda Guest

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    i think that clinical experience is very important, it can be paid work or volunteer.
     
  6. mshheaddoc

    mshheaddoc Howdy
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    I know some people who have gotten in by shadowing. Their volunteering was not medically related. Many people tutor or things of that sort. They want to see an effort towards understanding what medicine is about.

    If you log a ton of hours shadowing I think that would also help your cause if you don't have the time to volunteer. I will not be doing a ton of "hospital" volunteering but I plan on shadowing a hell of alot as well as I work as a tutor for a national education program (now with additional responsibilities in the program as a volunteer coordinator to try to recruit more volunteers).

    Hospital volunteering is hard to come by (with flexible schedule) but they are out there. I have a few places which I am listed as a volunteer and hardly get to go there. They understand I'm busy and want me to come when I can. I hope to make it to a peds rehab floor in a local hospital 1-2 times a month for a few hours when my schedule settles in the fall. I'll go whenever I can but I'll just clear it with the director ahead of time. I also am working as a volunteer "personal assistant/lab assistant" for a professor at a local medical school.

    There are ways to "volunteer" your efforts into medicine other than hospital. Clinics are great but if your time is truly limited then shadowing and other options are available. :)
     
  7. Arpie

    Arpie Junior Member
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    In Chicago, try TPAN (Test Positive Aware Network), an amazing HIV clinic on Broadway, just a block from the Red Line at Bryn Mawr. I also know people who like to volunteer at some clinic for the homeless in Pilsen but I don't remember what its called, a little Googling will go a long way, good luck!
     
  8. dr.kicia

    dr.kicia Senior Member
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    thank you all guys, i really appreciate your advice.
    I am doing a lot of google'ing and emailing now. Hopefully i will be able to set something up.
     
  9. Taty

    Taty Senior Member
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    Been there....Let med schools know that you had to work full time while in college and etc.
     
  10. JasonUD

    JasonUD PGY-I
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    You said you shadow an MD. Ask him if you could volunteer a few hours a week in his office. You could file, take out the garbage, etc. Yeah schools prefer volunteer experience with direct patient contact, but if your shadowing the MD you are getting that contact. In the end you could have this doctor write you a great letter saying that you shadowed him and spent a lot of time volunteering in the office!
     
  11. Oculus Sinistra

    Oculus Sinistra Finish it.
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    Interesting dilemma. What sort of work do you do?
     
  12. CatsandCradles

    CatsandCradles SDN Donor
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    I'm sorry I didn't respond sooner. My internet was sooo slow earlier today but it is good now. :luck:

    If you haven't considered this already...perhaps you might befit your schedule in doing non-medically related volunteer work like working at a soup kitchen, homeless center, or an orphanage.

    If you live near a city or in a city, there will be plenty of local NGOs that you might be interested in and they often can use a hand. Try calling up your local churches and civic groups too.

    Volunteering is good, but it isn't the end of the world if you can't put in a lot of time. If you feel you are a little weak in the EC area on your application, be sure to write down on your AAMCAS and AACOMAS essay about your schedule and need to support yourself. Also empahsize on those secondaries the schools send that you had to work hard and that you are a hard working immigrant. They will like that.

    Best of wishes to you and Godspeed. :luck:

    C&C
     
  13. dr.kicia

    dr.kicia Senior Member
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    thank you guys again for words of wisdom and help. I am still google'ing a lot trying to figure out something. Another dilema is finding an osteopathic physician to shadow...this is a neverending story.

    It really is interesting how osteopathic doctors want to promote this practice but when a student calls there is no one willing to host them arround and make sure this practice gets more attention. Like everybody I also hate to be ignored especially that I really am and have been all the way DO. But I guess if you knock hard enough the door will finally open.

    I also like the idea JasonUD had, it would be just much better if that doctor was a DO instead of MD. Then i would get 2in1 LOL.
    Anyways if anyone else has an idea do not hesitate to share.
    And good luck to everybody this cycle...i will join the battle next year.
     
  14. dr.kicia

    dr.kicia Senior Member
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    i do couple things at the same time:
    personal training/spinning instructor
    modeling
    bartending
    As you can see all are the jobs with changing schedule. On top of it i am going to start preparing for the MCAT (May 11th) and I will have 2 killer semesters at school taking 16 credit hr including orgo 1 and 2 :oops: and physics 1 and 2, which i have to ace to push my gpa up a little.
    So as you can see fitting into my schedule 4 hr a week of volunteering work is going to be real hard. I just do not want to commit to something for 6 months knowing that i may fail to do it due to the lack of time.
     
  15. cbenedic

    cbenedic Wolverine for life
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    hi!

    i've grown up in the chicago area and lived here all my life..have u tried any of the Advocate Health Care hospitals? i have volunteered there in high school and i actually currently work in one of the hospitals now...i feel that they will be flexible with your hours if you are up front with them. try and give them a shot. www.advocatehealth.com . good luck!
     
  16. dr.kicia

    dr.kicia Senior Member
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    Thanks for the info. I acctualy live close to one and i decided i will go there tomorow with an application to volunteer in a Pediatric Unit. I just had an idea which i hope they will buy...this would also help me to volunteer around my schedule.

    The idea is a feline therapy. They have been doing this for a while now in Poland and that is how i found out abour it. I even thought of using my own cat for this since he is very calm and good with strangers. I just thought that taking him to the Children like twice a month for couple of hours would be a great thing for them. Another area that i would love to get myself into is something related to art. I love doing artwork and thought i could utilize my talents and help other at the same time. I have many ideas i just hope that the hospital will be willing and open to work with me. We will see. I will post any updates since there might be people in similiar situation as me and it always helps to know your options.
    Once again thanks to everyone who posted here.
     
  17. Vox Animo

    Vox Animo Runs with Scissors
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    Only volunteering i had was setting up a blood drive. A few shadowing episodes though.


    3 out of 3 acceptances to 3 well respected DO schools.

    the clinical experience is more to show that you understand what and why you are pursuing medicine. Don't just volunteer just to say you volunteered. And the shadowing you said that you do would be a better experience that volunteering at a hospital.

    If the rest of your app is solid, little health field experience may be taken more lightly. I had a very low amount of health field experience.
     
  18. exigente chica

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    ok, so now I'm soo confused..do..I volunteered at a hopstial for over a year..but I also shadowed doctors there for a few months..how do I put that on Accomas?

    Volunteer or Shadow? :confused:
     
  19. Soccer885

    Soccer885 Senior Member
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    Both if you can. I dont really see the problem. If you volunteer at a hospital great! If the doctors there let you shadow them at times then that's even better. Put them both in AACOMAS and try to do both. Just make sure that somewhere in there you shadow a DO. Good luck!
     
  20. exigente chica

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    Thank you for your reply. So should I put it as 2 seperate experieinces or as 1 and mention it in my essay? What should the activity be titled volunteer or shadowing?
     
  21. It'sElectric

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    Any and all volunteering is absolutely awesome, and I'm a huge advocate of giving some of your time to others. That being said, I couldn't help but remark how often hospital-related volunteer work is overrated. That is not to say that there aren't some people out there who had fantastic clinically related volunteer experiences, but speaking for myself and a large number of fellow pre-meds that I've spoken with, it is often the least rewarding/engaging volunteer experience.

    I just thought I'd throw that out there.
     
  22. Vox Animo

    Vox Animo Runs with Scissors
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    two different experiences
     
  23. natureboy503

    natureboy503 Member
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    i agree.
     
  24. exigente chica

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    Ok..thanx that does make more sense. Also, I allready got that LOR..a joint one from the MEdical Director and CEO. Should I have gotten 2? I think in the letter they both talk about my reseach, volunteering and shadowind Md's and DO's at their medical center?

    Will this suffice?
     
  25. Vox Animo

    Vox Animo Runs with Scissors
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    Sounds good, schools are differnt about letters.

    My school does a composite letter, I had two professors and one MD send a letter to my pre-med advisor, and he composes one letter from the three. Additionally, i had a DO send a letter.

    So in your situation, you have one combined letter from a Med director and CEO. As long as one fo them is a DO or MD that should suffice. If neither of them is a doctor, i would consider having a doctor send one also. I would consider an additional letter from a professor at your school as your second letter. Also look what some school expect from letters.

    As far as I knew, most schools expected letters from two professors, and one doctor.
     
  26. exigente chica

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    Thanx for your reply..the letter is from an MD and CEO..but I shadowed 4 doctors while there and one of them was a DO. I also have three science letters, one from a PI and non-sicence.
     
  27. dr.kicia

    dr.kicia Senior Member
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    cbenedic thanks a lot for your advice. I acctually am volunteering there right now. They were really nice and let me voluteer only 3 hours a week which is great with my schedule. I am at the emergency room and i really like it. Though most what i do is stocking stuff and changing bed sheets i can talk to docs and observe a lot of things so it is great.
    Next semester i will be at the pediatric unit.
    thanks again to everybody who responded to my thread.
     
  28. LINYKid

    LINYKid Senior Member
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    Glad it worked out I am using some of the tips people gave you to look for some volunteering opp's in my area [Long Island NY]. Every hospital I call never seems to call me back, I do have some volunteer experience [recreation in nuring home, make a wish etc] but am looking for more health care related and like eveyone else I am limited w/ time. Between finding somewhere to volunteer and a DO to shadow, I am hoping maybe someone will get back to me soon
     
  29. cbenedic

    cbenedic Wolverine for life
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    i'm glad it worked out too! isn't everyone really nice? i would love to do my residency at one of those hospitals :) have fun volunteering!
     
  30. albaniandoc

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    Hi. I was in a similar situation. I am an immigrant myself and had to work my way through college, paying out of state tuition. I am a registered nurse and have healthcare experience however. I haven't shadowed any doctors or done any significant volunteering. I have five interviews so far. Will see if I get accepted. MCAT 28, GPA 3.5. I have explained in details my situation and the reason why I did not volunteer much or why I attended community college. I hope the schools are sympathetic to my individual case.
    I find volunteering to be a mediocrity for the fact that students should volunteer because they want to not because they want their application to be looked at positively. I hope one day med school realize this.
    Good luck on your preparation for medical school.
     

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