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Peace Corps before Medical School

Discussion in 'Medical Students - DO' started by tinylilron, Jun 28, 2007.

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  1. tinylilron

    tinylilron Member 10+ Year Member

    Aug 13, 2006
    This should be in the pre-med forums but I wanted to ask medical students. I am considering doing the Peace Corps before applying to/entering medical school. I already applied once and was rejected from medical schools. Have any of you done the Peace Corps before entering medical school? What was your experience and do you think it will make you a better physician?
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  3. GreenShirt

    GreenShirt 10+ Year Member

    Feb 6, 2007
    I personally haven't been in the Peace Corps, but I've worked with Peace Corps members in other countries on mission trips. It's a big commitment and not a glamorous one at that, so you have to be prepared to do it. Will it make you a better doctor? Well, you'll have an experience not many people have in their lives. It will give you perspective on the world, other cultures, the medical system in other countries as well as our own. All of these things will give perspective and maturity which are desirable traits in a physician.

    The only concern I would mention, is are you doing this b/c you think it will get you into medical school? If you stats were poor, you might be better off improving grades/MCAT. If your app lacked ECs, there might be less extreme activites you can pursue. If you lack medical experience, you might not necessarily have a medical assignment with the Peace core.
  4. kelaskov

    kelaskov Junior Member 5+ Year Member

    Mar 22, 2005
    A number of UNECOM students are Peace Corps grads. It definitely strengthens one's application however it doesn't guarantee an acceptance to any med school. You must have the grades and a good MCAT score to make the first cut. In my opinion, PC grads are more likely to be "truly dedicated" to healthcare and serving the poor. I think they're more likely to enter the NHSC too.

    I think the PC is an excellent option however- I wouldn't join with the sole purpose of getting into med school.- it's a huge life committment and may actually slow your entrance to med school if you don't get in after your 2 years are up.

    If your primary goal is to enter medical school and you've already been rejected once- I would focus on improving the weak areas of your application- MCAT/GPA.
  5. tinylilron

    tinylilron Member 10+ Year Member

    Aug 13, 2006
    I love UNECOM! I have two friends that are students. Do you go to UNECOM? Would you know if the Peace Corps would let you consolidate your vacation days to take a flight home for a medical school interview?
  6. Old_Mil

    Old_Mil Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Nov 19, 2004
    Sounds like a good plan. Frankly, there's not a single thing about do-gooder crap like this which makes you a better doctor, but it does impress the adcoms.
  7. inthe415

    inthe415 New Member 2+ Year Member

    Apr 23, 2006
    I spent two years and three months in Bolivia as a Peace Corps volunteer in Nutritional Agriculture and loved it!

    In someways the Peace Corps is just PR for the US governement so that people from other countries will like us and continue to buy Coca-Cola and let us continue with the lopsided dichotomy of US/Developing world economics. But I enjoyed it and would recommend it to anyone.

    Postitives: learned a great deal about culture and human nature, became almost fluent in Spanish, traveled all over South America. Once you are in medical school your traveling days are limited.

    Most difficult aspects (but in the end worthwhile): emotionally challenging at times, culture shock of returning to the US.

    When I interviewed at ATSU-Mesa one of the Professors I was eating lunch with recognized my name and told me that when she saw the Peace Corps on my resume she put a big star on it. Now I'm part of the class of 2011!

    You should also check out Americorps. Its only a year long and you can work at community health clinics here in the U.S. The people I know who did Americorps got into schools like UCSF and John Hopkins.
  8. tinylilron

    tinylilron Member 10+ Year Member

    Aug 13, 2006
    Can I ask you at what age you entered medical school? I think the average age of entering medical school is 25. Do you think being an older student is valuable?

    Congratulations on your acceptance, btw! :)
  9. inthe415

    inthe415 New Member 2+ Year Member

    Apr 23, 2006
    I am entering medical school in one month at the age of 32. Besides Peace Corps, I've interned at a Pharm lab, spent a few months as a bar tender, cooked at a restaurant, taught high school for 4 years and then did a Post Bac at PCOM to improve my GPA and prove that I was indeed serious about med school.

    Being older and more confident has helped me. I was not mature or focused enough right out of college.
  10. tcamdg

    tcamdg 7+ Year Member

    May 7, 2007
    What are your stats and medically related experience? I'm not sure, but I'm guessing the peace corp won't do much for you if there are serious deficiences elsewhere in your app. The peace corp might help you mature more, but still, the admissions committees are going to looking at what qualifies you specifically for medical school.
  11. misparas

    misparas Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Jun 4, 2005
    One thing to consider...

    How much more help could you provide as a physician volunteering?

    It's up to you, but I feel like taking mission trips as a physician would make more of a difference in the end.

    You could do both. I wouldn't do it just to boost your application though. It's not worth it for that.

    Good luck with your decision.
  12. vegetables4life


    Mar 30, 2017
    Peace Corps volunteer and med school applicant here. Yes you can take all your vacation at the same time if you want. You get two days of vacation for every month of service, and you can save them up for the end to use during interview season.
  13. samac

    samac 2+ Year Member

    Dec 11, 2014
    I'm sure they really appreciate the information. 10 years later.
    GUH likes this.
  14. ghiblijiang

    ghiblijiang 2+ Year Member

    Jul 3, 2015
    2007 was 10 years ago?!?!?! :'(
  15. Lets_Run

    Lets_Run SDN Bronze Donor Bronze Donor Classifieds Approved 2+ Year Member

    Jul 23, 2015
    I was a PCV in Tanzania, and will be attending RVU-CO later this year. DO IT! Its an amazing experience. Life-defining. Its very feasible to study for MCAT, beef up your apps, and interview during your service. I spent the first year back in the states afterwards to do all of that, though.

    Edit: just saw... 2007 post :eyebrow:
  16. CatsAreFunnerThanDogs


    May 5, 2017
    my friend became a dr, routing through being a medic in the reserves.. any differentiation works.

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