Nov 8, 2009
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
Hey all,

I'm been a member for the forum for a few months, however this is my actual first post (hooray!). Just a quick question for you guys about extra curricular activities and volunteering.

I volunteered for my local hospital (Elmhurst Hospital in Queens, New York) a year and a half ago. WHen i first volunteering at the hospital, I started in the Orthopedics department helping patients with basic services (i.e, moving around, delivering food, etc). I did this for a 321 hours. However, I quickly moved to the Physical Therapy Department as an Aide due to it being a paid position. Although my duties remained the same(patient oriented positions), would it be wise to include both positions in my application when i prepare my applications for medical school. Why or why not? I'm still working as an Aide and I've accumulated 1100 hours there.
Could I use the Physical Therapy Aide position, a clinical based position, as a way to exemplify my love for orthopedics and medicine.
I expect - no I'm sure they will question my interest my medicine. The question that immediately comes to mind is; Why are you choosing medicine and not Physical Therapy? Do you guys have any recommendations on how I should answer this.

SHould i continue working in that Department or look for another job? I've been looking for a research position but it's just so competitive in New York. I've applied to 40+ jobs and the closest I've gotten was a a phone call from an interview who never replied to the message I left. I've showed my resume to my school's (Hunter College) career center and they said my resume is better than most, yet i cant seem to nab anything :(

Any help would be greatly appreciated (and a great welcoming gift :idea:)
Sep 4, 2006
Inside the tesseract
Your job is an excellent source of patient interaction. It probably provided for some shadowing of the PTs on site. The first part of the experience was community service, and the second was paid employment. List them separately, perhaps with some explanation of the transition in one of the narrative sections. Since you are gaining your clinical experience from employment at this time, it is desirable to have a nonmedical community service listed as well, to show that you continue giving back to the community.

You need to do some physician shadowing of a few specialties as well. If you've had the chance to watch some orthopedists, try to broaden you experience with two other unrelated specialties, one being in primary care. That's how you get ammunition to answer the question, "Why MD and not PT?" If you can't articulate your own, convincing answer, you're in trouble.

It is not necessary or desirable to articulate a reason to go into a certain specialty when applying to med school. You need to seem open to all the experiences your medical eduation wil oblige you to engage in.

Research isn't required. Only 60% list it on their application.