May 17, 2017
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Pre-Medical
Everyone knows that you need to have sufficient clinical and non-clinical volunteering in order to be a successful medical school applicant. Usually this is presented in the sense of a "soup-kitchen" or homeless shelter type non-clinical volunteering that shows your altruistic side and clinical volunteering such as a hospital ER volunteer or pushing patients around at the hospital to be "close enough to smell" patients and gain exposure. What about something like volunteering at a downtown clinic that provides healthcare services for the homeless and underserved of the community? If this is your main (but not only) volunteering activity, can you get kudos for both to some extent? Because it is just as altruistic and helpful as the soup-kitchen or homeless shelter and simultaneously allows you to be close enough to smell patients. With sufficient hours, can this one activity be the centerpiece of the volunteering portion of the application, with other minor clinical and non-clinical experiences built around it?
 

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Everyone knows that you need to have sufficient clinical and non-clinical volunteering in order to be a successful medical school applicant. Usually this is presented in the sense of a "soup-kitchen" or homeless shelter type non-clinical volunteering that shows your altruistic side and clinical volunteering such as a hospital ER volunteer or pushing patients around at the hospital to be "close enough to smell" patients and gain exposure. What about something like volunteering at a downtown clinic that provides healthcare services for the homeless and underserved of the community? If this is your main (but not only) volunteering activity, can you get kudos for both to some extent? Because it is just as altruistic and helpful as the soup-kitchen or homeless shelter and simultaneously allows you to be close enough to smell patients. With sufficient hours, can this one activity be the centerpiece of the volunteering portion of the application, with other minor clinical and non-clinical experiences built around it?
Once upon a time, two-fers were very common. These days, for your application to have the broadest appeal, it is desirable to have an activity in the Clinical category and another in the Community Service - Not Medical/Clinical category. Some schools specifically look for both, look for a decent number of hours for both, and pass you by if they aren't there. Fortunately many schools still give credit for double dippers, but for those institutions with a service orientation, you may need to show evidence of altruism that is not one-sided to get by their screening parameters.

Depending on whether you wore more than one hat, namely filled both clinical and nonclinical roles at the clinic, a solution might be to split out the hours, each with their own description, and dates, possibly even different contacts, and list them separately.
 
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