Volunteering abroad right after submitting primary; how do I not sound pompous?

Sep 10, 2010
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Pre-Medical
Firstly I'd like to thank everyone at SDN who has helped me out before. The forums are a great resource that I've learned a lot from (when read with discretion of course).

I've been dying to go to a particular hospital in Kenya for over two years, but circumstances would not permit it. This summer is the first chance I got; if I can I'll go again after the cycle. I'll be staying there for two months, from right after graduation (and primary submission), to my sister's wedding. I wanted to stay longer but alas some familial obligations are not to be trifled with.

How do I not sound like a pompous dick and mention this to medical schools? My first preference was to not mention it at all; it admittedly feels awkward to put it in my PS and I know future activities are a no go anyways. However I do feel like it would reflect well on me. I feel like this is another example of the humility/vanity dichotomy that is so confusing when it comes to applications and interviews.

Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
 
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solo75

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Jul 13, 2010
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Firstly I'd like to thank everyone at SDN who has helped me out before. The forums are a great resource that I've learned a lot from (when read with discretion of course).

I've been dying to go to a particular hospital in Kenya for over two years, but circumstances would not permit it. This summer is the first chance I got. I'll be staying there for two months, from right after graduation (and primary submission), to my sister's wedding. I wanted to stay longer but alas some familial obligations are not to be trifled with.

How do I not sound like a pompous dick and mention this to medical schools? My first preference was to not mention it at all; it admittedly feels awkward to put it in my PS and I know future activities are a no go anyways. However I do feel like it would reflect well on me. I feel like this is another example of the humility/vanity dichotomy that is so confusing when it comes to applications and interviews.

Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
Are you kidding? That would be like hiding your high mcat score because you felt guilty about being smart. You should definitely include it into as many places as you feel comfortable with. At the very least you should include it in your planned activities section and mention it in your PS when referencing volunteer and/or medical experience.
 
OP
M
Sep 10, 2010
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Pre-Medical
Ah, I was under the impression that was not even a future activities section. I guess that shows just how prepared I am for the AMCAS.

Would it be worth it to submit it while I'm in Kenya so it's a current activity? I would be able to submit it in the middle of June if that were the case.
 

cliffhuxtableDO

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it sounds like the perfect thing for a great update letter during the app cycle. i dont think listing future EC's is a good idea.
 

apumic

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Are you kidding? That would be like hiding your high mcat score because you felt guilty about being smart. You should definitely include it into as many places as you feel comfortable with. At the very least you should include it in your planned activities section and mention it in your PS when referencing volunteer and/or medical experience.
Ah, I was under the impression that was not even a future activities section. I guess that shows just how prepared I am for the AMCAS.

Would it be worth it to submit it while I'm in Kenya so it's a current activity? I would be able to submit it in the middle of June if that were the case.
There's not. Really, if anything, this shows solo hasn't actually looked at an AMCAS primary yet. The AMCAS primary does not accept future work. However, for some schools you could submit an "update." Additionally, you could always tie this into your personal statement: "As can be seen from my experiences, I am interested in working with the underserved. Over the past nine months, I have been preparing to go to Kenya with a medical team and distribute supplies to slow the spread of AIDS in several villages. I expect this experience will further solidify my desire to serve others selflessly...." -- Take note of the critical element here: the statement that you have been preparing. In other words, the activity has already begun. The fact that you have not yet stepped on the plane is irrelevant. What is of concern is that you have put in many, many hours of planning, preparation, etc. Perhaps you have learned fragments of a language in order to go or have gotten to work with MD/DOs, RNs, PAs, etc. during preparation or perhaps you've learned new job skills you will use over there, etc. Use this as a jumping off point instead of a bunch of intentions. Good, effective writing will get you around a multitude of dilemmas.
 
OP
M
Sep 10, 2010
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Pre-Medical
Thanks for the help apumic. I didn't think there was a section like that either. Just goes to show that a healthy reserve of salt is necessary when obtaining information from Pre-Allo.

I do plan on learning bits of the language. Ultimately, the personal statement will probably be where it'll go.

Would submitting in mid-June as opposed to the 1st put me at a significant disadvantage?
 

Dianyla

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Would submitting in mid-June as opposed to the 1st put me at a significant disadvantage?
Only a very slight disadvantage. AMCAS doesn't actually transmit the apps to schools before late June (the 25th, IIRC) even though you can submit as early as June 1st. What you have to be mindful of is turnaround time to be verified and complete. Make sure all of your transcripts have arrived to AMCAS by the time you hit Submit. Never underestimate how hard this can be and plan ahead... many have had to get transcripts resent, stuff gets lost in the mail, the tx arrived but AMCAS couldn't scan it, etc.

People submitting 6/1 with all transcripts rec'd got verified within a day. I didn't submit until 6/25 because I was waiting for spring quarter grades, and it took 10 days to verify my app. There is a thread where people track submission & verification turnaround times, and it shows that the verification lag time increases rapidly with every week that passes. Submitting by 6/15 (again, *with* all transcripts arrived) you should probably be complete by 6/25, but comparing this Verification thread from multile years you can see that people are submitting earlier and earlier every year.

So submit early, do a little creative foreshadowing like apumic suggested, and then come back from Kenya with a great update that you can write about in your secondaries. Being non-trad all of my ECs are long-term 'slow trickle' hours accumulations, and it felt a little bit lame that I could never write anything in the 'what have you done for us lately?' box on the secondaries. ;)
 

eablackwell

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I am not sure of the exact timeline of your trip to Kenya, but will you have internet access while there? If so, why not prepare everything, then simply submit AMCAS the end of the first week of June (or first week of your volunteer work) so that you can update with the summer program. If you go right after graduation I'd imagine it's late May or very early June. Problem solved.

If not, mid-June will not be a big deal. As the above poster stated, simply a bit of a lag in verifying is all. I submitted around the 10th and was verified in plenty of time for the original primary release to schools.

A few things to make sure you have straight by end of May (especially since you are leaving the country):

ALL LoRs squared away
ALL transcripts ordered to be sent to AMCAS
PS done
Activities filled out (except for your final one if you decide to wait it out)

I may be forgetting something. Honestly, I've been trying to forget the entire application process as much as possible over the past couple months. ;)

Good luck!
 

solo75

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Yep, shouldve added a disclaimer that I dont know anything about the specifics of AMCAS. In tmdsas there was definitely a future activities section and they expected it to be thoroughly completed. What I said still holds true though, you need to let schools know that you took the trip somehow, it should be a great experience.
 

rafflecopter

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How do I not sound like a pompous dick and mention this to medical schools? My first preference was to not mention it at all; it admittedly feels awkward to put it in my PS and I know future activities are a no go anyways. However I do feel like it would reflect well on me. I feel like this is another example of the humility/vanity dichotomy that is so confusing when it comes to applications and interviews.

Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

The first thing to keep in mind is that applicants go on medical missions all the time, so while it is still a very powerful EC you aren't the only one who has this. So its not like you're saying you cured cancer. Secondly, just state the facts when it comes time to fill out the EC section on your AMCAS app. Mention that you went to Kenya, what you did, and possibly what you learned/why you chose this EC/what you got out of it/. Avoid making statements about how important this is to mankind/how awesome you are and you should be free of pompousness.
 
OP
M
Sep 10, 2010
13
0
Status
Pre-Medical
Oh I definitely know I'm not special. I am but a polished stone in a heap of precious gems. I think that if I am honest about my preparation and my intentions I won't come off as an arrogant prick.

In the end I think I will submit around in the middle of June so that it is a more concrete thing. I will have internet access in Malindi so it won't be a problem.

It would probably be far too cute to write something like this, right?

"My work in human rights advocacy with Amnesty International has led me to a burgeoning interest in global health; in fact, I am currently stationed at a rural hospital in Malindi, Kenya, where the low doctor-patient ratios and the general indigence of the population are presenting daily difficulties. I hope to take the lessons learned from my time with Amnesty and in Malindi."
 
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cliffhuxtableDO

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i would not leave the country for africa, without everything submitted. sounds a bit risky to me. if it was me (and it was this past summer) i would stick around to make sure everything is squared away and then do something awesome the summer before med school. that's just me though.

are you going to be ready for and or have access to all secondaries?
 
OP
M
Sep 10, 2010
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Pre-Medical
@Dr. Cosby - Unfortunately it is set in stone. I will be going and that is that. That being said I will have internet access, and I figure to be working on my secondaries in my free time.

I wanted to go this summer and potentially be able to go next summer as well. If I can, I was doing it, and I feel like I might be able to pull it off. I do understand your concerns though... here's hoping that it works out.