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Volunteer & Service

You may wonder why this is important.
But after all, physicians are in the business of helping people.

So, you say you want to help people? (This may be a question during your interview)
Can you show that you mean it, or is this just talk?

Volunteering and participating in service opportunities are some ways to demonstrate your commitment to help others.
Volunteer tutoring, summer camps, soup kitchen, hospital or clinical volunteer work, shoveling snow off driveways, church service, missions, etc, all work to show that you care about helping people during your pre-med preparation. Ideally you participate in more than one type of activity.

Do whatever is interesting to you or get involved in a cause that you can personally gain satisfaction from. You may be asked in your interview why you got involved in what you chose.

Many people have already begun giving back to the community and are involved in specific projects involving the poor, elderly, underprivileged, sick, or children and adolescents who are in great need and in danger of slipping through the cracks in society. If you are already involved, then continue with what you are doing.

See what successful applicants did for Volunteering.

If you are extremely short on time (or even if you are not) you may want to try to find activities that will help you participate in volunteer or service opportunities while at the same time gaining valuable exposure to a clinical setting. For example, try to volunteer in a clinic or hospital. Your hours spent are considered clinical exposure time and volunteer time when it comes to your application. Especially if your time is limited, this is a great way to go.

Medical missions and other service or relief projects are also a great way to get involved in very intense service. For most students these are life-changing opportunities, being exposed to extreme poverty, different cultures and customs. You may or may not be able to participate in providing medical care, but rather be involved in the project in various ways. Medical missions and various other relief projects are often organized by student or professional groups at universities. There are also different religious and non-religious groups that organize service missions and medical missions. Most often, you have to pay your own way (this can be a few hundred to a few thousand dollars), but frequently these organizations also provide some assistance to help you find a sponsor for your trip. Overall, these can be very fulfilling and humbling experiences.

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