If you’re going into medical school, you want to make sure that you know about all of the requirements, and that includes volunteer hours for medical school. We’re going to take a look at just what the requirements are and what you need to know to get into the program you want.
We’ll look at volunteer work for medical school, including how many hours you need (if you need them at all), what kind of hours you should be getting, and even more about the clinical and non-clinical volunteering medical schools require.
How Important are Volunteer Hours for Medical School?
When you apply to medical school, there are a number of factors that you will need to put into your application. The schools you apply to want to know that they’re choosing applicants who are going to become good students and good medical professionals. Volunteer hours are one way that they look at this.
You want to make sure you know about the volunteer hours needed for medical school. The short answer is that some schools will require you to have a set number of hours while others may not make a specific mention of volunteer hours required. In fact, some may not even tell you that any hours are required.
Volunteer hours show that you care about and support your community, but they also give you the opportunity to practice and utilize some of the important skills associated with your medical school years. You won’t know about all of the medical care you are about to learn, of course, but you can learn some of the other skills like compassion, empathy, selflessness, and more by volunteering.
All of these things are demonstrated when you put volunteer hours on your medical school application. Not only that, but those hours will help separate your med school application from that of someone else, and that’s an important concept for anyone.
With so many people applying to medical school every year and such a small percentage actually getting in, you’re definitely going to need all the help you can get. Showing something that puts your application forward will help.
So, the school of your choice may not put a set number of hours on their application and may not require you to have any at all, but know that it’s something they’re looking at. While not required, the people who put hours down on their resume are definitely going to have a better shot at getting accepted into the school.
Make sure you know what you’re doing when you record those hours, however, and actually get them properly recorded so you can prove your hours if needed. It’s all too common for students to try and beef up their numbers for how much volunteer time they’ve put in, but if you pay attention to how to log volunteer hours for medical school, you can set yourself up in the right direction.
What is a Good Amount of Volunteer Hours?
Once you know that you should have some volunteer hours, you may be wondering just how many hours you should actually have. Well, there’s no quick and easy answer to this because the number of hours is going to be less important than the quality of the volunteer experience.
If you put in 100 hours at a low-level volunteer project that’s not in any way associated with your medical school dreams or that doesn’t actually teach you anything, it’s not going to do as much as even 20 hours at something that’s really meaningful.
The key is to find a volunteer project that is important to you and that you can articulate as being beneficial in some way. You should be able to talk about what you learned from that volunteer experience and just how it can help you in medical school or to be a better person overall.
The more you can talk about how the experience benefits you in medical school or benefits the school, the better it’s going to be for you. But of course, there is some value in getting a higher quantity of hours as well.
In general, if you can average about 10-15 hours of volunteer experience per month, you’re going to be well off. This should be over a period of at least a year or more, not something that you’ve started doing only in the last few months before applying to medical schools, as this shows a strong ethic toward helping others.
What this means is you should have somewhere around 120 hours or more for a single year of volunteer work. If you’ve been putting in volunteer time for more than a year (which is always a good idea), you’ll have more than this. The more hours you can show that are valuable, the better off you’re going to be.
Remember, you want to have a balanced resume, and that means you don’t want to be so focused on volunteer hours that you neglect the other things that are just as important or even more so. Your grades, for example, are going to be more important than getting a few extra volunteer hours in.
What are the Types of Volunteer Work for Medical School?
There are several different types of volunteer work that you can do for medical school, which you should consider before you decide to start the volunteer process. If you’ve already started volunteering with an organization, start looking at how those hours can apply to one of these categories.
Experiences directly linked to medical school. These are experiences that are within the realm of the healthcare field, such as working at clinics or hospitals or volunteering with the disabled in nursing homes or other medical-related facilities. These can be great experiences that will help you hone or build some skills and also get you firsthand experience within the healthcare industry.
Experiences not linked to medical school. These are experiences that don’t really have anything to do with the healthcare field but that are well connected in some other way. These are things like volunteering in schools or with tutoring, or even with soup kitchens and other organizations. They teach you skills that aren’t related to healthcare but are well-connected.
Other experiences. There are also other experiences that might not offer as much prestige or might not be as important for your medical school application. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t include them, just don’t use them as the bulk of your volunteer experience and don’t expect them to add as much to your resume. This could be volunteering with sports teams or small tasks that you have done for non-profit organizations or even for-profit organizations.
Having a combination of different types of volunteer work can be a good thing, but so can having some consistency to the experiences that you have. So, try to find one or two long-term experiences that are related to your field and then fill in some additional hours with smaller projects or varied projects that show your interests or commitment.
Where to Volunteer for Medical School?
So, where should you be volunteering for medical school? The best option is something that’s related to the healthcare field. These are volunteer experiences that take place within a hospital, clinic or some other form of healthcare facility that can directly give you experience in the things that you will be doing once you get to medical school.
If you can get into a clinic or hospital, even doing more menial tasks, this can be beneficial to your medical school application. It will show that you are not afraid to do the work and that you are dedicated to the field. Not only that, but it will help you to get an ‘in’ with other professionals in your field.
Look for volunteer opportunities that put you in direct contact with doctors and nurses, which will help you learn additional skills and also give you an opportunity to get to know these individuals. This can help you when it comes to getting recommendation letters for your program of choice as well.
You can look for opportunities that happen overseas that will give you medical experience; however, it’s important to be careful about how you experience these and how you present them. If you go on one of these trips, you need to be able to show that the experience was about the medical volunteer work rather than an opportunity to travel to another country.
How Many Clinical Hours Do You Need for Medical School?
The truth is that you are not required to have a specific amount of clinical experience to get into medical school. However, it’s important to consider this anyway, as this is somewhat of an unwritten rule.
While schools don’t have a set number of hours they require you to get and don’t even put on the application that you’re required to get any, you’re going to be far better off if you do get at least some clinical hours.
Take a bit of time to do your research and maybe even talk to people who got into your preferred medical school. You want to know about the hours that they had, and you definitely want to know what type of other qualifications they had to go along with it.
A strong resume without clinical hours may need only a little bit of a boost. But if you are struggling in other areas or your resume isn’t quite what you’d like it to be on another factor, you may want to beef it up with some additional clinical hours.
If you really want to get into medical school, opt for at least 50 clinical hours to add to your resume. While this isn’t listed as a requirement, you’ll definitely see an improvement in your chances if you do fulfill these hours and have the right level of experience to post.
The benefit of those clinical hours is that it shows the school that you have really put some time, effort, and thought into pursuing a medical degree and medical education. You’ve already put in some time in the field, which shows that you aren’t as likely to bail out when things get hard.
Wrapping Things Up: Volunteer Hours for Medical School
When it comes to putting in volunteer hours for medical school, make sure that you’re looking at the quality of the hours rather than the quantity. A smaller number of hours that more greatly impacts your medical future is far better than a lot of hours that mean nothing to your medical career.
By putting in these hours, and especially clinical hours, you’ll improve your chances of getting into the school that you want, which is definitely going to help you achieve the future that you want.