Community Service

Even the most competitive candidates will have a difficult time explaining to members of a medical school admissions committee that they are willing to dedicate their professional life to caring for people if they've never made an effort up to that point in their life to help people in need.

If you have gained health profession experience by volunteering your time at a health clinic, you can include that experience on your AMCAS application as both health profession experience and community service. Shadowing a doctor on your own time benefits you but does not substitute for community service. You need to show a commitment to helping others by volunteering your time. The more experience you have in this area the more insight you will have to draw on when it comes time to write your personal statement. How have your experiences shaped you as a person, changed your perspective? What did you learn from your experiences, how did you contribute or make a difference?

Many students have already done some form of volunteer work in their communities when in high school; however, don't stop there. Medical schools are looking for contributions that you have made as a college student. If you put off doing additional volunteer work until your junior year when you are starting to fill out your medical school application, it may appear that you are just interested in fulfilling an obligation. Start early in your undergraduate career.

It is very important to keep an updated and detailed record of what you have done.

  1. It will be easier to compile your information for your medical school application.
  2. You may choose to highlight significant experiences in your personal statement.
  3. You may forget important details.

When you complete your medical school application you will be expected to provide the following:

  • The name of the clinic, hospital, or charitable organization.
  • How frequently you volunteered and for how long. (Number of hours/week and number of weeks)
    What your responsibilities were.
  • Name(s) and contact information of individuals in charge.
  • What you gained from your experience.