Volunteering/General Extracurriculars for Med School



A

Assemblerct

Guest
Hi Everyone,

I have a few questions about the level of extracurriculars a person needs to get into medical
school; it's kind of getting me worried or curious, I suppose. How much volunteering experience is
necessary? I've heard that the estimates are somewhere between 100 and 200 hours. Is it even
possible to get in without having any clinical experience? I was recently looking at a website of
accepted applications across the nation, and most of their profiles listed 3.6 GPA, 30+ MCAT, and a
whole bunch of stuff across the board about 500+ hrs of volunteering experience, or being an EMT,
responder for AIDS/Drugs hotlines, etc. I mean, there is just so much fierce competition out there.

I transferred from a local college last summer into a university this year. I had a GPA of about 4.0
at my previous institution, but now that I've transferred, my grades aren't so stellar anymore. I'm
currently doing at about a 3.35 GPA for university credits only, or about 3.6 cumulative of 3.5
years work. Now that I'm here, it's gotten pretty stressful. I'm majoring in "Microbiology,
Immunology, and Molecular Genetics," which at my school is considered to be the hardest major across
the campus with the lowest GPA of an average 2.6 for lower-division and 2.8 for upper-division.
Anyway, so now that school is basically hogging up all my time, I have no idea what to do about my
extracurriculars, and in particular about hospital volunteering experience. I just can't seem to
find the time. Do they take into account the stress of the major, the average departmental GPA, or
even the university attended (all I've heard is "no" so far)?

I'm not sure if I'm overstressing it, because I do have a load of extracurriculars up till the time
I transferred here; just not anymore. I do have about 103 hrs clinical experience at a hospital that
I did during my last year of HS, but I'm not sure if that counts since AMCAS says to list "post-
secondary experiences." Somehow, I think it should still be valid.

The other stuff I have down is well, an organic chemistry fellowship for the summer (w/ poster-
presentation, but no authored publications) and a chemistry dept. scholarship. I also was the former
president of an american chemical society student affiliates chapter for 2 years (the only one at a
community college in So Cal), and I worked with the accreditation committee at my school for approx
5-6 months in order to expedite the process of having our accreditation reconfirmed by the Western
Association of Schools and Colleges (happens every 6 years). Some other junk I have are CPR Red-
Cross certified, Dean's List awards, and a whole bunch of network security/computer
administration/information technology nationally-recognized certifications.

Do I seriously have to pack on more of those volunteering hours? I mean, I would love to, but I
think most of you understand that we all have other obligations as well to attend to. Thanks a lot
for any info you might be able to give me!
 
N

N/A

Guest
Medical schools are interested in accepting individuals that despite the workload are able to do
other things aside from scholarly activities. You do seem to have a good number of leadership and
research activities which will be beneficial but most schools (although you will hear of folks
getting w/o any clinical exposure but this is rare) will expect some clinical exposure during
college. I do not think that experiences attained during HS will suffice or even be pertinent while
applying for medical school. Adcoms do understand that your time is limited but many many other
applicants manage to get involved in meaningful activities while they are still going FT to school.
So although I understand where you are coming from, I do *know* that it can be done. Some applicants
have families, jobs, school, etc...you can squeeze in a couple of hours per week and get some
clinical exposure. For one, how do you expect to discuss your motivation and goals if you have not
recently been exposed to medicine?
 
M

Mike

Guest
I applied to about 20 schools and interviewed at about 10. From what I saw, no one asked for an
exact number of how many hours I volunteers. But most asked me to talk about my volunteer
experiences. My feeling is that you need at least 100 hours of experience to have something to talk
about. But most of the applicants I saw had closer to 500. You don't need to become an EMT or
telephone hotline person. Instead, you want to be in a clinical environment that gives you an idea
of what it's like to be a physician and to work with sick people. Your experience in high school
will count. But I think it will hurt you if it's the only clinical experience you have.

However, it sounds like the number of volunteer hours is not your real problem. Your main problem is
that your GPA is suffering, now that you transferred from a community college to complete your
degree. If you can't turn things around, the 3.35 GPA is going to hurt you. If you truly are in the
hardest major at your school, you might want to consider a different science major where you can get
some A's. Another option is to go at a slower pace. Even if this takes an extra year or two, I would
do this. Because the truth is, very few medical schools will consider your application if your GPA
is below 3.6, especially if your most recent work is in the "B" range and your A's were at a
community college.

You're correct that the primary consideration for medical school is GPA and MCAT scores. The school
you attend has some importance, of course. But this is secondary to your GPA and MCAT. Other factors
you mentioned (the stress of your major, the average departmental GPA) probably carry little weight.

The main thing now is for you not to get discouraged, but at the same time, take some serious steps
to turn things around while you still have the chance. Feel free to email me if you have other
questions. My real email address is on my web site.

Mike

--
Mike
George Washington University School of Medicine
http://www.NontraditionalMedicalStudent.com

"AssemblerCT" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
> Hi Everyone,
>
> I have a few questions about the level of extracurriculars a person
> needs to get into medical school; it's kind of getting me worried or
> curious, I suppose. How much volunteering experience is necessary?
> I've heard that the estimates are somewhere between 100 and 200 hours.
> Is it even possible to get in without having any clinical experience?
> I was recently looking at a website of accepted applications across
> the nation, and most of their profiles listed 3.6 GPA, 30+ MCAT, and a
> whole bunch of stuff across the board about 500+ hrs of volunteering
> experience, or being an EMT, responder for AIDS/Drugs hotlines, etc. I
> mean, there is just so much fierce competition out there.
>
> I transferred from a local college last summer into a university this
> year. I had a GPA of about 4.0 at my previous institution, but now
> that I've transferred, my grades aren't so stellar anymore. I'm
> currently doing at about a 3.35 GPA for university credits only, or
> about 3.6 cumulative of 3.5 years work. Now that I'm here, it's gotten
> pretty stressful. I'm majoring in "Microbiology, Immunology, and
> Molecular Genetics," which at my school is considered to be the
> hardest major across the campus with the lowest GPA of an average 2.6
> for lower-division and 2.8 for upper-division. Anyway, so now that
> school is basically hogging up all my time, I have no idea what to do
> about my extracurriculars, and in particular about hospital
> volunteering experience. I just can't seem to find the time. Do they
> take into account the stress of the major, the average departmental
> GPA, or even the university attended (all I've heard is "no" so far)?
>
> I'm not sure if I'm overstressing it, because I do have a load of
> extracurriculars up till the time I transferred here; just not
> anymore. I do have about 103 hrs clinical experience at a hospital
> that I did during my last year of HS, but I'm not sure if that counts
> since AMCAS says to list "post-secondary experiences." Somehow, I
> think it should still be valid.
>
> The other stuff I have down is well, an organic chemistry fellowship
> for the summer (w/ poster-presentation, but no authored publications)
> and a chemistry dept. scholarship. I also was the former president of
> an american chemical society student affiliates chapter for 2 years
> (the only one at a community college in So Cal), and I worked with the
> accreditation committee at my school for approx 5-6 months in order to
> expedite the process of having our accreditation reconfirmed by the
> Western Association of Schools and Colleges (happens every 6 years).
> Some other junk I have are CPR Red-Cross certified, Dean's List
> awards, and a whole bunch of network security/computer
> administration/information technology nationally-recognized
> certifications.
>
> Do I seriously have to pack on more of those volunteering hours? I
> mean, I would love to, but I think most of you understand that we all
> have other obligations as well to attend to. Thanks a lot for any info
> you might be able to give me!
 
W

Whuds

Guest
AssemblerCT wrote:
> Hi Everyone,
>
> I have a few questions about the level of extracurriculars a person needs to get into medical
> school; it's kind of getting me worried or curious, I suppose. How much volunteering experience
> is necessary? I've heard that the estimates are somewhere between 100 and 200 hours. Is it even
> possible to get in without having any clinical experience? I was recently looking at a website
> of accepted applications across the nation, and most of their profiles listed 3.6 GPA, 30+ MCAT,
> and a whole bunch of stuff across the board about 500+ hrs of volunteering experience, or being
> an EMT, responder for AIDS/Drugs hotlines, etc. I mean, there is just so much fierce competition
> out there.
>
> I transferred from a local college last summer into a university this year. I had a GPA of about
> 4.0 at my previous institution, but now that I've transferred, my grades aren't so stellar
> anymore. I'm currently doing at about a 3.35 GPA for university credits only, or about 3.6
> cumulative of 3.5 years work. Now that I'm here, it's gotten pretty stressful. I'm majoring in
> "Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics," which at my school is considered to be the
> hardest major across the campus with the lowest GPA of an average 2.6 for lower-division and 2.8
> for upper-division. Anyway, so now that school is basically hogging up all my time, I have no idea
> what to do about my extracurriculars, and in particular about hospital volunteering experience. I
> just can't seem to find the time. Do they take into account the stress of the major, the average
> departmental GPA, or even the university attended (all I've heard is "no" so far)?
>
> I'm not sure if I'm overstressing it, because I do have a load of extracurriculars up till the
> time I transferred here; just not anymore. I do have about 103 hrs clinical experience at a
> hospital that I did during my last year of HS, but I'm not sure if that counts since AMCAS says to
> list "post-secondary experiences." Somehow, I think it should still be valid.
>
> The other stuff I have down is well, an organic chemistry fellowship for the summer (w/ poster-
> presentation, but no authored publications) and a chemistry dept. scholarship. I also was the
> former president of an american chemical society student affiliates chapter for 2 years (the only
> one at a community college in So Cal), and I worked with the accreditation committee at my school
> for approx 5-6 months in order to expedite the process of having our accreditation reconfirmed by
> the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (happens every 6 years). Some other junk I have
> are CPR Red-Cross certified, Dean's List awards, and a whole bunch of network security/computer
> administration/information technology nationally-recognized certifications.
>
> Do I seriously have to pack on more of those volunteering hours? I mean, I would love to, but I
> think most of you understand that we all have other obligations as well to attend to. Thanks a lot
> for any info you might be able to give me!
Two thoughts, Yes you will need to have volunteer hours. Medical school admissions boards look at
grades, MCAT then you! Volunteer hours are an important part of who you are, some one who cares
about others. Second point you may want to consider a diffrent major. Medical Schools don't care
about your major or how hard the major was (English Majors get into Med School) all they want to see
is a high science and overall gpa ( cut off will be about 3.4 mostly some schools will accept 3.0
though) Read advice from others on the net. I get some advice at oldpremeds.com.

just my 2cents.