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Medical schools are looking for applicants who show a dedication to their community through volunteer work.
Volunteering is when you freely give your time and labor for community service. So, if you’re getting paid to do something you cannot consider it volunteer work.
Although volunteering is technically not mandatory for medical school, admissions committees look for applicants who have dedicated their time to the community.
Below is a list of clinical, non-clinical, and online volunteer opportunities for premed students.
Volunteer Opportunities for Premed Students
The quality of your volunteer work far outweighs the quantity. Think of volunteering as a way to grow and discover who you are as an individual.
There are two types of volunteering:
- clinical volunteering
- non-clinical volunteering
Clinical volunteering takes place in a clinical setting such as a hospital, nursing home, blood bank, covid testing site, etc.
If you are directly interacting with patients during your volunteer experience, consider this clinical volunteer work.
Non-clinical volunteering is anything not medical. For example, volunteering at a homeless shelter or a soup kitchen.
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There’s no exact number of volunteer hours you need for medical school but the average applicant has around 100 hours.
If you want to start volunteering right away, non-clinical volunteer positions usually don’t have a big onboarding process.
However, if you lack clinical experience you may want to seek out more clinical volunteer opportunities.
Where to Find Volunteer Opportunities
Always start with a quick google search. See what comes up and what volunteer opportunities are in your area.
Ask your peers or join your university’s premed club!
You can also find volunteer opportunities on these websites:
Clinical Volunteer Opportunities for Premeds
Clinical volunteer opportunities can be found on the website of your local hospital, free clinic, hospice, covid testing center, etc.
Clinical volunteer experience can be more difficult to obtain than non-clinical volunteer experience because of the limited positions available and somewhat lengthy onboarding process.
The best place to find clinical volunteer opportunities is your local hospital’s website.
Click on the “volunteer” tab and there will be information on how to get started.
You want to find a position that will put you in contact with patients such as a patient transporter
A position that involves cleaning or organizing at a hospital is not considered clinical volunteer experience.
The premed club at your university will also have volunteer opportunities to participate in throughout the semester.
Some of these volunteer opportunities may be clinical.
Clinical volunteering ideas:
- patient transporter
- emergency department volunteer
- hospice volunteer
- local clinic volunteer (planned parenthood, cancer, underserved communities)
- EMT volunteer
- covid testing volunteer
- rehab facility volunteer
- volunteer at a camp for children with disabilities
- blood donor ambassador
Non-Clinical Volunteer Opportunities for Premeds
Non-clinical volunteering takes place outside of a healthcare setting. It can literally be anything!
Do you love to play an instrument? Volunteer to teach music to children in underserved communities.
Look into volunteer opportunities of causes you’re passionate about or a hobby you love.
Non-clinical volunteering ideas:
- CASA/GAL Volunteer
- Meals on Wheels
- soup kitchen
- homeless shelter
- camp counselor
- local library
- animal shelter
- coach a youth’s sports team
- local church
- dog walker
- foster animals
- organize a blood drive
- join a nonprofit
Get creative, you can give your time to just about anything and it’ll count toward your volunteering hours for medical school, as long as it’s unpaid work!
Online Volunteer Opportunities for Premeds
Crisis Text Line – answer texts from people in crisis, bringing them from a hot moment to a cool calm through active listening, collaborative problem solving, and safety planning
7 Cups – provides online therapy and free support to people experiencing emotional distress
UPchieve – work directly with motivated students who can’t afford private tutoring or admissions consulting and often don’t have anyone else they can turn to for help.
Missing Maps – help to map areas where humanitarian organizations are trying to meet the needs of vulnerable people
Translators Without Borders – aims to close the language gaps that hinder critical humanitarian efforts worldwide
Be My Eyes – a free app that connects blind and low-vision people with sighted volunteers and company representatives for visual assistance through a live video call
The American Red Cross – provides several virtual volunteer positions to help you remain active in your community while practicing social distancing
Granny Cloud – provides children with limited educational resources around the globe with the opportunity to experience worlds far removed from their own
Paper Airplanes – matches conflict-affected individuals with personal tutors for 16-18 week sessions conducted via video conferencing platforms
Premed Volunteer Opportunities by Area
Comment below if you have any volunteering ideas that I didn’t mention! I’d love to hear about your experience xo