Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Community Service

We get a lot of questions regarding pre-health students and community service. Students must display a strong academic background and exam scores, but that alone will not get you into professional school. Students must display a clear motivation toward a health career (we'll address that in a future blog) and demonstrate humanistic/altruistic values. The number one reason students say they want to pursue a health career is to "help people". Thus, students should display a long track record of activities where they are helping others.

This can be accomplished in many ways. Sometimes students perceive that service must take place in a health care setting (ex: nursing home, clinic, medical missions, etc.). This isn't the only type of service that "counts". Just find something you like to do and demonstrate a commitment to it. That can be tutoring other students, volunteer activities through religious organizations, being a big brother/big sister, involvement in community initiatives- really any type of community service will do. You also do not need to have a "laundry list" of activities. Consistently volunteering your time to one cause is better than just showing up for one hour at multiple places. The bottom line- find something you like and stick with it!

It is also important to note that students need to have significant volunteer experience throughout college. While service work in high school is great, high school accomplishments should not be the focus of professional school applications. You need to demonstrate a commitment throughout college. Activities that take place the summer before college will count, as it is after your high school graduation- and yes, we do a few service projects during the PEPP program!

Finally, keep track of all the service activities/project that you are involved in beginning after your high school graduation. I recommend that students start an excel spreadsheet that records the following fields for each event: organization, activity, contact person, location, and hours. This will make it super easy to complete your professional school application later on.  

No comments:

Post a Comment