Once you have made the decision to pursue a career in the medical field, it can be an exciting time in their life. This can also be a hectic time with school. Colleges, as well as good medical schools, look for students who not only have excellent grades but who are also well-rounded. Volunteer programs can take those students a long way when applying to these schools.
Types of volunteer programs
There are a variety of volunteer fields that a student can engage in. Some that may yield volunteer or intern opportunities are laboratories, clinics or hospitals. In these environments, a student not only earns volunteer experience, but can also shadow doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals to gain knowledge about a variety of career options.
If a student has the funds to allow it, they can take a volunteer opportunity traveling abroad. Some nations have a pressing need for medical help but may not have the money to provide for this. Volunteering in another country allows a student to gain hands-on experience in the medical field, as well as valuable insight and skills that will help carry them through their journey.
Opportunities working with disabled individuals or senior citizens can also be beneficial to those looking to start a career in medicine. Volunteer opportunities arise often in these fields. A student doesn’t necessarily have to volunteer in the medical field for schools to acknowledge the volunteer experience. They are looking for those with different life experiences so any volunteer experience will help. Of course, volunteering in the medical field will be more beneficial to the future career of the student.
Where to look for volunteer opportunities
If a student is still in high school, they should speak with their counselor to learn of opportunities available for them. College students should check with their academic adviser or pre-health adviser if they have one. Students can also check with different places for volunteer services such as:
- Research facilities
- Charity organizations
Any establishment that has medical needs may need volunteers. Thus, it never hurts to ask.
Tips for volunteering
Whether you plan to apply to a physical university or an online medical program, make an effort to have at least one medical-related volunteer service on your record. General volunteer experience is good, but experience in your field of choice is better. Also make sure that the opportunity is something you are passionate about. In other words, don’t just volunteer to have that credit on an application. The admissions office personnel can tell during the interview process if a student is actually passionate about the work they have done or if was just to get into school. Furthermore, you are more likely to learn from an experience that you enjoyed than an experience that you hated.
Don’t be afraid to speak up
After volunteering for some time, a student should never be afraid to speak up and ask for recommendation letters to augment their application. These letters can go a long way when applying to your school of choice. If a student is available and passionate about their work, most administrators are more than willing to write a letter for them.
The medical field can provide a rewarding a fulfilling career for individuals. Most students know early on that they want to enter the medical field. It is best to start in high school volunteering for all the opportunities that they can. With the help of their high school counselor, a student can learn of opportunities available to them. In college, many more opportunities are available for students to provide medical service and gain knowledge in the medical field.