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'too late' for volunteering?


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Hello All,


I was wondering....can it ever be 'too late' for volunteering? If I dont have an impressive record of EC *during* my undergrad does that look bad? I'm currently in my last year of undergrad (I finish - hopefully- by the end of August). Instead of taking the standard 5 course load I usually do I took 4 classes this term and am planning on doing a LOT of volunteering and shadowing, but I'm wondering if this 'looks bad'? Do med schools focus on the balance of doing EC WITH school? Does it look bad that I am all of a sudden taking on a bunch of ECs in my 2nd last term of undergrad? Or do they really not care?



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okie dokie I will.


Its not that I haven't done 'anything' but...Med school wasn't seriously on my mind until this past summer. When I was in high school I volunteered a LOT! I got like 300 hours or something - which is a lot for a high school student. I actually really enjoyed volunteering with lots of places from blood donor clinics to canvassing for heart and stroke foundation and Alzheimer's association to working for a MP to volunteering for summer camp for disadvantaged kids etc etc ) But when I got into uni my parents told me to forget about everything in first year so I can focus on my studies (they were scared they would get a repeat of my sister :P )


Also, is employment taken into a lot of consideration? Because I believe I've read that the reason that ECs are so important is to 'teach you what class cant'...I have quite a bit of work experience for someone my age (20) so I'm hoping it will work in my favour?


Heres my break down:


1st year - did nothing but study study study (had some family problems too so family agreed I should not take on anymore responsibility) - in winter I started a majorrrrr job applying session and managed to get a job!


Summer Job with Ministry of Child and Youth Services


2nd year:


Helped start up a cultural group on campus. Had quite a bit of work and helped plan/organize programs etc


Got a summer coop job with Health Canada - you would think yay! But it wasnt health related :( (It was law- my degree)


3rd year:


TA job all year


Did a LOT of work with that volunteering group I helped set up and organizing quite a few events and even was the host and had extensive speaking for our biggest event of year (where the dean of my department and our MP and MPP was there too!)


Summer Job: Got another government job (wont name where cause lets try to maintain SOME form of anonymity :P)


4th year:

TA semester 1 Here I am! Hopefully going to try to get a few places...one at a hospital and I've seen this one program where you help people with anorexia and bulimia (seems really interesting!)


So I'm excited to start volunteering but it sucks cause I *have* done stuff (because I like to volunteer .....not cause of med school) but I don't feel I can put on a bunch of the little volunteering stuff I did throughout the past 4 years (helping with political campaigns to volunteering with UNICEF etc etc cause they were all like 5-10 hr things...or one day to two days stuff) They weren't done for med school but cause I wanted to help...if only I knew about med school then. Would have tried to extend the work! lol


Anyways sorry about the long post/rant. :P But yes...would work experience look good in place of ECs?

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You can still put the other activities down. Work experience does count as well.


I think you should also keep in mind that you don't need tons of "health-related ECs" to show your enthusiasm for med, or that you have the necessary skills or experiences that will allow you to excel. Patient advocacy is an ex: if you have done so much working organizing events, you can probably relate to doing that perhaps for a group of patients with a particular illness or concern.


Having ECs that are "health related" has its advantages as it does allow you to understand some aspects of medicine, patient perspectives and the role of the clinician. But it's not debilitating to the point where if you only have one or two, your chances are shot.

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