Virtually every healthcare profession sees itself as service-oriented and you should assume that volunteer work of some kind is required. Moreover, most admissions personnel would argue that if the only reason you are volunteering is because it’s required, then this probably isn’t the right path for you.
If you love to tutor grade school students in Detroit, you can do that and know it’s valuable. If you see volunteering in your religious community as an important part of your life, then your favorite health professions programs will likely feel the same way.
The jobs and internships you may choose to do can also be extremely important in your development as a healthcare professional. And finally, those things you do for the sheer love of trying something new might be just as important to an admissions committee as they are to you.
These are just a few of the many options you can find around campus. Remember that non-clinical volunteering can add immense value to your preparation for a health profession. It can be a wonderful way to learn about the world and the people living in it. Deeper involvement also provides opportunities for greater initiative on your part. And the value increases as you do work you genuinely care about.
Project Serve, Office of Community Service Learning Volunteer placements, Alternative Breaks, campus programs, and SERVE Week.
Project Outreach - PSYCH 211: Section .004 involves clinical service learning, but the other sections involve non-clinical service learning that might interest you and that can add valuable experience.
Project Community - SOC 225: Sections in the .200’s are clinically related, but the other sections involve non-clinical service learning that might interest you and that can add valuable experience.
The UM International Center Study, Work and Travel Abroad Office has listings of excellent service learning organizations that operate outside the US.
Outside UMich Resources:
Michigan in Washington: provides the opportunity for government and non-government internships while living and studying in Washington DC.I
Semester in Detroit provides the opportunity for government and non-government internships while living and studying in Detroit, MI
Translate-a-thon: Put your knowledge of a language to work for others.
Clinical Volunteering Abroad
In recent years, medical schools and dental schools in particular were alarmed by the fact that some applicants had engaged in treatment procedures while volunteering abroad, despite the fact that they did not have adequate training and were not licensed to treat patients. Beware of opportunities to perform invasive treatment procedures (e.g. pulling teeth, drawing blood, and the like) without proper training and licensure, as you might actually do harm. Even if you don’t, this might be viewed as a serious breach of professional ethics. Health professions organizations have responded to these concerns by producing some guidelines for volunteering abroad:
If you have participated in a clinical experience abroad and want to learn more about including it in your application materials, reference these steps outlined by the University Career Center.