How Many Volunteer Hours Do You Need for Medical School?

Overview of Volunteer Hour Requirements for Medical School Admission

Every medical-aspiring student needs to know how many volunteer hours are required to enter a medical school. Most universities encourage applicants to have relevant experience before submitting their applications. A lack of volunteer history may diminish your medical school application’s competitiveness.

Your participation in relevant volunteer work reflects your seriousness about your goals in life. These volunteer activities can also help you develop relevant skills before starting your course.

6 Benefits of Volunteering for Your Med School Application

How Many Volunteer Hours for Medical School

How Many Volunteer Hours for Medical School – Benefits of Volunteering for Your Med School Application

Volunteering before medical school has multiple benefits, and it can also increase your chances of being selected for the admission process.

1. Relevant Experience in the Healthcare Industry

Having meaningful healthcare industry experience can help you understand the course and prepare for medical school. Other types of volunteer work are also valuable, offering insights into serving diverse communities and improving interpersonal skills. Volunteer work can help you develop certain skills that will increase your chances of getting selected for medical school.

2. Show Your Passion

Getting some volunteer hours before medical school can reflect your passion for your goals in life. Choosing a volunteering opportunity that you love will be more effective. You can enjoy the work and learn new things every day.

3. See the Bigger Picture

Life is not always sunshine and rainbows. You may face several challenging situations when you are volunteering for something. In these situations, you should try to see the bigger picture and focus on the positives. These difficult situations can develop different skill sets and prepare you for your future.

4. Commitment and Dedication

Volunteering work can be a great way to reflect your dedication and commitment. The selection committee at medical schools often looks for certain skills and qualities in the applicants. It can give you an excellent chance to catch their attention and reflect your commitment to your path.

5. Empathy

Empathy is an important skill set for healthcare professionals. Volunteering work can develop your ability to empathize with other people. Putting yourself in someone else’s shoes can help you understand the situation and their feelings. As a medical professional, it will help you to understand your patient and make a better diagnosis and effective treatment plans.

6. Leadership Skills

Leadership qualities are extremely important if you want to be a medical professional. It can also help you in several other situations in life. Leadership qualities can improve your decision-making abilities and help you make better choices in different situations.

You will face multiple challenging situations during your volunteer work. You may need to be in your own power to take charge and deal with the situation to overcome these challenges. This will allow you to acquire leadership skills and improve your ability to handle different situations in life.

Recommended Volunteer Hours for Medical School Applicants

There is no exact formula or standard requirement for volunteer work. While enjoying your volunteer activity is important, consistent and meaningful engagement over time is also crucial. Aiming for a minimum of 50-200 hours of volunteer work can strengthen your medical school application

When you are doing service work, the quality of your work always outweighs the time you spend there. Your behavior and personality must reflect what you have learned in your journey. This will help you make some noticeable positive changes in your community.

Spending more hours does not necessarily increase your chances as a candidate unless you can demonstrate the quality of your involvement as a volunteer. The selection process is extremely difficult and competitive. Therefore, simply meeting the minimum criteria is insufficient. Always increase your hours and learn as much as possible from your volunteer work.

Where Can You Find Volunteer Activities?

It can be tricky for some students to find appropriate volunteer work to gather amazing experience. To make it easier, you only have to spend more time and effort researching different organizations for which you want to work. You can always talk to your friends and family and let them know about your area of interest.

You may receive some references from them. You can also talk to your counselor or academic advisor to help you with your application and find appropriate opportunities. Joining some pre-medical clubs can also give you some great leads.

4 Things to Consider When Looking for Volunteer Work

There are a few things that you must consider when choosing your volunteer work to fulfill all your requirements and have the best experience.

1. Type of Volunteer Work

You must consider two main types of volunteer experience for your medical school application.

The first type includes volunteer work at some nursing homes, hospitals, homes for the physically and mentally disabled, and clinics. These settings will improve the skills that you need as a medical professional.

Experiences not directly related to healthcare but which build relevant skills are also valuable. These include volunteer work at soup kitchens, teaching, Habitat for Humanity, and other nonprofit organizations. This type of experience can improve your skills and develop your personality.

2. Time Commitment

When applying for medical school, you must consider the hours you want to spend at volunteer work. The competition for getting selected for a medical school is very high, and you must do everything possible to improve your application. You should spend more time doing these volunteer works to meet the requirements.

You should look for more long-term volunteer work. It will help you to meet the time requirements and upgrade your skills. A commitment of 10-15 hours per month is recommended for sustained impact and learning.

3. Passion

You must choose something that you are passionate about and enjoy doing. If you dislike your work, it can hamper the learning process in many ways. It will positively affect your experience and motivate you to work harder.

4. Skill Development

Volunteering work must improve your skill sets and develop your personality. When you are looking for some opportunities, make sure they meet the following criteria –

  • You must be able to learn new skills or improve your existing ones
  • You must receive leadership opportunities
  • You should be able to take on some responsible roles
  • You must face several challenging situations that can help your personal growth

What Are the Best Volunteering Activities?

Here, you will find some examples of different volunteering activities.

  • Any volunteering opportunity from the healthcare department can prepare you for your medical career and improve your skill sets.
  • Volunteering for charity work at different organizations can improve your communication skills and empathy.
  • Volunteering for medical research can improve your learning skills and prepare you for medical school.
  • Volunteering as an emergency medical technician will help you to understand medical emergencies.
  • Volunteering work at different community services will teach you to understand and put others’ needs first.


Volunteer experiences play a crucial role in enhancing medical school applicants’ skill sets and personal development. Different types of volunteering services are available in the community that can directly or indirectly prepare you to become a medical professional.

See Also

Med School Rankings

What is Considered Clinical Experience for Medical School

Nursing Schools in Vegas

Medical School Acceptance Rates

How Many Medical Schools in the US

Harvard Medical School Requirements

Best College to Become a Neurosurgeon

Current Version
March 12, 2024
Updated By
Franco Cuevas, MD

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