The life of a health professional is a life of service to others. In order to decipher if students are genuinely willing to give selflessly of themselves in the future, professional schools evaluate an applicant’s record of community service and philanthropic work prior to professional school because past behaviors often times predict future behaviors and future life priorities. If schools see evidence of a student’s willingness to reach beyond themselves, they will be more confident that such a student possesses an altruistic motivation to enter a healthcare profession. Giving of one’s time for the benefit of others and for the greater good of society fosters compassion and a more in-depth understanding of community issues.
Sustained commitment to one organization over a longer period of time is more desirable than one-day or short-term events. Longer (multiple months or year-long) commitments provide students with a more in-depth understanding of an organization’s mission and how an organization is making a difference in the world; allow for more opportunities for collaboration with other volunteers and a teamwork approach to problem-solving; and solidify a lifelong propensity towards service and a personal connection to an organization.
Below is a list of resources to help UMBC pre-professional students locate community service opportunities. Students should find a cause for which they have an intense passion. Students should not limit themselves to healthcare focused organizations because so many other dimensions of a pre-professional student’s life deals with that already (academics, clinical related experience, research). The possibilities are endless. Whether it involves art, environmental awareness, homelessness, immigration, or poverty, students are urged to follow their individual interests as they get involved in making a difference.
Service-Learning and Community Engagement via The Shriver Center at UMBC
UMBC’s Office of Student Life
Civic Works, Baltimore’s Service Corps
All for Good
Corporation for National and Community Service