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Premed Advising

Volunteer Work and Research

Volunteer Work

Medical school acceptance committees look for more than just a high GPA and high MCAT score. They want to see evidence that you understand what a commitment to medical practice is, and evidence that you do, in fact, "want to help other people." This phrase has become a clichè in med school applications, but acceptance committees do seek out the reality of your commitment. The earlier you can demonstrate concern for others, not just in words, but in deeds, the better.

  • Helping the physician at the Poverello House or at some of the rural clinics.
  • Volunteering at the Saturday afternoon free health clinic; call Dr. Marc Lasher of the Fresno Free Medical Clinic at (559) 266-0444 and leave a message.
  • Volunteering at hospices, e.g. Nancy Hinds Hospice
  • Volunteering at Children's Hospital can be rewarding because this is a teaching hospital and once the hospital becomes acquainted with the student, the student may be trained for intensive care.
  • Volunteering for the Tzu Chi Fresno Medical Team. The Tzu Chi International Medical Association also known as TIMA was founded in 1996 by a group of healthcare professionals, and the Fresno branch was officially established in 2004. The Tzu Chi Medical Foundation provides quality medical, dental, alternative medicine and vision care, along with health education and other health services, to the income disadvantage residents regardless of their age, gender, race or religious affiliations.
  • Nursing homes for elderly people
  • The Marjorie Mason Center (Women's Shelter)
  • Homes for the developmentally disabled and mental health centers
  • Thrift stores that support non-profits and charitable organizations
  • Volunteer programs at local hospitals: Community Hospital (Fresno, Clovis) online form; Kaiser Permanente Fresno Office of Volunteer Services: 559-448-5508; Children's Hospital, Fresno volunteering.
  • Physician shadowing: since none of the local hospitals have a formal shadowing program, you will need to find a physician who is willing to allow you to shadow. Perhaps your family physician can suggest someone.

Paid Work Experience

  • Scribe program, a paid, 16 to 18 hours per week medical experience with a two-year commitment. Nearly thirty pre-med and medical students currently work side-by-side with physicians as scribes at Saint Agnes Medical Center Emergency Department. After receiving a crash course on anatomy, medical charting, and medications, they assist with patient charting, ordering diagnostic tests, and ordering medications for emergency physicians. This program not only provides better patient care, but also gives actual clinical experience for the dedicated pre-medical student.
  • Scribe Program II: Other Valley hospitals
    Three other scribe programs run by CEP America are at local Valley
    hospitals: Community hospital, Clovis hospital, and Madera hospital.
    Click here for the CEP America link to submit your resume, or write or phone them: CEP America, 2100 Powell Street, Suite 920, Emeryville, CA 94608-1803 phone: (510) 350-2777
  • Academic Research Associates: See a description of this program in our section "Special Courses and Programs", or better yet, visit their website.


Another activity that can improve your odds at getting accepted is to engage in undergraduate research. The College of Science and Mathematics has many faculty who are eager to have undergraduates work on interesting projects. In Chemistry, Drs. Attar, Brooks, Chen, Choi, Dejean, Hasson, Golden, Goto, Krishnan, Maitra, and Person are the most likely to have projects. Look up their office hours on the bulletin board outside the Chemistry office, and stop by and chat with them. It would help if you had at least the first year of general chemistry completed.

The same goes for the other departments in the College. Check with the Chair of each to learn who engages in undergraduate research, and stop by their offices during an office hour to see if they would have something for you.

Many of these projects may lead to results suitable for publication, or to presentations at professional meetings. Either way, they look very good on your resume.