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How Valuable is Volunteering?

Volunteering during your younger years can become your greatest asset when you apply to Medical or Dental school. Wherever you volunteer - it is what you get out of it that matters the most.

Here are a few different examples of volunteering that all appeal to admissions tutors for various reasons.

1. Charity

  • Giving something back to a charitable cause either by regularly fundraising or helping your local charity shop will show your altruistic, caring and giving nature.

  • Only do this however if you truly have a charity you want to help and support – not just to tick a box on your application, because you’ll get nothing from it, won’t enjoy it and will be wasting precious time!

2. Care home

  • This definitely shows a tangible side to you and your caring nature towards people.

  • Volunteering at a care home also demonstrates your empathetic nature towards residents and how understanding you need to be.

  • As an experience, it was by far the most important experience I had ever had. I really saw how residents felt and how your weekly visit made their whole day happier. I enjoyed talking to the people there and helping out - this will help to develop your confidence, communicational skills and patience.

3. Reading with primary school children or helping at homework clubs

  • This tests your patience and communication skills – both are highly important in medicine and dentistry. You need to be able to speak to people of various ages and converse with them effectively – developing this early on is a great skill!

4. Helping at your family/friend/local shop

  • Now some of you may think how could this have any relevance? A colleague of mine had only this on his personal statement because he found it difficult to secure work experience, but he did this for 2 years – showed commitment and dedication, and really demonstrated how the skills he learnt can be applicable to Medicine and landed an offer at Cambridge. So it is honestly what you have gained from the experience.

  • Whatever this may be, developing your communication, interpersonal and team-working skills are all fundamentally relevant!

Above all, when it comes to volunteering admissions tutors love to see that you’ve done this for a substantial amount of time because this shows commitment and dedication – essential for your 5- or 6-year course, and life as a doctor or dentist!

If you have any questions regarding your voluntary work or work experience, get in touch at

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