Community Service for PA's
Because medicine is a service profession —meaning the main motivation for wanting to become a Physician Assistant should be to serve other people—PA programs want to see that you value and are invested in serving your community.
Emphasis on service varies, but many schools recommend 200+ hours of community service. Service activities should demonstrate consistent and long-term commitment to helping others, but do not need to be medically related.
We often have students ask about volunteer experiences that was accomplished through missionary service. Community service (English classes, service projects, etc.) completed on a mission counts, but engagement in your own local community can be seen as more valuable. While the hours you spent on your mission is positive, schools want to see continuity in your community engagement. As a result, it is important to stay involved with service throughout the duration of your time at BYU.
We recommend that you investigate and then pursue service opportunities that are meaningful to you. For an example, if you love children, find ways to do meaningful service that incorporate working with children. If you love the Latino population, find opportunities for service that provide engagement with them or ways to use your Spanish. Choose a service opportunity you are passionate about! Would you do this even if you weren't going to PA school?
When choosing a service opportunity, it is also good to consider opportunities to get involved with that may help you get outside of your comfort zone. Engaging with those who have different life experiences than you can help you increase your empathy and capacity to serve others.
Here are some places to get started on your quest to find meaningful volunteer opportunities!
United Way of Utah County
Maliheh Free Clinic