| FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
CCC operates throughout the year in three primary cycles: Fall, Winter, and Summer. These roughly correspond to the months of October-January, February-May, and June-September. Applications tend to be made available one month prior to the beginning of these cycles and are distributed to the students at HMS, MGH IHP, and Harvard College through their respective list-servs and other communication channels. There are usually information sessions prior to the Fall cycle to provide information and answer questions for new students.
The Fall cycle is the largest volunteer recruitment period and comprises ~70-80% of total volunteer onboarding. Most volunteers commit to the full academic year of volunteering with the same site. A much smaller recruitment and onboarding process occurs in the Winter to fill staffing openings at sites. Summer recruitment is slightly larger, as students graduate leaving vacancies. Summer is often a time for more junior students to begin to take on more responsibilities at the site as they have begun to develop their clinical skills and acquire more experience.
In general, positions are assigned based on one's clinical experience and years in program of study. Volunteers may serve in roles below their current year (based on their own preference or to gain more experience), but generally not above. Specific terminology and eligibility may differ between sites. In order of increasing available options:
a. Harvard College/undergraduate student:
Undergraduate students are eligible to volunteer in non-clinical roles coordinating staffing, resources, and research at clinical sites. Terminology varies, but the role often goes by names such as Social Services Coordinator, Senior Director, Resources Manager, Research Manager, and others.
b. First year HMS student, first year PA student, first/second year nursing students:
Pre-clinical students are eligible to volunteer as Junior/Integrated Clinicians at all sites and generally work in pairs with a more senior student to interview, examine, and counsel patients with support from the attending preceptor. Pre-clinical students are also eligible for all roles above.
c. Second+ year HMS students, second year PA students, NP students who have completed at least one semester of advanced clinical placement:
Clinical and advanced clinical students are eligible to serve as Senior Clinicians at all sites, usually supervising, supporting, and teaching more junior students. Advanced students are also eligible for roles above (and some advanced students may elect to volunteer as Junior Clinicians, depending on their clinical experience and comfort level).
d. Special cases:
- MD-PhD students: MD-PhD students are welcome and encouraged to apply to CCC during both their clinical and research years. Role assignment during research years is usually based on the highest level of clinical training that you've completed prior to taking time off (e.g. if you completed part or all of the PCE, you would be eligible to be a senior clinician). If you have specific questions about your role or clinical experience, feel free to reach out to the directors (email@example.com) to discuss before applying.
- Research year, gap year, dual-degree, etc: As for MD-PhD students above, students actively enrolled in a clinical program at HMS (even if they're taking time away) may volunteer. The primary requirement is eligibility to be onboarded at the clinical site. If in doubt, reach out to ask! Unfortunately, we are not able to accommodate clinical students from other medical schools visiting Harvard to complete a Master's degree, as there are limited positions and Master's students are usually not onboarded to complete clinical work as part of their program.
Most sites ask for students to commit one to two evenings per month at their weekly clinic. Volunteers commit to one semester at a time, but usually stay on from Fall-Summer for a full academic year. All sites take into consideration scheduling preferences of their clinic volunteers when assigning students to a specific date, but applicants should not apply for a site where they know they will have significant conflicts at the time of the site's weekly clinic.
Yes! CCC has many leadership opportunities for students at all levels. Check out the Our Team page to see some details about the Umbrella Board, the group of students responsible for coordinating operations and activities between sites. Recruitment for the Umbrella Board occurs each spring ~April/May. Each clinic site also has site-specific leadership that is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the site. Volunteering with a site is a great way to see how it operates and learn more about leadership opportunities there.
CCC volunteer opportunities are primarily available for Harvard Medical School, MGH Institute for Health Professions, and Harvard College students (with some opportunities for Northeastern/Simmons College students in specific programs). Due to limited availability of total positions and high interest from these student populations, it is uncommon for students not in one of these programs to be able to volunteer at our clinical sites. Additionally, we are not able to accommodate clinical students from other medical schools visiting Harvard to complete a Master's degree, as there are limited positions and Master's students are usually not onboarded to complete clinical work as part of their programs.
I just graduated from [school] and will be working in the Boston area/I am a research coordinator at [hospital site]. Can I volunteer with CCC?
Unfortunately, volunteer opportunities with CCC are reserved for current students. CCC does not have processes for non-students to participate and does not facilitate shadowing opportunities.
Check out the Volunteer With Us page to see more information about the volunteering positions available and updates on the next application cycle. Updates are also regularly emailed to the HMS, IHP, and Harvard College student bodies via their respective list-servs/channels. You can also follow us on our (variably active) social media platforms (links below)!
Feel free to reach out to the student directors of CCC at firstname.lastname@example.org!