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5 Tips to Identify the Perfect Advocacy Role

Today on my YouTube channel, I share five tips to help you find the perfect advocacy role in preparation for applying to genetic counseling graduate school.

Check out the video here:

Advocacy experience is required by almost all Genetic Counseling Programs (GCPs). Volunteer or paid advocacy experiences help applicants appreciate and develop interpersonal skills, gain different perspectives, and have a better understanding of the healthcare system or other public service system. Every application season I review dozens of CVs and I often see the same advocacy roles application after application.

One way you can set yourself apart is by finding an advocacy role you are very passionate about and that is a bit harder to come by than the obvious advocacy experiences like volunteering with Planned Parenthood.

So what actually qualifies as advocacy?

In the scope of gaining experience for GC grad school, I define advocacy as: Working or volunteering for, with, or on behalf of individuals/groups who have different experiences or backgrounds than you or supporting a marginalized group or cause. Advocacy experiences typically give the applicant sufficient opportunity to work with a variety of individuals seeking information, resources, guidance, counseling, or other support services made available through the sponsoring agency or organization.

How do you find a unique advocacy role?

1. Spend 5 minutes brainstorming causes or groups of people you are passionate about. Are you passionate about abortion access? Transgender youth? People with bipolar or major depression? Teen parents? Donor conceived people? Seniors? Health insurance access? People with Ring Chromosome 18? Any other genetic disorder or medical diagnosis? Bereaved families? I list many other examples in my video. Brainstorm and list out a few causes or groups.

2. Google the cause/group + your city/state. Research local opportunities. If you find an organization that sounds rad, but the website lacks a "Volunteer with Us" section, send a cold email to a contact you find on the site. Introduce yourself, your interest in the org, and your availability.

3. If there are not local opportunities, search more broadly. Look for organizations that you would be proud to give your time to. Email out-of-state organizations to determine whether you can help with administrative tasks, social media, marketing, etc remotely.

4. Proximity: Do you regularly drive/walk by any support organizations? Halfway houses? Senior centers? Use google to see what's around and stop in to introduce yourself if any hyperlocal opportunities sound appealing.

5. helps people connect with volunteer opportunities. It's constantly being updated so be sure to check out this website to find organizations that are actively seeking volunteers.

This month I am going to help two GC hopefuls planning to apply to school for 2024 admission find unique advocacy roles. If you are interested in my help and being featured on my blog or YouTube channel please email me at

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