The Med School Application Process

Completing the AMCAS Work/Activities Section

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Applying to medical schools, like all graduate and professional programs, is a challenge with many components and hurdles. Med school applicants have one advantage over applicants to graduate school and professional schools: The American Medical College Application Service. Whereas most graduate applicants submit a separate application to each program, med school applicants submit only one application to AMCAS, a non-profit centralized application processing service. AMCAS compiles applications and transmits them to the applicant's list of medical schools. The benefit is that applications are not easily lost and you'll prepare just one. The disadvantage is that any error you introduce into your application gets forwarded to all schools. You have only one shot to put together a winning application.

The Work/Activities section of the AMCAS is your opportunity to highlight your experiences and what makes you unique. You can enter up to 15 experiences (work, extracurricular activities, awards, honors, publications, etc.).

Required Information

You must provide details of each experience. Include the date of the experience, hours per week, a contact, the location, and a description of the experience. Leave out high school activities unless they illustrate the continuity of your activity during college.

Prioritize Your Information

Medical schools are interested in the quality of your experiences. Enter only significant experiences, even if you don’t fill all 15 slots. What kinds of experiences were really important to you? At the same time, you must balance brevity with description. Medical schools can’t interview everyone. The qualitative information that you provide is important in making decisions about your application.

Tips for Writing the Work/Activities Section of the AMCAS

  • In describing your experience, keep it brief. Use resume style brief writing. Mention your duties, responsibilities, and anything special that you did.
  • If the organization in which you participated is not well known, give a brief description followed by the role you played there.
  • If you made Dean's list for more than one semester, list the honor once. But list the relevant semesters in the description area.
  • If you received any scholarship, fellowship, or honor that is not nationally known, describe it briefly. Don’t list awards that are not competitive.
  • If you were a member of an organization, let us know how many meetings/week you attended and why you joined. In other words, how is it meaningful and worthy of its place here?
  • If you list a publication, cite it properly. If the paper is not yet published, list it as “in press” (accepted and simply not yet published), “under review” (submitted for review, not published), or “in preparation” (just being prepared, not submitted, and not published).

Be Prepared to Explain it in an Interview

Remember that everything you list is fair game should you interview. That means that an admissions committee can ask you anything about the experiences you list. Be sure that you are comfortable discussing each. Don't include an experience on which you feel you can't elaborate.

Choose the Most Meaningful Experiences

You have the option of choosing up to three experiences that you consider to be the most meaningful. If you identify three "most meaningful" experiences, you must choose the most meaningful of the three and will have an additional 1325 characters to explain why it is meaningful.

Other Practical Info

  • A maximum of fifteen (15) experiences may be entered.
  • Enter each experience only once.
  • Work and activities will appear on your application in chronological order and cannot be rearranged.
  • If you plan to cut and paste your experience description into the application, you should draft your information in a text editor to remove all formatting. Copying formatted text into the application may result in formatting issues that cannot be edited once your application is submitted.
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Your Citation
Kuther, Tara, Ph.D. "The Med School Application Process." ThoughtCo, Aug. 27, 2020, Kuther, Tara, Ph.D. (2020, August 27). The Med School Application Process. Retrieved from Kuther, Tara, Ph.D. "The Med School Application Process." ThoughtCo. (accessed June 1, 2023).