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*~*~*~*Official AMCAS "Work/Activities" Tips Thread 2014-2015*~*~*~*

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Ismet, Mar 28, 2014.

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  1. Ismet

    Ismet PGY-fun! SDN Administrator 5+ Year Member

    May 15, 2011
    Well, it is that time of year again!

    The AMCAS Application will be opening soon, and with it comes a ton of questions. The "Work and Activities" Section is probably the most talked about section. For reference, here are three older threads that contain lots of valuable information about this section:

    Great tips for entering your "Work/Activities" for AMCAS: The thread from 2005-2010 with over 3500 posts
    *~*~*~*Tips for Entering your "Work and Activities" in AMCAS*~*~*~*: 2011-2012 thread with over 1800 posts
    *~*~*~*Official AMCAS "Work/Activities" Tips Thread 2012-2013*~*~*~*: 2012-2013 thread with over 2000 posts
    *~*~*~*Official AMCAS "Work/Activities" Tips Thread 2013-2014*~*~*~*: Last year's thread with over 1100 posts
    (Even though these threads are all quite long, you can still search those threads to find useful answers to your question)

    All new threads dealing with this topic in Pre-Allo will be merged into this thread.

    In the first few posts, the Moderation staff will be compiling a FAQ. Any suggestions for the FAQ are appreciated.

    Some helpful, official AMCAS resources:
    The 2014 Application Manual, especially section 5

    REMINDER: Each thread has a search function. Please use it.

    This thread is brought to you by the Pre-Allopathic Volunteer Staff. Ask away, and good luck!!
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  3. Ismet

    Ismet PGY-fun! SDN Administrator 5+ Year Member

    May 15, 2011
    Please Note: This is a particularly difficult section of the application. On almost every point there are differing opinions, and ultimately you need to create the work and activities section that is best for you, but being consistent is important. Take all advice offered here as a piece of the solution, but often not the ultimate word on the subject.

    This FAQ is a work in progress. Any suggestions are welcomed and appreciated.

    Work and Activities FAQ

    1. What is the Work/Activities Section all about?
    This is where you get to talk about your extracurricular activities, or "ECs" as they are referred to around SDN. This includes things like research experience, tutoring, academic awards, volunteer experience, clinical experience, etc. Everything that you ever wanted an admissions committee member (AdCom) to know about you to show that you are in fact a good candidate for medical school.

    2. What kinds of categories can I put things in?
    Artistic Endeavors
    Community Service/Volunteer - Medical/Clinical
    Community Service/Volunteer - Non Medical/Clinical
    Conferences Attended
    Extracurricular Activities
    Intercollegiate Athletics
    Leadership - Not Listed Elsewhere
    Military Service
    Paid Employment - Medical/Clinical
    Paid Employment - Non Medical/Clinical
    Physician Shadowing/Clinical Observation
    Teaching/Tutoring/Teaching Assistant

    3. What kinds of things should I put in each category?
    Part of this will be a judgement call. Adcoms are aware that things may fall into more than one category. For instance, if you are a Lead TA, you may want to separate it into two entries, one for Leadership and the other for Teaching/Tutoring. If you feel like you are more deficient in one category than another, then you may want to list it in the category where you are lacking something to balance out your application.

    Some examples of things to list in each category:

    -Club officer
    -Student activism/government/Greek activities
    -Starting a non-profit/student organization

    -Academic awards such as honor societies, dean's list, etc.
    -Interesting certifications or recognitions you have such as a black belt in a martial art, placing in a competition, certified as pilot, etc.
    -Received competitive research position or project funding for which you applied.
    -Phi Beta Kappa

    Community Service - Medical/Clinical
    -As LizzyM likes to put this one, if you are close enough to SMELL patients, it is clinical. This is pretty much the prevailing wisdom on SDN.

    Community Service - Non-medical/Clinical
    -If it doesn't fall into the above, you didn't get paid for it, and it isn't a leadership or teaching opportunity, it probably falls here
    -Include things like volunteering for non-profits and charitable organizations, volunteer work you have done at your school, etc.

    -Includes not just TA or tutor, but also mentoring and coaching.

    Most of the other categories should be pretty self-explanatory.

    4. They are giving me a lot of space to describe each the heck should I enter them in? Is less more? Should I use up all available space? will never get a clear cut answer to this one. But we can give you some possible techniques and advice

    A - One school of thought is that this is not the time to pontificate. Describe the activity if it needs describing (if you think it is something an AdCom member will not know about) and otherwise, be pithy with your description. Many think that talking about what you learned from the activity is not appropriate in this section, and is better saved as material for secondary applications.

    B - Another school of thought is that this is exactly the place to address why you got involved and/or what you learned from an activity because you may not get another chance in a secondary application. Those from California especially feel this pressure since most of the secondaries at California Med Schools are screened (you do not automatically get a secondary; they review your primary application first and decide if you are worthy). Because of this it is tempting to spew as much as possible here.

    C - Approach C is a combination of the two approaches. Spew when necessary (an unusual activity that may need a little bit more explanation to understand its depth, and you learned a lot from but you are NOT addressing in your PS) and limited description of commonplace application items (ER scribe, general hospital volunteer, MCAT teacher/tutor).

    You can really go down two general paths when it comes to entering the activities in: paragraph form or bullet points. Go with what comes most naturally to you, and don't force yourself to conform to a style that you think is inappropriate for the information you are trying to convey and your writing style.

    Another trick for entering your activities is to use a catchall description that allows you to enter several different activities under one heading so that you are not wasting multiple spots. For example:

    Activity: "Undergraduate Work Experience". Category: Paid Employment - Non-Military
    Input the other header information (time span, total hours, contact, etc) for the first activity listed

    Activity Description
    By using this method, you are able to save 2 spaces in the Work/Activities section, but still are able to show that you have significant work experience and experience juggling a job and school.

    5. Is work experience really that important for me to list? Who is going to care if I worked at a grocery store for 2 years, 20 hours a week, while in college?
    Work experience is ABSOLUTELY important for you to list. There is a fantastic thread about this topic here:

    The short version: the work/activities section is there for you to show off all of your skills. Holding down a job while continuing to be a learner (student) is a huge skill that not every medical student can bring to the table. It also shows commitment and an ability to tolerate some suckage, something that every job has, no matter how much you may love it on some days.

    6. Should I really list that I was on the dean's list/in an honor society?
    Again....two schools of thought here. One is that many applicants have these things, so why list them. The other is that they won't know unless you tell them.

    Again, a good trick for entering activities is to have a catch-all category like "Academic Recognition" where you then list the X number of awards/recognition that you have received. That way you are not taking up multiple spaces for things you don't want to emphasize.

    7. Do AdCom members really contact people in the "Contact Information" field of this section? What should I do if I don't have a good contact for an activity?
    In the past, AdCom members rarely contacted these people. However, the application changed a few years ago to require either a phone number or email address for a contact for most activities listed. Especially if an LOR about the activity was not submitted, be sure your contact is up-to-date and even forewarned, particularly if the activity was substantial and adds great appeal to your candidacy. Some schools check these in detail (usually before, but possibly even after accepting you) and others not so much, but you won’t know which is which.

    There are certainly some activities that are difficult to list a contact, like an activity long ago. Here are a few hints: It is best to include the most impartial person possible (so list your mom as your absolute last resort) but you might find the need to list your roommate or your friend as a contact. Remember, if the contact is called or emailed, he or she only needs to provide reassurance to the adcomm that you described the activity faithfully. These are contacts not references so the person who responds does not need to answer questions about your abilities to succeed in medical school. Also, please read the AMCAS FAQ answer to this question.

    8. Most Meaningful Activities
    8a. Is there any benefit to marking three activities as "Most Meaningful" vs. just one?

    Again, there are several schools of thought on this issue:
    i. You are only obliged to list one activity as "Most Meaningful." If you can express yourself in the first 700 characters, adding 1325 characters about two other activities might bore admissions committee members.
    ii. Admissions committees will pay special attention to the activities marked as "Most Meaningful" so mark three activities that are the strongest part of your application. Be sure not to add fluff in the extra space, perhaps including a concise story to help illustrate the "transformative nature of the experience."

    8b. What happens if I wrote about my most meaningful activities in my personal statement?
    It is best not to repeat information on your application. There are two options:
    1. Pick different activities as your "Most Meaningful".
    2. Rework your personal statement. For example, you could use your Personal Statement to address a specific story, patient, or moment, then use the "Most Meaningful" box to provide a more general, big picture message from the activity.

    8c. Can I use the "Most Meaningful" box to continue the description of my activity? For example, can I use it to list the citations for all my posters and presentations?
    It is best to use the box as AMCAS suggests on the application. Some creativity will be tolerated. Just don't ramble to fill space.

    9. If I talk about something in my personal statement, should I still mention it in my Work/Activities Section?
    Yes, definitely. Be sure to review Depakote's Personal Statement Guide/Tips since it is a bad idea to have your PS simply serve as a regurgitation of your Extracurricular activities.

    10. How should I list Physician Shadowing?
    Physician shadowing now has its own designation so it is no longer recommended to list it as "Other".

    Some recommendations when listing physician shadowing: Group all of your shadowing together, giving a total hours for each physician. Additional relevant information such as their title ("MD" or "DO"), level of training if not an attending (resident, fellow, etc.), or other notes about the shadowing (i.e. shadowed only during office hours for a surgeon, only during image reading for a radiologist, etc.) can be included. There's no need to describe what shadowing is.

    Here's an example of how shadowing can be listed:
    Experience Type: Physician shadowing
    Title: Physician Shadowing
    Total Hours: Total hours shadowed
    Contact info, organization name, and dates: Use the info for the first physician you want to list
    11. How many spaces are there for activities? How many of them should I use? Should I be trying to fill them all?
    You have 15 spaces to list your activities. However, most applicants DO NOT use all of them. You should not try to "spread out" your activities for the sake of filling more slots. Be sure that every activity is worthy of being included and that they all improve the admission committee's understanding of you as the applicant.

    12. Should I really be talking about my hobbies or artistic endeavors?
    If you have some, then list them! Not all adcomm members will read them, but some like to know what you do to relieve stress and unwind. Group them all together.

    Some are confused between listing an activity as a hobby or an artistic endeavor. The prevailing SDN opinion about artistic endeavors is that they involve reaching a wider audience (ie publishing or performing instead of just writing and practicing). A hobby is more personal with a limited audience.

    13. Should I list something that I plan for the future but haven't started yet? Can end dates be projected into the future?
    The AMCAS application will not accept future months for your start date. If an activity is ongoing, the end date can be no later than the intended start of medical school (ie, August at the end of the current cycle). Note that some categories only require one date, like Awards, Presentations/Posters, and Publications.

    14. How should I list publications? What if some of them are "submitted" but not actually accepted yet?
    Publications are worthy of their own slot, even if you already have a "Research" slot. For contact, use your PI that you worked with. For organization, you can use the name of the organization that publishes the journal. For date, use the publication date, or if accepted for publication but not yet published, use the accepted date. In the description, it is a good idea to include enough of a citation for an adcomm member to find the paper if he/she is curious enough to look it up. Some adcomm members find it helpful to include enough of the author's list so that your place in the authorship can be determined.

    If a publication is only submitted or needs major revisions, then it is still a future activity which you cannot include. If it is published, accepted for publication, or accepted pending minor revisions then you can include it.

    15. How far back should I go listing activities?
    Any activity you engaged in after High School graduation may be considered potentially relevant. Strictly speaking, there is no rule that you can't include a High School-only activity, but if you do so, it should add substantially to your application, so you aren't wasting space for something that adcomms are unlikely to regard. This would include Experiences that began during HS (or even before) and either continued into the college years or resumed sometime later. Examples of life-long activities that might help your application would be music or dance involvement.

    If you are a nontraditional applicant, then your more recent accomplishments are the most important to highlight. In that case, consider grouping your most important college-aged activities together under the "Other" designation.

    16. What order should I input my activities in?
    It doesn't matter! The AMCAS application automatically organizes the activities in a chronological order. Adcomms can change how the activities appear for their report but you can't alter the order.

    17. What if the "Total Hours" for one of my activities is more than 999 hours?
    Though the directions state that 999 is the maximum hours that can be entered, one can now input 99,999 Total Hours.

    18. How should I go about naming an activity?
    -If your position comes with a title, you can use that if it reflects what you do adequately, eg, Vice President of a Student Rockclimbing Association (especially if the name of the organization is Hawkeye Mountain Goats, which doesn't tell us enough). Or, Research Affiliate, vs Research Associate, vs Research Tech, vs Researcher on Infant Cognition Project.

    -If you are a general member of an organization and will hold a higher office in the future, since it can't be listed under Leadership on its own before you start the position, you can sneak it into the application with the title you pick, eg: General Member and President-Elect of Campus Recycling Initiative.

    -If the activity covers two categories, since you can only designate one, in some instances you might choose a name that conveys the other designation. For example, Research/Lab can be paid, volunteer, or via class credit. Unless you are washing glassware, you might decide to select Research/Lab so it won't be overlooked, but could title the activity Animal Handler for Smith Lab through Work/Study Program. Exception: If your research activity earns class credit, the transcript will speak to this so it isn't necessary to repeat the information.

    -If you are grouping multiple similar activities together to save space, be sure the title you pick encompases all of them, eg, Summer Camp Volunteerism, or College Seasonal Employment, or E-Publications of Graphic Novels, or Searchable Published Abstracts, or Leisuretime Activities, or Undergraduate Recognitions, or Fraternity Involvement.

    -If the activity does not come with a title, try to convey its essence so a skimmer is more likely to read the entire entry. Instead of Runner, perhaps title the Hobby activity Marathoner, 235th Place. Instead of Band Member, perhaps First Chair Clarinetist in XXXCity Orchestra. Instead of Telephone Operator, perhaps Communication Facilitator and Emergency Response Expert. Instead of Tutor, perhaps Chemistry Tutor through Office of Minority Affairs.

    -Try not to repeat the Organization name in the title you give the activity.
    Instead of: Experience name: President of Pre-Medical Society; Organization: Pre-Med Society

    For Organization name , you could use AED spelled out, Office of Collegiate Affairs (or whatever dept oversees all student organizations), or your school name.
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2014
    Arsenalfcfan1 likes this.
  4. giraffesuptop

    giraffesuptop 2+ Year Member

    Oct 5, 2013
    I'm applying this June and I've been reelected to some club leadership positions for next fall. Is it possible/acceptable to list those on amcas as "have been elected for position x for the fall" or is that inappropriate bc I haven't yet begun serving the term of that reelected position?

    I also applied and was selected by the chem department to be a chem peer leader (teach a weekly chem practice problem session) next fall, can I also list that at "elected to position x for fall"?
  5. Catalystik

    Catalystik Providing herd protection SDN Advisor 10+ Year Member

    The AMCAS application won't allow future months to be entered as a start date in an activity header. If you have been involved in those clubs since earlier in college, you could list your membership in them and mention the future elected positions in the narrative.

    For the chem tutoring you might tack mention of it onto the end of another Teaching entry, or alternatively, save it for an update letter.
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2014
  6. giraffesuptop

    giraffesuptop 2+ Year Member

    Oct 5, 2013
    Awesome thanks. I have been involved with both chem tutoring and those clubs long term so I will definitely put that in the narrative section. Thank you for your input.

    Honestly I didn't know there would be a narrative section for ecs, can you tell me if there's a word limit for those narratives?
  7. Catalystik

    Catalystik Providing herd protection SDN Advisor 10+ Year Member

    Yes, there is a 700 space limit, but if you have a lot to say, you can get another 1325 spaces for up to three activities by designating the experience as "Most Meaningful."
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2014
  8. smurfsnowman123


    Apr 5, 2014
    if its part of a continuation of earlier activities, you can write as last sentence that you have been elected for x for fall. if not, then save it for secondaries or update letters.
  9. stars42


    Oct 15, 2013
    According to the current AMCAS Instruction manual (page 57):

    Experience Dates
    Include the start and end dates for each experience. Some Experience Types, such as
    Awards, Presentations/Posters and Publications, require only one date. Medical schools
    want information about experiences you have begun prior to application submission;
    therefore, your start date must be no later than the current month. Similarly, medical
    schools ask that the experience end date coincide with the start of medical school; even if
    the experience will be ongoing the latest end date must be no later than August of the
    current application cycle.

    Unless I'm reading that incorrectly, it is saying that you can put future dates into AMCAS (Up until August 2015) for activities.

    Edit: According to the AMCAS 2015 Application youtube video
    (Relevant slide @ 10:52) you can add future end dates until August 2015.
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2014
  10. Catalystik

    Catalystik Providing herd protection SDN Advisor 10+ Year Member

    Sorry for not being sufficiently precise. Extrapolating from how things have worked in the past: If you enter a future start date in the header, then enter a future end date, my guess is that you will get an error message that doesn't allow saving the activity so it is included on your list of Experiences. Until the new application opens up, we can't test this hypothesis.

    Edit: @stars42 As suspected, a popup box appears when one tries to save inappropriate information one has typed in. It states,
    If you enter only an end date, another error message that pops up includes:
    *You must enter a starting month.
    *You must enter a starting year.
    Last edited: May 1, 2014
  11. Keladry

    Keladry 2+ Year Member

    Mar 6, 2014
    1. I'd advise research/lab, since even unpaid, that was its focus.
    2. That to me sounds potentially like clinical volunteer. You can list contacts in other countries, just use their emails (or phone with country code).
    3. Yes, that makes sense (I did the same, I think I just called it honors and awards or something).
  12. Ismet

    Ismet PGY-fun! SDN Administrator 5+ Year Member

    May 15, 2011
    Merged related threads.
  13. gonnif

    gonnif Only 1113 Days Until Next Presidential Election Lifetime Donor 7+ Year Member

    Jul 26, 2009
    The Big Bad Apple
    What about "president-elect?" Certainly AMA, AOA and other specialties often do that . If it is impactful enough or further shows commitment , motivation and achievement, it might be a tactic. I would think as part of the entry on that overall organization.

    Your thoughts?
  14. Catalystik

    Catalystik Providing herd protection SDN Advisor 10+ Year Member

    Using that term would be fine. I think that as part of an entry on that organization for which you've been a member for some time, one might title the activity with " General Member and President-Elect of Bird Watching Society" or somesuch (as opposed to the alternative above of mentioning it in the narrative), but I doubt a position not yet started will impact one's application much, since one can't extol one's accomplishments yet. It might be viewed more as an honor, for the reasons you state.
  15. stevvo111

    stevvo111 5+ Year Member

    Dec 21, 2010
    I know this question has been asked many times over, but I have a weird one.

    I volunteered for this organization for 2 years (like a direct volunteer), served in a leadership position 2 years (pretty much the same qualities and skills developed during both), and served as the director of the organization 1 year (sufficiently different skills and qualities developed during this than other previous years). I do have the space to split them into 3 different activities, but I am worried med schools will get annoyed and ask why I keep listing the same gosh darn thing over and over again.

    Any advice on this? I technically was a volunteer all 4 years, but it was the first two years that I had one on one contact with the target population and see parallels to "patient contact" or "service", while the other two leadership positions were more administrative "I can do the paperwork and stuff and still like working with people", and the last leadership position is more "I enjoy leading, directing, mentoring, with the goal of serving our population".

    haha sorry for being incredibly vague, just don't want to awkwardly reveal anything I shouldn't.
  16. Catalystik

    Catalystik Providing herd protection SDN Advisor 10+ Year Member

    With a complex, multifaceted experience with the same organization, it's fine to split out each component with it's own start and end date, separate designation and title, and unique description. Or split it into two. Or cram it all together. Or, even choose a single space, but make it "Most Meaningful" so you have 1325 more characters to use. There's no one right way to do it.
  17. dudewheresmymd

    dudewheresmymd Slowly Drifting... 7+ Year Member

    for activities during the school year which we participated for all years of undergrad, is it necessary to break it down into sept 2009-may2010 (300 hours) sept 2010-may 2011 etc (300 hours) or can we just put sept 2009-may 2013 (999 hours) for example?
  18. Catalystik

    Catalystik Providing herd protection SDN Advisor 10+ Year Member

    When the dates aren't continuous, you can fill in the date spans for up to 4 repetitions of the same activity under a single listing/space without having to fill in a new header, which would be the least confusing. Or alternatively, you could name the activity something that evokes Academic Year Only (and not summer months) and list it as a 900 hours total (or whatever, explaining in the space if it's over 999 hours).
    dudewheresmymd likes this.
  19. sunflower18

    sunflower18 Master of Naps 5+ Year Member

    Oct 22, 2011
    I just want to clarify this --

    I have been selected as the recipient for Award A, which corresponds with an extracurricular that will begin next year. Can I list this in Honors/Awards with a brief description of what I will do next year as part of this award, or is that too projection-into-the-future-y?

    I have also been selected as the recipient for Award B, which corresponds with an extracurricular that begins in June. It will technically start a week after I hope to submit my AMCAS, but can I still list it as its own activity? I won't be able to say too terribly much about it I suppose, but I did have to write a lengthy proposal and read a lot of science literature in order to get the award, so I have already put in a lot of time into preparing for it. Would this be sufficient, or should I list this in the Honors/Awards section as well?

    Sorry about the confusion and vague similarity to past questions. I just want to make sure that I'm doing the right thing but also not shortchanging myself.
  20. kk123

    kk123 2+ Year Member

    Jun 8, 2013
    I am unsure if my work counts as "Paid Employment - Medical/Clinical"
    or "Paid Employment - Non Medical/Clinical." Should I ask the schools I am applying to what I should categorize it under?
  21. Catalystik

    Catalystik Providing herd protection SDN Advisor 10+ Year Member

    1) You have already gotten the Award, so you have a recent date you can enter (and the Awards designation doesn't require an end date). Rather than stating what you will do (as who can 100% predict that), maybe look at it as a description of the terms of the award?

    2) One cannot list a future month, but you can enter the current month, which will be June when you submit, even though you didn't yet start the activity. So you can, theoretically, enter the activity in its own non "Award" space. The space won't look quite so barren as it might have had you not already completed so much background lit search.
  22. Catalystik

    Catalystik Providing herd protection SDN Advisor 10+ Year Member

    It's your description that will support the designation you pick. Each school may have it's own opinion for what may constitute clinical vs nonclinical involvement, so decide on your own what you think it is, then give enough detail about your duties to sway schools in the direction you want them to go.
  23. kk123

    kk123 2+ Year Member

    Jun 8, 2013
    Ok, thanks!
  24. dudewheresmymd

    dudewheresmymd Slowly Drifting... 7+ Year Member

    Couple of qs:

    1) Can we use "&" to save characters in the text as well as titles?

    2) Is it ok to use bullet points sometimes (for lists) and sometimes not or should we be consistent?

    3) If we have multiple publications, and not enough space to fit all the authors in the 700 charac box

    can we just list our name as the number author and then the rest of the info of the citation for example: ?

    Sixth Author (2010). Title of Article. Journal. Vol(Issue) : pgs.
    Second Author (2013). Title of Article. Journal. Vol(Issue) : pgs.
    "nth" Author (2012). Title of Article. Journal. Vol(Issue) : pgs. etc?

    Last edited: Apr 23, 2014
  25. Catalystik

    Catalystik Providing herd protection SDN Advisor 10+ Year Member

    1) In titles, yes. In the text, use your judgement. Too many abbreviations get annoying in narrative format.
    2) There is no need to be consistent throughout, but check to see how your "bullet" looks in PDF, as copy and paste of formatting isn't reliable.
    3) It's fine to abbreviate the citation, so long as there's enough information to find the publication online. If really pressed for space, consider using the PubMed ID#.
    dudewheresmymd likes this.
  26. anavika

    anavika 2+ Year Member

    Jan 21, 2014
    Quick question! I won a research fellowship for this summer, but my start date isn't until June 30th. I plan on submitting my application in June, so do you think it would be more appropriate to list this as an Award instead of Research/ Lab since I will not have even started the experience when I submit my application? To give more context, the fellowship is at my home university with the lab that I've been working in for 2+ years.
  27. HopelessDreamer


    Nov 1, 2013
    That's what I'm planning on doing for the research stipend that I was awarded last year. I plan on listing it as an award and just including the hours under my research experience (mine was for the lab I had been with for awhile too). You just won't be able to formally list the hours since you haven't completed them yet. Maybe you can list them in the description of the award though (someone please correct me if I am wrong) by stating that the fellowship is for X number of hrs/wk.
  28. Catalystik

    Catalystik Providing herd protection SDN Advisor 10+ Year Member

    See post #22 above, but your situation is a little different. Since you'll be in the same lab, you could alternatively mention the award in that same Research space, with its associated requirements.
    Yes. You have a choice of how to list it also; there is no one correct way to do it.
  29. dudewheresmymd

    dudewheresmymd Slowly Drifting... 7+ Year Member

    thank you! very helpful.

    follow ups:

    1) Sorry if previous q was unclear, I meant is it ok to have some entries as bullets and some entries as sentence descriptions? (ie. if we want to reflect on a more important experience and talk about it in sentence format but then list our accomplishments in a club position in another entry using hyphens, does this bother the reader?)
    2) When you say abbreviate the citation just listing our position number in authorship is fine, right? Or did you mean abbreviating journal titles etc.?
    3) Should we only list pubmedable research pubs? What if the journal is reputable (30+ volumes) but doesn't pay to be indexed? It can still be found on google scholar.
    4) Should paid research go under research/lab or paid employment (medical/clinical)? What if it was sometimes paid and sometimes not paid (pi funding issues)? I feel like I wouldn't have enough room among 700 charc. to specify each period whether paid or unpaid as it was over several years?
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2014
  30. jlt2665

    jlt2665 2+ Year Member

    Apr 24, 2013
    I have a question about one of my activities. I'm marathoner, and I've actually ran/fundraised a significant amount for Team Livestrong, Team ThinkCure, and Susan G. Komen. I'm thinking about just combining these into one entry, but I'm also wondering if it should be listed as Hobbies, Extracurricular, or other? And should I list an Hrs/Wk?
  31. Catalystik

    Catalystik Providing herd protection SDN Advisor 10+ Year Member

    1) It's fine to mix and match styles from entry to entry and even within an entry. Use bullets or narrative as best conveys what you want to communicate.
    2a) Yes. 2b) I would try not to do that, but you know how long some of those titles can get. Journal names you can abbreviate so long as they are recognizable when you're done.
    3) It might be good to mention the on-line database where it could be found if not PubMed, if you are applying to research-oriented institutions that are more likely to check it out.
    4) Personally, I think that all Research should be listed under "Research" unless you were a glassware washing automaton. You can convey Paid vs Volunteer, if you are short on space, with a comment like, Paid 40%, Volunteer 50%(due to funding shortfall), Credit 10%, or somesuch, as seems suitable to you.
  32. Catalystik

    Catalystik Providing herd protection SDN Advisor 10+ Year Member

    Any of the three choices would work fine, though Other would convey that there's more to the activity than first meets the eye (but so could an appropriate Title selection). And it would be good to give a sense of how much you run in general, including the range of hours per week, since that's going to give me a better feel for your typical involvement than "999 total hours".
    jlt2665 likes this.
  33. anavika

    anavika 2+ Year Member

    Jan 21, 2014
    Since my project for the summer is a bit different from what I've been doing over the semester, I think I'll end up listing it as an award and explaining it there. Thank you both very much for your help!
  34. bltng

    bltng 5+ Year Member

    Dec 30, 2010
    los angeles
    My personal statement contains several activities that I believe have been crucial to forming my rationale for medicine. A lot of these activities have different starting points, usually because one inspires me to start another and so forth, and eventually they all contain some reason for me to enter medicine. How would you recommend writing these activities/lessons learned in the AMCAS work/activities portion without sounding too redundant?

  35. Catalystik

    Catalystik Providing herd protection SDN Advisor 10+ Year Member

    Use different words. Use different anecdotes.
    bltng likes this.
  36. smoothbunzz

    smoothbunzz 2+ Year Member

    Mar 6, 2014
    Hey guys, quick question on reporting publications and poster presentations.

    I have one first author publication and 4 poster presentations (2 at professional conferences). I have also submitted one other publication which is in its review stage.

    For starters, would I use two activity slots to delineate between the posters and publication, or could I bunch them all into one activity section. Also, my posters at the professional conference have citations (therefore would I put them in as publications and then separately state them as poster presentations?) I would love some advice regarding this.

    Also regarding my recent manuscript submission. Suppose, it is accepted pending minor revisions from a journal (in this case it has >95% chance) before June 3rd. Will I be able to count it as a publication in press?
  37. Catalystik

    Catalystik Providing herd protection SDN Advisor 10+ Year Member

    1) If all of them are related to the same project, then you would pick the most prestigious form of presenting your data to the world, and use that designation to list everything. This would probably be the publication. If multiple projects and different data sets are being represented, you'd use more spaces, in the same way. Yes, you could list the same data in both forms in which it's been made public, but it would look "fluffy."

    2) This is covered in the FAQ of post 2, #14: If accepted with minor revisions, it can be listed as a publication, using the acceptance letter date, and a citation including, "In Press."
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2014
    smoothbunzz likes this.
  38. Mark Twain

    Mark Twain 2+ Year Member

    Jul 25, 2012
    Hey guys,

    I have a quick question about one of my volunteer activities that I haven't been able to find a definitive answer to.

    I volunteer regularly at a summer camp for kids with type I diabetes. The camp is staffed by doctors and nurses, and many of my co-counselors are med/pharm students. We perform all the same duties or normal camp counselors, but are also responsible for making sure that campers receive insulin injections on time, check their blood glucose, and otherwise manage their diabetes correctly.

    I am pretty confident that I could list this as "medical" volunteering, but my application is lacking significant non-medical volunteering. Would it be fair to label this as non-medical? I would talk considerably about working directly with camp physicians, analyzing daily BG logs, and understanding endocrine physiology, but we do not work in a clinical or hospital setting.

  39. Catalystik

    Catalystik Providing herd protection SDN Advisor 10+ Year Member

    When an activity covers two categories, it is your choice of which one to list it under. You can make the other component clear by the title you choose, or within the activity description, emphasizing the duties you wish. So I think it's fine to list it as non-medical volunteering, especially as the medical component is less than 50% of what you do.
  40. mrh125

    mrh125 Banned Banned Account on Hold

    Aug 4, 2013
    Can I group together multiple activities/ecs that are related into one entry? For example, I shadowed and volunteered for a pediatrician and through his practice I'm also going to end up shadowing and helping a general surgeon, psychiatrist, and some other doctors in other specialities out. Could I just put them in one and say something like " I shadowed and volunteered for a cardiologist, general surgeon, psychiatrist, and pediatrician and did tasks such as scribing for them. This gave me a good perspective of each specialty and I also observed procedures such as open-heart surgeries. This gave me a chance to interact with doctors in each specialty and see what they really do. All of these experiences were really telling and one that profoundly influenced me the most was working with a psychiatrist and learning about the various medications, how the brain and central nervous system work, as well as having the privilege of listening to patients’ circumstances." Otherwise I'd be filling a bunch of different slots.

    Another example would be the two jobs I held, one was at a convenient store and the other was at a winery where I catered. Both of them go together and have common themes?
  41. dudewheresmymd

    dudewheresmymd Slowly Drifting... 7+ Year Member

    If we held multiple research positions, in the experience title, should we list them by department and put the hospital as the organization name?

    Department of Ophthalmology Clinical Research Assistant
    Department of Cardiac Surgery Research Assistant
    Department of Otolaryngology Research Assistant etc.
  42. Catalystik

    Catalystik Providing herd protection SDN Advisor 10+ Year Member

    See post 2, #10 for an example of listing grouped shadowing. Another example can be found here:

    See post #3, bullet 4 for the answer to the second question. More comments found here:
  43. Catalystik

    Catalystik Providing herd protection SDN Advisor 10+ Year Member

    That sounds fine, presuming you won't be using one space. There is a 60 space limit for the title you use (as I recall).
    dudewheresmymd likes this.
  44. mrh125

    mrh125 Banned Banned Account on Hold

    Aug 4, 2013
    hmm, so what do I put for the contact info they require me to put in if im listing each person's contact info in the description? I can't leave both of the contact infos blank. Just the most important one? Does it matter? Edit: i posted this before seeing your explanation below your first post.
  45. dudewheresmymd

    dudewheresmymd Slowly Drifting... 7+ Year Member

    1) Should we mention a publication in an experience description if we already mentioned it in the "publications" box?

    2) Should we put "Dr." in front of contacts first names?

    3) Is it appropriate to abbreviate experience titles if not enough space? (ie. Dept. of Cardiac Surg. Research Asst. and Project Manager) ?

    4) Should we list the organization name before hospital volunteer in the title? (ie. UCLA Hospital & Clinical Volunteer)

    Thank you!
    Last edited: May 1, 2014
  46. Catalystik

    Catalystik Providing herd protection SDN Advisor 10+ Year Member

    1) You may, but not in the same detail.
    2) It might be better to put PhD, MD, DO, or DDS, etc, after the last name. This gives more information.
    3) OOOh, that's a lot of abbreviations. Try to cut them down.
    4) No need, as the Organization is listed in another blank.
    dudewheresmymd likes this.
  47. dudewheresmymd

    dudewheresmymd Slowly Drifting... 7+ Year Member

    <3 @Catalystik what would we do without you?
  48. Catalystik

    Catalystik Providing herd protection SDN Advisor 10+ Year Member

    Probably be forced to read the particularly-thorough Tips thread from two years ago that covered all this and more (link in post #1 for anyone interested in reading 42 pages). ;)
  49. dudewheresmymd

    dudewheresmymd Slowly Drifting... 7+ Year Member

    Lol. Thank god you are still at SDN!! The hours boxes now can exceed 999 hours:thumbup: I think they finally figured out that some people have worked full time for several years and are not just undergrads with <999 hrs/activity.
    bpperry likes this.
  50. Catalystik

    Catalystik Providing herd protection SDN Advisor 10+ Year Member

    It appears to accept up to 99,999 hours. This is odd, as the AMCAS FAQ still says 999 is the maximum.
    Last edited: May 1, 2014
    dudewheresmymd likes this.
  51. dudewheresmymd

    dudewheresmymd Slowly Drifting... 7+ Year Member

    Why Not MD? and IL Pre Med like this.

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