*~*~*~* Official AMCAS "Work/Activities" Tips Thread 2019-2020 *~*~*~*

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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 (2005-2010 thread)
*~*~*~*Tips for Entering your "Work and Activities" in AMCAS*~*~*~* (2011-2012 thread)
*~*~*~*Official AMCAS "Work/Activities" Tips Thread 2012-2013*~*~*~*
*~*~*~*Official AMCAS "Work/Activities" Tips Thread 2013-2014*~*~*~*
*~*~*~*Official AMCAS "Work/Activities" Tips Thread 2014-2015*~*~*~*
*~*~*~*Official AMCAS "Work/Activities" Tips Thread 2015-2016*~*~*~*
*~*~*~*Official AMCAS "Work/Activities" Tips Thread 2016-2017*~*~*~*
*~*~*~*Official AMCAS "Work/Activities" Tips Thread 2017-2018*~*~*~*
*~*~*~* Official AMCAS "Work/Activities" Tips Thread 2018-2019 *~*~*~*


(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.

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!!
 
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 and has been built by many contributors over many years. Any suggestions are welcomed and appreciated, especially when editing is needed to reflect changes in the AMCAS application form.


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
Hobbies
Honors/Award/Recognition
Intercollegiate Athletics
Leadership - Not Listed Elsewhere
Military Service
Other
Paid Employment - Medical/Clinical
Paid Employment - Non Medical/Clinical
Physician Shadowing/Clinical Observation
Presentations/Posters
Publications
Research/Lab
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:

Leadership - Not Listed Elsewhere
-Club officer
-Student activism/government/Greek activities
-Starting a non-profit/student organization/business

Honors/Awards/Recognitions
-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.

Teaching/Tutoring/TA
-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 activity....how the heck should I enter them in? Is less more? Should I use up all available space?
Unfortunately...you 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 Medical/Clinical.
[Input the other header information (time span, total hours, contact, etc) for the first activity listed. Similar info for the additional experiences would be put in the narrative space.]

Starbucks Barista
-Responsible for training new employees, customer service, and product ordering.
-Worked while attending school full time

Also:
Paid Intern - June 2016 - August 2016
Contact: Jane Doe, Secretary, 555-123-4567
-Worked at the Mayor's Office for the City of Memphis.
-Responsible for...
-Worked 40 hours per week while taking 1 summer class. Total Hours 400

Summer Grocery Store Worker - May 2015 - August 2015
Contact: Jill Doe, Manager, 555-234-5678
-Worked as a cashier for a major grocery store chain
-Worked 30 hours per week while attending school. Total Hours 600
-Responsible for....


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? 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, when your GPA speaks for itself. 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 (often 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 and timeframe faithfully. These are contacts, not references, so the person who responds does not need to answer questions about your performance or abilities to succeed in medical school.

8. Most Meaningful Activities
a) 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."

b) 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.

c) 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?
Yes, but it is best to use the box as AMCAS suggests on the application, also. Some creativity will be tolerated. Don't feel obliged to fill the entire space.

9. If I talk about something in my personal statement, should I still mention it in my Work/Activities Section?
Yes, definitely. Don't assume that the same reader will have access to your entire application. 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?
Some recommendations when listing physician shadowing: Group all of your shadowing together, giving a total hours for all included physicians. Additional relevant information such as specific dates, subtotaled hours, 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 Observation
Total Hours: Total hours shadowed for all docs included in the space.
Contact info, organization name, and dates: Use the info for the first physician you want to list.
Description:

John Patel, D.O., Family Medicine resident
13 hours in May 2017

Also:
Jill Rosenbloom, M.D., Pediatrician
New York Pediatrics
800-000-0000
20 hours in June 2016

Jane Santos, M.D., General Surgeon
New York Surgical Associates
800-000-0000
13 hours in January and February 2016, during general and bariatric office hours

James Ruzic, M.D., Radiologist
New York Radiology Associates
[email protected]
7 hours in May 2015, during image reading


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, in fact, 9-10 are the average used. 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, especially those that are unusual! Adcomm members like to know what you do to relieve stress and unwind. Group them all together. In a sea of look-alike activities, hobbies may be what helps make you memorable: "That dumpling-maker applicant" or "The fly fisherman."

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 (eg, 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 I have "submitted manuscripts," not actually accepted yet?
Publications are worthy of their own slot, even if you already have a "Research" space. For a contact, use the 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 acceptance 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. Include enough of the author's list so that your place in the authorship can be determined, or state that you are the third author.

Do not consider an poster or presentation abstract published in a Conference Proceedings Booklet to be a "Publication" for AMCAS purposes. If the abstract were to appear in a paper journal (or a supplement to one) and be PubMed searchable, then you can call it a Publication for AMCAS purposes (and you'd include the word "[Abstract]" in the citation).

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 reorder the activities by any parameter they choose.

17. What are the maximum "Total Hours" I can list for an activity?
The most that can be entered are 99999 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 encompasses 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.

-Try not to repeat the same organization name in the title you give the activity. Example:
For an experience titled: President of Pre-Medical Society, avoid using Organization: Pre-Med Society. Instead, consider an alternative for the organization name: perhaps incorporating AED spelled out, or Office of Collegiate Affairs (or whatever dept oversees all student organizations), or your school's name.

19. What would I use the "Repeated" button for?
Say you volunteered at the same hospital for three summers in a row. All the header information is the same for each summer experience but your participation wasn't continuous. So you can fill in a separate date range for each of the three summers and enter a different Total Hours. The same might apply to sport team involvement, thespian commitments, marathons run, seasonal job with the same company, etc. Note: The program will give you an error message if you don't enter them in chronological order. And it won't save the information you enter until the problem is corrected.

Another potential use would be to differentiate completed hours vs future projected hours for an activity in which you are already engaged, by using the current month as the End Date for the first date span and then again as the Start Date for the future hours.

Or the Repeated feature can be used to separate decades of involvement (showing lifelong dedication to a sport or music, eg), divided into college years & after, HS years, and even childhood years.

All the timeframes you choose to include will appear above the narrative box, each with their own estimated hours.

20. How do I describe my Research-related activities?
Some Research description guidelines (YMMV):

Each project can start with a one-sentence nontechnical description that a lay person can understand. After that feel free to use jargon, if you have space for more discussion. Insert techniques you used. Don't feel compelled to add them all if there are 10.

Feel free to sort them into more than one space if you have multiple experiences. If grouping them, sort by timeframe, project type or discipline, importance, by class credit/volunteer vs employment.

You will have to decide how to present these experiences to best represent you. Perhaps projects from long ago need less emphasis. Those most recent will likely serve you better if more detail is given.

Any poster, pub, or presentation that took place at a campus venue should be mentioned with the affiliated Research entry. Any that occurred at a regional/national location or journal deserves its own spot, if you have space. If any of those data sharings came out of the same project, they could be mentioned together in one spot tagged under the highest prestige format: National Pub > Regional Pub > Abstract in a national journal > National Poster/Presentation > Regional Poster/Presentation > abstract in a conference brochure > campus pub > campus poster/presentation.

Any format for citation is fine, including abbreviated versions when you are short on space. Long author lists can be shortened by stating your place on the list, the PIs name, and et al., titles can be shortened to general topic, PMID# can substitute for much of a citation if necessary. If the paper is accepted but not yet published, add [in press] in place of unknown information.

If the data set from the campus presentation was later presented in poster format at a regional conference and then finally published in a national journal, you would cite is under Publication and then mention after the citation in the same space, "Data also presented orally at DDDD College Research Symposium x/x/xx, and again as a poster that won second place at the YYY Conference in Tucson z/zz/zz date."

If you were not the presenter for your poster, but your name is on the author list, you can include it, but give credit to the presenter, as research is a team sport, and it's important to give credit where it is due. If you presented, it's fine to say so.

There is little value in using a Conferences Attended slot, if you have already mentioned the name of the conference in a Posters/Presentation or Publications entry.

A manuscript in preparation or submitted doesn't belong on the application, but if you feel compelled to mention it regardless, add it at the end of a Research description on the affiliated project. An exception might be if your productivity is proven, in which case a submitted manuscript can be added to the same space as your cited publications, if room is available, and if your PI will include mention of it in their letter for verification.

If you wrote the grant that got funding or navigated an IRB process, mention it.

Use the MM space for impact, insights, how you were inspired, future directions. If some of the research description spills over into this space, you won't be the only one who's used it that way. Just be sure that at the 700 character mark you end a paragraph so it will flow smoothly into the MM space (which is distinguished by a blank line, like a paragraph break).

Succinctness is always good.

FAQ are continued in the next space.
 
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FAQ (continued). This is a work in progress.

21. a)
Does anyone have any recommendations on how to list a fraternity experience? I listed it as just a one year thing (president year) even though I was in it for four years. I held other positions throughout the four years that I could include.
If you want to list it as Leadership, you could include all the years where you held office (using the Repeated feature if this was just for the academic year and not year-round) and call it maybe, Leadership Roles with XXX Fraternity, giving just the dates of leadership in the header and those dedicated hours. You could refer to the membership in the narrative, if you like, but would not add those hours.

If you want to speak more widely about general frat membership and include leadership among those comments, you'd instead use the tag Extracurricular, or Other (and could include community service if that was a part of the experience, or alternatively, split it out with its own hours into a Community Service-tagged space).

b) I have the same question for sorority experience! I was a member for 3.5 years and our philanthropy was very important to me (a local women's shelter) so I would like to be able to list this as a volunteer experience.
If you want to list it as Community Service, you could include all the years where you gave time to your cause (using the Repeated feature if this was just for the academic year and not year-round) and call it maybe, Philanthropic Involvement with XXX Sorority, giving just the dates of volunteerism in the header and those dedicated hours. You could refer to the membership in the narrative, if you like, but would not add those hours.

If you want to speak more widely about general sorority membership and include philanthropy among those comments, you'd instead use the tag Extracurricular, or Other (and could include leadership roles with that, or alternatively, split them out with their own hours into a Leadership-tagged space).

22. Can I assume that adcomms will see my application as I see it in PDF (accessed through the Main Menu>Print Application)?
The good news is yes. The application is transmitted in plain text and rendered in PDF by each school's specific application system. Why it is done this was partially simplicity of program used by the initial AMCAS system and partly for baseline security. You can't implant malicious code in plain text, so only the text of your application is transmitted, gets repopulated at each school's AMCAS-compliant system, and recreates the application. Who knew that nearly 20 years later, the simple text system is still the hardest to break into.


Proceed to questions and responses below.
 
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acslater99

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I’ve worked all throughout undergrad and I was planning to list them under 1 activity. Once I graduated I got a academic advising job, loved it so much, but it was at this time that I decided to go back to school to finish my prerequisites for medical school. I was planning to list that job as a it’s own activity as well. Lastly, I’m currently a scribe, I left my academic advising job due to the hours; it restricted me from taking multiple courses in person. Anyway, I’m planning to list my scribe job as it’s own section as well.

My question is, do you think that splitting these jobs into three separate activities is a good idea?

Thank you.
 
I’ve worked all throughout undergrad and I was planning to list them under 1 activity. Once I graduated I got a academic advising job, loved it so much, but it was at this time that I decided to go back to school to finish my prerequisites for medical school. I was planning to list that job as a it’s own activity as well. Lastly, I’m currently a scribe, I left my academic advising job due to the hours; it restricted me from taking multiple courses in person. Anyway, I’m planning to list my scribe job as it’s own section as well.

My question is, do you think that splitting these jobs into three separate activities is a good idea?
What were your undergrad jobs that you plan to group in one space?
How many months did you work in academic advising (presumably full-time)?
When did you begin the scribe job? Do you intend it to continue through your application year?
 

acslater99

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My undergrad jobs were simple college jobs. I worked at Autozone and a moving company. I worked part time in both jobs.
I worked as an academic advisor for a complete year, I just recently left in March of this year to commit to this path. Also yes, full-time.
I’m fairly new to being a scribe, I started this month. I do plan to keep this job, as I did sign a 1 year contract with the company.

Also, I do want to preface this; I am not applying this cycle. I will be applying to next years cycle.

Thank you.
 
My undergrad jobs were simple college jobs. I worked at Autozone and a moving company. I worked part time in both jobs.
I worked as an academic advisor for a complete year, I just recently left in March of this year to commit to this path. Also yes, full-time.
I’m fairly new to being a scribe, I started this month. I do plan to keep this job, as I did sign a 1 year contract with the company.

Also, I do want to preface this; I am not applying this cycle. I will be applying to next years cycle.
To answer your original question, Yes, I think using three spaces for these jobs is a good idea. You definitely want to highlight the last two, and you want adcomms to know how you used your time in college.
 
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puahate

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I had a job where i was promoted. In prewriting i denoted my promotion like this "job1 -> promoted to job2." In the activity title. Is this ok?
 
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  1. I started a religious group and it is very meaningful to me, but I’m unsure to mark it as a “most meaningful”. I’m leaning towards yes because I can easily think of ways it has made me a better physician and leader despite not being healthcare related.
  2. I’m an author on a late-breaking abstract in the supplement of a national paper journal. The abstract is not on PubMed, but the finished article is without my name. Does this count as a publication?
  3. One of my activities is language learning, but I don’t consider it a hobby because I am doing it mainly to be a better physician. I have it under the category “Other”, but is there another one that would be a better fit?
  4. Should I spell out national medical student organizations like SNMA and APAMSA? I would like to save characters here if I can.
 
  1. I started a religious group and it is very meaningful to me, but I’m unsure to mark it as a “most meaningful”. I’m leaning towards yes because I can easily think of ways it has made me a better physician and leader despite not being healthcare related.
  2. I’m an author on a late-breaking abstract in the supplement of a national paper journal. The abstract is not on PubMed, but the finished article is without my name. Does this count as a publication?
  3. One of my activities is language learning, but I don’t consider it a hobby because I am doing it mainly to be a better physician. I have it under the category “Other”, but is there another one that would be a better fit?
  4. Should I spell out national medical student organizations like SNMA and APAMSA? I would like to save characters here if I can.
1) If it is one of the top three most meaningful activities in which you've engaged, then mark it as such, which comes with the bonus of an extra 1325 characters for description, role(s), impact, future direction, etc.

2) I would not list it as a Publication if your name is not on the author's list, but a way to get credit for your contributions would be to ask the PI to mention them in a LOR (and perhaps discuss the oversight that led to the omission of your name if it deserved to be there). What you can do is mention it under the Research tab of the related project.

3) Consider using Hobbies, as one does not need to list a Contact for this category.

4) Yes, but just once for each.
 

puahate

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I am doing a local Olympic weightlifting competition. I have an Honors/awards section with mainly academic and volunteering accolades. If I place in this competition should I put it under the honor/awards section as well?
 

Zen Arcade

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I am struggling to fit everything into 15 activities and have been combining things to help. I have 2 questions related to this:

1) I am considering my current full time job as a Research Assistant a 'meaningful activity' but am considering listing both this and my undergraduate research under a general "Research Assistant" heading. Can I list both and just go into more detail about what I learned, etc. for my current research assistant job? I would keep the undergraduate job description relatively brief and just focus on what the research was about.

2) I am combining my volunteering experiences at two separate hospitals under one heading. Should I combine the hours for these for the '# of hours' box, then do a breakdown of how many hours at each hospital in the description?
 
I am doing a local Olympic weightlifting competition. I have an Honors/awards section with mainly academic and volunteering accolades. If I place in this competition should I put it under the honor/awards section as well?
You can list this sort of success under Honors/Awards, but might instead consider discussing it in the same space (and even title of the space) where you discuss the weightlifting Hobby, which will make for a more compelling entry, besides giving context.
 

puahate

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You can list this sort of success under Honors/Awards, but might instead consider discussing it in the same space (and even title of the space) where you discuss the weightlifting Hobby, which will make for a more compelling entry, besides giving context.
Can I list the award in the Honor/award and discuss it in my hobby section as well?
 
I am struggling to fit everything into 15 activities and have been combining things to help. I have 2 questions related to this:

1) I am considering my current full time job as a Research Assistant a 'meaningful activity' but am considering listing both this and my undergraduate research under a general "Research Assistant" heading. Can I list both and just go into more detail about what I learned, etc. for my current research assistant job? I would keep the undergraduate job description relatively brief and just focus on what the research was about.

2) I am combining my volunteering experiences at two separate hospitals under one heading. Should I combine the hours for these for the '# of hours' box, then do a breakdown of how many hours at each hospital in the description?
1) Yes. Consider listing the current Research job info in the header (since it's the most important) and then the unpaid undergrad position as part of the backstory, along with dates and an hourly subtotal, and Contact, (if it's not the same). All the hours for both added together can go in the header's Total Hour space.

2) Yes.
 
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Can I list the award in the Honor/award and discuss it in my hobby section as well?
Yes, that's an option, as well, but make it clear that there weren't two separate awards. You don't want to be confusing.
 
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Emulteapj

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For contact information should I use my contacts' preferred name or legal name? For example, one of my PIs' names is "Bob," and he is known in the field for being "Bob" (famous and amazing man). However, his legal name is Robert, and people who aren't "in the know" refer to him by that.
 
For contact information should I use my contacts' preferred name or legal name? For example, one of my PIs' names is "Bob," and he is known in the field for being "Bob" (famous and amazing man). However, his legal name is Robert, and people who aren't "in the know" refer to him by that.
I would use his formal name, but you could consider adding his nickname in quotes immediately afterward, if you like.
 
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Apr 16, 2019
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Hello,

I'm currently debating if it's appropriate to list my high school music activities?

I continued my interest in music through undergrad doing orchestra, private lessons, and chamber groups for all four years.

This isn't something directly related to medicine, but it served as an outlet for me and did pique my interest in music therapy for a little bit. Could someone please let me know which, if at all, would be appropriate to list?

-Finalist for "The President's Own" Marine Band Solo Competition
-National Honor Ensemble Concert Band
-State Honor Ensemble Concert Band
-First Place at State Solo Competition for my instrument
-Winner of solo competition w/ judge's distinction, performed at Weill Recital Hall of Carnegie Hall
-Participation in various International music festivals

Thanks!
 
I'm currently debating if it's appropriate to list my high school music activities?

I continued my interest in music through undergrad doing orchestra, private lessons, and chamber groups for all four years.

This isn't something directly related to medicine, but it served as an outlet for me and did pique my interest in music therapy for a little bit. Could someone please let me know which, if at all, would be appropriate to list?

-Finalist for "The President's Own" Marine Band Solo Competition
-National Honor Ensemble Concert Band
-State Honor Ensemble Concert Band
-First Place at State Solo Competition for my instrument
-Winner of solo competition w/ judge's distinction, performed at Weill Recital Hall of Carnegie Hall
-Participation in various International music festivals
Since you continued your musical interests into the college years, it's fine to mention your HS accomplishments in this area in the same space, to the extent that you have room to do so. You can make this one of your three Most Meaningful activities to get an extra 1325 characters for explanation so you can keep everything together. Or you could dedicate an Honors/Awards spot to recognitions of your musical ability.
 
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puahate

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Regarding future activities being done during my gap year.

I prewrote my W/A page and have 15 sections filled out. Is it important to make room for my gap year position or should I just mention it in my secondaries?
 
Regarding future activities being done during my gap year.

I prewrote my W/A page and have 15 sections filled out. Is it important to make room for my gap year position or should I just mention it in my secondaries?
If you won't have started the gap year activity by the time you submit, you can hold it for mention on Secondaries or alternatively tack it onto the end of another activity that is similar, since you have no spaces left.
 
Apr 2, 2019
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Should studying abroad for a semester be listed as an activity? My study abroad program was through my undergrad and I don't have a separate transcript for it, so the experience won't really be apparent elsewhere on my app except if I mention it in essays. But I'm not sure how common or appropriate it is to include on W/A since it was just classes.
 
Should studying abroad for a semester be listed as an activity? My study abroad program was through my undergrad and I don't have a separate transcript for it, so the experience won't really be apparent elsewhere on my app except if I mention it in essays. But I'm not sure how common or appropriate it is to include on W/A since it was just classes.
Some applicants do list it, generally under an "Other" tag. Rather than discussing the coursework taken, you might instead mention the impact of living in a different culture.
 
I've had a summer job for the past two summers during high school and I will be going back to this job this summer.
This job isn't clinical or anything like that but if I list it on my activities section, could I put the hours from all three years or only from the years that I was in college?
You can list up to four separate time frames in any one space when the involvement was episodic rather than continuous. Since you continued the same HS employment into the college years, it's fine to include the earlier years, too. It reflects well that they took you back.
 
So, I just got in a lab and I'm pretty happy about it. However, I just realized that I'll pretty much only have about a month's worth of research experience to put on my app (~100 hrs), and that whatever effort I give to this lab over the summer won't be considered in my med school app (I'm applying for the 2019/2020 cycle).

Am I wasting my time in this lab? Should I be spending that time on other things?
I think it's worth listing so adcomms know you will have exposure to this type of experience. While a 100 hours in a lab isn't much to speak of for a Primary application, you might eventually have more to say on Secondaries, update letters later in the cycle (for schools that accept them), and during interview conversations that will have an impact on this application cycle. In case you need to reapply, this year's efforts will give more heft to next year's Primary.
 
When reporting your hours for participation in school organizations (run by students, changes every year), who would you list as the contact?
A faculty advisor or sponsor, an officer of the organization, a co-member, or yourself, with preference in that order.
 
Apr 2, 2019
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Is it a bad idea to list poster presentations under the listing for my publication if all of my other activity slots are used for something else?
 
Is it a bad idea to list poster presentations under the listing for my publication if all of my other activity slots are used for something else?
If the posters presented the same data set as the Publication then it would be preferred that you just use one space, tagging it as the highest level of data sharing, namely Publication. After the formal pub citation, you can mention the poster presentation venues (and poster titles if different and you have the room), dates, etc in the narrative.

If the poster was not related to the publication, then try to find room in the Research space of the affiliated project.
 
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If the posters presented the same data set as the Publication then it would be preferred that you just use one space, tagging it as the highest level of data sharing, namely Publication. After the formal pub citation, you can mention the poster presentation venues (and poster titles if different and you have the room), dates, etc in the narrative.

If the poster was not related to the publication, then try to find room in the Research space of the affiliated project.
Would the impact of having presented a poster be diminished if I just included it with the research description? I feel like there is a higher likelihood of it being overlooked if it isn't more readily visible.
 
Would the impact of having presented a poster be diminished if I just included it with the research description? I feel like there is a higher likelihood of it being overlooked if it isn't more readily visible.
It would be more visible in its own Presentations/Posters space. Perhaps you could group two other activities to make room for this.
 
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I worked as a CNA during college for 200 hours over the course of a year. After I graduated, I began working as a CNA in my hometown for several months (about 900 hrs). Should I lump these together, or list them separately? They were at different facilities, and the 2nd CNA job is one of my most meaningful activities.
 
I worked as a CNA during college for 200 hours over the course of a year. After I graduated, I began working as a CNA in my hometown for several months (about 900 hrs). Should I lump these together, or list them separately? They were at different facilities, and the 2nd CNA job is one of my most meaningful activities.
While grouping them is fine, especially if your duties were the same:
-If you have the space, list them separately.
-If you cannot generalize a Most Meaningful entry to refer to both CNA positions, list them separately.
 
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It would be more visible in its own Presentations/Posters space. Perhaps you could group two other activities to make room for this.
I have worked in 2 separate labs on 3 separate projects that have led to 3 separate posters. One was presented at both a national and a regional, one was accepted at a national but I could not attend due to funding, and all three have been presented at my school symposium. Should I separate the posters and research in to two separate activities or have them all as one?
 
I have worked in 2 separate labs on 3 separate projects that have led to 3 separate posters. One was presented at both a national and a regional, one was accepted at a national but I could not attend due to funding, and all three have been presented at my school symposium. Should I separate the posters and research in to two separate activities or have them all as one?
List the poster presented nationally, regionally, and locally and the poster accepted nationally but presented locally in their own space. The third poster presented solely at the school symposium should ideally stay with the Research entry, but space considerations may make it imperative that it be mentioned in the Poster/Presentation slot instead.
 
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12. Should I really be talking about my hobbies or artistic endeavors?
If you have some, then list them, especially those that are unusual! Adcomm members like to know what you do to relieve stress and unwind. Group them all together. In a sea of look-alike activities, hobbies may be what helps make you memorable: "That dumpling-maker applicant" or "The fly fisherman."

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.
I have two hobbies that I've been doing for over a decade. Cooking European cuisine & horseback riding. I have some interesting things to say about each, such as horseback riding to the top of Mount Rushmore. Would you still recommend grouping them together? Should I describe each within the same 700 character space? Thanks!
 
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I have two hobbies that I've been doing for over a decade. Cooking European cuisine & horseback riding. I have some interesting things to say about each, such as horseback riding to the top of Mount Rushmore. Would you still recommend grouping them together? Should I describe each within the same 700 character space? Thanks!
Do you have plenty of space? Do you have lots to say? If you want to separate them, that's fine, but what do you think about tagging your avocation for cookery an Artistic Endeavor, rather than a Hobby, especially if you share the results with lots of others? If so, that leaves you free to keep Equestrian interests in a Hobby space on its own. If not, use two Hobbies spaces if you prefer not to group them.
 
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Do you have plenty of space? Do you have lots to say? If you want to separate them, that's fine, but what do you think about tagging your avocation for cookery an Artistic Endeavor, rather than a Hobby, especially if you share the results with lots of others? If so, that leaves you free to keep Equestrian interests in a Hobby space on its own. If not, use two Hobbies spaces if you prefer not to group them.
If cooking is an artistic endeavor can I label aquaponics as an artistic endeavor? I mean, I don’t have room for it, but could I?
 
Is it ok to abbreviate my university's name in the description for ECs?
It depends. UCLA you can abbreviate as it's universally identifiable across the country. If your school isn't in that category, spell it out once, then abbreviate it thereafter.
 
I am listed as an author on a poster that someone else will be presenting. I will not be going to the conference. How should I differentiate this from other presentations where I presented/should I list this at all?
If you're listed as an author, it's fine to include the poster on your med school application, in the same space as other posters. But give credit to the author who did do the presentation. Research is a team sport and you should give credit where it's due.
 
Do you list all work experience on your application?
I worked as a waiter for 4 years in my undergrad prior to having become a nurse (currently have been a registered nurse for 4 years and was a CNA for 1 year prior to that), so the last time I worked in a restaurant was ~2014. I personally had a lot of good customer service experience.
The portion I bolded makes this experience relevant to your med school application. List it.
 

puahate

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I will be getting a publication.

A couple of questions.

1. Is it worth it to add to my W/A?
2. If i have 15 spaces filled should i delete one section to make room for a publication section?
3. If i add it what should i delete? Two sections I considered: TA postion or hobbies. I personally want to keep hobbies because if i place in my weight lifting comp I could add a line about competing. My TA position is like the weakest part of my W/A and is probably replaceable but i heard TA experience is valued.
 
I will be getting a publication.

A couple of questions.

1. Is it worth it to add to my W/A?
2. If i have 15 spaces filled should i delete one section to make room for a publication section?
3. If i add it what should i delete? Two sections I considered: TA postion or hobbies. I personally want to keep hobbies because if i place in my weight lifting comp I could add a line about competing. My TA position is like the weakest part of my W/A and is probably replaceable but i heard TA experience is valued.
If your manuscript is accepted prior to submission, you could
-add the citation to your Research narrative.
-You could group two other similar experiences together (TA + tutoring, perhaps) to make room for a Publications slot.
-You could take out Honors/Awards. -If your TA job was just grading papers and not teaching, it could be omitted.
 
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