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*~*~*~* Official AMCAS "Work/Activities" Tips Thread 2020-2021 *~*~*~*

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labtech312

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Entering it as non clinical volunteering is the best choice, assuming you were not paid extra after taking on Head Coach duties, if you do not already have a lot of hours in that category. It could also be entered as Teaching (of which coaching is a form, in general, or Extracurricular). Leadership would apply only for the time you were in charge of other coaches. If that was the case, and you were not paid, you can add that designation to the title of the Volunteer space, to make clear the experience covers more than one category.
Great! Thank you for the prompt and clear reply.
 
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labtech312

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Hello Mr./Mrs. Catalystik, I have another question for you. I am a nontraditional reapplicant, reapplying post SMP and MCAT improvement. My PS is being used more to talk about my motivation/drive for becoming a physician. However, I feel that the reasoning for my long unconventional journey (after a very mediocre undergraduate performance) needs to be addressed somewhere in my application. I went to grad school and worked for several years before applying. Which experiences section do you believe would be the best for addressing such a journey? I received an award in graduate school and was thinking on elaborating on how the journey culminated in that award. Also would it be unreasonable to elaborate on this journey in a most meaningful section.

Thank you,
Labtech312
 
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Hello Mr./Mrs. Catalystik, I have another question for you. I am a nontraditional reapplicant, reapplying post SMP and MCAT improvement. My PS is being used more to talk about my motivation/drive for becoming a physician. However, I feel that the reasoning for my long unconventional journey (after a very mediocre undergraduate performance) needs to be addressed somewhere in my application. I went to grad school and worked for several years before applying. Which experiences section do you believe would be the best for addressing such a journey? I received an award in graduate school and was thinking on elaborating on how the journey culminated in that award. Also would it be unreasonable to elaborate on this journey in a most meaningful section.

Thank you,
Labtech312
Do you have a thread elsewhere, perhaps in WAMC, that gives more detail, and to which you could direct me? If not, please elaborate here: what was the award for and how does it reflect your journey? How would you expand on these comments in a Most Meaningful Experience section?
 

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Do you have a thread elsewhere, perhaps in WAMC, that gives more detail, and to which you could direct me? If not, please elaborate here: what was the award for and how does it reflect your journey? How would you expand on these comments in a Most Meaningful Experience section?
I have a WAMC thread in confidential consult, if you are able to access that. If not I can elaborate more here.
 
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I have a WAMC thread in confidential consult, if you are able to access that. If not I can elaborate more here.
In your most recent CC thread where you mentioned a relevant Award, it would be suitable to list it under Awards/Honors in the Activity section and to give the back story that led to it, as well as it's impact on your following academic success. This could be done with either 700 characters or with the additional 1325 that are provided for a Most Meaningful entry, depending on the space you require for discussion.
 
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Hi! It's my first time posting on here so I apologize if this is in the wrong place. I was wondering if nonpartisan voter registration would count as non-medical community service? I've done a significant amount of hours registering new voters in underserved areas in my community. It counted as service hours for high school/college so I hope it would in this situation but I wanted to double check.
 
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Hi! It's my first time posting on here so I apologize if this is in the wrong place. I was wondering if nonpartisan voter registration would count as non-medical community service? I've done a significant amount of hours registering new voters in underserved areas in my community. It counted as service hours for high school/college so I hope it would in this situation but I wanted to double check.
I would view the nonpartisan activity, as you describe it, as a community service.
 
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I'm trying to pre-plan how I would list some dates for my activity, but I'm having some trouble.
For example, my volunteering position had these ranges:
Jan 2017 - April 2017 : 30 hours
Sep 2017 - Dec 2017: 30 hours
March 2018: 9 hours
Sep 2018 - Dec 2018: 30 hours
Jan - Feb 2019: 20 hours
April 2019: 8 hours

Could I group this as:
Jan 2017 - April 2017: 30
Sep 2017 - Dec 2017: 30
March 2018: 9
Sep 2018 - April 2019: 58

The only thing I'm concerned about is that since I missed volunteering in March 2019, but volunteered Jan, Feb, and April, would I still need to split it apart?
@Catalystik
You can break the volunteering into any 2-4 different timeframes using the Repeated feature, or alternatively just enter Jan 2017-April 2019 for 127 hours and include the word "Intermittent" in the title you give the space. As long as the total hours match whatever your Contact will validate, you'll be fine.
 
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My freshman year of college I joined a broad volunteering organization and I ended up with a leadership position. Didn't really do much in that position as I was kind of thrown in there because one of the board members left and they needed a quick replacement. I left that organization long ago. I didn't feel passionate about it and felt like I was forcing myself to participate. I have around a 100 hours from that organization but don't really feel like I gained anything from it.

Should I remove that organization when I apply?
AMCAS gives you 15 spaces to list those activities that best support your candidacy for med schools. If the description of an experience doesn’t add benefit to your application, it’s your choice to retain or remove it from the application.

If your leadership role resulted primarily in attending meetings and you never took on responsibilities, managed other people, delegated tasks, or came up with new initiatives then saw them carried them through to completion, I’d agree that it may not be worth including under a Leadership tag.

But if you personally participated in the volunteer endeavors sponsored by the organization, those hours might be worth including in a Community Service/Volunteer space. If the hours were low, you could group them with other miscellaneous, short term volunteering to give them more impact.
 
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I’m looking for jobs and opportunities that’ll help me get more patient contact. There’s a case management position that’s hiring in an outpatient mental health clinic and I would be able to get more patient contact. However, I’d be helping them apply for social security, insurance, helping them understand their treatment plans, assist in getting their biopsychsocial history, and help them get resources from outside areas. I would be working with drug addicts and people with severe psychiatric disorders. I am not sure if this would be considered clinical experience since I will not be working directly with doctors/nurses, but I would be interacting more with the patients.
I would absolutely consider this to be an active clinical experience (Employment-Medical/Clinical). And an excellent one.
 

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What are ADCOMS opinions on Medical Mission trips

I went on a MEDLIFE (medicine education and development for low income families everywhere) to Peru for 10 days almost 9 years ago. We set up popup clinics around Lima Peru and did a development project in one of the neighborhoods. I got to see how poor, and medically disadvantaged some areas of the world are. I got to put smiles on some kids' faces and take vitals of people entering the clinic. However, I don’t really know how big of an impact I really had, or if the money I spent on the trip could have been spent better elsewhere.

It was not till later that I realized that experiences like these can be seen as medical voluntourism and maybe have a negative connotation. I was 19 at the time I did this, and I thought it would be important. I put this experience in my first medical school application, and now I am debating on not putting it in my upcoming application all together (due to the possible negative connotation). The experiences I have had volunteering at children’s hospitals, working in hospitals, and shadowing physicians has given me way more insight into medicine than this 10 day trip when I was 19. I was hoping you could shed some light whether putting this experience in my upcoming application is even worthwhile or possibly seen as a privileged red flag.

Thanks
 
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What are ADCOMS opinions on Medical Mission trips

I went on a MEDLIFE (medicine education and development for low income families everywhere) to Peru for 10 days almost 9 years ago. We set up popup clinics around Lima Peru and did a development project in one of the neighborhoods. I got to see how poor, and medically disadvantaged some areas of the world are. I got to put smiles on some kids' faces and take vitals of people entering the clinic. However, I don’t really know how big of an impact I really had, or if the money I spent on the trip could have been spent better elsewhere.

It was not till later that I realized that experiences like these can be seen as medical voluntourism and maybe have a negative connotation. I was 19 at the time I did this, and I thought it would be important. I put this experience in my first medical school application, and now I am debating on not putting it in my upcoming application all together (due to the possible negative connotation). The experiences I have had volunteering at children’s hospitals, working in hospitals, and shadowing physicians has given me way more insight into medicine than this 10 day trip when I was 19. I was hoping you could shed some light whether putting this experience in my upcoming application is even worthwhile or possibly seen as a privileged red flag.

Thanks
This has been discussed many times in various SDN threads. Here is one: Voluntourism and adcomm cognitive dissonance

Here is the AAMC position: https://www.aamc.org/media/23351/download

That said, some med schools and adcomms give you credit for such an experience, and others won't, but you are unlikely to know which is which. In your case, the activity took place so long ago that I'd suggest you minimize/omit it, as you obviously have other more recent and more robust clinical experiences that won't be open to unfavorable interpretations.

Disclaimer: I have myself participated in multiple similar experiences as a physician and went out of my way to involve college student participants in meaningful and education discourse about what they were seeing, so I don't share the general disapproval which the linked thread suggests is often the case.
 
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Summer of 2019 I used to work in the kitchen at my current place of employment (around 275 hours), and this past spring I transferred to work as a Hospitality aide. This position included just answering call lights and doing basic bedside help for residents and patients at the skilled nursing facility, until management offered to pay for CNA classes. The summer of 2020 (after about 150 hours or so of being a hospitality aide) I started full time as a CNA (500+ ongoing hours).

My main question would be: should I list all three activities as separate on my eventual activities list? My rationale would be that it showed a story of me moving up into the clinical realm of our facility. Any input is more than welcome :)
Assuming the hospitality position included frequent patient assistance, list the nonclinical kitchen job in its own slot and the other two (clinical) roles together. Alternatively, list the kitchen hours/dates as part of the back story for the roles with patient interaction without including them in the total hours of the clinical employment header.
 

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Were the clients referred by physicians? What sorts of diagnoses did these people have. When you say you "administered psychological tests," could you describe further? Did you have special training/a certificate for this task?
Hi I know this is from a while ago, but now i'm working on my activities section for this upcoming cycle. Some of the clients were referred from our school's health center (psychiatrists) and others from the community. They're diagnosed with depression, anxiety, PTSD, autism, eating disorders, other behavioral disorders. I administered Quality of Life tests, PHQ9 and GAD7 then i'd give the results to their clinician. I had training, but nothing too specific. I had to do CITI training if that counts?
 
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Hi I know this is from a while ago, but now i'm working on my activities section for this upcoming cycle. Some of the clients were referred from our school's health center (psychiatrists) and others from the community. They're diagnosed with depression, anxiety, PTSD, autism, eating disorders, other behavioral disorders. I administered Quality of Life tests, PHQ9 and GAD7 then i'd give the results to their clinician. I had training, but nothing too specific. I had to do CITI training if that counts?
I'd consider the testing component of your job to be Clinical. I suggest you refer to the "clients" as patients to make that fact more clear to readers.
 
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spiritkoi

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I'd consider the testing component of your job to be Clinical. I suggest you refer to the "clients" as patients to make that fact more clear to readers.
Great, thanks so much for the response, I appreciate it! I'll be sure to refer to them as patients
 
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I volunteer for a blood bank and help out at all of the on-campus blood drives. I am sort of a senior volunteer, and I often train 2 or 3 other volunteers on the spot and I'm the go-to guy if they have questions. I'm not sure if this is really leadership or not. I just have nothing else remotely close to leadership so I'm kinda desperate!
If you were to list this as Leadership, you'd have to carve out the hours of leadership-y type activities (training and oversite of newbies) and list those dates and hours on their own. How many would that be? Would your official Contact agree? The general community service role would go in a separate space (taking care not to double count the hours).

If you list it only under Volunteering, you could include the dates and hours of everything you've done for the blood bank. You could include both your general role and your leadership role in the name you give the activity space and give details for the latter (date of onset, % time you are in charge) as well as your original role in the narrative. That would make for a meatier activity and demonstrate your increase in responsibility over time, besides keeping the context better.
 
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1) I have a poster for a research project and the professor said that they wrote an abstract. I also have a publication (different paper). Can I just put the poster in the publication section? and if I do what do I need to say to inform them that it hasn't yet been published?
Also when I bullet point the publication/poster do I elaborate on the research in any way like going through my experience or go into some of the nitty gritty of the research or is it just bullet points. ( I talk about my research experience in a separate "research/lab" entry).

2) Is there a big issue with putting research as a most meaningful activity. I'm not doing an MD/PhD and I've heard that research heavy kids (I have tons of research) are looked at like "oh well why don't you do an PhD or do our MD/PhD program if your so interested". If it's better to put a hobby down then I'll do that, I have hobbies that are very meaningful to me.

3) I want to put 3 hobbies and I have a lot to say about each of them. Exercise, mindfulness, and cooking. Is this too much or it's not a problem?
1) An accepted manuscript goes under the Publications tab. An unrelated poster for which you are listed author and which has been accepted after a peer review process for a regional or national conference goes under a Posters/Presentations tab. If a related abstract is in a conference booklet, it is not a "publication" for our purposes (though it would be if it's in a national journal and has a PubMed ID#). If you want to save room, an option is to mention the poster in the same space as the affiliated research. If the poster is from the same project as the publication, then it can be mentioned in the same space as the publication.

A publication space generally includes only the citation, Any discussion of the related research goes in the Research space.

2) It's best to choose those activities that are truly most meaningful for the MM essay, though some use it for activities that need more description. Trying to second guess what adcomms want to see will be wrong half the time, so it's best to be genuine.

3) I would consider three to be too many. Try to group two of them or use an MM space.
 

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Hello!

I ran a fundraiser for a few years to provide gifts during the holiday season for children and adults without families living in my community. I am in the process of turning this into a nonprofit and I was wondering how I would list this if I am applying this year? Since it was not an official nonprofit back in 2018, but it will be this year, should I only include the dates from this year as a nonprofit?

Thank you for your help :)
 
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Hello!

I ran a fundraiser for a few years to provide gifts during the holiday season for children and adults without families living in my community. I am in the process of turning this into a nonprofit and I was wondering how I would list this if I am applying this year? Since it was not an official nonprofit back in 2018, but it will be this year, should I only include the dates from this year as a nonprofit?

Thank you for your help :)
Might you consider listing the evolving process under a Leadership tag?

Will you officially be designated as a nonprofit by the day you apply? If so, you can cite the date of transition in your description, as well as the back story leading up to that point. The name you give the slot can reflect the range. If not, you can discuss the process to date in becoming a nonprofit. Regardless, be sure to mention your accomplishments in serving your community members.
 
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Hi, I am sorry if a similar question was asked before.. but I have a PhD and research work experience in the pharmaceutical industry.

1) Should I list my PhD as a separate activity, along with a separate research activity to describe the research in more detail?
2) is the research tab supposed to describe one type of research project or can it include multiple experiences? Along with my 4 years of PhD work, I also do research in the company. They both are similar in the sense there are similar techniques (eg. Similar stats methodology), but nothing beyond that. Should I group these together?
3) how do I split hours in my job between research and work? On a related note, how do I list hours for my PhD program/ PhD research?

Thank you so much!
 
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Hi, I am sorry if a similar question was asked before.. but I have a PhD and research work experience in the pharmaceutical industry.

1) Should I list my PhD as a separate activity, along with a separate research activity to describe the research in more detail?
2) is the research tab supposed to describe one type of research project or can it include multiple experiences? Along with my 4 years of PhD work, I also do research in the company. They both are similar in the sense there are similar techniques (eg. Similar stats methodology), but nothing beyond that. Should I group these together?
3) how do I split hours in my job between research and work? On a related note, how do I list hours for my PhD program/ PhD research?

Thank you so much!
1) While you may list the experience of achieving a PhD, keep in mind that your transcript will relay that information. What would you want to convey in such a space? Certainly Research activity needs its own space.

2) You can use one or multiple spaces to describe research experiences. If they are are very similar, grouping them makes sense. It's also reasonable to split the PhD-related research and the Employment portion into at least two spaces. Use more if you have lots to say.

3) The hours related to the PhD program can be implied from your transcript. Hours from research can be estimated or you can enter a 999, or 9999 (or even 99999), to imply "unknowable hours." Research hours from work could be calculated by looking at your paychecks or calling the payroll office.
 
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nicesecrets

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1) While you may list the experience of achieving a PhD, keep in mind that your transcript will relay that information. What would you want to convey in such a space? Certainly Research activity needs its own space.

2) You can use one or multiple spaces to describe research experiences. If they are are very similar, grouping them makes sense. It's also reasonable to split the PhD-related research and the Employment portion into at least two spaces. Use more if you have lots to say.

3) The hours related to the PhD program can be implied from your transcript. Hours from research can be estimated or you can enter a 999, or 9999 (or even 99999), to imply "unknowable hours." Research hours from work could be calculated by looking at your paychecks or calling the payroll office.
Hi Catalystik,

Thank you for the reply. I think I was reading here previously that people consider the PhD to be another EC and that was why I was confused about whether I had to list it separately in the work and activities.. based on this, I think it might just be easier to not list the PhD as an activity but just include the transcripts, and only list research as an activity.

To ask one more clarifying question: I could guesstimate hours of research performed for the PhD.. I am a little confused about how to add up company research hours to this, if I list all research down under one activity. I work in R&D and there is no dedicated research time versus administrative/other time in the pay stub or job responsibilities, so I really have no way of parsing this out.

Would it be ok if I just include the complete research description (PhD + company) down in one tab but only include my PhD hours, and have a separate employment tab where I list total hours that I have worked in the company?
 
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1) I think it might just be easier to not list the PhD as an activity but just include the transcripts, and only list research as an activity.

2) To ask one more clarifying question: I could guesstimate hours of research performed for the PhD.. I am a little confused about how to add up company research hours to this, if I list all research down under one activity. I work in R&D and there is no dedicated research time versus administrative/other time in the pay stub or job responsibilities, so I really have no way of parsing this out.

3) Would it be ok if I just include the complete research description (PhD + company) down in one tab but only include my PhD hours, and have a separate employment tab where I list total hours that I have worked in the company?
1) :thumbup:

2) If you have one research description, you would enter subtotals of hours in your description along with subdates for the included components. For the R&D employment, if you know the total hours of employment, it is acceptable to give a good faith estimate of the percent time you were involved in research activities, add the number from that calculation into the Total Hours of the space along with the PhD research hours, and make a comment in the description of the derivation of the number.

3) If you were to use a separate space for R&D nonresearch-related Employment (which is reasonable) you'd still want to use a calculation (the remainder from #2) for the nonresearch hours and discuss in the space your nonresearch responsibilities. You could also state, "Research responsibilities listed elsewhere."

When you are going to list research hours above the 99th %tile for most med school applicants, an ultra-precise hourly calculation is not going to be an issue.
 
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nicesecrets

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1) :thumbup:

2) If you have one research description, you would enter subtotals of hours in your description along with subdates for the included components. For the R&D employment, if you know the total hours of employment, it is acceptable to give a good faith estimate of the percent time you were involved in research activities, add the number from that calculation into the Total Hours of the space along with the PhD research hours, and make a comment in the description of the derivation of the number.

3) If you were to use a separate space for R&D nonresearch-related Employment (which is reasonable) you'd still want to use a calculation (the remainder from #2) for the nonresearch hours and discuss in the space your nonresearch responsibilities. You could also state, "Research responsibilities listed elsewhere."

When you are going to list research hours above the 99th %tile for most med school applicants, an ultra-precise hourly calculation is not going to be an issue.
Thank you so much!
 
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If I have an abstract in a conference booklet (and I don't want to take up space in my research section) my only option is to put it in the poster section?
If you already cited the poster, the related abstract need not be cited as well. If you feel compelled to mention it anyway, enter it in the same space as the poster.
 
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I have two accepted posters/papers I presented at a national conference. The poster abstracts are available online and are verifiable. Should I put [Abstract], [Poster], or {Abstract/Poster] next to the citation?
You don't need to use the word "Poster" twice; presumably you will use it as a subcategory or explanation before the entry. But do insert [Abstract] into the citation.
 

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@Catalystik

Do adcoms care about the names of specific college scholarships or can I shorten the name for space reasons?

Example: Instead of "President's Scholarship (half-tuition)", can I write "Half-tuition scholarship"

Thank You
 
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@Catalystik

I have been a member of a pre-medical fraternity for 4 years, 3 of which I held leadership positions ending with serving as President. Because this is not a most meaningful, would you suggest listing my leadership experiences as one activity and being a general body member as another? Thank you.
 

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@Catalystik

I have been a member of a pre-medical fraternity for 4 years, 3 of which I held leadership positions ending with serving as President. Because this is not a most meaningful, would you suggest listing my leadership experiences as one activity and being a general body member as another? Thank you.
 
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@Catalystik

I have been a member of a pre-medical fraternity for 4 years, 3 of which I held leadership positions ending with serving as President. Because this is not a most meaningful, would you suggest listing my leadership experiences as one activity and being a general body member as another? Thank you.
I suggest using one Leadership space with side mention of the general membership as background info, but not inclusion of those hours, unless the general membership was very impactful or included relevant volunteering (in which case, use two spaces).
 

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I suggest using one Leadership space with side mention of the general membership as background info, but not inclusion of those hours, unless the general membership was very impactful or included relevant volunteering (in which case, use two spaces).
Thank you! General membership was very impactful and had relevant volunteering, so I will use two spaces.
 
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DelineSan

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@Catalystik

Apologies if you have already answered this before:

I am listing 3 pubs in one activity space. What should I put as the organization?

Similarly, if I list several awards from different groups in one activity slot, what should I put as the organization?
 
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@Catalystik

Apologies if you have already answered this before:

I am listing 3 pubs in one activity space. What should I put as the organization?

Similarly, if I list several awards from different groups in one activity slot, what should I put as the organization?
It isn’t obligatory to fill in the Organization space. For pubs it’s less important than it might be for other categories, since you provide the journal name in the citation, which provides comparable information.
 
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DelineSan

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@Catalystik

Are student clubs considered low importance at most schools?

I plan on combining two clubs (President of both of them) into one activity slot (under Leadership tag) so I have room for something else that med schools find more valuable.

I would appreciate your insight.
 
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@Catalystik

Are student clubs considered low importance at most schools?

I plan on combining two clubs (President of both of them) into one activity slot (under Leadership tag) so I have room for something else that med schools find more valuable.

I would appreciate your insight.
Club memberships that lead to Leadership activities have the potential to be of benefit to your application, so long as you describe the manner in which you led Merely chairing meetings won't get you many "points."

If you categorize the activity as Leadership, be sure you're not also including dates and hours of general membership (though you can still mention that level of involvement in your description). If you want to include all those dates and hours, along with the leadership time, better to tag the space Extracurricular and title it to include "and Leadership Roles."
 
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Just found this thread - very helpful. Had a quick question for ya'll.

I've been working with a radiation doc the past couple months and always considered it shadowing, but I actually get a lot of hands on experience. For example, I will get to palpate tumors and lymph nodes, and perform oral exams. I would assist the doc as he was doing procedures and occasionally help patients as well (grabbing them tissues, helping them sign up for their vaccine, etc). So would this be considered "shadowing" or is it "clinical experience"?

Thanks for all your help.

Also, I posted this in the pre-med forum as well, but I'm not sure how to delete that post, so apologies if this is redundant.
 
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I've been working with a radiation doc the past couple months and always considered it shadowing, but I actually get a lot of hands on experience. For example, I will get to palpate tumors and lymph nodes, and perform oral exams. I would assist the doc as he was doing procedures and occasionally help patients as well (grabbing them tissues, helping them sign up for their vaccine, etc). So would this be considered "shadowing" or is it "clinical experience"?
From what you've written, it appears that a small percentage of your hands-on experience was of service to the patient. It mostly helped you. I suggest labeling it as Shadowing.
 
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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.

Conferences Attended
-Use this if you were a keynote speaker, received major recognition, were an organizer, or held some other leadership role. If the conference gave you an opportunity to do a poster or podium presentation, that should be listed elsewhere tagged with a label where application screeners can easily find it (Presentations/Posters), and with the name of the conference included.

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, reliability, 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 this sort of experience is to have a catch-all category like "Collegiate Recognitions" 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 need 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 for which it is 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 friend or yourself 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 a portion of 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. There is no one right way, so feel free to make your own format:

Experience Type: Physician Shadowing/Clinical Observation
Title: Multiple Physician Observation Experiences
Dates: [Can encompass all the experiences in the space]
Total Hours: [Total hours shadowed for all docs included in the space.]
Contact info, organization name: [Use the info for the first physician you want to list. I suggest listing them by highest total hours or by those most recent and likely to recall you]

Narrative Description Box:
1. 13 hours 5/2019 John Patel, DO, Family Medicine resident
Participated in hospital rounds, meetings, observed longitudinal clinic hours and general scut work.
Also:
2. 20 hours 5/2018 Jill Rosenbloom, MD, Pediatrician. [email protected]
Was able to observe a newborn resuscitation.
3. 12 hours 1/2018-2/2018 Jane Santos, MD, General Surgeon. 555-123-0000 Rory Li, Office manager
Attended general and bariatric office hours. Observed two surgeries.
4. 7 hours 5/17, James Ruzic, MD, Radiologist. [email protected]
Observed image reading.

Also shadowed X other physicians in [list of specialties] for 5-8 hours each during clinic hours in summer 2016.

[General comments on overall experience/impact if space permits]


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 about 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 (and doesn't require listing a Contact).

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

Keep in mind: "Having publications is mostly icing on the cake though less than 20%-25% of all applicants have ANY kind of publication, poster or presentation at ANY level, campus-wide symposium and up" (per Gonnif).

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 Fine Arts or Sport involvement.

If you are a nontraditional applicant, then your more recent accomplishments are the most important to highlight. In that case, consider grouping your high-yield, college-related 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?
You can use 60 spaces for the title of each entry:
-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 your official title isn't sufficiently descriptive, feel free to improvise.

-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, 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. Borrowing from Gonnif: If you have XXX hours of research
1) and just describe your tasks in the lab, its unimpressive
2) if you discuss the connection to understanding research it's better
3) if you state/imply what personal characteristics this work says about you that's good
4) if you integrate this all along with social/professional interactions in lab, that's great
5) if you develop themes in this EC that interconnects with similar themes in other W&A along with PS and secondaries, thus showing a consistent pattern as a candidate, that would be the best

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 appears in a 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.
I worked a couple random jobs throughout college. One of which was a receptionist at a tanning salon. I was wondering if it would be recommended to not list this or if you think that it is okay. I was going to group it in with other retail jobs I've held but for some reason this one feels odd to list. Maybe its bc tanning is somewhat controversial in terms of health. Would love to get your advice on this. Thank you in advance :)
 
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I worked a couple random jobs throughout college. One of which was a receptionist at a tanning salon. I was wondering if it would be recommended to not list this or if you think that it is okay. I was going to group it in with other retail jobs I've held but for some reason this one feels odd to list. Maybe its bc tanning is somewhat controversial in terms of health. Would love to get your advice on this. Thank you in advance :)
A job where you've interacted with the public is of benefit to your application. I'd have no problem with you including it on your list of collegiate employment.
 
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Hello. I have held 3 different teaching positions. One was a volunteer English teacher (and will go into non-clinical volunteering, since I won't have enough hours there otherwise). The other was an English teacher in another country (will go under Teaching since it was paid, and is also one of my most meaningful activities). The last is a TA position at my university (will go under Teaching since it was paid, but is not my most meaningful). Personally, I feel writing 3 different activity descriptions about teaching may be overkill and repetitive to an adcom.

Would there be any harm in combining my most meaningful activity and my TA position under one heading, making it most meaningful, and only writing about the foreign English teaching position in my most meaningful essay? Or is this too confusing and I would be better off leaving it as 3 different activities?
 
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deleted1041777

I have reached my 15 activity limit and won't be able to put my Posters/Presentations. Would there be any problem with moving any posters/presentations into my Publications section? Every poster/presentation I have done is directly related to a publication of mine.
 
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deleted1041777

Sorry for the list of questions, but one last one if I may. Is a research or teaching position placed under Paid Employment viewed any differently than if they were placed under Research or Teaching? I have held part-time teaching assistant positions then moved on to full-time teaching positions. Similarly, I have moved from part-time graduate student researcher positions to full-time paid researcher positions at a national laboratory. I'm wondering if I should put them all under Research and Teaching, or perhaps move some to Paid Employment? Every position I just mentioned was paid. Thank you!
 
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Hello. I have held 3 different teaching positions. One was a volunteer English teacher (and will go into non-clinical volunteering, since I won't have enough hours there otherwise). The other was an English teacher in another country (will go under Teaching since it was paid, and is also one of my most meaningful activities). The last is a TA position at my university (will go under Teaching since it was paid, but is not my most meaningful). Personally, I feel writing 3 different activity descriptions about teaching may be overkill and repetitive to an adcom.

Would there be any harm in combining my most meaningful activity and my TA position under one heading, making it most meaningful, and only writing about the foreign English teaching position in my most meaningful essay? Or is this too confusing and I would be better off leaving it as 3 different activities?
I agree with your strategy to condense the three activities into two spaces and your reasoning for doing so. I suggest a brief comment in your MM slot narrative about the first influencing your interest in the second, to tie them together.
 
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I have reached my 15 activity limit and won't be able to put my Posters/Presentations. Would there be any problem with moving any posters/presentations into my Publications section? Every poster/presentation I have done is directly related to a publication of mine.
Since the posters/presentations are tied to/came from the same project or data set as the pubs, it's fine to refer to them in the same space tagged as Publications.
 
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