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Hey guys,

I want your opinion on whether or not I should update based on my new activities. COVID ended all my activities abruptly and I picked these up after submitting my primary.

1. Started working in a hospital lab as a COVID lab tech. Spend around 30-40 hours per week doing PCR/testing.
2. Picked up a new position as a scribe in the emergency department, work around 10-12 hours a week.
3. Joined a research lab, hoping to present a poster in the spring. Working around 5 hours per week.
4. Volunteering around 2 hours per week, writing letters for senior citizens.

Worth it or no? I have a few II and some "holds" (we'll review you later).
 

M&L

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Hey guys,

I want your opinion on whether or not I should update based on my new activities. COVID ended all my activities abruptly and I picked these up after submitting my primary.

1. Started working in a hospital lab as a COVID lab tech. Spend around 30-40 hours per week doing PCR/testing.
2. Picked up a new position as a scribe in the emergency department, work around 10-12 hours a week.
3. Joined a research lab, hoping to present a poster in the spring. Working around 5 hours per week.
4. Volunteering around 2 hours per week, writing letters for senior citizens.

Worth it or no? I have a few II and some "holds" (we'll review you later).
I vote yay !!! Definitely update
 
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Goro

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Hey guys,

I want your opinion on whether or not I should update based on my new activities. COVID ended all my activities abruptly and I picked these up after submitting my primary.

1. Started working in a hospital lab as a COVID lab tech. Spend around 30-40 hours per week doing PCR/testing.
2. Picked up a new position as a scribe in the emergency department, work around 10-12 hours a week.
3. Joined a research lab, hoping to present a poster in the spring. Working around 5 hours per week.
4. Volunteering around 2 hours per week, writing letters for senior citizens.

Worth it or no? I have a few II and some "holds" (we'll review you later).
No.

Accomplishments may move the needle, not things you've just started
 
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8YearsLate

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Regarding my top choice school, I wrote an update for far less. You miss 100% of the shots you don't take, and my impression is that updates really exist to tell the school, "Hey, I've had success, but my heart still beats for you." I think your stuff is significant enough to be worth adding to your app, and gives them the heads up you're still into them.
 
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candbgirl

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Hey guys,

I want your opinion on whether or not I should update based on my new activities. COVID ended all my activities abruptly and I picked these up after submitting my primary.

1. Started working in a hospital lab as a COVID lab tech. Spend around 30-40 hours per week doing PCR/testing.
2. Picked up a new position as a scribe in the emergency department, work around 10-12 hours a week.
3. Joined a research lab, hoping to present a poster in the spring. Working around 5 hours per week.
4. Volunteering around 2 hours per week, writing letters for senior citizens.

Worth it or no? I have a few II and some "holds" (we'll review you later).

What was on your application?
 
Aug 17, 2020
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What was on your application?
None of the things I mentioned were on my application. I wouldn't say I'm lacking in any particular part of my application. I have lots of clinical hours (scribing, MA, shadowing, volunteering), lots of research (but only one poster presentation) and a sprinkle of volunteering (300ish hours). I'm just worried because it seems like an abrupt stop to all my activities right when I sent my primary in, whereas many other applicants tend to also put their "predicted hours" as well.

If I did the same, I could easily add 100 to volunteering, and a 1000 plus to clinical considering I'm working around 50 hours per week in a hospital setting and some more hours to research, plus the poster I'm planning on presenting in a few months. Although, this seems a bit sketch.
 
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No.

Accomplishments may move the needle, not things you've just started
So in your mind, only pubs are worth an update? What else would be a common accomplishment?

Honestly, I think OP's list of new activities are great for an update since they're quite extensive to be doing during a pandemic, when a lot of people are stuck at home not doing much.
 
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whereas many other applicants tend to also put their "predicted hours" as well.
Adcoms don't take projected hours too seriously, since they are "theoretical" hours. If the applicant didn't indicate the hours were projected, it's essentially lying and may cause them troubles if schools verify things.
 
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Goro

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So in your mind, only pubs are worth an update? What else would be a common accomplishment?

Honestly, I think OP's list of new activities are great for an update since they're quite extensive to be doing during a pandemic, when a lot of people are stuck at home not doing much.
Publication
A semester of great grades
A significant award or scholarship.
 
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EdgeTrimmer

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Hey guys,

I want your opinion on whether or not I should update based on my new activities. COVID ended all my activities abruptly and I picked these up after submitting my primary.

1. Started working in a hospital lab as a COVID lab tech. Spend around 30-40 hours per week doing PCR/testing.
2. Picked up a new position as a scribe in the emergency department, work around 10-12 hours a week.
3. Joined a research lab, hoping to present a poster in the spring. Working around 5 hours per week.
4. Volunteering around 2 hours per week, writing letters for senior citizens.

Worth it or no? I have a few II and some "holds" (we'll review you later).
Worth it. Also, what's the downside of sending an update?
 
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Adcoms don't take projected hours too seriously, since they are "theoretical" hours. If the applicant didn't indicate the hours were projected, it's essentially lying and may cause them troubles if schools verify things.
The AAMC in their manual stated that current OR projected hours are fine, and never explicitly stated that if we had projected hours that we would need to clarify that in the activity description. Additionally, if the end date of the activity on AMCAS is after the date of AMCAS submission, obviously that would indicate projected hours, so I don't see how any of that would indicate lying or cause troubles with verification.
 
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The AAMC in their manual stated that current OR projected hours are fine, and never explicitly stated that if we had projected hours that we would need to clarify that in the activity description. Additionally, if the end date of the activity on AMCAS is after the date of AMCAS submission, obviously that would indicate projected hours, so I don't see how any of that would indicate lying or cause troubles with verification.
Did your AMCAS let you put future end dates? Mine didn't let me two years in a row.

So basically, AMCAS has no way to differentiate actual and theoretical hours? I could basically put down that I have 1000 hours of scribing without even having the job yet, and they wouldn't be able to differentiate me from some who has 1000 hours of actual experience? I could put that I'm projected to be the future president of the united states. Seems flawed and easily manipulated.

Please tell me there is a safety mechanism @Goro @gonnif
 
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candbgirl

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The AAMC in their manual stated that current OR projected hours are fine, and never explicitly stated that if we had projected hours that we would need to clarify that in the activity description. Additionally, if the end date of the activity on AMCAS is after the date of AMCAS submission, obviously that would indicate projected hours, so I don't see how any of that would indicate lying or cause troubles with verification.
According AMCAS it is just fine to put projected hours. AMCAS doesn’t care one bit. It’s when your application hits the reviewers that things might be questioned. Every person has projected something sometime that falls through because life intervenes. It could be a vacation, a publication, a wedding, etc. and ADCOMS know this. So if you project 300 clinical experience hours over the next few months, one of your reviewers just might question if that actually got done. IMO I think this is especially true if you have weak ECs to start with. I’d wonder why all of a sudden would this person get 300 hours when he’s applying with 75 hours .
 
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KnightDoc

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According AMCAS it is just fine to put projected hours. AMCAS doesn’t care one bit. It’s when your application hits the reviewers that things might be questioned. Every person has projected something sometime that falls through because life intervenes. It could be a vacation, a publication, a wedding, etc. and ADCOMS know this. So if you project 300 clinical experience hours over the next few months, one of your reviewers just might question if that actually got done. IMO I think this is especially true if you have weak ECs to start with. I’d wonder why all of a sudden would this person get 300 hours when he’s applying with 75 hours .
This^^^^. People who want to be fully transparent break out projected hours in the description. So many people end up being rejected for so many different reasons that it's hard to point to this as a potential reason why, but it's important to realize that adcoms have a lot more experience with this than we do, so, personally, I wouldn't risk getting cute on my application by trying to mask projected hours as completed.
 
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This^^^^. People who want to be fully transparent break out projected hours in the description. So many people end up being rejected for so many different reasons that it's hard to point to this as a potential reason why, but it's important to realize that adcoms have a lot more experience with this than we do, so, personally, I wouldn't risk getting cute on my application by trying to mask projected hours as completed one.
I mean would there realistically be an issue projecting hours into Aug/Sept if you apply the first day applications open in June? Let's say I just project the bare minimum shifts for me to NOT be fired for the position, e.g. 4 hours per week, a total of ~+60 hours to my "hours" for an activity...the alternate would be actually completing those hours and applying 3 months later. Either way, it's not like you're lying unless you drop all your activities after applying. However, projecting 1000 hours into December probably would be different. Not sure.
 

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No.

Accomplishments may move the needle, not things you've just started
FWIW, I agree with this. Starting a new EC is kind of meaningless--it's assumed that you're doing SOMETHING with your time, so unless you have an actual accomplishment I don't think an update letter matters. Plenty of people say they get an II or acceptance after an update letter, but most of the time that probably just reflects an outcome that would have happened regardless.

Now, if it treats your anxiety and allows you to feel like "you did everything you could," then go for it. It's not going to hurt, and heaven knows I did it when I was applying. But objectively, none of those activities is likely to affect the outcome one way or another.

EDIT: I would say that my list of "accomplishments" is probably a little more broad than @Goro , ie at your level having a poster accepted/presented is probably worthy of an update. Lots of pre-meds do "research" that never leads to anything, but a poster (or pub) shows that you actually were able to take the work you did and synthesize it into a coherent story. But "planning" to present a poster, or even just submitting one, is nothing. And not to be rude, but spoiler alert--if you're spending 5h/wk on research and you just started, you're not presenting a poster in the spring. If you told me that was your goal with the current amount of effort that you're putting in, I would flat-out not believe you.
 
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candbgirl

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I mean would there realistically be an issue projecting hours into Aug/Sept if you apply the first day applications open in June? Let's say I just project the bare minimum shifts for me to NOT be fired for the position, e.g. 4 hours per week, a total of ~+60 hours to my "hours" for an activity...the alternate would be actually completing those hours and applying 3 months later. Either way, it's not like you're lying unless you drop all your activities after applying. However, projecting 1000 hours into December probably would be different. Not sure.
Frankly, 60 hours is hardly worth mentioning. If 60 projected hours are needed to make your application more viable maybe you shouldn’t be applying and you should take a gap year to fill out and solidify your application. And I don’t think most applicants intend to lie on their applications. When they list a projected activity I want to believe they have every intention of completing the activity. But life happens and maybe they don’t or can’t or whatever. That’s the issue with projected activities. People have the best intentions and something happens and they have to change focus .
 
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Frankly, 60 hours is hardly worth mentioning. If 60 projected hours are needed to make your application more viable maybe you shouldn’t be applying and you should take a gap year to fill out and solidify your application. And I don’t think most applicants intend to lie on their applications. When they list a projected activity I want to believe they have every intention of completing the activity. But life happens and maybe they don’t or can’t or whatever. That’s the issue with projected activities. People have the best intentions and something happens and they have to change focus .
I mean it was just an example, one could always project more in those 3 months as long as they could complete it (and it was remotely possible). Regardless, I doubt 60 hours of a clinical is "hardly worth mentioning" especially next cycle...120 hours is certainly more than 60 hours, for example. Most people in my pre-med cohort have under 100 clinical hours right now per our advisors. If you're sitting at 500 hours of X activity and want to update with 60 then I'd agree with you!
 
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candbgirl

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FWIW, I agree with this. Starting a new EC is kind of meaningless--it's assumed that you're doing SOMETHING with your time, so unless you have an actual accomplishment I don't think an update letter matters. Plenty of people say they get an II or acceptance after an update letter, but most of the time that probably just reflects an outcome that would have happened regardless.

Now, if it treats your anxiety and allows you to feel like "you did everything you could," then go for it. It's not going to hurt, and heaven knows I did it when I was applying. But objectively, none of those activities is likely to affect the outcome one way or another.

EDIT: I would say that my list of "accomplishments" is probably a little more broad than @Goro , ie at your level having a poster accepted/presented is probably worthy of an update. Lots of pre-meds do "research" that never leads to anything, but a poster (or pub) shows that you actually were able to take the work you did and synthesize it into a coherent story. But "planning" to present a poster, or even just submitting one, is nothing. And not to be rude, but spoiler alert--if you're spending 5h/wk on research and you just started, you're not presenting a poster in the spring. If you told me that was your goal with the current amount of effort that you're putting in, I would flat-out not believe you.

Are you talking @Goro here? If so I imagine his accomplishments are way more broad than yours. You do know he’s on the Faculty at a med school and is an ADCOM member too. Sorry if I misunderstood your intent..
 

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Are you talking @Goro here? If so I imagine his accomplishments are way more broad than yours. You do know he’s on the Faculty at a med school and is an ADCOM member too. Sorry if I misunderstood your intent..
Lol, yes I'm aware. While you're hurting my feelings by saying my CV is poor ( ;) ), I'm specifically responding to this post and saying that I would accept other accomplishments as being "worthy" of an update:
Publication
A semester of great grades
A significant award or scholarship.
But I can understand the confusion.
 
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candbgirl

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I mean it was just an example, one could always project more in those 3 months as long as they could complete it (and it was remotely possible). Regardless, I doubt 60 hours of a clinical is "hardly worth mentioning" especially next cycle...120 hours is certainly more than 60 hours, for example. Most people in my pre-med cohort have under 100 clinical hours right now per our advisors. If you're sitting at 500 hours of X activity and want to update with 60 then I'd agree with you!
I have no idea how far into the process you and others in your cohort are, but I hope your advisors aren’t encouraging all of you to apply with under 100 clinical hours if you are getting ready to apply next cycle.
 
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I have no idea how far into the process you and others in your cohort are, but I hope your advisors aren’t encouraging all of you to apply with under 100 clinical hours if you are getting ready to apply next cycle.
Not explicitly, no. Obviously, it's a case-by-case basis, but for me and my closest friends they said as long as we could get more experience before applying ("150 hours" in the ED) or whatever, they said we'd be strong candidates based on our current profiles..
 

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I mean would there realistically be an issue projecting hours into Aug/Sept if you apply the first day applications open in June? Let's say I just project the bare minimum shifts for me to NOT be fired for the position, e.g. 4 hours per week, a total of ~+60 hours to my "hours" for an activity...the alternate would be actually completing those hours and applying 3 months later. Either way, it's not like you're lying unless you drop all your activities after applying. However, projecting 1000 hours into December probably would be different. Not sure.
I think we're talking past each other a little. I don't think there is an issue with projecting any hours at all, not matter how many or how few. My point was simply, in response to very valid points made by @mvsrocks and @candbgirl, is that it's important to separate out projected hours from actual for activities that contain both, so that adcoms know without asking whether 1,000 hours consists of 50 actual or 800. If you try to bury 950 projected hours by mixing them with 50 actual and just call it 1,000, and get caught, it won't be a good look.
 
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This got a lot more feedback than I expected :) Thank you all for the responses!

Also, I started most of these activities in August.
I think I'll avoid writing my predicted hours, and just say roughly when I started and how many hours per week I'm doing.
What I'll do is send an update to a few schools that really want updates, as well as the school where I'm doing the research at (which also happens be my top pick and is connected with the hospital I'm working in). I was placed on a hold status for 2 schools so I'll send an update letter to them as well, probably can't hurt right?

Thanks again!
 
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I have no idea how far into the process you and others in your cohort are, but I hope your advisors aren’t encouraging all of you to apply with under 100 clinical hours if you are getting ready to apply next cycle.
Lol my pre-med advisor told me the only EC's we needed were 50 hours of clinical experience. No wonder you guys tell us not to trust them much
 
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Hey guys,

I want your opinion on whether or not I should update based on my new activities. COVID ended all my activities abruptly and I picked these up after submitting my primary.

1. Started working in a hospital lab as a COVID lab tech. Spend around 30-40 hours per week doing PCR/testing.
2. Picked up a new position as a scribe in the emergency department, work around 10-12 hours a week.
3. Joined a research lab, hoping to present a poster in the spring. Working around 5 hours per week.
4. Volunteering around 2 hours per week, writing letters for senior citizens.

Worth it or no? I have a few II and some "holds" (we'll review you later).

I would definitely update given the number of new activities. Research w/poster, significant new clinical hours, and tech job are helpful additions. I don't know how much difference 2 hrs/week volunteering is really going to make, but if you're sending an update anyway you might as well include it.
 
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