The Work and Activities section of your AMCAS application is a big part of what admissions committees will look at when deciding whether or not to interview you. While scholastics are important, extracurriculars say a lot about you, too. Your AMCAS Work and Activities is your opportunity to show who you are beyond letter grades. Because of this, it’s important to write strong descriptions of what you’ve done.
In this article, we’re going to provide you with five tips and tricks to strengthen your AMCAS Work and Activities. We want you to be at the top of your game.
1. The admissions committee sees what you did. Why did you do it?
If you shadowed your local gynecologist, the admissions committee will already have an idea of what you did. What they want to know is why you did it.
For example, stating that you observed the gynecologist interacting with her patients is obvious. That’s what you do when you shadow. You’ll want to explain why you chose to shadow her. Maybe you wanted to learn how to break bad news to a patient. Or perhaps you wanted to see how she manages her own stress levels between patient interactions. How does she take care of herself?
By writing about why you shadowed the gynecologist, you’re showing what you’re doing to prepare. It’s more than a task; it’s key to your career.
2. Details are everything.
So, the gynecologist had to break bad news. What was the bad news? How did she tell the patient? “Dr. Lim shared bad news with the patient” is a weak statement in comparison to “Dr. Lim explained that the sperm donor had backed out, so Sharon was back to square one. This was really hard for Sharon to accept because it had already taken a year to find the right donor.” Of course, you’ll want to change the name of the patient to keep their identity anonymous. But by sharing in detail what happened, you’re letting the admissions committee into the situation so that they know what you experienced. We highly recommend writing this way!
3. Don’t be extra.
Now, while you want to share details, don’t share too much information. If you watch Dr. Pimple Popper, you’ll know what we mean. You don’t want to gross out the admissions committee, nor do you want to make them feel uncomfortable. While it’s perfectly fine to share that Sharon’s sperm donor fell through, you don’t need to share the emotional, long-winded tale about why it took her a year to find the sperm donor. That’s not relevant to your experience shadowing the gynecologist.
4. Focus on yourself, not your patients or co-workers.
While you want to share details without going overboard, you want to focus on the right details. Don’t talk about what your co-workers are doing. Don’t talk about the patient who wouldn’t get off their phone. Focus on your experiences and how those experiences have contributed to your desire to become a doctor. You can also share learning experiences.
For example, you could write, “I knew without hesitation that I wanted to be a doctor after Eliza shared her story with me. She had persevered through chemotherapy for her family. Her doctors and nurses had helped make her experience bearable so that she could endure her cancer treatments.”
5. Show your heart and your passion.
We can’t express this enough. Medical school is a long and grueling process. If you want to finish as strong as you started, you’ll need passion, grit, enthusiasm and determination. Showing these character traits in the details you provide will further convince the admissions committee that you have what it takes to succeed in medical school.
Your AMCAS Work and Activities will help the admissions committee understand you better as an applicant. It’s one of the unique ways they’ll get to know you. But your AMCAS Work and Activities isn’t the only way the admissions committee will learn about you. Your personal statement, secondary essays and interview are also part of the process. By working hard to make each part equally strong, you’ll be on your way to becoming an MD candidate.
If you need help with your work and activities section, or with any section of your primary or secondary applications, International Medical Aid is here to help. While you might notice our global internship opportunities first, we also offer medical school admissions consulting. We can review any part of your application. In regards to your AMCAS work and activities, we can help you pinpoint what you should focus on from your experiences and provide pointers on how to make your descriptions stronger.
International Medical Aid is staffed with experts in the medical field. We’re here to help you make your application strong. Visit our website to book a consultation with us.