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How to write the work activities section for AMCAS?

There are 15 activities descriptions for the AMCAS primary application.

While not all extracurricular activity descriptions are the same, they should give the medical school admissions committees a good picture of what you did for each activity. Additionally, they should learn why it was meaningful to you and what you learned.

For three of the activities, you have an additional 1325 characters to write more about your “most meaningful activity.” Make sure these 3 most meaningful experiences highlight different perspectives about you. 

There are two main ways an applicant can write the work activities descriptions for the AMCAS.


1) Bullet points. These descriptions tend to be to the point and emphasize what an applicant did for each activity.
2) Paragraph form. This allows medical school applicants to write more stories and describe their activities.

MUST-HAVE FACTORS

Must-have Elements for Each Activities Description:

  • What did you do: What were your responsibilities? What impact did you have in this organization? Oftentimes, we read descriptions that describe the program or project, and barely touches on what the applicant did. Leaving this out is one of the most common mistakes we see.

  • Reflection is KEY: Reflection shows maturity and growth. Some reflections you can discuss in your description – What lessons did you learn? Did you face any difficulties? How did this experience impact you or change the way you think about patient care and healthcare?

Elements To Make Each Activities Description Stellar:

  • Program Description: If you need to add context about the organization or program, then you can do so. We recommend 2 sentences MAX.

  • Awards & Publications: Did you win any awards from this activity? Did you publish? Accolades are external validations that support the strength of your medical school application.

  • Leadership: Especially if you were founder, first author, or president, highlight leadership in your activity description and make it bold.

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AMCAS Work and Activities Example

Here is a common medical school application activities and excellent AMCAS work and activities examples.

Few things to keep in mind:

  • To differentiate yourself, you need to write about your experiences with insight and demonstrable passion. Therefore, while it is important to describe your responsibilities, the bulk of your description should focus on the impact you had and the lessons you learned.

  • Medical schools want to recruit mature students with rich life experiences. Ultimately, being a doctor is about connecting with patients on a human level, so take advantage of your clinical experiences and describe what you learned about working with people.

AMCAS Work and Activities Categories:

  • Artistic Endeavors

  • Community Service/Volunteer – Not Medical/Clinical

  • Community Service/Volunteer – Medical/Clinical

  • Conferences Attended

  • Extracurricular Activities

  • Hobbies

  • Honors/Awards/Recognitions

  • Intercollegiate Athletics

  • Leadership – Not listed elsewhere

  • Military Service

  • Other

  • Paid Employment – Medical/Clinical

  • Paid Employment – Not Medical/Clinical

  • Physician Shadowing/Clinical Observation

  • Presentations/Posters

  • Publications

  • Research/Lab

  • Teaching/Tutoring/Teaching Assistant

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