FAQs: AMCAS Work & Activities
FAQs - AMCAS Work & Activities Section
How many entries do I get to list my work & activities?
The AMCAS gives you a maximum of 15 entries to list your work & activities. You are not required to use all 15.
Do I list my work & activities in a specific order?
Once entered, your activities will appear on your application in chronological order and you cannot rearrange them. However, medical schools can sort your entries and view them in a variety of orders to suit their specific review processes.
What experiences should I list if I have more than the maximum?
Enter significant experiences, ones that show who you are, your depth of experience and knowledge. Most medical schools are interested in quality rather than quantity. It is common, however, to group certain activities together into one entry to save room for other entries.
What experiences can I group together into one entry?
It is your own personal preference on what activities you would like to group together. Most commonly, we have students group all of their shadowing into one entry. Other common experiences are honors & awards (Echols Scholar, Dean's List, etc.) and publications.
Students will still need to put one "contact" down for their grouped entries - we recommend choosing the contact you have had the most hours with.
What do I do if there is no contact person for an experience or the contact has retired, changed, graduated, etc.?
Put the contact down who was your supervisor or leader at the time you were in the experience and their contact info to the best of your ability. We have had students list themselves as the contact for certain things like hobbies.
According to the AAMC Applicant Guide: "You are required to provide a phone number and/or email address for the contact person. If a contact is not known, you may enter the name of a person who can verify your participation, including yourself."
What should I include in the description of the experience?
You have 700 characters to describe or summarize each experience. We recommend focusing on personal contributions, accomplishments, and growth in the description. Adding numbers (of hours, of students, of patients, etc.) can help give context to the work and responsibilities you had. If you worked on a specific project, improved specific outcomes, or can reflect on what skill the experience helped you grow, the more personal the description becomes to you.
The format of the description is up to you. Some students use incomplete sentences, like resume bullet-point format, while other students write in complete sentences/paragraph-format. One way is not necessarily better than the other - we recommend focusing on the content in whatever way feels best and most representative of you.
What are the "Most Meaningful Experiences"?
You can identify up to 3 experiences that you consider to be the most meaningful. This designation allows you an additional 1,325 characters to explain why. When writing this, we recommend thinking about the personal growth you had with the experience. We do recommend that at least one of your most meaningful experiences to be clinical or health-related. You do not need to select the maximum of 3, but if you have more than two experience entries, you'll be required to identify at least one as the more or most meaningful.
It is okay to have some overlap of your most meaningful experiences and your personal statement. Your most meaningful experiences may want to be about the transformative nature of the experience and the impact you made while engaging in the activity (personal growth), while the personal statement should be reflecting on how the experienced solidified your decision to go into medicine and demonstrate the skills needed to be a successful med student.
How should I enter future/expected hours?
The AMCAS only allows you to list activities you have started in the current month or earlier. Per the AAMC Applicant Guide, "Given that medical schools want information about experiences that began before application submission, your start date must be the current month or earlier. Similarly, medical schools require the experience end date to coincide with the start of medical school; therefore, the latest end date is August of the current application cycle."
In regards to expected hours, the AAMC Applicant Guide says "Enter the total number of hours that you completed (or expect to complete) for the experience during the date range you indicated. If you have a nontraditional schedule, use the Experience Description field for any explanation." So, a student can list an experience that starts in May 2021 and goes to August 2022 with the expected hours in the "Total Hours" box.
If you have a bridge year position that won't start until June/July, it is okay to wait to talk about those experiences in the secondary applications, in interviews, or in update letters to schools if they accept updates.