AMCAS work/acitivities

Does anyone know if it is ok to list multiple items under one work/activity topic in the Experience Description section? For example, as an undergrad & grad student, I had grants/awards and would like that known. I want to put the Experience Name as “Multiple Awards/Grants” and then list all of them in the Description section with the year they were awarded.

I have no idea what the actual requirements are, or how AdComs will look at it - but it sounds reasonable to me.

Thanks for your input. I still feel new to this whole process, even though I’ve been looking into applying for almost a year now, and have done quite a bit on my application. However, I just found this site a few weeks ago, and am very grateful. One question for anyone…what are “AdComs”??? My best guess is “Admission Committees”??

Thanks again!

Yep - AdComs = Admissions Committees.


Often it makes more sense to combine some activities than string them out separately. Honors/Awards can be done this way. Group similar awards together, e.g. athletic; scholastic; etc. With enough information in the description that the reader (AdComm member) understands what it was all about. Often you need to include separate dates for each as well, within the description box.



I didn’t think I’d done much volunteer work (yet). But, while in a boring meeting yesterday, I came up with a list of the normal stuff we parent-non-trads probably have in common. Did you lump this stuff together in one of the fields?

Here’s mine:

help with school parties

coaching kids soccer for a season

working in concession stands for many hours

working with kid sports fundraisers

fund-raising for school

speaking at Russian school about American culture

speaking at American school about Italian culture

supervising many class trips

In addition, I could lump a few other things into this assorted category:

blood donor about 20+ times

assisted with fundraising for mental hospital

sorority alumnae president for a couple years

I wouldn’t consider any of this significant enough to have its own category. Is it worthwhile to lump it all together?

BTW, I don’t apply until next year. By then, I’ll have volunteered about 150 or so hours at the local ER. That will have its own category.


Would it make sense to have a less specific catch-all?

I have a few minor volunteer/community things and some jobs that don’t quite stand on their own. I’ve grouped them as “various activities” and mostly described the volunteering stuff. I’m not sure whether to even mention this or just leave it all out. Thanks for any feedback .

Group them and mention them if you have something interesting to say about them if someone asks.

I think they are looking more for substance over quantity. I had the same issue w/ describing activities I did within one organization. If I felt the activities were unique enough to merit a separate listing, I made one but if I didn’t, I grouped it together w/ another activity.

I think that the activities have to be more substantial than some of the activities we do as parents. Don’t get me wrong, I think being a parent is tough but when I look through applications I want substantial volunteering experience. I will know that parents are juggling, but to put on an EC “helping out with school activities” does not seem right to me.


Sorry yall, I am such an opinionated SOB… but here goes.

VOLUNTEER means NEXT TO NOTHING, it means you… showed up maybe ONCE… it really means NOTHING, NO accountability, NO standard of excellence.

OK here is the stuff that counts… research and publication IF you can pull it off, second TEACHING the selfless facilitation of anothers success and PAID experience. Get yourself a certified nurses aid and get out there and take care of REAL HUMAN BEINGS. ALL of the latter demonstrate an accountable level of care.

They are worth a DOZEN so-called “volunteer experiences”

I wanted to refine and add a couple of thought to the above post:

  1. ALL applicants (the younger set) have “volunteer experiences”, they are generally bright too, so the question becomes how to set oneself apart?

  2. Older students can do them too, BUT they are what EVERYONE DOES! If you truly NEED to shadow or volunteer (coming from an ABSOLUTELY non medical background) then fine… Paid experiences SHOW accountability and excellence (the double edge sword of course is that it is possible to do poorly which is also documented).

  3. The HIGHEST YIELD experiences, research and publications, many basic science researchers will hire undergraduates to work in their labs (so you need to go to a major research university), it might be scut work, but you will learn and benefit often faculty will include the names of everyone who participated when the article is published. Believe me, nothing more impressive for an admissions committee than plugging your name into “pub-med” and get a hit…

  4. The next (and maybe equal) gold nugget is teaching. I did not really enjoy research, so I applied as an “undergraduate teaching assistant”, often after the semester or so of assisting a faculty instructor, many school allow UTA’s to teach a basic ie chemistry lab. If you have some experience… When they found out I was a nurse I was told, “Well you know we might be able to do better for you than grading papers, would you be interested in teaching your own physiology lab sections?” That was a no brainer, using my EXPERIENCE, I was hired with special approval to teach in a “graduate teaching assistant” (GTA slot) in a provisional status my third semester at KU. Since all instructors are evaluated by students and my rating were much above (grad students who had “teaching” foisted on them as part of their PhD program), I was reappointed for the rest of my undergrad career, and I taught 3 sections of either BIOL 306 Human physiology lab or BIOL 647 Mammalian physiology lab for the duration. Of course it meant taking my own labs at odd hours (Saturday), but the payoff (chronicled) above speaks for itself.

  5. I have also known students to WORK as a nurses aide and get GREAT letters…

    GET INTO one of these “gig’s” and STAY THERE

I think volunteering is excellent also, PROVIDED you choose something you enjoy and stick with it a while. One of the stories in my PS came from my time as a hospice volunteer. Really, it’s like anything else. You get out of it what you put in, and if you get something out of it that you can talk passionately about, it’s quite valuable.


I would agree with that… with your stated conditions…

As a former hospice nurse, a hospice volunteer is ok, if you have no experience with that area, but volunteers cannot be responsible for direct patient care, on the other hand a certified home health aid DOES do direct hands-on patient care AND the gives the same emotional, spiritual and social support that as volunteer might. Plus, although a secondary benefit, a paid experience is a PAID experience…

However my original posit remains valid, there are (in these present days of liability) limited places to quantify and certify a particular “attainment of a standard of excellence” except as a paid (and by definition accountable) experience.


It depends on the schools you apply to in regards how much volunteering counts and how it is looked at so beware. Sure, some folks do ONE hour and put that down as volunteering but now most schools are asking for quantity and quality…not just that you checked the box. Mayo places a LOT of emphasis on EC’s and so did mnay of the other schools I applied to. It is very simple to do well in classes and take the MCAT, that is NOT what medical schools are looking for. They want folks that can do multiple things at one time and still do extremely well. So, folks do not understimate this part of your application.

How right you are… I can only cite my own experience here:

While I was answering a question in the “open records” interview, I sort of noticed interviewer number two “flipping” through my file, it LOOKED like he was cross referencing something…

He then said, "You know, many students tell us their undergraduate physiology experiences are the most the useful in preparation for medical school… I see you have taught that for the last three years… I also note that your supervisor is your most stellar letter… hum… how interesting” AND he DID NOT ASK a QUESTION!

It was all I could do NOT to stand up and exclaim “TOUCHDOWN” WHOO HOOO!!