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AMCAS "Most Meaningful Experiences"
In completing the AMCAS Work and Activities section of the AMCAS application (required for all medical school applications in the US, except Texas), you are asked to provide up to 15 “significant” experiences from your employment, research, volunteer, and extracurricular activities, which will be reviewed in considering your application. We discuss the fundamentals of the AMCAS entrieselsewhere, so here, we’re going to pay special attention to what the AMCAS application refers to as “most meaningful experiences”. While all of the entries here are significant in the overall evaluation of your application, the most important aspect of the Work and Activities section are these “most meaningful experiences”.
Up to three of your AMCAS entries can be isolated as “most meaningful experiences” – experiences that had a particular impact on your growth, development, professionalization, or that were particularly transformative or impactful. While each entry is given 700 characters (including spaces), these “most meaningful experiences” are allotted an additional 1325 characters (again, including spaces). This is not intended to be used as a space to simply describe more details of the position or activity; rather, this is meant to be a more reflective, contemplative narrative that highlights the ways in which these experiences enriched your life, the lives of others, and your overall perspective toward your journey to becoming a doctor. This isn’t the place for an expanded CV; it’s a place to demonstrate the key qualities you’ve developed and the ways in which these have contributed to your suitability for the profession.
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The following is a comprehensive list of medical school secondary essays. Click on each school name to review the secondary essay prompts for each school.
Click here for proven strategies on how to make your secondary essays stand out. If you like us to help you write compelling secondary essays, click here.
Note: while we take care to update the list regularly, you are responsible for your own results. That includes checking with the official admissions office to make sure you have the most up to date med school secondary essay prompts. Read more…
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A list of "Don'ts" for Writing Your Medical School Personal Statement
Writing your personal statement for medical school certainly isn’t easy. As an admissions consultant, I’ve watched several students struggle to describe exactly why they decided to pursue a career in medicine. It's not a simple task, given the limited word count and the enormous amount of pressure. The key to writing a strong personal statement is reflecting on where this initial desire came from, the steps you took to explore it, and what you learned about yourself and medicine along the way. A good personal statement leaves the reader with a sense of how you became interested in pursuing medicine in the first place, what you did to explore that interest, and how you finally decided that it was the right career for you. Sometimes these things are difficult to put into words. If you're struggling, then be sure to also read:
Even worse then not knowing what to say, what if you write something that will actually hurt your chances of getting in? No one wants their application cycle to end before they even get to the interview phase!
To help you answer these questions, I’ve decided to put together a list of common mistakes that you should avoid while writing your personal statement for medical school. Most of the mistakes I’ll be outlining demonstrate a lack of professionalism or poor self-reflection. All of these errors outlined below can dash your chances of securing an interview, leaving you with an inbox full of rejection letters.
FIVE things you should absolutely avoid doing while writing your personal statement:
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How to Answer the FIVE Most Common Medical School Secondary Essay Prompts
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Writing Your Secondary Application for Medical School:
Why the Secondary Application:
The main purpose of the secondary medical school application is to determine whether you are a good “fit” with the mission and values of the school you are applying to. Med schools send out secondary essays to further assess the unique characteristics of each applicant that have not been addressed in the AMCAS Work/Activities Section. This post will go over when medical schools send out secondary applications, how long you have to return them, common medical school secondary application prompts and tips for writing strong essays that application committees will love.
When Do Medical Schools Send Out Secondary Applications?
Once the primary application has been received and processed, schools will do one of two things. They will either send out secondary application packages to all students who applied, or they will send out secondary application essays to the students that have passed their preliminary screening process. How long it will take for you to actually receive the essay prompts is dependent upon how long it takes AMCAS to process your application (which can take up to six weeks during the peak application season) as well as how long it takes the school to process your application.
How Long Should I Take to Return My Secondary Essays?
Generally speaking, the answer to this question is the sooner the better. Schools see a prompt submission as an indication of your interest in the program. Two weeks should be the most time you allow to elapse before submitting your essay.
Some of you may be realizing at this point that you’ve applied to 10-20 schools and that each will likely send somewhere between 2-10 (looking at you, UCLA) prompts. That’s a lot of essay writing! This brings us to the next point:
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