Reviewing TMDSAS activities section examples is a great way to prepare for your application to medical schools in Texas. The TMDSAS is only one piece of your primary application, but it is an important one that communicates a lot of information about who you are as a candidate and what you have to offer to the admissions committee. In this blog, we are going to tell you exactly what is expected of you when you’re filling out this section of the TMDSAS, why it is so important to get it right, and how you can get it right in a way that helps your application stand out. We’ll also show you some TMDSAS activities section examples to put all this information into context.
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What is the TMDSAS Activities Section
If you plan on applying to a medical school in Texas, then you've likely already heard about the Texas Medical and Dental Schools Application Service (TMDSAS). Like most application services, TMDSAS requires students to provide standard personal and demographic information, information about their financial status, and educational history. It also asks for extracurricular activities.
While the TMDSAS activities section is highly reminiscent of AMCAS Work and Activities, it is also very distinct in many ways. Firstly, the format of the section is quite different. The AMCAS Work and Activities section allows for 700 characters for the description of each activity. On the other hand, the number of characters allowed per entry for TMDSAS varies depending on the category that the activity falls under. For each activity, you will have either 300 or 500 characters to provide a meaningful description, depending on the category. It should be noted that there are different regulations depending on the program to which you are applying – Medical, Dental, or Veterinary, so you need to ensure that you’re verifying and following the instructions specific to your desired program. In this blog, we will be highlighting the aspects specific to medical school applicants.
The activities section on the TMDSAS application asks medical school applicants to create a chronology of the activities they participated in since graduating from high school. There is no limit to the number of activities that you can enter, but you must organize your extracurriculars for medical school using the following nine categories:
In addition to the chronological list of activities, you are allowed to choose a maximum of three activities that are most meaningful to you. TMDSAS refers to this as the “top meaningful activities”. These can only be activities that have already been completed or that are still ongoing. Planned activities can’t be listed in the top meaningful section. For each of those chosen activities, you will have an additional 500 characters to describe why it meant so much to you and why it stands out among the rest.
How to Write TMDSAS Activity Descriptions
You have 300 or 500 characters (including spaces) for each of your entries to provide a brief but impactful description of the activity in question. The limited character limit means that you can write just 2 to 3 sentences. So, it is imperative that you craft a clear description using precise action verbs and concise language that'll summarize the most pertinent aspects of your experience and showcase the competencies that medical schools care about, such as leadership, collaboration, and curiosity. One of the best ways to do this is to write specific roles or titles that highlight the key functions of the activity in question. For example, if one of your activities was volunteering at a hospice and you occupied a leadership role, you want to highlight that using the title of your role. So instead of referring to yourself as a "Hospice Volunteer", you would say "Lead Hospice Volunteer and Team Coordinator".
Additionally, the order in which you present information in your description is very important in this application system. TMDSAS automatically generates a "Chronology of Activities" for the information you've entered. The Chronology of Activities is a summary document that will be included with the other information sent to schools you're applying to. On this document, only the first 50 characters (including spaces) of your activity description are visible. Your chosen medical schools will eventually have access to the full description of each activity in your application, but this summary acts the same way a cover sheet would. So because this is what they will see first, you want to make a good first impression and entice them to encourage a detailed review of your activities.
You want the first 50 characters of your description to be dictated by what you want to emphasize as the most meaningful aspect of the experience. So, you want to think strategically about how your structure the information you'll provide. Think about which information you give priority in each entry and how to write it in a way that is still natural and grammatically correct. Ultimately, your Chronology of Activities should give a well-rounded impression of your list of extracurriculars, employment, and other experiences; and your full description should provide even more context for them.
Have you started working on your personal statement yet? Check out this infographic for tips:
TMDSAS Activities Section Examples
TMDSAS activities section example#1:
Category: Academic Recognition
Award title: Community Service Leadership Award
Date received: May 20xx
City, country, and state: StarsCity, Texas USA
Brief description of the award: My involvement in 6 community betterment groups on campus earned me this award from X University. The award is given to 3 students every year to encourage community engagement. The school gives $2500 to a cause of each students' choice. I chose to the school's preventable disease outreach program. (295 characters)
TMDSAS activities section example#2:
Category: Non-Academic Recognition
Award title: Silver medal and recognition trophy from the Diabetes Association of StarsCity
Date received: August 20xx
City, country, and state: StarsCity, Texas USA
Brief description of the award: I trained for eight months to run a 5 km marathon to raise awareness and raise funds for the Diabetes Association of StarsCity. As one of the first ten runners to cross the finish line ( 8th place), I received a silver medal. I also received a recognition award for my other fundraising efforts. (297 characters).
TMDSAS activities section example#3:
Role or position title: Founding member and co-chair of Green Initiative at XYZ University
Start and end date: March 20xx - Ongoing
City, country, and state: Thiscity, Texas USA
Brief description of the position: I worked with 3 other students to develop and implement environmentally friendly initiatives and policies throughout the campus. So far, we have helped two faculties reduce their use of paper by over 70%, raised enough money to plant 37 new trees on campus, and started a community garden. ( 290 characters)
TMDSAS activities section example#4:
Employer: XXYY hospital
Job title: Emergency Department (ED) Assistant
Start date & End date: June 20xx - Ongoing
City, country, and state: Houscity, Texas USA
Hours worked per week: 20 hours
Brief description of the job: Every weekend for the past two years, I have been working as an ED assistant at a local hospital. While this is paid work, it is a learning opportunity for me. I have learned about organization and administration and that every team member contributes to the department's efficiency and success. (296 characters).
TMDSAS activities section example#5:
Category: Research Activities
Research activity name: Diabetes Undergraduate Research Internship at XYZ University
Start & end date: Sept 30 20xx to June 2 20xx
City, country, and state: City, New York USA
Approximate hours worked per week: 20 hours
Total cumulative hours: 640 hours
Brief description of the research: I found that a genome-wide functional genomics approach can be used to uncover genetic determinants of immune phenotypes in type 1 diabetes during the XYZ undergraduate research internship under the supervision of Dr. Smith. My research is currently being peer-reviewed. (271 characters)
TMDSAS activities section example#6:
Category: Healthcare Activities
Activity name: Emergency Department (ED) Assistant
Start & end date: June 20xx - Ongoing
City, country & state: Houscity, Texas USA
Hours worked per week: 20 hours
Total cumulative hours: 960 hours to date
Brief description of the activity: My role allowed me to assist with direct patient care, transport patients to and from the Emergency department safely, and provide observation to assigned medical and psychiatric patients. This challenging role has taught me the importance of patience and compassion when dealing with patients. (294 characters)
Want to learn more about TMDSAS? Check out this video:
TMDSAS activities section example#7:
Category: Community Service
Activity name: X Mobile Clinic volunteer
Start & end date: June 16 20xx to August 23 20xx
City, country & state: Thatplace, Alaska USA
Hours worked per week: 36 hours
Total cumulative hours: 325 hours
Brief description of the activity: I educated over 1,000 patients on preventive care and assisted in providing them with primary and dental care by participating in mobile clinics. This experience taught me the importance of access to a primary care physician and that connecting with patients is a big part of caring for them. (294 characters).
TMDSAS activities section example#8:
Category: Extracurricular & Leisure Activities
Type of activity: Creator & coordinator of XYZ Local Chess Club
Start & end date: May 12 20xx - Ongoing
City, country & state: XYZ, Texas USA
Approximate hours per month: 10 hours
Total cumulative hours: 1440 hours
Brief description of the activity: After winning three chess tournaments in high school, moving to XYZ, and not having a community to play with, I decided to create one. The club now has 46 members, and we have organized chess tournaments with different chess clubs in neighboring towns every summer for the past three years. (291 characters)
TMDSAS activities section example #9:
Category: Planned activities
Activity type: X Mobile Clinic volunteer and volunteer coordinator
Start & planned end date: July 6 20xx - Sept 15 20xx
City, country & state: XX, Port-au-prince Haiti
Total projected hours: 300 hours
Brief description of the activity: I will be leading a team of 12 volunteers in 3 different mobile clinics in Port au Prince, Haiti, this upcoming summer. My role will be to organize their shifts and schedules and ensure they have everything they need to help the doctors provide adequate patient care on the ground. (282 characters).
TMDSAS activities section example #10:
Top meaningful activity description: My experience as a mobile clinic volunteer solidified my interest in medicine. I got a chance to not only interact with patients directly, but also observe and assist physicians as they provided primary care to patients of different ages and backgrounds. I was also exposed to various pathologies and courses of treatment. A big part of my role was to be a calming and helpful aide to the patients, which gave me a chance to improve my active listening and communication skills. ( 479 characters)
Have you started thinking about your TMDSAS Personal Characteristics Essay? Check out this video for tips:
Bonus Tips to help your TMDSAS Activities Section Stand Out
1. Why is the TMDSAS activities section important?
Whether applying to a University of Texas Medical School, Texas Tech University, or a different medical school in Texas, the admissions committee wants to know how you choose to spend your free time and what skills you have acquired from those activities over the years. That is what this section of your application tells them.
2. What are the best extracurriculars for medical school?
Both MD and OD programs are looking for students who embody the competencies and traits required to practice medicine. So, you want to pick activities that show you are altruistic and curious. More importantly, you should select activities that you are passionate about, that you can commit to, and that give you room to learn and grow. For example, research opportunities for pre-medical students are a great place to start.
3. How competitive are medical schools in Texas?
Even though some of the medical schools in Texas are among the easiest medical schools to get into, they are still quite competitive, with acceptance rates as low as 3.7%
4. How many activities can you put on TMDSAS?
There is no limit to the number of activities you can include, but remember that quality is more important than quantity. So, focus on getting impactful experiences, and don't worry too much about the number of extracurriculars.
5. What are planned activities?
These are the activities you plan to participate in from the time of your application to the date of matriculation. TMDSAS actually gives you the option of including this information on your application.
6. What is the Chronology of Activities for the TMDSAS activities section?
It is essentially a summary of all of your activities that is automatically built based on the information you enter in the other sections of the application. TMDSAS requires you to account for every activity between high school graduation and August of the year you submit your application.
7. How do I make my TMDSAS activities section entries stand out?
Planning and accurate record keeping is key to making this section stand out. Take the time to plan and select your activities carefully, and use your notes to write an impactful description for each activity.
8. Is the TMDSAS optional essay actually optional?
It is, but we highly recommend that you take advantage of this opportunity to tell the admissions committee more about who you are and why you are a strong candidate.
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