So recently Danielle (a reader & a blogger herself!) emailed me about applying to medical school. She had an awesome question regarding AMCAS (the application to allopathic (MD) medical schools) and how to choose the most influential activity for the activities section. This was something that I was planing on talking about eventually so I figured I might as well turn it into a post now rather than later.
If you haven’t been following my blog, I started an Applying to Med School Series in hopes of motivating and helping anyone who is currently in the process of applying to medical school. There’s a few things I learned during my application cycle and I’d like to share my experiences (plus a few mistakes) in hopes that someone else can benefit too! I’m currently in an allopathic (MD) program however, I think that these tips and tricks are universal and can be beneficial to anyone applying to any health professional school (DO, PA, nursing, etc).
“I was wondering how you chose which activity was the most influential? They all were great experiences I’m just not sure how to choose one over them all.”
This is an awesome question. For those of you who don’t know, on the AMCAS, you’re required to list your activities/ experiences and then highlight your most influential activity. All your experiences have a short character limit that only allows you to write a few sentences, however your most influential activities have room to include a few short paragraphs. My application year I was able to choose two (not sure if this is still the same number now) and I chose cheerleading and my involvement with an NGO that allowed me to do work in Haiti.
When I was applying, I wanted to pick something that was a true reflection of me, NOT who I thought the admissions committee wanted me to be. This worked for me when applying to college, so I decided to have the same mentality for med school applications. At the time, I worried that perhaps choosing my research experiences would have seemed more “legit” than cheerleading (I was always told that cheer was a frivolous activity and that I should do more “pre-med” things — insert eye roll emoji here). But for me, my cheerleading experience was definitely more valuable to me than a lot of other things I did in college. Tied for cheerleading was my work in Haiti.
It was a hard choice because I wanted my application to be very real and a genuine picture of me, but I also knew I’d be competing against rocket scientist students who likely had way more science credentials than me. Ultimately, I decided that I would use my “non-traditional” experiences (cheer + work in Haiti) since they truly embodied who I was and what I valued. Also, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to have something that set me apart from the rest of the applicants. If there’s something that you did that was unique, or that was of particular importance to you then I’d consider using that! As always, run your ideas by a trusted friend and a pre-med advisor if you have access to one.
Also if you already submitted your primary application, I think these tips can still be helpful for potential questions you may receive on your secondary application. If this post helped definitely check out the previous post in my applying to medical school series where I talk about how to score an awesome letter of recommendation!
P.S. The girl who emailed me was Danielle from Sparkling Southerner. She runs a super cute and colorful blog that you should check out. Check her page out and support TTMB readers! And as always, if you have questions I’m accessible via social media or via comments/ email. If your question seems like something that would help others I may share here, but don’t worry… I’ll keep it anonymous unless you say/ requst otherwise (Note: in this case, Danielle was okay with me sharing her blog with my readers!).