How to make your AMCAS experience descriptions more memorable

AMCAS medical school admissions

Your personal statement isn't the only important piece of writing you'll do when applying to medical school. Your AMCAS experience descriptions can enhance your application and get reviewers to consider you for an interview. They also provide interviewers with a picture of what is important to you, and are typical conversation starters in open-file interviews.

Before we dive in to improving your descriptions, I want to emphasize this: quality is more important than quantity. The goal of your experience section should not be to fill up all 15 spots, but to detail experiences that are important to you, have shown your interest in medicine, or have shown your passion or ability to overcome hardship. Interviewers can ask you about any part of your application, so don't list something that you are unable to speak about. 

As you write up your experience descriptions, consider the following:

Why was this experience meaningful to you? 

Even if it's not one of your three "Most Meaningful Experiences," each experience should have some significance to you. It's important to describe why the experience was personally valuable to you - don't just describe the activity itself.

Think about what you want your application reader to learn about you. 

Your description of your experience communicates your values, passions, and experiences to the reader. What are those core traits for you? What do you hope the reader takes away? Is it that you have explored research? That you enjoy working with the elderly? That you made a significant contribution to a project? That you are passionate about health policy? Keep this in mind as you write.

Give adequate background information about the organization.

The nature of the organization you worked with may not be obvious from the name - make sure to include a brief sentence describing the context if that is the case. For example, "Help to Heal" is the name of an organization, but doesn't necessarily tell the reader much. Try: "Help to Heal is a Campus Y program that mentors children at a transitional facility for survivors of domestic violence."

Be specific about your role, and highlight your leadership.

Be honest about your contributions - don't oversell how much you did, as interviewers will see through that! On the other hand, if you made significant contributions, don't forget to detail those. Always highlight leadership or initiative you had in your role, whether that is creating something new, refining existing practices, or expanding outreach. And highlight when your hard work has been rewarded - note any awards from your work!

If possible, quantify your impact.

Numbers help. You could go from "I served as Fundraising Chair for my club team" to "As Fundraising Chair for my club team, I brainstormed new ways to raise money and raised over $3,500 for team expenses in the past two years."

Was this an 'exclusive' experience that not every student could have? If yes, make sure you note that! 

If your role came about from a process in which you were elected or awarded a position, that is important. It shows that not every student was deemed qualified to participate, and you were selected for the opportunity.

In summary

Treat the Experience Descriptions as another place you can shine. This is not the time to tell an anecdote. Instead, use the limited space you have to detail your impact, outline your passions, and describe how your experiences have impacted you and your journey to medicine. 

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