How to Organize Your Activities on Your Med School App

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259: How to Organize Your Activities on Your Med School App

Session 259

The essence of today’s question is how much is too much? How should you talk about your experiences in a way that shows you are a well-rounded applicant?

Questions answered here on the podcast are taken directly from the Nontrad Premed Forum over at Please go ahead and register for an account, ask your question, and have fun with the community.

Please check out It’s a new technology platform I co-founded and has been available for about three and a half months now. Go sign up for a free two-week trial on today. Also, please be sure to check out all our other podcasts on Meded Media as we try to bring you as many resources as you need on this journey.

Listen to this podcast episode with the player above, or keep reading for the highlights and takeaway points.

[01:08] About Mappd

We have well-over 1,000 people using Mappd every day to help guide premed students on their journey to medical school.

We are also currently working on adding an application simulation into the platform. You can start working on your personal statement and your activity descriptions. Get feedback from your advisors and anyone else you want feedback from right inside your account.

All of the data you provide to Mappd can be turned around and you can get personalized feedback on your journey.

[02:27] OldPreMeds Question of the Week

“Hi everyone! As a non-traditional premed who worked in research for several years, I am fortunate enough to have contributed to 6 research papers so far. 

Should I be listing all of these in my work/activities section of my application? Would it be a red flag to have most of my activities involving research, since that’s what I’ve done for a long time before switching to premed? Thank you!”

[02:54] What Activities Should You List

The heart of the question is how to list all of these things.

'Every application service is different.'Click To Tweet

If you are applying to MD schools through AMCAS, you are allowed a maximum number of 15 spots in your activity section. For AACOMAS, which is the application service for DO schools, there is no limit in activities. And that’s the same thing for TMDSAS, which is the application service for Texas public medical schools, both MD and DO. For both AACOMAS and TMDSAS, there’s no issue putting all six of those publications as separate entries in your activity list.

Here are two things you can do. You could put one activity as a research publication. Or you can mark that as most meaningful. So you’re given 700 characters for the “description.” Then of those 15, you can choose 3 of those as your most meaningful, where you’re given 1,325 characters.

And then you could potentially include links. Even though those links don’t work, they’re not true hyperlinks. But those could serve as references in that description. However, all of that is unnecessary.

[05:15] Focus on How It Impacted You, Not on What You Did

By listing all six of your publications, it’s really just listing things you’ve done. This is just like a job description. If you say, you responded to 911 calls and helped people get to the hospital as an EMT, that’s just a job description.

'The goal of this process is to highlight who you are and the impact you've made.'Click To Tweet

The actual titles of the research and the actual links to the research are less important. Who you are and how you impacted that research would tell a better story of who you are. 

You can probably just focus on the research, how you impacted it, how it impacted you. And you could state that you were able to contribute to six articles or six publications. Then you could categorize the publications in different types of research. And that will give them a little backstory into everything. That way, during the interview, they could ask you to expound on those articles you published.

So I don’t think it’s super important to list all of the publications and the titles and all of the bibliographical references to show what you’ve done. It’s more important to focus on the impact other than anything else.

[07:27] Final Thoughts

Just to sum it up, there are different types of application services:

  • AMCAS (MD schools) – limited to 15 spots; 700 characters for each description; three of those 15 spots can be listed as your most meaningful activity limited to 1,325 characters as a separate essay.
  • AACOMAS (DO schools) – no limit for spots with 600 characters maximum for each description; none of them can be marked as most meaningful.
  • TMDSAS (Texas schools) – no limit for spots with 300 characters; three of those can be listed as your most meaningful limited to 500 characters as a separate essay.


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