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What are the three main components of the AMCAS Application?

Updated: May 14, 2023

If you are applying to medical school this year, then you probably already know all this but I wanted to cover the main components of the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS) application so you know what to expect. While there are many components of the application process, here are some of the main parts of the AMCAS application.

Personal statement

Arguably the most important part of the application, the personal statement also causes students the most stress. This 5,300 character essay should address the question “Why do you want to be a doctor?” and convey to the medical school admissions committee what you have done up to this point to prepare for medical school and a career in medicine as a whole. There are several key questions to ask yourself when preparing your personal statement. First, why DO you want to be a physician? This seems like an easy answer when you think about it but often translating your rationale into the personal statement can be difficult. If you didn’t address this in the first question, the second question to think about is what experiences have you had that helped you get to the reason behind wanting to go to medical school? This could be a single event or experience but may also be a culmination of multiple events or experiences that have led you through the decision to apply. The next question to consider is what skills, qualities, and characteristics do you possess that will make you a good doctor? This one can be a bit tricky as you don’t want to come off as cocky or self absorbed but you do want to convey those qualities that will make a good candidate for medical school.

For more in depth advice regarding the personal statement, stay tuned for a future post regarding the personal statement.

AMCAS Work/Activities

The AMCAS Work/Activities section is one of the more overlooked sections of the application but can have great impacts on your chances of getting interviews and eventually acceptances as well. The Work/Activities section is the place in your application where you can really highlight all the great work you have done in your undergraduate career leading up to the point of applying to medical school.

You can list up to 15 activities in this section. Many of you will have more than 15 activities to list so you may have to choose which ones you want to include. With each activity, you can show not only what you did but more importantly what you learned through that activity. Admission committees want to see that you have reflected upon the activity and time you have spent in that activity in your overall journey to medical school.

Just like the personal statement, I will also spend much more time on this topic in a future post so keep an eye out for that!

School List

Also an overlooked component of the medical school application process, choosing which schools to apply to can drastically affect your chances of getting accepted. While there are multiple ways to approach this process, choosing which schools to apply to usually comes down to geography (where you actually want to live for medical school), your academic credentials (MCAT and GPA), and if the school aligns with your academic goals. For example, if you want to go into primary care in the future, going to a medical school where very few students go into primary care wouldn’t necessarily be the best fit. Now if that school is your only acceptance, then of course you should go there but if you have multiple acceptances, you can choose a school that aligns with your professional goals.

Now that you know a bit more about these three components of the AMCAS application, hopefully it is easier to tackle the medical school application this year. If you have any questions about the medical school application, please feel free to reach out at! See you next time!

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