2012 AMCAS Application – Important Changes!!!

From Heather Clineschmidt, U of Washington Pre-Medical School Adviser:
Head’s Up! The AMCAS Application is changing for the 2012 admission cycle!
There are several additions to the application. Included are several minor alterations, including creating a new section where all applicants will answer questions about his or her childhood. These will be fairly self-explanatory, but there is a more substantive change that I want to make sure that you know about early. It will impact how you complete your Work/Activities section of the AMCAS primary application.
There will still be space for 15 work and activities. Contact information will now be required for each activity. In addition, each activity will limit you to a 700 character description of each activity.
To give you a sense of how much that is, at the end of the last sentence, I had written 697 characters.
*For those of you who are wondering, NO, it does not “look better” to complete all 15. If you have fewer activities that you want to discuss that is completely okay.*
Of your total activities, you will select up to 3 that you consider to be the most meaningful. For each of these three activities, you will be able to write an additional 1325 character reflection on the activity.
What does this mean for the overall application? In the past, you were able to reflect a bit on all of your activities, but were given 1325 total characters for each. This change is going to allow you more space to tell about those experiences that meant the most to you, but overall, you will be writing less. Think about the overall impact of your experiences – what will the people reading your application know about you after reviewing these experiences? How does it tie in with your transcript information, your letters of recommendation, and your biographical information?
Reflect on this as you decide how to approach your personal statement. Your personal statement should make sense of your activities, it should bring clarity to your application, and most importantly, it should be about your motivation for medicine.
In addition, the instructions for the 2012 application will be posted on AAMC.org very soon. When it is published, please READ IT COMPLETELY. I have found the instructions to be very clear and helpful.