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Hi Everyone,

 

A lot of people on the forum ask what people put down for EC's on their application. What I'm interested in is for people with higher than average NAQ scores (>30/50), how did you go about explaining your activity.

 

Did you just give a description of what you did, did you include successes, did you write about why you took on the activity, or did you elaborate on what you learned and gained from the experience.

 

I feel like a lot of us have similar activities and experiences, and that the way you put down your activities has a large impact on the score you get.

 

Thanks!

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Imagine reading thousands of applications day after day from premeds. Not long before you want to stab your eyeballs out. They start to look the same.

 

Which application do you like better? (Pretend you just read 30 other applications)

 

Application 1

 

Volunteer Coordinator at xxx Fire Hall

300 hours

I developed strong organizational skills as I was responsible for the scheduling for 13 other volunteers. I also inspected the fire hall equipment each morning and was responsible for cleaning and maintenance of the hoses and personal protective equipment. My level of responsibility increased over the four years I was at the fire hall and eventually I was responsible for locking up the fire hall at night and opening the doors in the morning. This taught me the importance of preparation and attention to detail. I also received the "volunteer of the year" for two of the years I served. These skills will serve me well in my future practice as I will have to take care of the hospital and clinic I will eventually serve in.

 

MCAT Teacher for Kaplan International

I was the MCAT teacher for all four subjects of the MCAT for two summers. I had a total of 32 students over the two summers. I learned to develop strong teaching and presentation skills that will be important in my future practice as I will be presenting at rounds and complicated diagnoses and treatments to patients and their loved ones. Preparation for each lesson was extensive as the lectures were 3 hours long and average prep time was 3 hours per hour of class time. I learned how important it is to prepare well and master the lesson so I could spend time on questions and application in class rather than struggling with basic material. I received strong feedback and high marks on "benchmark" scores that are student ratings of my teaching ability. All marks were "Very good" or "excellent." Many of my students have matriculated into medical school and this is very personally rewarding. I am confident in front of groups as a result of my experience. This experience will help me as a doctor as a strong foundation in basic sciences and critical thinking is crucial to clinical decision making.

 

Application #2

 

Volunteer Coordinator: xxx Fire Hall

300 hours

Duties:

- Scheduling of volunteers

- Equipment maintenance

- Keyholder

Accomplishments:

"Volunteer of the year" award 2011, 2013.

 

MCAT Teacher: Kaplan International

- 2 years experience

- 32 students

Duties:

- Delivery and instruction of Kaplan MCAT course

- 3 hour lectures 3 evenings per week

- Lectures in organic chemistry, physics, biology, verbal reasoning and writing

- Lecture preparation (9 hours per lesson)

- Writing sample marking

- Coaching and motivation

Accomplishments

- 100% "Very Good" or "Excellent" rating from students (anonymous).

- 8 successful medical school matriculants

 

 

 

Let each activity speak for itself and move on. Highlight main duties/responsibilities/accomplishments. Numbers are your friends. No need to dress it up to make yourself look great. It easily comes across as pretentious.

 

Go ahead and add every activity in your life, but be brief. Even if its running once per week.

 

Running

-1 x per week

-5-10 km

 

Master formula

 

(Lots of EC's) + (1 or 2 boss EC's) + (concise explanations) = (Boss EC marks.)

 

(Boss EC marks) + (decent grades) = interview.

 

(Good interview) + (respectable MCAT) = Accepted

 

Its easy to get into med school. Don't listen to anyone on these forums who says otherwise.

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Imagine reading thousands of applications day after day from premeds. Not long before you want to stab your eyeballs out. They start to look the same.

 

Which application do you like better? (Pretend you just read 30 other applications)

 

Application 1

 

Volunteer Coordinator at xxx Fire Hall

300 hours

I developed strong organizational skills as I was responsible for the scheduling for 13 other volunteers. I also inspected the fire hall equipment each morning and was responsible for cleaning and maintenance of the hoses and personal protective equipment. My level of responsibility increased over the four years I was at the fire hall and eventually I was responsible for locking up the fire hall at night and opening the doors in the morning. This taught me the importance of preparation and attention to detail. I also received the "volunteer of the year" for two of the years I served. These skills will serve me well in my future practice as I will have to take care of the hospital and clinic I will eventually serve in.

 

MCAT Teacher for Kaplan International

I was the MCAT teacher for all four subjects of the MCAT for two summers. I had a total of 32 students over the two summers. I learned to develop strong teaching and presentation skills that will be important in my future practice as I will be presenting at rounds and complicated diagnoses and treatments to patients and their loved ones. Preparation for each lesson was extensive as the lectures were 3 hours long and average prep time was 3 hours per hour of class time. I learned how important it is to prepare well and master the lesson so I could spend time on questions and application in class rather than struggling with basic material. I received strong feedback and high marks on "benchmark" scores that are student ratings of my teaching ability. All marks were "Very good" or "excellent." Many of my students have matriculated into medical school and this is very personally rewarding. I am confident in front of groups as a result of my experience. This experience will help me as a doctor as a strong foundation in basic sciences and critical thinking is crucial to clinical decision making.

 

Application #2

 

Volunteer Coordinator: xxx Fire Hall

300 hours

Duties:

- Scheduling of volunteers

- Equipment maintenance

- Keyholder

Accomplishments:

"Volunteer of the year" award 2011, 2013.

 

MCAT Teacher: Kaplan International

- 2 years experience

- 32 students

Duties:

- Delivery and instruction of Kaplan MCAT course

- 3 hour lectures 3 evenings per week

- Lectures in organic chemistry, physics, biology, verbal reasoning and writing

- Lecture preparation (9 hours per lesson)

- Writing sample marking

- Coaching and motivation

Accomplishments

- 100% "Very Good" or "Excellent" rating from students (anonymous).

- 8 successful medical school matriculants

 

 

 

Let each activity speak for itself and move on. Highlight main duties/responsibilities/accomplishments. Numbers are your friends. No need to dress it up to make yourself look great. It easily comes across as pretentious.

 

Go ahead and add every activity in your life, but be brief. Even if its running once per week.

 

Running

-1 x per week

-5-10 km

 

Master formula

 

(Lots of EC's) + (1 or 2 boss EC's) + (concise explanations) = (Boss EC marks.)

 

(Boss EC marks) + (decent grades) = interview.

 

(Good interview) + (respectable MCAT) = Accepted

 

Its easy to get into med school. Don't listen to anyone on these forums who says otherwise.

 

Each to their own, but I don't think it is necessarily "easy" to get into med school, a lot of people have to work very hard.

 

Anyway, I tried to have a mix between the two when writing about my NAQ's. I tried to highlight my duties and explain the significance of the activity while being consice as possible. As far as the point form format goes, I personally would not do that but ya. Just remember you only have 300 characters, so use them up. Do NOT use filler words :)

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I completely disagree with point format. The words you write are all they have to judge you by -- no one was there for your activities. For the way you suggest to list running, a lot of students would be doing themselves a disservice as the pared down format eliminates personality and motive. It is far better to write an entry that focused on developing a running regiment that was adhered to in conjunction with academic studies, that distance and speed increased over time etc. etc. As opposed to "ran once a week for 5-10km."

 

Here we have two potential ways of writing one of my activities:

 

Fostered a safe, clean and comfortable environment for patient families. Extended the characteristic ___ courtesy to all ___ guests and accommodated all requests in an efficient and professional manner. Maintained sanitary precautions avoiding spread of illness. Prepared room for following day to ensure swift availability to morning guests

 

Vs.

 

-Filled housekeeping duties at the end of the night

-Welcomed guests

-Cleaned room

-2x 2hours/month

 

I am confident that I would not have been accepted or invited for an interview had I wrote the second way.

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FWIW, last year I wrote my ECs pretty much exactly as in the first example...I was rejected pre-interview, my NAQ was something like 20/50 (I was pretty surprised, I had an average number/type/duration of ECs).

 

This year, I wrote more like a combination between examples 1 & 2 (and did use point form)...I more or less wrote exactly like Medaholic suggests (e.g. use power verbs, include numbers, treat it like a resume). http://www.medaholic.com/adcom-advice-2-be-relevant-specific-and-concise/ I don't know what my NAQ score was this year (accepted!), but I'm guessing the changes didn't hurt. ;)

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Hey,

 

As you can see, advice on this is quite variable. I think both sides have valid points. I went for a combo of the two approaches.

I did use point form, however, I was sure to include a heading "significance" where I briefly mentioned the skills, characteristics, goals, relevance to medical career. BUT, I absolutely tried to keep my words to a minimum AND tried to keep things reasonable. For example, if you casually run for pleasure, don't make it sound likes it's this incredible thing that brings you to nirvana and hah everything to do with your love for and compatibility with a career in medicine. :)

 

This strategy worked well in Ontario, Alberta, and bc. It was passed on to me from several of the medical students who had helped me assemble my application.

 

L

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I also wrote up my ECs akin to the first example and somehow managed to get in. Although I guess if getting into medical school is "easy" that's not much of a feat :P

 

Anyway I don't think it really matters, as long as you think carefully about how each experience would help you to be a better future physician, how to succinctly express it as such, and as Larrivee said, all the while being realistic and humble.

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Hey,

 

As you can see, advice on this is quite variable. I think both sides have valid points. I went for a combo of the two approaches.

 

I also think both sides have validity.

I also used a combo approach.

 

Characteristics they are looking for is really important to highlight. Not just what you did but what your actions show about you.

 

Also, I don't mean to be rude, youngdad, but as someone who has applied seven times, and finally was interviewed for the first time and accepted this year, it's not always easy. :)

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Easier said on a blog post than done. Getting into medical school is not easy.

 

Imagine reading thousands of applications day after day from premeds. Not long before you want to stab your eyeballs out. They start to look the same.

 

Which application do you like better? (Pretend you just read 30 other applications)

 

Application 1

 

Volunteer Coordinator at xxx Fire Hall

300 hours

I developed strong organizational skills as I was responsible for the scheduling for 13 other volunteers. I also inspected the fire hall equipment each morning and was responsible for cleaning and maintenance of the hoses and personal protective equipment. My level of responsibility increased over the four years I was at the fire hall and eventually I was responsible for locking up the fire hall at night and opening the doors in the morning. This taught me the importance of preparation and attention to detail. I also received the "volunteer of the year" for two of the years I served. These skills will serve me well in my future practice as I will have to take care of the hospital and clinic I will eventually serve in.

 

MCAT Teacher for Kaplan International

I was the MCAT teacher for all four subjects of the MCAT for two summers. I had a total of 32 students over the two summers. I learned to develop strong teaching and presentation skills that will be important in my future practice as I will be presenting at rounds and complicated diagnoses and treatments to patients and their loved ones. Preparation for each lesson was extensive as the lectures were 3 hours long and average prep time was 3 hours per hour of class time. I learned how important it is to prepare well and master the lesson so I could spend time on questions and application in class rather than struggling with basic material. I received strong feedback and high marks on "benchmark" scores that are student ratings of my teaching ability. All marks were "Very good" or "excellent." Many of my students have matriculated into medical school and this is very personally rewarding. I am confident in front of groups as a result of my experience. This experience will help me as a doctor as a strong foundation in basic sciences and critical thinking is crucial to clinical decision making.

 

Application #2

 

Volunteer Coordinator: xxx Fire Hall

300 hours

Duties:

- Scheduling of volunteers

- Equipment maintenance

- Keyholder

Accomplishments:

"Volunteer of the year" award 2011, 2013.

 

MCAT Teacher: Kaplan International

- 2 years experience

- 32 students

Duties:

- Delivery and instruction of Kaplan MCAT course

- 3 hour lectures 3 evenings per week

- Lectures in organic chemistry, physics, biology, verbal reasoning and writing

- Lecture preparation (9 hours per lesson)

- Writing sample marking

- Coaching and motivation

Accomplishments

- 100% "Very Good" or "Excellent" rating from students (anonymous).

- 8 successful medical school matriculants

 

 

 

Let each activity speak for itself and move on. Highlight main duties/responsibilities/accomplishments. Numbers are your friends. No need to dress it up to make yourself look great. It easily comes across as pretentious.

 

Go ahead and add every activity in your life, but be brief. Even if its running once per week.

 

Running

-1 x per week

-5-10 km

 

Master formula

 

(Lots of EC's) + (1 or 2 boss EC's) + (concise explanations) = (Boss EC marks.)

 

(Boss EC marks) + (decent grades) = interview.

 

(Good interview) + (respectable MCAT) = Accepted

 

Its easy to get into med school. Don't listen to anyone on these forums who says otherwise.

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lol @ xxx firehall

 

yeah, so I just thought I'd ad not to stress about grammar/spelling too much. I wrote mine from the heart, like I was telling an interested friend about something I was proud of. I hit submit without rereading too much to keep it sounding sincere and only in retrospect saw some really groan-worthy typos.

 

 

In one header I wrote: "Sought Out All Learning Opatunities".

 

I guess they werent spelling learning 'opatunities' lol

 

So yeah. People are getting help with these personal applications and they know it and they know its bull****. So just write it keeping it real. Might as well present yourself honestly anyways.

 

Good luck.

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Also, I don't mean to be rude, youngdad, but as someone who has applied seven times, and finally was interviewed for the first time and accepted this year, it's not always easy. :)

 

WOW! You are truly inspiring to me. There's no way I could have lasted that long!

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Sorry for offending anyone with the "easy" comment. I should say its easy to do the things a med school asks for as admission criteria. Its just hard to get noticed.

 

Often premeds (myself included a few years ago) shoot themselves in the foot and make things harder than they need to be. One way is by writing long EC descriptions that just sound pretentious.

 

Some on this thread don't like the point form I used. Thats fine. I think one key principle that most agree on is being concise. After reading 10 applications that have average EC's with long flowery explanations, an application with great experiences that is concise will really stand out.

 

The "resume" approach is a good one. Power verbs are great, just avoid pretense.

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