Question of the Week: Classifying Activities When I Apply

Sept. 9, 2022

Q: As part of my paid summer internship, I did research, shadowed physicians, and volunteered in the hospital. How would I report this on my medical school application?
A: There’s a lot of flexibility in how you shape the work/activities section of the common application. You can report up to 15 activities and each will have a category, number of hours, and space for a short description. If you did very little shadowing/volunteering, you might classify the activity as “Paid Employment – Medical/Clinical” or “Research” and briefly mention the other activities in the description. If you were volunteering weekly and want to draw attention to that part of your summer separately, you might split those hours into a separate activity with its own description and classify the activity as “Community Service/Volunteer – Medical/Clinical.” Many applicants group all of their shadowing hours into a single activity under the category “Physician Shadowing/Clinical Observation”. While the classification category is important, what you say in the description of the activity is more important. Spend some time thinking about how you contributed, what you learned, and what competencies you developed or demonstrated while your summer is fresh in your mind.

Question of the Week 2021: Fall In-Person Activities During the Pandemic
Question of the Week 2020: Foregoing a Prerequisite Course