Similar to the AMCAS application, the TMDSAS has an activities section for you to list all experiences since your high school graduation. They have nine sub-sections that include: Academic Recognition, Non-Academic Recognition, Leadership, Employment, Research Activities, Healthcare Activities, Community Service, Extracurricular and Leisure Activities, and Planned Activities. Unlike the AMCAS application, you are expected to include activities more than once if they fit more than one category. For example, if you volunteered at a free clinic, this activity should appear in both the “Healthcare Activities” section and the “Community Service” section. The good news is that there is a limit of 300 characters with spaces for each activity description—so each one will only be about two to three sentences long. There is no limit to the number of activities that you can include. For this reason, it is important to list everything you have ever done after graduating from high school—everything.
Here are some steps to get you started:
1. Update your CV/resume. Make it a habit to update your CV/resume every time you complete a new activity. It’s easy to forget the details so make sure you capture each award, publication, experience, etc. as it occurs. This practice will save you time and keep your credentials as accurate and up-to-date as possible. To prepare for application season, make sure that you have updated your CV/resume.
2. Print a copy of your CV/Resume. After you have updated and double and triple checked your CV/resume for accuracy, print a copy. Read through it slowly and carefully. Start thinking about where each activity belongs in the experience section.
3. Label each activity according to the section or sections that are most appropriate. After reading through all of your activities carefully, label each one under the following sections: Academic Recognition, Non-Academic Recognition, Leadership, Employment, Research Activities, Healthcare Activities, Community Service, Extracurricular and Leisure Activities, and Planned Activities. If you’re not sure, ask a friend or advisor whether the activity fits one or more sections. Take a break. Review these labels at a later date to see if they still make sense to you. Add edits, if necessary. Schedule in enough time that you can take breaks like these throughout the application process to double check the logic of your work. Start early. The best activity sections will have balance—meaning that they will have activities in each section—not too many in one versus another.
4. Write a two or three-sentence description for each activity. Describe the purpose or nature of the activity and then explain what you did. Include as many facts about your accomplishments as you can. For example, if you were able to serve a higher number of patients per day as a volunteer, include the number of patients you assisted on average. Highlight the results and impact of your work.
To have a strong activities section for the TMDSAS, get started early! Strive for balance in the types of activities that you pursue so that you will have experiences that cover every category. Take your time in thinking through how you will present each one. Use the conclusion sentence to emphasize the outcomes of your work.
For more assistance, you are welcome to contact me or my colleagues at Accepted.
Alicia McNease Nimonkar is an Accepted advisor and editor specializing in healthcare admissions. Prior to joining Accepted, Alicia worked for five years as Student Advisor at UC Davis’ postbac program where she both evaluated applications and advised students applying successfully to med school and related programs.