Experience FAQs

​​​​​​​​If you have a meaningful experience in high school, should you put it on your application?

Any meaningful experiences that you have should be included in your application. We have people who talk about things that happened to them in the third grade. Some of which are medical, some are not; some are just to let people know that they really like helping people. Anything that lets us know who you are is fine and it doesn't matter when it happened.​

If you have a publication, should you just mention this or list a web site?

Assume that the committee member reviewing your file will be too busy to read your publication. A short description is probably best and you could include the web site—just in case. If it is associated with a presentation or award, include that in the same experience box.

Should you list the amount of time that you spend at each given experience?

It is very helpful when you list the amount of time with each experience/activity. If there are some activities that you are presently still participating in, it would be helpful to state it in your experience box.

Is it better to get broad experience or a defined experience?

There is a point where you look like a dilettante, but without going to that extreme, the more variety you get the better. It is about growth.

​How much detail are application reviewers willing to read? I know that I can write meaningful reflections, but also realize that they will require significant space and writing. Will the reviewer read all of it or should I try to shorten my responses?

Don't worry about the verbiage in the boxes. We expect to read those. Consider them as mini personal statements. However, some schools value brevity. You can still say what you learned in one or two sentences.

Should findings of your research project be one of your experience boxes?

If you are applying to the MD/PhD program, it is critical that you have research and talk as much about research as possible. For the MD only program, it is one more experience. It is nice to put what you found in your research if you can do it concisely and comment on it. During the interview, we commonly ask you to describe your research to us and want you to be able to describe it in plain English.

Does working part time during school and full time during the summer to fund your education let shadowing experience lack a little bit?

Yes. You just need to show us that you have explored medicine and you understand what being a doctor is about.

I included my cum laude honors in my experience section. Is this a good idea?

Of course.

For re-applicants (and not considering new experiences) how much do the experience boxes need to be updated?

If you previously only described the experiences then use this opportunity to add reflections. Or, if you feel differently about an experience, now that you have thought about it for another year, change your reflection. Otherwise it is fine to leave the experience boxes as they were on the previous application is fine.

If I've spent a great deal of time meeting different doctors within different specialties, can I put what I have learned from these doctors as one of my experiences on the application or incorporate it within my statement?

This knowledge belongs in your personal statement where you are trying to express what you know about medicine.

Do you want ANY description in the experience boxes?

If the activity is well known to any reader (eg Habitat for Humanity, Planned Parenthood) it does not need to be described. You should just talk about what you learned.

In experience section, should I include political experiences?

Sure. We suggest you not mention who you were working for. Just explain what it was like.

Is marriage a worthy experience to include? I feel I've grown in my relationship skills immensely in the first years of marriage? That will definitely make me a better doctor.

Certainly. Anything you learned about relating to people is a good thing. Having a child is another example.

How do we look at students that are working while taking courses?

We do take that into consideration, as well as varsity sports. You would not have as many hours to study. You may be working to support your family and we take that into account. The ability to handle more than one commitment at a time speaks to your maturity, organizational skills, time management and balance. These are all important in medical school and in a career as a physician.

I have been volunteering at a hospital for over a year, however, the tasks don't include much more than wheeling patients in and directing visitors around the hospital. Do these "volunteer" experiences still count since there are so many limits to what volunteers are allowed to do?

Yes they count. They reflect your service ethic. You also need to find a way to spend time with a doctor.

Regarding the 15 activities descriptions, do we always want to reflect rather than describe? If we have VP position in a club, aren't you interested in what we achieved and how we steered the club in the direction, rather than reflecting about what we learned (communication and how to manage)?

Yes. What you achieved is part of your leadership position. The achievement can be discussed in the context of the skills and insights you learned and used.