Activity Categorization Drop-Down Menu Choices- From the Desk of Dr. Austerberry


You’ll be choosing from this list when entering activities in AMCAS. Often an activity has multiple aspects. New AMCAS Activities Section

Many decisions have to be made, including which of the 15 items would be designated as Most Meaningful. Indeed, the list of 15 Work/Activities items is like a puzzle, where the goal is to list and describe all your relevant activities in a manner that is (at the same time): concise yet comprehensive, organized yet customized (to fit your individual situation), and adhering to the AMCAS structure yet still communicating all the important information even when the AMCAS form doesn’t fit your own situation very well.

Fortunately, there are some pretty broad choices. Multiple ways of arranging the list, differing in minor and arbitrary alternatives, are usually possible. The main thing is to avoid creating something that would be inaccurate, confusing, or incomplete in any way.

Many activities are multidimensional; one program, for example, could involve a combination of research, leadership, service, shadowing, conference, presentation, publication, etc.! Some special coursework even involves extracurricular activities; should those be described in the Work/Activities section? It depends upon whether the title of the course, as listed in the Coursework section, conveys sufficient information.

Creighton’s Freshman Leadership Program (FLP) is a good example of a multidimensional program. Each student who did FLP might have a somewhat different experience, so not all FLP participants will end up listing their FLP-related experience in the same way.
While FLP certainly involves leadership, it also involves multiple kinds of service performed in multiple locations at multiple times. And, FLP-related service can overlap or blend into other service. AMCAS attempts to deal with some of the complexity by providing an Experience Type called “Leadership – not Listed Elsewhere” (rather than simply “Leadership”). They know that leadership can be a part of various jobs or other activities that should be categorized as “Paid Employment” or “Community Service/Volunteer” or “Intercollegiate Athletics,” etc.

Don’t omit things; instead, judiciously combine things. Try hard not to leave things out merely because of the 15-item limit! For example, at least some of an applicant’s multiple and various “Community Service/Volunteer – not Medical/Clinical” activities can be combined into one item. Look for common denominators. For example, if certain activities were all done at Creighton and/or shared a common theme of welcoming younger students and helping them navigate new challenges (Admissions Tours, Welcome Week, Greek Recruitment), that might be a natural grouping. Of course, the challenge is, who should be listed as the contact person? Admissions, Welcome Week, Greek Life – each probably has its own supervisor! Choose the lowest-ranking (that is, most directly involved) staff member you can who oversaw the activity or activities (which is simple when the item consists of just one activity!). When an item includes multiple activities, feel free to go up the chain of command until you reach an office that oversees everything (or most everything) included in a particular combined activity item.

So, if all of the doctors one shadowed were at one hospital or clinic, choose one who would also be able to verify your activity with the other physicians you shadowed. Of course, often students shadow physicians who don’t know each other and who work at completely different institutions. Indeed, you might have to group physicians who work at completely different clinics/hospitals into a shadowing item. In that case, Garland Jarmon (Creighton’s Director of Admissions) told me that it’s fine to give contact information for some of the physicians within the text box where you enter your description of the activity. For each of those additional physicians, provide the same kind of contact information that you do for the one physician you enter into the AMCAS form’s “official” contact information for that activity.