AMCAS (The American Medical College Application Service) is the centralized medical school application platform for MD-granting medical schools in the United States and is under the umbrella of the AAMC (American Association of Medical Colleges).
The AMCAS 2023-24 application cycle will open on May 2, and will open for submission on Tuesday, May 30. Here are new features for the 2023-24 application cycle, along with their significance:
#1 Work/Activities Section. This section has room for applicants to describe up to 15 activities in 700 characters; and then designate up to three of these as Most Meaningful activities, with an additional 1325 characters. Applicants choose one of the 18 AMCAS “experience types” from a dropdown menu.
NEW: Applicants can select a new experience type called Social Justice/Advocacy. This experience is “one in which the applicant worked to advance the rights, privileges, or opportunities of a person, a group of people, or a cause,” according to the AAMC. Examples include climate activism, decreasing health inequities, or helping to change policy.
SIGNIFICANCE: The medical education community is recognizing the importance of social justice and advocacy as a central value for individuals working in medicine and learning about medical education. This grew out of the work of the Social Justice in Medical School Admissions Working Group.
#2 AAMC PREview Exam. The AAMC PREview Professional Readiness Exam (formerly known as the AAMC Situational Judgment Test) is designed to measure respondents’ “knowledge of effective and ineffective behaviors across eight core pre-professional competencies for entering medical students,” as described by the AAMC, namely Service Orientation, Social Skills, Cultural Competence, Teamwork, Ethical Responsibility to Self and Others, Reliability and Dependability, Resilience and Adaptability, and Capacity for Improvement. These skills constitute all the Pre-Professional Competencies identified by the AAMC except for Oral Communication (since it’s a written test) and omit the Thinking and Reasoning Competencies and Science Competencies (presumably because they are captured by the MCAT).
NEW: An optional field is now available for applicants to indicate an upcoming AAMC PREview exam registration date – similar to the ability to indicate an upcoming MCAT exam date.
SIGNIFICANCE: At present, only a few medical schools require the PREview Exam. But this move reflects the growing importance of interpersonal and intrapersonal professional competencies – apart from the scientific knowledge required by an excellent physician.
#3 Self-Reported Disadvantaged Status Question (SRD). This question has been on the AMCAS application for the past decade and was intended “to provide admissions committees with information to better understand the context of an applicant’s journey.” In 2019, the AAMC learned of research that suggested limitations of the question. Over the last few years, a working group conducted research to further explore how the question was perceived, and as a result recommended that the question be revised with clearer and more updated terminology.
NEW: The SRD question will be replaced by a new Other Impactful Experiences question, which is designed to “give applicants the opportunity to provide additional context about the challenges they may have experienced during their lives” in areas such as “family background, financial background, community setting, education, religion, or other life experiences.”
SIGNIFICANCE: The new question reflects the sensitivity of the AAMC to the variety of life experiences that applicants may have. The question also shows the desire to view applicants holistically, and the value placed on applicants sharing significant aspects of their life experiences that may not be appropriately addressed elsewhere in the application.
#4 Pronoun and Gender Identity. Up until now, options included Male, Female, and Other.
NEW: The “Other” category option will be replaced with “Another Gender Identity” and “Another pronoun set.”
SIGNIFICANCE: The medical community wants to encourage “additional layers of student body diversity, including diverse perspectives from applicants who have experienced major life events or transitions related to their gender identity.”
#5 Institutional Action. The AMCAS application asks about institutional action by a college or medical school regarding academic performance or conduct.
NEW: There will be a drop-down menu to select “Conduct,” “Academic,” or “Both.”
SIGNIFICANCE: AMCAS wants to “provide a more comprehensive view” of disciplinary and/or academic issues.
If you would like assistance in navigating the AMCAS application or would like guidance on any other aspect of the medical school admissions process, feel free to contact us! At Collegiate Gateway, we’re always happy to help!