AMCAS (American Medical College Application Service) is a centralized application service for medical schools, allowing you to save time by submitting just one application.
With over 140 MD granting institutions participating, you’ll likely use AMCAS if you’re applying to medical school in the US.
As part of your AMCAS application package, you’ll be asked to write a personal statement of not more than 5,300 characters.
Although it varies from essay to essay, this will give you enough room for an essay of about one page and one paragraph.
While this service does enhance convenience, it also makes it even more difficult to stand out.
Most applicants will have similar backgrounds to yours, and the AMCAS personal statement is your biggest opportunity to show who you are as an individual and persuade the admissions officers to choose you.
This is a hard limit, and the system won’t accept more characters than that, so it is important to keep this limit in mind as you plan and write your essay.
Most word processors will give you two character counts, one that includes spaces and one that does not.
Also, it is common for applicants to begin their essay with an anecdote from their childhood.
In our experience, med schools are really only interested in your life after you began college and won’t particularly be impressed with anything before that regardless of how important it was in your path to choosing this career.