When I first started advising friends and family in the medical school admission process, I was astounded to learn that many people had no idea about even very basic aspects of the medical school admission process. That is when I decided then and there that I would start a full time coaching practice. The purpose of this page is to give a very basic step-by-step guide to what you can look forward to so there are no surprises.
I can't stress enough how important it is to get started on your application before the application opens. Here's what you need to do before the application opens in May.
1. Spend first and second year setting up opportunities for letters of recommendation. This should be doctors, research professors who you work with, people in your volunteer opportunities etc. They should be people who know you well, respect you as a person, and will speak amazing things about you. Make sure these people are ready to write one once you ask them. For more help,
check out our letters of recommendation page
2. Spend some time thinking about your personal statement. Write some or all of it, know what you want to write about. Almost always the topic is "explain why you want to go to medical school" and should be done in less than 5000 or so characters.
Check out the page on the personal statement for more help.
3. Get together your list of information and dates. Know all the dates of when you attended school, when you worked, etc. This will help speed up the process when it opens.
There are a few different application clearinghouses that are important. To my knowledge there aren't any schools that don't participate in any except for Caribbean schools which you have to apply to individually. If I find any that don't participate though, I'll add them here.
1. The MD medical school admission application can be found at the AAMC website and is called the AACAS, the American Medical College Application Service. This usually open in early May and for most of you will be the main and maybe only application service you use.
2. The DO application service is Found here and is basically the same as the MD application as far as the information that it requires for admission.
3. Texas schools have their our application service (http://www.utsystem.edu) and again has the same required information.
4. Caribbean schools require applications to each school individually and most also admit students several times a year. Our Caribbean Medical Schools page will help you out with that
Once you finish the first application you will get secondary applications from the schools with whom you have passed their first screening test. This is usually little more than repeating a ton of the information you already put on the first application, and writing more essays. Usually the essays are similar in nature but have their own little spin. Make sure you have a good story to tell or you will be getting monotonous at this point and that is not a good thing in this process. Again, treat this as a time to shine and make sure you keep your reader at the edge of their chair.
The interview is where the expense of application really starts to add up. You will need money for airfare, hotels, cars, food, etc. The important thing about interviews though is that it is the time for people to meet you. You should be more excited about this than any other part of the process. This is the time for them to make decisions about you, and you make decisions about them. Remember that last part. Many students interview at their first choice only to realize that it isn't their first choice once they see the school and meet some students. Obviously I'm going to send you to our Interview help page so you can get a good idea on how to crush the interview.
Now you are done with having to impress. Now the only thing left in the medical school admission process is to sit back, wait, and enjoy your success (hopefully). The three types of decisions that can be made are accept, deny, or wait-list. If you are accepted GREAT!!! Make sure you pay attention to the next steps that need to happen. Usually you have to reserve your seat with a deposit that gets credited toward your tuition. Some of these are cheap and some are expensive. Some are refundable and some are not. Make sure you know. If you get a denial, move on, it was nothing personal you just didn't light their fire like you were hoping too. If you get wait-listed, make sure to keep in close contact with the school, let them know you are interested and where you are on the list. Also, move on, most the time you will have other chances.
So that is it. That is how medical school admission works. It is a process and there is a lot of waiting, but it is fun and exciting and you should have a good time with it.
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