Applying to Med School – Primaries

Here’s my experience with applying to med schools. See The Mcat as well!

AMCAS, the primary application for M.D programs, opens May 1 and you can start turning it in around the first Monday in June, and the deadlines start happening in October. BEWARE THERE IS PROCESSING TIME. Everyone says the earlier the better, and you’ll have a much more relaxed summer if you can get it in. HOWEVER, I hear that it’s perfectly fine to be a little late if turning it in early means you turn in a crappy application.
One note: Almost all M.D. schools accept AMCAS, but Texas has it’s own primary application system. It’s is due in May, so you’ll want to get started on that one sooner.

July 12 @ 10AM is when I submitted.
August 5 is when all my processing was complete and my application was sent to schools. I initially sent it to 8 (mostly based on their acceptance rate of OOSers…out of staters for the acronymly challenged 🙂 — aka me before this application madness).

So, the actual application! The numbering is all funny – I put in order of which I think should be done, but the numbering is how the application actually numbers them.

Way before AMCAS opens – aka freshman year of college
– see if your school has premed office. You might have to submit a committee letter, so it would be good to
– KEEP GOOD TRACK OF YOUR EXTRACURRICS. Keep an excel sheet of your hours, duties, etc. This isn’t a must, but it will really make life go a little smoother.
– keep your GPA up
– learn how to learn
– learn some self-discipline
– find professors that you like! Go to office hours, or do research, or sit at the front row and pay attention

This is actually pretty good advice for anything in life I think. I’m still trying to learn these things, so don’t worry if this isn’t you! I just think it would help if I were these things before applying. But maybe applying makes you into these things, so who knows? Anyways.

Here's a cat to get you through the rest of this post... I love tomtom :)
Here’s an unworried-about-the-future-or-purpose-in-life cat to get you through the rest of this post… I love tomtom 🙂

Before AMCAS opens (pre-May)
8. Essay(s) – aka the personal statement. This took the longest for me. I don’t have any good advice, because I’m still not sure if I wrote a good one. Please google. But I know for sure that starting early is a fabulous idea.

6. Letters of Evaluation – request these FAR IN ADVANCE. First, one of my mentors gave me great advice: Ask for a recommendation casually. Their first reactions will immediately tell you if you’ll want to use their letter, or if you’ll want to go ask someone else.
Secondly, there’s some paperwork involved, so you’ll have to wait until May when the AMCAS opens for this part.
Finally, you have to link letters with applications, and most schools don’t look at the application until everything is turned in. I turned in my first secondary application at the end of July. My last LOE (which I requested in April) was submitted the first week of September. They were linked. You can imagine the amount of tears and stress. That’ll be another post maybe, but I don’t like to relive that time 😉

7. Medical Schools – you’ll want to research these ahead of time, and know which ones you want to apply to. Make sure you’ve completed prereqs for all of the schools you want to go to, and make sure they accept AP credit, or you can substitute higher level courses!

AMCAS opens

5. Work/Activities – you’ll have to know your EC’s, so that list from “way before the amcas opens” will help out here. You can also designate up to 3 as “significant” experiences. You’ll get some extra space to explain why those are significant. Beware – there’s a lot of controversy on exactly how to fill this section out. My advice is to read through some different ideas, then just do what you feel is best for you.

4. Course work – tedious; it would be best to have your registrar’s office send you a copy of your transcript so you can make sure names are exactly as how they appear on your transcript — you also have to send an official transcript to the AMCAS office. As soon as AMCAS opens, get your transcript request printed, signed, and scanned to your registrar! That way there’s no delay on that front.

Pretty self-explanatory:
1. Identifying Information
2. Schools Attended
3. Biographic Information – There’s some money questions here, be prepared to call your parents if you’re a leech like me!
9. Standardized tests – automatically filled once your MCAT scores come in.

Whew! That was an exhausting post to write. Did I forget anything? I probably forgot something. I’ll also do another post for secondary applications!

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