Every premedical student needs to be well organized. In addition to taking the required classes, premeds must fit in a plethora of activities, prepare for and take the MCAT, and plan for the application cycle. As a premed coach and medical school admissions consultant I enjoy helping prospective medical school applicants put forth the best possible application to medical school. In the year leading up to the application I help clients do an audit of the following to make sure they represent themselves well to the medical schools and get the results they want:
Academic record/GPA. Does your GPA represent you well and will it enable you to be a competitive medical school applicant? Do your research: find the median GPAs of various medical schools in the MSAR. Most medical schools accept applicants who hover around the median. Don’t be misled by the tenth percentile—people who are admitted in that range are truly the exception and not the rule. If your GPA isn’t where it needs to be come up with a plan to fix it. The plan will vary depending on your particular scenario.
The MCAT. There’s no avoiding the MCAT so premeds must plan carefully for it. Select a date in the time frame when you believe you’ll be ready for it and only take the MCAT when you’re fully prepared. Once you’ve chosen a date come up with a specific plan and create a calendar to prepare for the test. Stick to your plan!
Experiences. Do you have enough experiences to show that you truly know what themedical profession entails? Have you shown that you care about others through the activities you’ve chosen to engage in? There are 15 spaces in the AMCAS application for activities. Will your application look rich and have depth or do you need to gain additional experience before applying? The best applicants have a range of experiences and can write about them with insight and perspective.
Letters. You’ve done the intensive and hard work of preparing for medical school. It’s your job to write your application materials (personal statement, activity descriptions, secondary essays) but others must also write about you. Spend time thinking carefully about your potential letter writers: who knows you best and in whose classes have you performed exceptionally well? Bear in mind that most medical schools require two letters from science faculty so start your list by including those two, then build from there. Your letters should represent each different facet of your life and flesh you out as an individual. Make sure you give your letter writers enough time to write and submit their letters. If a committee letter process is in place at your school you must adhere to those requirements. Plan the letter process accordingly.
Written materials. The centerpiece of the medical school application is the personal statement. Allow enough time to do multiple drafts and refine it; you want to produce a piece of work that captures your story and comes alive through your words. The other written components of the application are just as important—plan for this and have a schedule which will allow you to complete the written work and submit your primary application early and the secondary applications within a few weeks of receiving them.
Create a Timeline. To make sure that all of the tasks associated with the medical school application get done, it will help enormously if you create a timeline/calendar to take you through the entire process.
If you want help assessing your application or have questions about the application process don’t hesitate to contact me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 410-292-5219. I would love to help you!
–Liza Thompson, Expert Medical School Admissions Consulting