Applying to medical school

Applying to medical school is intimidating. I felt like I was a floundering fish out of the water most of the time, but fortunately had friends and advisers to help me find my habitat. It takes a village, and I am forever grateful to the people that raised me.

Image Credit: Science Memes (FB)

Reflecting on how leaky the pipeline to medical school can be, I would like to pay it forward by sharing my reflections and thoughts from the medical school process. I self-studied for the MCAT and applied to medical school without a coaching service. I owe all my knowledge to friends, random blogs (look below, and SDN didn’t make the list), and to my pre-med advising at my alma mater.

I encourage you to take all of this advice with a grain of salt and embrace the process of creating your pathway (surprisingly, there is more than one way to do this right!). On my end, I will try my best to explicit and transparent about what I thought worked and didn’t work for me (and feel free to call me out if you think I am wrong…and feel free to let me know what people should be doing).

The two pieces of advice I want to hit home is; first, something one of my college residential advisors always said: Self-care is not selfish. It’s a long pathway to becoming a doctor, and the best person you can be is your champion. Second, it’s all about perspective. It’s EXCITING to see yourself get closer to realizing a dream, though this is one step in a very long process. Believe in yourself, as much as your hype-person (e.g., parents, best friend, a figurative Shawn Mendes) believes in you. And for all of you pre-meds, believe in yourself the way you know your wicked long titration experiment will finally titrate.

One step at a time:
Approach & Timeline

  1. Studying for the MCAT (a few years beforehand to around AMCAS submission)
  2. Writing your personal statement (brainstorm whenever, write/rewrite sometime between January to submission)
  3. Choosing recommenders (ask whenever, confirm in mid-March, follow-up in May with deliverables)
  4. Choosing medical schools (up until submission, with late adds possible after submission)
  5. Filling out your AMCAS application (submit at the beginning of June, or as early as possible)
  6. Preparing for secondaries (between June/AMCAS submission and release of secondaries)
  7. Submitting secondaries (within 2 days or 2 weeks of receipt)
  8. Waiting…
  9. Prepping for Interviews (August through April of next year)
  10. Sending updates (October to April of next year)
  11. Choosing a medical school (October to matriculation)

I found myself perusing these blogs quite often:
Health Professions Advising (Wellesley College)
The Savvy Pre-Med
Prospective Doctor
Shemassian Consulting