Finish the Course

Right now you’re starting to itch because it’s the end of March, and almost the end of the semester.  But if you’re a junior planning to go to med school in the fall of 2017, it’s time to start taking action.  Taking action on what, you say?  Studying for finals and planning your summer vacation is important, but it’s also time to start prepping your application for medical school.  AMCAS (American Medical College Application Service) is a centralized application service for most medical schools in the country.  Texas has their own service at www.tmdsas.com.  It’s available now.  AMCAS doesn’t allow you to submit your application until summer, but you definitely want to start pulling the pieces of it together now.

Start updating your resume.  If you don’t have one, at least make a chronological list of extra-curricular activities, volunteering, research, etc.  Write out descriptions of what you did for each item.  You can use this later in the activities section of your application.  You’ll be allowed to choose three “most meaningful” activities to write a short description about how they impacted you and your pursuit of medicine.

Now is a good time to go to professors and start requesting letters of recommendation.  If you wait too late, you might find that your favorite prof is away on an archaeological dig for the entire summer.  Ask early before they get an onslaught of requests from other premeds.  Don’t go empty-handed.  Take that resume or activity list and write a cover letter.  The cover letter should include your deadline, a small picture of yourself and a reminder to put the letter on official letterhead.  You also need to give them an AMCAS Letter Request form.  You’ll be able to print this form from the “Letters of Evaluation” section of your AMCAS application.  Evaluators can submit electronically through the AMCAS Letter Writer Application, Interfolio, VirtualEvals or by mail.  Go to https://students-residents.aamc.org/applying-medical-school/article/amcas-letter-service/ for FACS about requesting and submitting your Letters of Evaluation.  If your school has a PreMed Advisor office, check with them first.  Your letters may have to go through their office.  Be sure to send a thank you note or email to everyone who writes a letter on your behalf.

The Personal Statement is one of the most important parts of your medical school application.  Medical school admissions boards will be reading thousands of statements.  You’ll need an attention-grabbing first sentence to make yours stand out from the rest.  Tell a story about life experiences you had that made you want to enter medicine.  What makes you unique, different from any other applicant?  It’s the same thing that will make you an amazing doctor one day. The other thing that schools will be looking for is academics.  There is a high volume of material to learn once you get there.  Some say it’s like trying to drink water from a wide open fire hose.  Say something in your statement that shows that you can handle high level scientific thought and the course load that you’ll be faced with in medical school.  You can talk about a research experience you’ve had or something that you found fascinating in an upper level science course.  Any school worth their salt is going to be looking for well-rounded individuals.  They will want students who have a life outside of school and who know how to interact well with people.  They’ll want to hear a little bit about the sport you played, a volunteer activity, or the club or social group to which you belonged.  Explain how it helped you understand different kinds of people or helped you develop leadership skills.  Have someone who knows you read your personal statement before you submit it.  I thought mine was pretty awesome until my friend read mine.  She reminded me of some things that I had left out, like some of the research I had done.

Get your coins together.  The 2016 application fees are as follows:  “AMCAS Processing Fee: $160 (includes one medical school designation) Additional medical school designations: $37 each”.  If you qualified for an MCAT fee waiver, you might also qualify for application fee waivers.  Check out this link to find out more about the Fee Assistance Program:  https://students-residents.aamc.org/applying-medical-school/applying-medical-school-process/fee-assistance-program/ .

 

AMCAS Application Opens May 3, 2016
AMCAS Application Submission Begins June 7, 2016
Processed Applications Sent to Medical Schools June 24, 2016

Keep the above dates in mind as the semester closes.  It’s never too early to get started on your medical school application.  Good luck on finals and have a great summer!

 

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