Hey everyone! I know I've been MIA for the past 2 months, but I'm back with a quick post for all of you pre-meds out there! First year is winding down with only 2 weeks left before I can finally start sleeping normal hours again. I have so much to update you guys on, but you'll have to wait until I'm done for the long post giving you the details of the past few months!
Since the American Medical College Application System (AMCAS) has been open for a few weeks, I just wanted to provide a few tips for those of you applying this cycle. There is already a lot of information out there on how to apply and enter information in AMCAS, so I won't waste time going into that. As always I'd advise you to check out the AMCAS website and follow their instructions carefully. What I'm going to focus on in this post are things you should keep in mind during the application process and hopefully this can help some of you be more aware of seemingly small mistakes that could have a large affect on your application. I actually spoke with one of the admissions counselors at my school to get the information straight from the source; this is EXCLUSIVE information for all of my readers (lol)!
1. PROOFREAD. I want to stress the importance of reading your personal statement and the rest of your application multiple times. Even though it seems like a logical thing, you'd be surprised by how often applications are submitted with errors. Reading your application is the admissions committee's ("adcom") first glimpse of who you are as a person- it is not just about your MCAT score and grades. You want to tell them your story and keep them intrigued, but spelling and grammar errors tell the adcom that you don't check your work. Have someone else read it, read it out loud, have someone read it out loud to you etc. Whatever it takes to make sure it sounds right. Often things we write may sound nice to us, but it may not be received that way by the person reading your statement.
2. BE MINDFUL OF WHO YOU ARE CONTACTING. This goes along the lines with the previous point, but I just want to reiterate the how important it is to take the extra time to double check your work. If you are communicating with a school via email, double check that you are putting the correct names in the subject line and text. Don't talk about your interest in "School X" when the email is being sent to "School Y". I get it, many times you are copying and pasting because most of you are applying to multiple schools, but just make sure you read carefully!
3. KNOW YOUR APPLICATION LIKE THE BACK OF YOUR HAND. When its time for interviewing, often the faculty member(s) conducting your interview will have your application right in front of them and may point out specific aspects of you application. You don't want to be asked about an activity and hesitate to find an answer. If you are putting something on your application make sure your are telling the truth and this should not be a problem.
4. BE ACCURATE. Parts of the AMCAS ask you about how many hours you spent doing each activity. DON'T LIE!! If you weren't as diligent about recording your hours as you should have been that's okay, but don't say you shadowed for 500 hours when it was only 50. Adcoms will see this and might question how you did that in lets say half a semester. If things don't seem to add up it will make you appear dishonest. If you are not applying this upcoming cycle, start recording your hours in an excel spreadsheet. I did this through my 4 years of college and it saved me so much time and energy when it was time to work on my activities section.
5. USE YOUR SECONDARY APPLICATION WISELY. After you submit your primary application, you may start receiving secondaries as quickly as within 24 hours! Take your time to answer these questions and use this as your opportunity to discuss any gaps or unfortunate events in your application. Are you missing the committee letter? Mention the reasoning behind it. Did you fail a class? Don't worry its not the worse thing in the world. Talk about what you were going through and how you learned from the experience. Contrary to popular belief medical schools don't expect you to be perfect, but they do expect you to be constantly learning and growing from your experiences.
I would highly recommend taking the time to research the school before filling out the secondary application. The easiest place to start is the school's website and once you get an interview you'll be able to get a better idea of what the institution stands for. Ask yourself, "How do the mission statement and core values of this institution line up with who I am?". Don't make the mistake of applying to certain schools just because you heard they are "competitive". I hate to break it to you, but getting into ANY medical school is competitive!
In the weeks leading up to submitting my application, I typed everything into AMCAS and printed it out so I could see exactly how it was going to look. I spent a few weeks proofreading and having people review it for me. When the applications were allowed to be submitted, I pressed submit on the first day. I would recommend getting your application in as early as possible, but don't do this if it's not perfect. A sloppy application submitted on the first day will likely get put at the bottom of the pile.
Overall, just remember that your application is how the admissions committee will decide if they want you to come in for an interview. You want to put your all into it because you have worked so hard to even be able to fill out the application in the first place. All of your actions and how you present yourself to the admissions committee are glimpses into how you will treat your future patients.
Hopefully this is helpful for those of you applying this cycle. If you have any questions feel free to DM me on Instagram. Good luck!