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