Don’t let this happen to you … it’s May and you still haven’t written your personal statement, nor made sure that all the faculty recommendations have been sent. You’re not satisfied with your MCAT score and your grades are lackluster, but everyone has been telling you to apply this year. Even though you don’t feel qualified just yet, you decide to do it anyway. Even worse, you didn’t know anything about the application process until you started writing for it. You feel stressed — and you know that this is not your best work, and it frustrates you that you might need to do this all over again if you don’t get in.
If I were you, I would wait another year. It’s not worth it. In fact, don’t apply to medical school until you understand these three rules which will help you easily stand out.
- Understand How the Admissions Process Actually Works
Before you sit down and write your application, you need to thoroughly research all aspects of the admissions process.
By mapping out all the parts of the application, you can then begin to brainstorm core themes that connect your application together. Don’t be the guy that learns about the admissions process as he writes his application. Once you know all the details, the writing will come more naturally to you because you will know what the expect.
If you are interested, my Medical School Admissions Blueprint provides a detailed outline of the entire admissions process.
- Give Yourself Ample Time
You are probably not going to give yourself enough time to do all the steps — MCAT, personal statement, AMCAS, secondaries, interview prep– that make up the admissions process. Give yourself more time than you think you’ll need for each of these steps.
Time management almost never goes as planned for pre-meds. In my experience, 90 out of 100 premeds end up rushing. They rush on the MCAT and don’t feel prepared. You might be surprised that so many premeds rush their personal statement and letters of recommendation, but, unless someone alerts you to this, it’s expected. An easy way to stand out is to take all these steps at a healthy pace, and with extra planned time for each task.
I made an ideal timeline that might help you with this. The timeline, however, varies based on your own realities as a pre-med — use this as a helpful guide, and adjust as you need to so it will fit your own timeline.
One easy way to gain an advantage with medical school admissions is to simply submit your documents early. All things being equal, you will improve your chances by submitting everything during the first week of June of your application year. You will then also receive your secondary application sooner (which you should finish quickly). The AMCAS application is available starting June 1st and if you submit it at the earliest date, you could receive an interview as early as June and be accepted as early as mid-October.
For more information, be sure to check out my article: When to Submit AMCAS? How Timing Affects Your Chances of Acceptance to Medical School.
- Show Up Really Qualified the First Time You Apply
You want medical schools to love the heck out of every aspect of your application, from your grades to your essay to your motivation to your extra-curricular experiences. So why not start with that in mind from the very beginning?
Do everything in your power to make sure that the first time you apply is the best you can possibly make it. For example, if you can get your science gpa above 3.6, then this will make med schools really love you. Same with your MCAT — a 33 or higher (on the old system) or a 510+ in the new system makes it much easier for med schools to say “yes.”
I work with pre-meds of all types — traditional, non-traditional, reapplicants, postbacc students, you name it — and this advice works for every type of applicant. You are wise to invest in these steps to make your odds of acceptance much higher.
This is all about how best to package yourself for medical school admissions. You can learn more about how to make your personal statement stand out with this course. Take a look now.