Some friends have been seeking my advice regarding the application process, so I wrote some of my thoughts down, hoping they might prove helpful to future applicants. Please feel free to make amendments and share your own experiences! OK, here goes. Some parts got pretty cheesy, so please excuse me. before applying: make sure medicine is what you really want to do by exploring a wide array of educational and career options, talking to doctors, and working/volunteering in a healthcare setting. do well in school, ace the MCAT, get some clinical experience/patient contact. as for the rest, just do what you love! get to know your professors so that they can write personal letters of recommendation. i did not find it necessary to have letters from physicians. amcas: submit it early (and send your transcripts in even before you submit the application)! the longer you wait, the longer verification will take, and the worse your chances. don't be afraid to put down serious hobbies in the experiences section; they can make you stand out and form interesting conversation fodder at interviews. don't apply to too many schools at this stage, even though it can be tempting to just check off a bunch of boxes. not only will it cost you a lot, but you won't be able to finish all those secondaries/write quality essays. also, think about fit. research the school's philosophy. is there a strong research focus? do a lot of students go into primary care? if your experiences and goals do not match the school's emphasis, you probably wouldn't want to attend, and the schools can probably tell you're applying blindly/using them as a backup. definitely apply to some rolling schools; i can't tell you what a relief it is to know you're in by october. secondaries: very draining. spend time writing thoughtful responses, and do your research (especially for all those "why do you want to come to our school" questions)! recycle essays if possible, but don't forget to change the school's name! try getting these out as soon as possible. i've often heard of the tacit two-week deadline, which was really hard for me to adhere to, but i did get bad results from schools where i left their secondary invitations to languish for months in my inbox. interviews: congratulations! you've made it to the interview stage. relax. interviews are fun. you get to travel to new cities, visit great schools and hospitals, and meet your future colleagues. nearly all of my interviews were conversational; schools really just want to know about YOU and make sure that you're a personable and fun person and a good fit for their institution. if they weren't already impressed with your academic and extracurricular accomplishments, you wouldn't be invited. be professional, be courteous, be open-minded, be enthusiastic (you should be or else you shouldn't bother going to the interview), be honest, have your questions ready, don't be too reticent, but don't be the obnoxious interviewee who won't shut up either. it doesn't hurt to wear a nice smile. send a thank you note to your interviewers if you'd like; i always just used email. remember, the interview is only a part of your application. just because your interviewer says he thinks you're a super candidate and hopes to see you in the fall does not guarantee admission. conversely, don't worry if you think an interview didn't go well. you may just be surprised. general/motivational: applying to medical school is a long and arduous (not to mention expensive!) process, but see it as a journey to reach your goals. you may be surprised by how much you learn about yourself along the way! remember, no one wins them all, so don't be down about any one school's decision. so much of this process depends on chance, such as which reader randomly picked up your application. just because you didn't get into one particular school does not mean that you won't get into others of similar or higher caliber. finally, try your hardest to get into your dream school, but if that doesn't work out, embrace the schools that have embraced you! your education is what you make of it, and i sincerely believe that you will get an excellent medical education and make lifelong friends wherever you go. keep your head up, and you will succeed! and, *insert major cliche*, if at first you don't succeed, try, try again. MCAT score not high enough? study, practice, study, practice, and retake. GPA too low? enroll in a post-bacc program and work your butt off. clinical experiences lacking? seek out more opportunities. you can do it! best of luck, and i hope to hear your success stories very soon!