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Some words of advice for future applicants

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Homer Simpson, Apr 26, 2007.

  1. Homer Simpson

    Homer Simpson Senior Member 10+ Year Member

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    Apr 16, 2006
    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! :luck:
     
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  3. Symphony101

    Symphony101 2+ Year Member

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    Apr 7, 2007
    this is really great advice. thanks!
     
  4. badasshairday

    badasshairday Vascular and Interventional Radiology 10+ Year Member

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    Apr 6, 2007
    Thanks for the advice.

    You said to send in transcripts early? How does that work? Do I just ask my registrar to send my official transcripts to the list of schools i'm applying to?
     
  5. MDee

    MDee 5+ Year Member

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    Apr 7, 2007
    About the transcripts being sent in early...and reiterating the previous post...how can you send the transcript in early? My pre-health adviser said that as you're going through the application, there will be a form that you must have your registrar send out?
     
  6. BigRedPremed

    BigRedPremed Senior Member 7+ Year Member

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    The transcript request form comes out May 3. Fill it out, print it, and give it to your registrar to send along with your transcripts to AMCAS. This way, when you turn in your primary in June, your transcripts will already be there waiting. (This is assuming you want to send your transcripts on the earliest possible date).
     
  7. trudat

    trudat 2+ Year Member

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    Yah I totally agree about getting the transcripts in early but also to just put the pressure on, i suggest getting the LOR's in as soon as possible.
     
  8. badasshairday

    badasshairday Vascular and Interventional Radiology 10+ Year Member

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    Guys, what do you think of this.

    I went to a JC for 2 years before transferrring to Cal. My JC transcript is okay... 3.50

    My Cal GPA is 3.93 and I am hoping for another 4.0 this semester. I really want those grades on the transcript that the medschools see. My semester ends on May 17. Is it worth it to wait for this semesters grades?
     
  9. BigRedPremed

    BigRedPremed Senior Member 7+ Year Member

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    Absolutely. As long as your transcripts are sent sometime in June (or even July according to my premed advisor), it'll be fine. I will be sending mine in May because, well, I don't want my spring grades on there.
     
  10. Homer Simpson

    Homer Simpson Senior Member 10+ Year Member

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    Apr 16, 2006
    BigRedPremed is right about the transcripts. Especially if you've already graduated, you want to send in your transcript to AMCAS even before you submit the application. That way, as soon as you submit, your application will be in line for verification. Otherwise you need to wait until AMCAS receives your application. If you are still in school, it's probably best to wait until your final semester grades come out so you can send in a complete transcript.
     
  11. sirus_virus

    sirus_virus nonsense poster 2+ Year Member

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    Unless you really like biology, do not major in BIOLOGY. Many have been screwed this way.
     
  12. MDAdam

    MDAdam 10+ Year Member

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    When should I ask professors and/or doctors to complete and submit their LORs? We are getting ready to depart for the summer, and I don't want them to forget about writing them.
     
  13. Surf Rx

    Surf Rx 7+ Year Member

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    Now.
     
  14. Catalystik

    Catalystik Providing herd protection Physician Faculty SDN Advisor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    Inside the tesseract
    You should have put this process in motion already. Some profs will take two months to get their letters in because they're "so busy". Some need multiple diplomatic reminders, some get sick, travel, or are hard to reach all summer due to conferences, etc. Get moving! Make your deadline clear when you ask for the letter.
     
  15. 87138

    87138 Guest

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    What if you've completed course work at a separate institution from the one from which you graduated? Actually, I'm currently on neither campuses, so would I just be able to print out the form and mail it to each registrar's office requesting the respective transcripts be sent to AMCAS?
     
  16. coral

    coral Member 5+ Year Member

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    San Diego

    Transcripts are required from every institution you've attended (including community college courses you may have taken while in high school). I imagine that each school has a different process for ordering transcripts (in-person, fax, mail) so make sure to send in whatever additional paperwork necessary in addition to the AMCAS form with all of your personal info.

    Edit: It's a good idea to send in transcripts as early as possible, as I remember several people this last cycle having problems with the AAMC receiving their transcripts and needing to resend them.
     
  17. majs87

    majs87

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    hey :)
    im a freshman at a communitycollege
    my major is biology
    i'm not a straight-A student, but get As in courses like eng, public speaking. rest of the courses, usually get by easily w/ Bs/B+
    just wondering..if i continue on like this, & end up with an over-all 3.5 undergrad GPA, & an average MCAT score (say 30), & lots of extra curricular activities, volunteer work, internship/job experience, etc, will i have a good chance of getting into med school? :confused:
    I know it's sort of early to be worrying, but I want to know now whether I am cut for med school or not, so i can change my major & all if i have to
    need a reply asap!
     
  18. supernareg

    supernareg Guest

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    Oct 25, 2006
    need a reply asap? lol dude ur a freshman, another 2 years before u think seriously about applying haha
     
  19. armybound

    armybound future urologist. Physician Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    according to the stats, you'll have about an average chance (50%).
     
  20. PZMO

    PZMO 2+ Year Member

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    Jul 27, 2006
    Not from a community college, if you stay there. Many schools won't accept prereqs taken there and many, many others "frown on it."
     
  21. CubanDoc

    CubanDoc Moving to G'ville soon 2+ Year Member

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    Miami, FL
    I graduated from a community college. I had 7 interview invites, went to 6 and got 3 acceptances. There wasn't even a question about my classes at the community college.
    The only school that states that community college courses generally won't fulfill the specific requirements, is BU. All you have to do is do enough research to know which school won't accept them. In the other hand there are plenty of schools that will accept all of them without a question. All you have to do is get good grades and you'll be fine.
     
  22. e_phn

    e_phn member 5+ Year Member

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    Thanks for the advice, OP and everyone else who contributes as well.
     
  23. emaj1n

    emaj1n M1 2+ Year Member

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    To those applying next year: I think the above quoted section of Homer's post is the most important piece of advice you will ever hear. I had my AMCAS ready to go on June 1, traditionally the first day you can submit. And, like Homer said, I had my school send my transcripts at least three weeks earlier (i.e., before the post-graduation rush). By the time June 1 rolled around, AMCAS had already received my transcripts. Although I don't remember how long it took AMCAS to verify my application, I'm nearly positive it was between one and two weeks. Keep in mind that verification may take over a month if you submit later in the process.

    Submitting your AMCAS first means you get secondaries first, and, if you submit the secondaries quickly, you'll be in the first batch of applicants schools invite for interviews.

    I was accepted to an allopathic school in October. Knowing my statistics, I don't think I would be holding an acceptance if I hadn't applied so earlier.

    As Homer says, good luck. If you have any more questions, please shoot me an email or PM me. I had a lot of help along the way. I'd like to provide the same help to others. I'll tell you everything I know.
     
  24. SnareKick

    SnareKick Guest

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    How so?

    I only ask because I'll be majoring in Cell & Molecular Biology this fall, but I wouldn't say that I "really like" Biology. I'm doing it this way because it's the best way (that I know of) to get all the prerequisites I need for med school.
     
  25. emaj1n

    emaj1n M1 2+ Year Member

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    You can fulfill all your prereqs and not be a "hard science" major. I'm living proof of that. I majored in psychology and English. You can fit all the hours, easy. Just talk to your academic or pre-med advisor.

    Don't major in something just because you think it will help you get into medical school. In the long run, you'll probably end up hating it. If you like biology, major in it. If you like English, like me, major in it. From a statistical perspective, non-biology majors actually stand a better chance of admission (for probably many reasons).

    I hope this helps. Again, to any pre-meds, feel free to PM me with questions.
     
  26. Zoom-Zoom

    Zoom-Zoom 7+ Year Member

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    To be a little more optimistic, I would wager that one could bump that percentage up considerably just by applying to more schools, as early as possible...as long as you transfer to a university. The 50% acceptance rate can be a bit misleading in terms of "averages."
     
  27. specialflava

    specialflava Junior Member 5+ Year Member

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    a couple of paranoid questions:

    1) do LOR's get sent to individual schools at the secondary stage? or do you need to send LOR's as part of your primary?

    2) is there any difference between submitting your primary on June 1st vs June 15th? what window of time is defined as "applying early"?

    thank you in advance for any input, and for all of the great advice provided thus far!
     
  28. stixx

    stixx 5+ Year Member

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    Please, PLEASE tell me you're kidding.
     
  29. coral

    coral Member 5+ Year Member

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    1. Yes, LOR's are sent as part of the secondary stage (not to AMCAS with your primary). Also, I had my LOR's send to my career center which uses virtual evals, which is nice because you can upload/send them all out at once to all of your schools, even if you haven't received the secondary yet.

    2. I would say there isn't a difference. I think "early" is the J's (June, early July before the mid summer rush)--I submitted my primary first week of July, was verified in 2 weeks, but prepared most of my secondary essays in the meantime using the prompts listed on SDN.
     
  30. sirus_virus

    sirus_virus nonsense poster 2+ Year Member

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    Don't do it kid. Why waste an opportunity to diversify. Go major in something different from what ou will be doing in medschool. Gives you extra options. Plus, god forbid you don't get into medschool, then you will be one unemployed angry scientist.
     
  31. PZMO

    PZMO 2+ Year Member

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    Well, I'm glad to stand corrected... I was always under a different impression (from my pre-med advisor, etc). I'm glad that worked out for you and hopefully it will for the question-asker.
     
  32. melissainsd

    melissainsd 2+ Year Member

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    Turn off your junk mail filters!

    I lost an interview invite this way. Also, I marked certain words, "medical", "medicine", etc as flag words and had my email account notify my cell phone if I received an email with these words. It saved me from checking my email 50x a day.

    :luck:
     
  33. SeminoleFan3

    SeminoleFan3 Senior Member 10+ Year Member

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    I call BS. I graduated before deciding to pursue medicine. I took ALL my prereqs at a community college. I had 5 interivew offers before September rolled around, and I was accepted on 10/15. Average scores: 3.68 and a 30.
     
  34. geogil

    geogil Still training. 7+ Year Member

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    This might sound dumb, but only apply to schools that you would attend. There have been several threads this year by folks who would rather re-apply than go to school X. Medschools really frown on reapplying just to get into a more prestigious school.
     
  35. majs87

    majs87

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    thankss :) :) u just made my day! & thanks to zoom-zoom & seminolefan3!! :D i'd started to think that maybe i should just forget med school, because i cant get out of cc before spring 08 due to financial problems
    just for the record, i definitely will transfer after my second yr, or if i get really really lucky, maybe even after fall of this yr!
     
  36. CubanDoc

    CubanDoc Moving to G'ville soon 2+ Year Member

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    I would add something extra. If you choose a different major, Please don't pick one harder, just like I did. I majored in math, let me tell you, it wasn't pretty. Since I went to CC, I had all my easy classes. by the time I transfered all I had left was finish my prereqs and all the math classes for my degree.
    To make a long story short, out of 5 classes in my last semester, Biochemistry was my easiest class BY FAR :eek: :eek: :eek:
    Another recommendation I think I should mention, specially if you have time to plan, do not make your semester in the FALL of the application cycle the hardest . You should keep in mind that you will be completing secondaries and having interviews throughout the semester.
    I wish I had known all this before I applied.
     
  37. Mr. Belding

    Mr. Belding The Dude abides 7+ Year Member

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    It's true, when philosophy majors are unemployed they are way more mellow because its expected of them.
     
  38. Starfishhh

    Starfishhh I'm scared.

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    No, no, no, no. Don't do that. I nearly fell into the same trap, and it's not good. Medical schools are shifting toward looking for well-rounded undergrad, and Bio can become very daunting. Major in something you love. I'm a history major and just trying to chug through the pre-reqs.

     

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