You are knee-deep in finals preparation, clinical volunteer work, and perhaps a research project. Maybe you are also studying for the MCAT (although I hope you already took and aced it!). Should you be thinking about the AMCAS application, which will open around May 5? You know that it is to your advantage to submit it ASAP after AMCAS permits submissions, which is scheduled for the week of June 1.
Yes and no. Considering everything on your plate, you will probably lack the focus and time necessary to draft a strong personal statement or concise, compelling experience descriptions. So no, don’t add “writing AMCAS essay” to you to-do list. Yet.
For now focus on your finals, that project and everything else. As soon as finals are over, assuming you have them in May, then complete your AMCAS application so that it will be ready for submissions as soon as possible after AMCAS will process it.
What should you be doing now? When you have a spare moment, you can familiarize yourself with AMCAS 2012 application instructions. You can start filling in the boxes. You can also jot down notes about possible topics for your AMCAS essay or experiences you will want to include in the experience section. For now I would jot down anything that comes to mind. When you get serous you will trim the wheat from chaff.
What should your notes consist of? Influential events and people. Experiences that demonstrate your fitness for medicine or that motivated you to pursue a career as a physician. For each topic, jot down, the experience, what you did, the result, the lessons you learned, and the traits you revealed.
l prepared a spreadsheet that you can use to keep your notes. I also find that Evernote, a free tool, is excellent for taking notes like this because you can tag each note and access them from anywhere with an Internet connection. Evernote can also become a nerve center for your medical school application process. (No I don’t have an ownership interest in Evernote. I just like it.)
Don’t worry about editing, length of your notes, grammar or anything like that. This is just for you, and you really don’t have the time for anything prettier. Now it’s back to the grind.
By Linda Abraham, Accepted.com president and founder.