Note to medical school applicants: be sure to set aside some extra time for these time-consuming factors that you simply may not have considered:
1. Application time. The #1 top factor that trips up med applicants the most is definitely TIME. Applicants just don’t seem to realize (at least not early on) how much time is required to complete each step of the admissions process. Significant time is needed to write strong, persuasive personal statement and to complete the activity descriptions and the most meaningful essays. Then there’s the time needed to work on secondary applications; applicants are often overwhelmed by the number of secondaries they receive and how quickly they need to return them (usually within two weeks of receiving the secondary invitation).
2. Interview time. Once your AMCAS application and secondaries are complete, applicants generally seem to think that they’re done. But if you think interviewing isn’t a time commitment, then think again! Don’t forget to factor in travel time and interview prep time, not to mention the time that goes into each individual interview.
3. A new writing style. Writing your personal statement and secondary essays requires a very different style of writing than anything that you’ve probably done before. These are not policy papers or research papers, but personal stories, narratives. Don’t underestimate the importance of this change in style – an essay that reads like a research paper will do nothing to draw the reader in and convince him that you’re an intriguing character worth getting to know better. You need to spend a great deal of time thinking about your experiences as stories and then figuring out how to relate those stories in the most compelling way possible.
The advice in this post is based on a conversation we had in our recent webinar, Ask The Experts: Medical School Admissions Q&A with Cydney Foote and Alicia McNease Nimonkar. Check out the full transcript for more tips on applying to med school successfully!