When you apply to TMDSAS, you can select from ten medical schools in Texas to submit your application to. Only five of these schools require secondaries. The secondary essays are due when you submit your primary application. You submit the essays directly to each school at the same time that you submit your primary application on the TMDSAS website. These five schools will not review your application until you have submitted both the primary and secondary essays. These five schools include: the UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Texas A & M HSC College of Medicine, Texas Tech University HSC School of Medicine, the University of North Texas HSC, Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine and Texas Tech University HSC Paul L. Foster School of Medicine at El Paso.
To submit your best work, use these five strategies:
1. Plan for Success by getting started early
Since your application will not be considered until both the primary and secondary essays are submitted, give yourself enough time to work on all of these essays well before any of the schools’ final deadlines. Create a timeline for yourself. If you need additional time to write the essays because you are a slow writer, include this time in your plan. Set reasonable goals. Have deadlines for your first drafts as well as second and third drafts. Academic success is determined by your ability to set and reach small goals. I don’t recommend using the final deadlines as a milepost for any of your work as this would be considered waiting until the last minute. If you are procrastinating or self-sabotaging, I recommend you take a long hard look at that behavior since it needs to be addressed before you can allow yourself to earnestly approach any academic endeavor.
2. Take your time with the writing process
Trust the process! Rarely does anyone write a first draft and expect anyone else to deem it perfection. It’s not realistic to expect that your first draft will be your final draft. Include a period of brainstorming, outlining, writing a first draft and revising repeatedly until you have created a final draft. Reading the essay questions and giving yourself enough time to think about them and how you will approach each writing task that they represent will help. Build enough time into each step so that you can glide through the process. Anticipate the challenges and create strategies to manage each one.
3. Use outlines to map out a plan for each essay
Can you imagine how a house would turn out if there was no plan for how to build it? It would not be habitable. Outlines are to essays what blueprints are to building. The outline provides the plans. It provides the structure for your essay. It should stand firm, like a house. Taking the time to create outlines can set your essays apart from everyone else’s work.
4. Take breaks from each draft
In anticipating the massive amount of writing that you will need to do in applying to medical school, schedule time to work on your essays almost every day. You do need to take breaks from your work in order to see it clearly. Work on one essay while taking a break from another. Be efficient in your approach. I’m not recommending that you take weeks off unless you have given yourself enough time to do so.
5. Edit and Revise your work
This step is actually the most important in the writing process. It takes time to edit and revise. So few people spend time on it, and then they submit unfinished or undeveloped essays. If you have created a strong outline, your essay will require less editing, but you’ll still need to edit and revise your work. Spend enough time on editing and revising to ensure that you can submit your best work.
It can be easier to have another person critique and edit your work. Working with a professional consultant and editor like me or my colleagues at Accepted can give you a significant advantage and save you time.
Using these five strategies will ensure that you have an easier time completing your essays for the TMDSAS application. Most people don’t like to write, but your writing is one of the most revealing aspects of your application. It introduces you as a person to the evaluation committee. Make sure your writing process introduces your best You.
Alicia McNease Nimonkar is an Accepted advisor and editor specializing in healthcare admissions. Prior to joining Accepted, Alicia worked for five years as Student Advisor at UC Davis’ postbac program where she both evaluated applications and advised students applying successfully to med school and related programs.
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