This topic is difficult to broach for many reasons. In my opinion, as a re-applicant, having been recently accepted into one of my top choice schools (so far), these tips are essential for success:
1. Know your worth. Regardless of whether you get in this cycle or not, you are WORTHY of medical school. If you have gotten to the point where, like me you know you will not be getting into medical school for the first, or third, time. This is not a reflection of who you are, it just means there is more that you can do to be more competitive next time *If medicine is REALLY what you want*.
2. Apply EARLY. The American Medical College Application System (AMCAS) opens in late May and you are allowed to submit early June. The three longest sections on the AMCAS application are the grades section, the 15 activities, and the personal statement. ● Inputting grades can be trumatic for some students. It can feel like reliving moments of failure. Give yourself time to process and reflect on your past, then, LET IT GO. Your grades are not a reflection of who you are and when you become an amazing practicing physician, premeds like you will want to hear your story of TRIUMPH! ● The 15 activities section, is a section dedicated to your top undergraduate activities. It ranges from community service to research to artistic endeavors and you can list 15 activities max. This list is something you can begin working on way in advance. Do not feel pressured to have 15 activities, in my opinion, 10 or more is sufficient. *Make sure your activities show an obvious interest in health care.* If that is not the case, maybe there is another passion that you have that you are neglecting in a pursuit of medicine that may not be for you. ● Give yourself at least 6 months to work on your personal statement. Have at least three “editors” and make sure at least one of them knows you well. That way if you are selling yourself short, they can call you out and give you anecdotal evidence to prove how AMAZING you are.
3. *Apply Broadly.* One of my mentors, when speaking to competitiveness, told me that though there is a minimum metric requirement (for GPA and MCAT) to be considered for medical school, one should not aim for that requirement, one should try to do better. I totally understood where she was coming from, competitiveness is relative, in that, you want your metrics to be as high as they can be. However, there are plenty of students who have gotten into medical school on the minimum requirements. This usually means that they also had a great personal statement and overcame adversities in addition to meeting the required metrics. Having been one such student, I want to urge any student applying on the minimum requirement to “apply broadly”. This means that you apply to medical schools across the U.S. and even internationally if you are interested in international schools. The average that I have heard, and from data I have collected, is about 25 schools. This is includes schools in the Midwest who want well rounded applicants from diverse backgrounds and ethnicities. This also includes your top choices schools and schools with a track record for selecting students like you, whomever you may be.
4. Be Real With Yourself. When you look at your metrics, if they are not competitive (See Master’s vs. Post Bacc), do NOT rush into applying. Give yourself YOUR BEST CHANCE to get in. I say this because time will pass either way, so you might as well take your time and get it right Overall, know that anyone can get into medical school. Meaning, that if you put the time in and get the scores you need, and have an obvious commitment to the medical field, YOU can get into medical school P.S. If you do not choose to do a formal post baccalaureate or master’s program, but you need to boost your science gpa, FEEL FREE to do an informal post bacc. This means you take science classes on your own and at your own pace. DO NOT RETAKE classes you got at least a C in. Just move on, because there are some many upper division science courses you can take like Immunology, Histology, and Embryology, that will showcase your ability to do well, better than trying to retake the Organic Chemistry class you got a C in during your time in college. I hope this post makes you feel better equipped to tackle whatever path to medicine you choose. Sincerely
Your Sister in Solidarity,
Onome Oboh, MSMD Candidate ‘21
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