Although there are still several months before AMCAS opens, it is time to begin preparing your application. If you plan to apply to medical school in the upcoming cycle, it is a good idea to begin working on your medical school applicant checklist early. Medical school applications require many steps to complete correctly. If you begin working on your application early, you will have ample time to complete it. Unfortunately, many prospective students wait until AMCAS opens to begin working on their application. This is not ideal. The medical school application is complex and requires time to prepare properly.
Medical School Applicant Requirements
Before you start working on a medical school application, it is imperative that you have completed the necessary prerequisites. Most medical schools have specific requirements for applicants. It is important that you have completed these requirements prior to submitting your application. Medical schools often list their requirements on their website. In general, most medical school require one year of classwork and laboratory studies in biology, inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry, and physics. In addition, many schools look for coursework in English and calculus. Furthermore, nearly all schools will expect some clinical volunteer work although they may not explicitly state it.
If you discover that you are lacking some medical school requirements, it is time to take inventory. If you are missing a prerequisite course, it may be possible to take the class while you are applying to medical school. However, if you are missing many requirements, it may be wise to postpone your application until you are better prepared. It also important to note that some medical school applicant requirements are more stringent than others. For example, MCAT and GPA requirements are typically somewhat flexible. If your scores are slightly below the school’s requirement, do not lose hope. It is possible to still gain admission if the remainder of your application is impeccable.
Once you have verified that you have completed the necessary prerequisites for medical school, you should turn your attention to the MCAT. Although you can submit a medical school application through AMCAS without reported MCAT scores, most schools with disregard your application until they receive your scores. Medical school applicants have a much better chance of being accepted if they apply early. Therefore, you should make every effort to prevent delays in your application. Taking the MCAT early will help you submit an early application.
The MCAT is offered multiple times throughout the year. In general, you should aim to take the test as early as possible. This is because an early test date will ensure that your scores are reported in time to be reported when you submit your application. In addition, an early exam date gives you the option of taking the test again should you be disappointed with your score. In general, you should not take your MCAT any later than April of the year you plan to apply.
Recommendations and CV
A medical school applicant must secure letters of recommendation. However, they should prepare before requesting these letters. A helpful exercise for the medical school applicant is to write a curriculum vitae. This is useful for several reasons. First, it will help organize your accomplishments and help you identify your strengths. Having an updated CV is also useful for when you approach professors to write your letters of recommendation. Although the ideal situation is for your letter writers to know you well and be aware of your qualifications, this is often not the case. If you provide your professors your CV and a personal statement, they will be more prepared to write strong letters of recommendation on your behalf.
As with the MCAT, many schools will not review an application until the letters of recommendation are available through AMCAS. Therefore, it is wise to request letters of recommendation as early as possible. Most professors write multiple recommendation letters each admissions season. Therefore, budget at least a one month turnaround period for your recommendation letters.
The Personal Statement
It is a good idea to begin your personal statement before AMCAS opens. The personal statement is often the most time-consuming portion of the medical school application. In addition, many applicants find it to be the most difficult portion of the application. Therefore, you should allot plenty of time to write your essay. The personal statement is a vital portion of the medical school application. It allows medical schools to learn about your personal characteristics and values. If you execute your personal statement well, you will gain the attention of medical schools.
The medical school application process is long and complex. It is wise to begin preparing you application long before AMCAS opens. A well-prepared and timely applicant is more likely to gain acceptance to medical school. Here is a convenient application checklist to help you navigate the application process.
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