When you are a pre-med student, you likely understand how difficult it is to juggle many different aspects of your life all at the same time. You’ve been pursuing academic excellence, clinical experience, and a way to retain your sanity by the time you reach the summer of medical school applications. It takes impeccable organization to make the pieces of your life “fit,” and this organization is even more important once you reach the moment when it’s time to apply to medical school.
Well, for many of you, application season has arrived, and you are poised to put all of your hard work to the test. Everything in the medical school applications process is time-sensitive, so peak organization is key. For example, when you completed your primary application and submitted it last month, you needed to gather all of the information to complete the body of work that is your undergraduate experience. If you used your Code Blue Essays Clinical Experience Journal, you know how much it pays off to keep information organized.
Transcripts, CVs, Clinical Experience descriptions, and requests for recommendations all needed to be compiled and submitted. As you well know, once your primary essay is submitted, your work continues. Secondaries are being sent to students as you read this – you may have one in your inbox right now! During this process, keeping a good organizational system is a must. Keep reading for our tips.
- Organize all of your application information
Having a central location where you keep track of information regarding your active applications helps you ensure that you don’t miss any deadlines or required submissions. At Code Blue, we recommend creating a spreadsheet or document with sections for each application. In those sections, track the steps you have taken to complete the application in question as you complete them. Organize relevant dates. Keep track of usernames and passwords needed for particular applications. Gather secondary application questions (or likely questions) and collect your responses. Rank your top schools that are still possibilities. This document should be a one-stop shop for anything you may need while completing your application, and it will help guide you in determining what you should prioritize.
At this stage, secondary essay due dates should be at the forefront. Some secondary deadlines are sooner than others. Check this list for school-specific deadlines for secondaries.
- Be proactive with your Secondaries
Your large number of “to-dos” during application season can be overwhelming. When you submitted your primary application, it probably felt like the culmination of years of hard work (because it was!) The hurry-up-and-wait nature of your primary and secondary application process means that you cannot remain complacent for too long. At Code Blue Essays, we encourage students to draft likely secondary essays before they even officially receive secondary applications. Under this mentality, you will not be in the position of getting bogged down by all of your secondary applications at once – and you won’t be rushing to complete them when they finally do come.
Secondary application topics can be somewhat predictable. Most institutions ask why you have an interest in their program in particular. Be prepared with a well-written, edited answer for this, especially for your top choice schools. You can locate past secondary essays here, and current versions are being added as they are accessed. Having a concrete idea about possible questions allows you to work ahead to some extent.
When you do get your secondary essay prompts, knowing where to start can be difficult. One tip from Code Blue Essays is to start with the application with the highest number of secondary questions. Once you complete those questions, you will likely be able to recycle your answers for other applications asking similar questions. Part of your commitment to organization requires that you proof each essay and tailor it to the school in question. Sloppy errors do not go unnoticed by admissions committees.
- Do not get behind with communication
Now is not the time to allow yourself to get behind on email! Medical schools send you secondary applications and communicate with you on an individual basis once you clear the primary application process through AMCAS. Missing a secondary application can mean getting behind by weeks or even months in the application process. Since we are dealing with rolling admissions, every day counts when it comes to getting your secondary applications submitted.
As you receive pertinent communications, log them in the organizational document we detailed above. Recording this information may come in handy later in case you get bogged down with multiple applications all at different stages.
Being organized just feels better. Your mental health, as always, is of utmost importance as you work your way through application season. If your life feels like an unorganized disaster, that is what you put forth in your secondary application essays. You give interviewers a tiny window into your state of being when you go for interviews and feel discombobulated. Don’t let that happen. Contact us at Code Blue Essays so we can help you get organized – whether it’s helping you with your secondary essay edits, interview coaching, or general admissions counseling, you can count on us to keep you in order this application season. Contact us today so we can help!