AdmissionsGraduate SchoolMedical School

Top 5 Priorities for Medical School Applicants Right Now

By January 29, 2024 No Comments

If you’re planning to apply to MD programs in May/June of 2024 for matriculation in 2025, there are a few essential items you should focus on right now. Below, our Med School Advisor, Jen Earls M.Ed., details the top five priorities to set you up for success in the upcoming admissions process:

1. Craft a Compelling Personal Statement (Jan. – Feb. 2024)

The personal statement is your opportunity to showcase your passion for medicine and why you’re choosing to dedicate your life to becoming a physician. Reflect on your timeline of life events and the personal experiences that have fueled your desire to become a doctor. Reference these 7 Tips from the AAMC on writing your personal statement as well as these AAMC website tips from three pre-health advisors for insights to create a standout personal statement.

2. Secure Strong Letters of Recommendation (Jan. – Feb. 2024) 

Recommendation letters play a crucial role in providing a comprehensive view of your capabilities and character to admissions committees. Identify individuals who know you well and can speak to your academic, clinical, service, and leadership experiences. It’s important to ensure that each of your letter writers can comment on 1-3 different professional competencies that medical school admissions committees are looking for, and it’s helpful if once they’ve agreed to write a letter for you, that you inform them which competencies you’d like them to write about. Lastly, providing each of your letter writers with the AAMC’s Guidelines for Writing a Letter of Evaluation for a Medical School Applicant will provide with them with the information they’ll need to write a strong recommendation for you.

3. Write Out Up To 15 Work and Activities Experiences (March – April 2024)

The Work and Activities section of your application is an opportunity to showcase your diverse involvement in extracurricular activities. Reflect on your journey, emphasizing experiences that have shaped your understanding of healthcare, teamwork, service and leadership. The AAMC’s Work and Activities section overview provides guidance on how to effectively detail your experiences to create compelling narratives. Again, it’s important to ensure that each of your descriptions demonstrates the various professional competencies that medical schools are looking for in incoming students.

4. Curate a Thoughtful School List (March – April 2024)

Building a list of ~20-25 medical schools to apply to requires strategic planning. Consider factors such as school mission, clinical opportunities, location, curriculum, and more. Having a spreadsheet or some other way to organize your research is wise. Also, make sure you have a least 3 personal reasons for why you want to go to each school and how your experiences and interests match these aspects of the school’s unique offerings. The AAMC’s Medical School Admissions Requirements (MSAR) tool is an essential resource you’ll want to use for researching different medical schools.

5. Take the MCAT (Jan. – April 2024)

If you haven’t done so already, studying for and performing solidly on the MCAT is a core step in the application process. Ideally, it’s best to have your score by early May 2024 for the upcoming cycle as your score will help you decide if you’re ready to apply or if you should wait, and your score will impact your school list, i.e., which schools are within your range to apply to. Devise a study plan that aligns with your strengths and weaknesses. Utilize reputable study materials and practice exams, and consider joining study groups for support. The AAMC offers several free and paid MCAT planning and study resources including practice exams and guides to help you prepare effectively.

In conclusion, as an aspiring medical student, you should focus on the above 5 priorities right now to ensure you have a competitive, well-rounded application and can navigate the upcoming admissions process with confidence.

We understand this can seem overwhelming, so if you’d like personalized, 1-1 support with your process to increase your chances of successful admission, reach out to us at info@galined.com for a free consultation with one of our Galin Education – Medical School Admissions Advisors to see how we can support you.

Our team of Advisors at Galin Education is wishing you well on your journey!