April 28th, 2009 admin
If you’re a long-time reader you might remember catching a mention that my sweetie has been working hard at applying to med school for some time now. We started discussing his goal to be a doctor right about when we met.
Well, finally, almost four years later, he got accepted!!!
It was a long, hard road, but it was worth it. I wanted to share our story with you pre-med students out there so you can get a feel for what the med school application process is really like.
The First Time Around
I’m not going to sugar-coat it: med school prep was hard, discouraging work, and we were completely in the dark about the process, which made it that much harder.
Ideally, he would have:
- Studied for 6 months beforehand, and taken his MCAT during his Junior year of college,
- Done some volunteering at a hospital or other medical facility,
- Had some medical-related work experience,
- Had lots of other volunteer service in non-medical fields to show diversity,
- Built a bond with several professors and medical professionals who could write him letters of recommendation,
- Gotten straight A’s,
- Found out about financial aid for the application fees for low-income med school applicants,
- Gone to the career center to find out more about writing an essay, interviewing, the services they offer to med school applicants, and deadlines, and,
- Submitted his application at the very beginning of the cycle, in early June. (Most schools interview and admit as the applications come in, so waiting too late can make it much harder to get accepted.)
Unfortunately, we had no clue about any of this, so instead he took his MCAT the summer after Junior year, which put his application far behind, which meant that he got fewer secondaries and only one interview. We didn’t know about fee assistance, so we paid out a LOT of money for primary and secondary applications. He also was unable to take advantage of all the Career Center had to offer, because he didn’t know about it.
For more about how to prepare, check out this post about how to prepare for med school early.
The Second Time Around
When the rejection letters started arriving one after another, it was a big, painful hit to the heart. Every day my sweetie would head straight to the mailbox upon getting home, only to pull out another of the dreaded small envelopes. To say it was hard on him would be a gross understatement.
I was so proud of him, though, because it really lit a fire under him. He scooped up a collection of really good recommendation letters, started volunteering at a hospital, worked two jobs, and got straight A’s the last few quarters of college. He went to the Career Center and found out about a lot of the things in that list I wrote above, and almost the first day applications were open, he submitted his second round of applications to medical school.
Easy As… Rocket Science
But then came the waiting. Secondaries came, and then more waiting. Three months later he had his first interview, but not until the following February did he finally finish his last interview.
And then… you guessed it. More waiting. Rejections. Waitlists. Checking the mailbox every day. calling admissions offices periodically to check his status. Watching his email inbox like a hawk. Passing deadline after deadline, until finally, just last Wednesday, two years after he started studying for his MCAT, he finally got an acceptance. We were excited, relieved, and awed that the day finally came. (And we celebrated true broke-student style by getting some Chinese takeout. Haha.)
The Moral of the Story
Unless you are the rare “perfect candidate,” the med school application process is going to be a very humbling process. You’ll feel defeated, exhausted, and under-qualified again and again. The good news, however, is that you can (and should!) try again. Do your homework, research, talk to other students, and take every opportunity to improve your application, essay, and interview skills. (Try StudentDoctor.net for message boards and helpful articles.)
Good luck, and remember, don’t give up!
Entry Filed under: grad school