MedEdits | Medical School Admissions Consulting

Monday, December 22, 2008

Applicants: A Strategy For The New Year

It is important for everyone, regardless of your stage in the application process, to regroup during the holiday season and devise a strategy for the new year. Below, see the category that applies to you for suggestions regarding what you should consider for the new year:

1) Premedical students applying in 2010 or beyond: Assess your coursework, research, clinical, volunteer and teaching experiences and identify any gaps in your background. Plan valuable activities for your summers and gap year(s).

2) Premedical students applying in 2009/2010: If you haven't already taken or registered for the MCAT, consider when you will take it. Ideally, you should take the MCAT as early as possible. Consider who will write your letters of reference. Start brainstorming about personal statement and application entry topics. Consider where you will apply and submit your application as early as possible.

3) Premedical students applying this year who haven't yet received any interviews: Evaluate your candidacy objectively and identify the reasons why you have not received any interview invitations. Contact schools and send update letters if you haven't yet received rejections. Start planning your reapplication strategy NOW in the event that you need to reapply.

4) Premedical students applying this year who have interviews but no acceptances: Send letters of intent and update letters to schools where you have interviewed. Start thinking about a strategy if you are not accepted to medical school this year. Continue to refine your interview skills for any upcoming interviews.

5) Premedical students applying this year with medical school acceptances: Think about which school would be the best fit for you. Evaluate medical schools based on curriculum, educational environment, facilities, reputation, residency placement success and location. Write letters of intent or update letters for schools to which you have not been accepted that are "higher on your list."

6) First and second year medical students: Study, study, study. Your USMLE Step 1 score is a crucial ingredient for your future success.

7) Third year medical students and anyone applying for residency in 2009/2010 or later: Start thinking about your specialty choice. Begin to seek out away electives and think about who you will ask to write letters of reference. If you have chosen your specialty, consider getting involved in a research project or joining a national organization/committee in your chosen specialty.

8) Fourth year medical students and anyone applying for residency and fellowship this year: Evaulate programs objectively and thinking about your rank order list. Consider programs' teaching curriculum, faculty, reputation, job placement success and geography. Also consider your future plans (are you interested in community or academic practice, for example) and which program(s) will help you succeed. Stay energized for the remainder of the season and make sure your answers don't start to sound "canned." Give programs at least 2 weeks notice if you cancel. Plan second looks and write letters of intent.

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