Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Beginning

So I guess I should start by getting everyone up to speed...

I am a senior Biology major at Umass Dartmouth and I am on the pre-med track. I work in an Immunology lab on campus and I work as a dispatcher for a local fire department. Now I don't want to bore you with a long list of details, so if you're interested, you can check out my LinkedIn page here.

The application process for medical school is a very long one and it is definitely not something you can just decide to do last minute. At the very latest, you should probably make up your mind about medical school by your junior year of college unless you really like playing catch-up. For me, I decided that I wanted to be a physician during high school. 

You may be wondering about the application itself. What does it entail? How long is it? What do you need for it? Well, the application is through an online service called AMCAS. For the application, you need a transcript from every college you every went to, a personal statement, all of  your MCAT standardized test scores, at least three letters of reference, and most importantly, a lot of patience. In addition to all of those materials, you also need to fill out form after form about yourself, your family, and about your education. You would think that the testing service would be content with having your official transcripts, but this is not the case. You are required to type in every course you have ever taken exactly how it appears on your transcripts and assign your grade to each course. To me, this seems slightly redundant. AMCAS then makes you promise that you were ethical and truthful and that all the information you entered was correct. They then compare what you entered to the information on your transcript to make sure you really weren't lying and that you didn't spell out the class "Advanced Immunology" when your transcript lists it as "Adv. Immuno." 

After a good few weeks of filling out the application and waiting for AMCAS to verify it, I was finally able to submit my application in July of 2011. If you were thinking that I just had to wait to hear yes or no, you are mistaken. After each medical school received my primary application I was required to fill out secondary applications for each and every school and in the case of Umass Medical, I was required to fill out a tertiary form. These applications varied in length. Some schools wanted simple information while others wanted me to solve world hunger in 500 words or less. Needless to say, the latter was less than pleasant.

After I managed to get through all of the paperwork and managed to get my letter writers to submit their parts on time, I am now at the stage that many medical school applicants call "the longest wait of your life," and I'll tell you why. I went on my first interview at Umass Medical School in September, so not too bad right?. At the interview I was told that they would make a decision sometime between October and July. Wait, rewind that, July? While such a long waiting period is not typical for all medical schools, for Umass it is the standard. So, doing some quick and simple calculations, this entire application process could take a solid year! As you can imagine, these past few months have been stressful and I don't think my E-mail will let me refresh it anymore.

Now you are up to speed and you know exactly where I am at in the application process. I have tried to give you a snapshot of what the application is and what it requires. Again, thank you for your interest and please follow this blog by clicking the icon over to your right!


Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson