Are you thinking about applying to med school in the future, but you're unsure where to begin? Don’t worry, you're not alone! Applying to med school can be a bit overwhelming, as there are so many components that go into the process, but in the end it will all be worth it. To put you at ease, there are a few things that can be done to ensure that you are on the right track!
Research is the key to success.
It's never too early to start! The moment you realize becoming a physician is your end goal, it's time to begin your in-depth search of the steps it takes to reach it. The key to guaranteeing that you are doing everything possible is research! Research the potential schools you're interested in; their location, the academic requirements, the acceptance rates, etc. Try to gather everything you can get your hands on! The more information you can get, the more prepared you will be when you start the application process.
Get familiar with the admissions team.
Start to build a connection with the admissions board of the potential schools on your list! Every prospective student is curious about their future, so ask your questions early to familiarize yourself with the individuals that will one day receive your professional application. It will not necessarily lead to a higher chance of acceptance; rather, it is to make the admissions team aware of your presence instead of just another name on the list. Plus, this will help you gain more information about the school, adding to all that research, which can help you decide which one is best for you. All in all, it's a win-win situation!
Don't forget about reference letters.
While the information you gather about your prospective med schools is important, do not forget about reference letters! To gain a better perspective of who you are as an individual, many schools will ask you to submit a few letters written by professionals you have encountered in your life. It goes without saying, you want to ensure that the person who will write the letter have a special relationship with you to stand out in the application process. It is best to keep in mind who you would like to ask as you go through high school and college. The advantage of thinking in advance is how genuine the letters will be. For example, if you have a good relationship with a professor, it may be more difficult for them to write a unique recommendation letter 3 years later when you are applying to med school as opposed to if they were to write it the year they taught you. Preparedness is never a bad quality to have!
Proactive thinking is one of the best pieces of advice we can give prospective med students. Always try to be ahead of the game. This process is long and tough. You can always do something to better prepare yourself for the future. Think about your prospective schools and reference letters, get to know the admissions team, and remember, research is key! You've got this!