Applying to Medical School
Applying to medical school
1) If you intend to apply to a medical degree program (MD or DO), please complete the HPAC applicant form online by February 27. The Health Professions Advisory Committee (HPAC) needs to be aware of your plans in order to best advise you and to provide you with a committee letter.
2) Please request letters of recommendation by the spring of your junior year and have all recommendations sent to the Health Professions Committee by May before you apply. This will help the pre-med committee to prepare "committee letters". The committee letter will be a composite recommendation drawing on, and directly quoting from, your individual recommendation letters. You should have your letters of recommendation sent to your HPAC advisor from 3 science professors and another outside professor. You may also have recommendations from research mentors and physicians you've shadowed. In addition, HPAC will need a resume/CV with some other information about who you are and what sort of things you've done here at Beloit and in the summers.
3) Take the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) preferably in the spring (or early summer) of the year in which you plan to apply. Make sure you prepare well. Study, take practice exams, and then take more practice exams. Exam prep courses help too because they expose you to the nature of the questions and to the exhaustion of the process.
4) Get your application completed as soon as possible. Applications become available the beginning of May and application submissions begin the beginning of June. Medical school admissions are highly competitive and most schools operate on a rolling admissions basis, evaluating each application as it is submitted. It is therefore to your advantage to submit your application as early as possible.
You will submit your application through the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS). AMCAS has lots of useful information for applicants, including FAQs, tutorials, etc. You should visit AMCAS and read all you can about applying well before you actually begin working on your application.
5) Make sure your personal statement on your application provides evidence of your strengths as an applicant, why you are passionate about (and prepared for) a career in medicine, and what makes you special as an applicant.
Do NOT write "I want to be a doctor because I like to help people." Instead, show how you are driven/motivated through actions you discuss in your essay. Your essay is the way medical schools distinguish you from all the other qualified and competitive students who apply.
6) Send your personal statement to pre-med advisors to critique at least several weeks before you put it in your application. Your advisors will be very critical, and you should plan to write and rewrite your essay multiple times. Think about who you are and what you want medical school admissions committees to know about you.
7) Make sure that your personal statement essay is great, and without ANY errors. Proofread and re-proof; read and proof again.
8) All medical schools you apply to will ask you to submit secondary applications. This process will take a lot of time during the fall of the year.
9) If you are asked for an interview, it's important. Of people who interview, 50% will be accepted. If you are invited to interview, reply as soon as possible. Interviews are at your expense. When you go for an interview, wear a business suit. Get a haircut. Write thank you notes.
10) It's OK to call or email medical schools to confirm that they have received your application materials. Sometimes there are delays in receiving or processing all your materials. If you don't hear from everyone about a secondary application, you may call about that also.
11) If you are applying to osteopathic (DO) medical schools, read up on how osteopathic schools and osteopathic medicine differ from regular “allopathic” medical schools and medical practice. Shadow an osteopathic physician, ask them about their career. Many osteopathic medical schools strongly suggest, or require, a letter of recommendation from a DO you've shadowed. Osteopaths you shadow, and DO admissions committees, will want to know why you want to be an osteopathic physician. “Because it’s easier to get into DO schools” is not an answer that will win friends or acceptance letters.
Remember, the professors on HPAC are there to help you get into medical school.
Also, you can get books on applying to medical school from all the good bookstores. It wouldn’t hurt to buy one.