This is the most gruesome part to the pre-medical journey yet – in my opinion. From writing a million essays to making sure every little detail is accurate and perfect, applying to medical school is definitely a bittersweet feeling that I have grown to have a love/hate relationship with. It’s like, “you’ve gotten this far, but will this be as far as you go?”
[insert daunting Beethoven’s ‘5th Symphony’ here]
*dun dun DUUUUUUN*
M(ai) Applying to Medical School series will be a quadrilogy, creating a clear cut picture on all four corners of the map to applying to medical school. Enjoy!
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THE PRELUDE: Preparing for Applications
- Be sure. By this time, you should already know for sure that you want to become a physician since you are preparing for applications. If not, you need to understand that being a part of the medical field as a physician will be one of the biggest, most expensive and longest commitment you will have to make. Don’t take this decision lightly.
- Take your MCAT. Make sure you have taken your Medical College Admissions Test and are happy with the results. You will be sending your most recent score to the schools you want to apply to. No school has a ‘minimum’ score per se, but you should research the average MCAT scores for students who have matriculated at the schools you are interested in applying in.
- Log your experiences. Everything you do/join, whether it’s work, volunteering, hobbies, etc., and everything you receive, such as awards and scholarships, should be logged from the moment you graduate high school until college graduation. You should keep a personal log of your hours, time frames, and an email and a phone number from at least one person you have worked with in every experience you wish to include in your application.
- Update your Pre-Health advisor. I meet with my advisor at least once a month to update her on any new activities I am involved in, to ask her for advice, or just to talk to her about life. It’s essential to develop a good relationship with your advisor, as they play a key role in guiding you on a smooth transition from undergrad to med student.
- Go to your professors’ office hours. Where do you think recommendation letters come from? Do you honestly think your professor will remember you if you didn’t make the effort to go to their office hours to develop a good, professional relationship with them, let alone give you a positive recommendation letter to medical school?
- Take your pre-requisites. Make sure you have taken or are planning to take all the required classes to be able to get into medical school. Generally, the pre-requisite classes for pre-meds are:
- 2 semesters of General Chemistry (also referred to as Inorganic Chemistry)
- 2 semesters of General Chemistry Lab
- 2 semesters of Organic Chemistry
- 2 semesters of Organic Chemistry Lab
- 2 semesters of Biology
- 1 semester of Biology Lab
- 2 semesters of Physics
- 2 semesters of Physics Lab
- 1 semester of Biochemistry and Lab
- Composition and Rhetoric English
- Behavioral Sciences (Humanities, Sociology, Psychology, etc.)
For exact pre-requisites at different medical colleges, click here!
7. Follow @AAMC_PreMed on Twitter. This account is run by the official Association of American Medical Colleges. I suggest turning on their post-notifications because especially around the time to apply, they post important news that are relevant to those applying. They post tips about certain parts of the application, especially on the topics are particularly more difficult to grasp. They also post important announcements, such as when MCAT registration opens, certain deadlines, when the AAMC website is down, when MCAT scores are up, and the like.
8. M.D. or D.O.? Would you like to become an allopathic or osteopathic doctor? This will determine the different application systems you would be using to apply for your prospective schools. Generally, M.D. schools are within AMCAS and D.O. schools are within AACOMAS. Depending on what you choose, you should sign up for an account on either AAMC.org or AACOM.org. These are where you will be accessing your applications. Neither one is better than the other, but I personally choose to go the allopathic route and therefore have more knowledge about AAMC than AACOM.
9. Save money. These applications and official transcript requests are not cheap. The more schools you apply to, the more you will have to pay.
10. Why medicine? What fuels your fire? Why choose this profession over anything else? What makes you asset to the field? What sets you apart? Do you know what it takes? Do you have what it takes?
An update of my life this summer:
- I traveled a lot.
- I traveled to Cancun for a dance competition, called Dancer’s Paradise, to support my studio’s competitive adult hip-hop team, The Neighborhood. I met so many people from teams from around the world. I learned a bit about some of their cultural background and made some new friends and even more memories!
- I traveled to the Philippines on a Bermejo family reunion to see my grandparents renew their vows at their golden anniversary wedding. 50 years of uninterrupted marriage is a rare find these days. It was refreshing to see all my cousins grown-up, each with their quirks and goals to achieve in life. Also, my boyfriend came with me to meet my dad’s side of the family- another barrier broken, woohoo! Needless to say, he was welcomed with open arms, and was loved by my family. Another set of wonderful memories made, and I can’t wait for my next vacation back to the Motherland!
- I went on a road trip along the Southern U.S. with my mom’s side of the family when I came back from the Philippines. I missed my siblings so much, and I was so happy to bond with them and to see their growth. My favorite memory from this trip was running frantically with my entire family in the cold rain atop the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee and North Carolina. Although we were soaking wet and freezing by the time we got into the van, it was a hilarious snippet of “Survival of the Fittest.”
How this will benefit my career: surrounding myself in diverse places. Meeting new people with different upbringings, characters, and attitudes will only expand my knowledge on how to communicate and empathize with people of different cultures. This skill would be needed to give the best service to my future patients of various backgrounds.
- I finished my last undergraduate summer semester! Aced my two courses with flying colors.
- And, of course, I have been working on my applications, and learning as much as I could on how to best do them, so I can give you the best advice that I possibly can.
I am truly excited to graduate in May 2019 with two degrees as a 20 year-old. I have been so caught up in trying to get into medical school that I almost completely forgot that this was my last year of college! It is definitely a humbling feeling to know that I am almost done with my undergraduate career, and realizing this has only boosted my motivation and confidence to reach my ultimate goal: Maius Bianca L. Bermejo, M.D.
“Only look back to see how far you’ve come.”