I am a miracle made up of particles and in this existence I'll stay persistent and I'll make a difference and I will have lived it - Medicine for the People

Some Encouragement For Your Tuesday

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Hello lovely people, I hope you are all having the most wonderful Tuesday. I wanted to write a brief post specifically for those of you who are in the middle of the current application cycle because honestly, filling out secondaries can be an absolute nightmare. Most of you are probably faced with 10-30 apps that all require at least one essay (or five, depending on the school) on various topics ranging from typical (Please discuss a recent volunteer experience) to difficult (Write about how you would handle a bioethical issue as a physician) to downright strange (If you could re-name yourself, what name would you choose and why?). Writing well-thought out essays that are tailored to the individual school's values and mission can be exhausting and it's easy to get bogged down under the enormity of the task ahead. 

This is the important part of the post so pay attention - no matter how stressful it feels, you have to remember that your first priority is getting those apps out as soon as possible. Unfortunately, this isn't the message that most of you will hear. I was given terrible advice when I was filling out applications including the suggestion that a month or more was a perfectly acceptable time to sit on an app. Luckily, I listened to the one person who told me that if I could manage a short turnaround (days rather than weeks) I would be in good shape. Their logic was this: the earlier you send in your application, the less competition you will have to get an interview. It makes sense. It also shows the school that you are eager and excited to be applying. If the admissions committee member who reads your application has only read 50 or so others, that gives you a much better chance of standing out than if you are one of 500 and they will be impressed at how quickly you were able to put everything together. While not necessarily prominent, there is feedback out there highlighting the importance of good timing - check out this well-written and informative piece on why applicants fail to get into medical school and you'll see "submitting a late application" on the list. 

I'm not saying all of this to scare you, quite the opposite. I wanted to offer some words of encouragement because you CAN do this! For me, what really helped was setting a strict goal. I gave myself a week from receipt of an invitation email to fill out a secondary to submit it and I took this deadline very seriously. For the most part, I was able to submit before the week was up but there were one or two apps that took a little longer and that was OK, I refused to penalize myself, I just determined to try harder and do better. Overall though, I treated that deadline like it was set in stone. I didn't go out, watch TV, or relax until I was sure that I was up-to-date on sending things in. And you know what? It was awful, for a few weeks, but then I was done. In a very short amount of time I was completely free and it felt like a breath of fresh air. 

I really hope this helps anyone who might be lagging behind a bit or losing steam! As always, feel free to comment below with your own suggestions or if you have any questions for me.

PS I am still working on getting advice from current med students (and medical  professionals involved in the admissions process) on LOIs and I'm also doing a little experiment on my own so stay tuned for a post on that coming soon!


Post a Comment