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

AMCAS Verification: How To Get Those Apps in Early

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Today I was thrilled to receive notification that my AMCAS (primary) application has gone out to all of my designated schools. This was extremely exciting mainly because last year it took over six weeks for my primary to be verified which was agonizing because during that time I had friends who were filling out secondaries and already getting interview invites. This year it took less than ten days! A reader recently asked what I did to improve my application as I apply for this second round and while I'm excited to share with you all the things that I improved and added to my resume I also want to stress the very real and deep importance of getting your applications in early.
Last year I wasn't quite as on the ball as I had wanted to be. I dawdled with my application and didn't send in my transcript requests quite early enough. I ended up submitting my primary a mere few weeks after it opened and somehow still ended up stuck in line behind thousands of other applications that were waiting to be verified. What I didn't think about was how this affected my chances for success. Although I believe that a large part of being accepted is a numbers game as well as a mixture of other factors (your readiness, how you come across in your application, your research hours etc.), I think there's also a strategy to applying. You won't receive any secondaries until schools have processed your primary so the sooner you get that in, the sooner you can finish your individual applications. For example, turning around a secondary within 1 or two days puts you ahead of all the students who decide to wait a week or so to submit theirs. This means that your application is put into a smaller pile to review. It's easier for you to stand out when you're being compared with ten other students versus one hundred other students. 
The upshot of this whole post is, if you haven't gotten your primary in yet then DO IT. NOW. Don't even finish reading this post just get cracking. Or maybe finish reading this post if you're stuck and aren't sure how to proceed.
I think the biggest thing that people struggle with is the personal statement and I'm going to let you in on a little secret. Don't listen to all the crazy people online who say contradictory things like "don't get too personal" or "do lie and say you've wanted to be a doctor since you exited the womb." All you need to do is be sincere. Be genuine and honest and adcoms will be able to tell when they read it. They'll get a better idea for the kind of person you are. Definitely don't just reiterate what you've already discussed in your activities section. Think about the meaningful experiences that have brought you to today and this application and weave a narrative. You don't have to be too rich in detail but make sure your essay flows. Have a friend or two read it. I say friend here and I mean friend, not some doctor that you shadowed or some fancy professor who you think will be able to give you some magical advice on how to edit your essay so that you'll definitely get in. Your friends and family know you the best of all and will be the most helpful when it comes to the one piece of writing that is supposed to encompass you as a person and explain your passion for medicine to medical schools.
OK NOW you guys can get to it. Good luck! It's not as hard as you think and trust me, the feeling when you hit that submit button will last you all day :)

Applications, AMCAS, Medical School

2 comments:

Johnny Corcoran said...

A moderator on student doctor network said that AMCAS had some issues that significantly delayed the verification process for everyone last year. I wouldn't be surprised if secondaries were sent out much earlier this year than last.

Chantal Mendes said...

Hey Johnny, thanks for the comment! While the verification process was delayed last year if you notice the AMCAS website still states that it could take up to 6 weeks for verification. This is true every year and I've talked to other students who are currently in medical school and they told me the same thing - the earlier you apply, the sooner you are verified (it's pretty simple when you think about it, they have less apps to go through on a given day so yours is in a smaller pile). Also, as far as I know, schools don't send out secondaries immediately. There's usually a date where they'll start sending them out (so if you are verified before that date you have to wait a while to get a secondary sent to you. If you are verified after then you will get a deluge of secondaries all at once most likely). Hope this clears things up a bit!

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