COM PREP MED - How to get into med school_ The things I wish I did differently
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How to get into med school: The things I wish I did differently

The age old question that a TON of undergraduate students ask every single year. How to get into med school?

Now, there are a ton of articles out there about the requirements that you need to fulfill to get you into medical school.

This article will not be one of those types of articles.

I want to focus on the same topic, but at a different angle. I want to talk to you about all the things I screwed up on, and now looking back wish I would have done differently.

I got into medical school on my first try, but truth be told I only had 3 interviews, I got into one of them, cancelled the other, and got waitlisted on the last.

As I sit here, on a plane on my way to a residency interview, I don’t want you to think that I am being ungrateful for my opportunities. Lets be honest, there are a ton of people out there that got rejected from med school and would die to be in my position.

I am extremely grateful to be where I am, I just would have had way more choices back in the day had I done all the things I am going to talk to you about.

So, without beating around the bush anymore, lets jump in.

These are the things I will be discussing in this article:

  • How I messed up when prepping for the MCAT.
  • What I should have done during undergrad.
  • The Volunteer Trap.
  • But I don’t like to do research.
  • Letters of Recommendation.

How I messed up when prepping for the MCAT.

Truth be told, I didn’t study a whole lot for the MCAT. This stems from my trend of not really studying during undergrad.

I was fairly naieve when it came to studying for the MCAT. I had never worked hard before the MCAT and hadn’t really been seriously challenged.

Also, I did not study the right way for the MCAT.

So, what did I mess up on??

I didn’t study hard in college. My foundation was missing, so when it came time to “review” for the MCAT I was trying to learn things for the first time. Please don’t do this, study hard through college so you are literally just reviewing the material come MCAT prep time.

Another thing I messed up on was not taking advantage of question banks. It is so important to do questions when you are preparing for the MCAT.

Find a question bank that you like and one that you can afford. Get it, and do the questions. I wish I would have done questions in my MCAT prep.

Questions are an incredible way to learn, and I had no idea what I was missing. They were the cornerstone of my medical school board prep and they paid off huge!

And the last thing I wish I would have done a little differently was the prep materials I used.

I attempted to get by without forking over the cash for a solid prep series, be it books or videos.

Be smart and get an MCAT prep video series or book series. I recommend video series programs simply because it is a little bit more interactive then just reading a book passively.

What I should have done during undergrad.

Plain and simple, I should have taken it more serious. Once again though, I am in a situation to be extremely grateful. I absolutely destroyed DO medical school, I got a 4.0, and am heading to my 13th residency interview while I write this article.

Truth be told though, it would have been awesome to be closer to family and friends when I started med school.

So, what I should have done in undergrad to make that happen was study and treat it more seriously. I absolutely hated going to undergrad classes and felt like all I needed to do was to complete the assignments and “jump through the hoop” to get into medical school.

Little did I know that the MCAT has a huge affect on medical school admissions success, and that I would actually have to try to prep for it.

I swear if I had I applied myself in undergrad not only would I have built a great foundation for a successful MCAT, I would have been able to achieve a 4.0 or close to it.

Being more dedicated and committed to my undergrad classes would have opened so many doors for me in terms of medical school admissions.

I plead with you, study hard in undergrad and shoot, not for grades, but for understanding.

I know that a ton of physics has nothing to do with medicine, but it does have to do with you getting into medical school.

The MCAT is a standardized test of understanding, so understand the topics it tests you on to the best of your abilities, and this starts with how hard you study during those courses in undergrad.

The volunteer trap.

When I was trying to figure out where and what kind of volunteer work I would do, I didn’t pay attention to what kind of volunteer work I would actually enjoy.

I focused instead on what would be the easiest to check the box that med school admission committees wanted to see.

What I should have been doing was focus on finding and doing volunteer activities that I enojoyed and also wanted to do.

This is important because when it comes time to talk about those experiences at the medical school interview, you can genuinely be enthusiastic about them.

My favorite volunteer experience of my pre-med years was the time I spent at a soup kitchen. I was so happy to discuss the time I spent there during my interviews, because it was important to me, the time there changed my life.

On the other hand, I volunteered at the ER just because it was simple and easy. I hated my time there and I didn’t want to talk about it. I only did it to add more hours to my application.

Moral of the story is to find volunteer work that you enjoy and that you actually want to do. Not only will you enjoy your time more, but you will be more enthusiastic about it when you discuss it at your interviews.

But I don’t like to do research.

I don’t like doing research at all to put it rather bluntly.

The fact of the matter is though, if I wanted to be more competitive for admission into medical school, then I should have just said screw it, and sought out more opportunities for research.

Looking back on my admissions process, I really wish I would have found some more in depth research that I enjoyed the topic on.

This way, once again I would be energetic and excited to talk about the research that I did and this would come across to the admissions committee in a very positive way.

Moral of the story is that I highly regret not being more actively involved in research opportunites that I was at least interested in.

The research that I did do, was on topics that didn’t interest me all that much and I just did them to simply do them to “check the box” on applications.

If this is the only option that you have, then you have to take it right? Because you need research.

If you have options though, try and do some research that you are a little bit more passionate about.

It will be so much easier to talk about and discuss at interviews, and people will ask you about it, I promise.

Letters of Recommendation.

If you get one thing from this section please let it be that you need to worry about getting your letters of recommendation early.

The sooner you get your letters the better. This doesn’t mean that if you find someone who would write you a better letter that you don’t take them up on it, you absolutely should.

This only means that you should worry about getting all of your required letters done and into the letter distribution software as soon as you can.

Potentially the most important thing about requesting your letters early on, is more related to getting them submitted in a timely manner.

If I cold go back I would start to ask for letters of recommendation at the beginning of sophomore year in undergrad. This would make sure there is plenty of buffer time for the letter writer to write it and get it all submitted.

This can become a problem because the letter writers are busy and have a million things going on. So, it can take quite a bit of time to actually get the letter written and submitted.

Do yourself a favor and ask for the letter early, as in around the beginning of sophomore year.

DO students, make sure you get a DO letter. This means get out and shadow an osteopathic physician.

I hope that by reading this and learning all the things I feel like I did wrong can help you to have a smoother and more successful application process then I did.

I really want you to have choices with regards to what medical school you go to, and not just have one choice like I did.

Once medical school began, I didn’t want to make the same mistakes I made previously. This is how I got a 4.0 in med school and was 100% prepared for residency applications.

Don’t make the same mistakes in medical school, join the waitlist for my e-book on how to succeed in osteopathic medical school.

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