In Canada, you are allowed to apply to a handful of medical schools while in third year but the number of third years that get in is not very high because you’ve had less time to do extracurriculars, boost your GPA, etc. I’m not confident that I’m competitive to get in but I’m still going to try because as Wayne Gretsky said “You miss all the shots you don’t take”. If I just give an earnest effort to applying, I still get a better chance than not trying at all right? Most importantly, I’m going to apply this year to get a practice run to familiarize myself with the application process. All the information I gather together, I can hold on and make applying to next year easier 🙂 Here are some things I learned so far – some of these are things I wish I did so I hope these help you : )
- Keep all your emails, or else you’ll regret having trouble finding that exact day you gave a presentation.
- Keep meticulous records of all volunteering & employment. Record the date, hours, the contact information of someone that can be a verifier.
- Your application takes a lot of time (~2 months). A friend of mine finished her application in a weekend so I thought I could finish it in a week working on it in the evenings after work. Nope. Nope. Nope. Some of you awesome writers probably can. The rest of us need more time than that to write and revise.
- You will spend a lot of time emailing/calling to find a verifier.
- When your old contact has changed jobs/disappeared/changed their email address/phone number, don’t panic. Spend your energy looking for an alternate verifier instead.
- You may feel feel like everything you’ve done so far sounds lame on paper or feel like you’ve so uncompetitive compared to the profiles of accepted applicants. I try to keep in mind that it’s NOT a competition of who’s better – you’re competing with yourself to present the best picture of yourself! If you feel a hit to your self-confidence at times, it’s okay!! I think it’s pretty normal. Talk to a friend that can cheer you up 🙂
- Ask for help if you need it. No one in my family has gone with through this application process so I asked some friends & colleagues to look over my application – which I am grateful to the moon and back that they are willing to do so.
- See your weak areas as places to grow 🙂 Filling in the application has made me realize what areas I am weak and what kind of experiences I should look to gain this upcoming year.
- It’s probably better to know your MCAT score before you start working on your application. I’m starting to work on it without knowing my MCAT score and I wish that I know my score so that I could know which schools I am eligible for and just focus on those. My scores don’t come out until the end of August. So if you have the luxury of choice, I would advise you to write the MCAT earlier in the summer, e.g. at or before mid-late June so that you know you stand.
- Make a giant spreadsheet to track deadlines and interview dates.
P.S. Does the fact that I quote Gretsky instead of an European philosopher make it painfully obvious that I’m a Canadian? Hockey is basically a philosophy for living here in Canada, at least for hockey players (hahaha).