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Four Things Med School Applicants Should Do Now

Lauren DiProspero

Written by Lauren DiProsperoon May 21st, 2020

I began my undergraduate admissions career at Stanford University where I helped coordinate diversity events and outreach. This ignited a passion for higher education which led me to Columbia University where, after earning my masters, I began recruiting and reviewing the applications of students applying to Columbia College from all around the country including the northeast, mid-west, Texas and California. I also reviewed the applications of international students from countries across Asia as well as Canada and Mexico. During my time at Columbia, I was Director of Admissions at Columbia’s College of Physicians and Surgeons where I oversaw the entire medical school admissions process, including recruitment, application review, interview days, and admitted student events. From there I became the Director of Enrollment Management at the University of San Francisco where I oversaw a team that supported both undergraduate and graduate admissions. In that role I recruited in Southern California and reviewed applications from multiple domestic territories for the undergraduate admissions team. Most recently, I was the senior director at Stanford Medicine, where I again oversaw the entire medical school admissions process.
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by Lauren DiProspero, former admissions officer at Columbia University May marks the beginning of the summer for many but, for medical school hopefuls, it also marks the start of the admissions process. If you are applying to medical school this year, there are a few things that have changed and many that have stayed the same. Even though several MCAT exam sittings have been cancelled, most medical schools are still encouraging applicants to submit their applications as early as possible—they will accept those applications pending MCAT scores. The first day to submit the AMCAS application remains May 28 but AMCAS has pushed back the first date of data transmissions to medical schools to July 10 to give applicants more time to finish their applications. With the opening of the AMCAS application come four steps every applicant needs to take: Fill Out the Application It may seem like a simple step but it can take substantial time to fill out this application! In addition to the standard application information, you will be self-reporting your coursework. Make sure you have your transcript(s) next to you because any errors can cause delays in application processing. By starting early, you will be able to identify and find any information you are missing. Request Supporting Documents There are two types of supporting documents. The first is letters of recommendation. If your pre-health advising office offers a committee letter, hopefully you have already been working with them. If your pre-health advising office does not, make sure you have requested recommendations from professors, supervisors, etc. These individuals will need time to write a thoughtful and supportive letter. Your second duty in regard to supporting documentation is to request transcripts be sent to AMCAS from every U.S. or Canadian college you have attended regardless of earned credits. I highly recommend visiting AMCAS’s Entering Your Coursework on the AMCAS website along with AMCAS Applicant Guide for more information Take Your Time on the Experience Section One of the biggest mistakes I see applicants make is that they quickly fill out this section. Every written part of an application is an opportunity to share something about yourself. In this section, you are offered a significant amount of space to share the details of your experiences, including additional written space for up to three of your most meaningful experiences. Spend time considering what you want to convey to the reader. Write the Personal Statement This is where applicants spend most of their time – and rightly so. It is one of the most important parts of the application. The personal statement is where you share who you are and why you are prepared for a career in medicine. This is your opportunity to thoughtfully highlight specific moments that brought you to this point. It is important to showcase your maturity, leadership, and compassion, among other attributes. It is equally important to avoid delusions of grandeur, excuses, and clichés. It can take many, many drafts, so start writing early and get feedback from trusted sources! Our College Admissions Experts


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