Monday, November 1, 2010

Application Process

Much like the difficult school curriculum, the grueling MCATs, and the competition, the application process involved in getting into medical school is probably designed to weed out those that don't REALLY want to do it. There is, I think, a certain level of dedication that is required to deal with a primary application, secondary applications, interviews, and then the nail-biting tension of waiting to see if you got in.

In the spirit of weeding out the wafflers (because if it meant being closer to their dream of going to med school no one would really mind, right?) the application designers want everything just so. This meant tedious hours of entering in each and every course taken over one's entire post-secondary academic career, logging and tagging them and filing them just so. Many were the times I sighed as I was about to begin a new entry and wonder why they couldn't just read the transcripts.

The tagging process, I know, is useful to them as they determine the science, non-science and total GPA. It saves them work, and probably me money, as otherwise I would have to pay for the average time it took to calculate all of that.

The essays were interesting studies in composing. I wrote and edited and re-wrote and edited some more, in search of the elusive goal known as the perfect essay. Because I am me, I went with a science-centered approach. Compassion for my patients is not even a question (I worked veterinary for quite a while. If that doesn't develop compassion in a person nothing will) so I chose to talk about my dedication to and my understanding of the role of science in medicine.

Once my application was submitted I had to wrangle my professors and advisors to write me letters. Herding cats, I tell you. The last of my letters was submitted today, if that is any indication. It can be tough as deadlines approach to keep the calm, polite tone one really should use when addressing professors that are doing you a favor instead of screaming hysterically because if they are a day late you will have an aneurism.

But I'm better now.

Ahh, supplementary applications. Delightful. They are rather similar to the original, except that each school has a specific format and set of questions for you to answer. I am trying to put my very best foot forward (partially because I'm certain that good reviewers can smell bullshit a mile away) and answer the best I possibly can.

I was invited to submit 4 supplemental applications. I'm waiting to hear back from the schools that are in processing, so this isn't half bad.

Grad school is a whole other ball of wax. The more I study the more interested I am in research. I did not apply to MD PhD programs this year, mainly because I don't have a lot of experience in the research field. There is a part of me that wonders if maybe I shouldn't go to grad school even if I do get into an MD program. It might be foolish of me to do so, but I am really excited at the potential for learning.

If I don't get into med school, I will probably get into grad school at State, because besides my grades and my letters, I have contacts in the biology department with professors that I think will be interested in sponsoring me.

And so in the meantime I am finishing up everything that I can do with my supplemental applications and keeping a close eye on my application status. There's that whole school thing, too, but that's a given, I think.

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