Junior and Senior Spring Timeline

February 5, 2014

Junior Year Spring Timeline

–        Develop your game-plan and timeline for preparation for the next administration of the admission exam for your field of interest.  For those planning to retake the MCAT in preparation to be a part of the 2015 entering class, you should have a detailed schedule / study plan for the next few months.  If you have not been preparing well, I would reconsider taking the March of April tests, unless your performance on practice exams has been near the average MCAT score for students who are accepted (which has hovered around 31 for the past few years).  Same goes for students planning to take the PCAT, DAT or OAT.  If you’re not ready (  based on your performance on practice exams) don’t take the test!

–        Participate in some meaningful clinical experiences to provide you with inspiration for your personal statement and also for the extra-curricular activities portion of your application.

–        Start finalizing your list of schools you are interested in applying.  I say finalize because the initial list should have been started sometime last semester.  If not, start working on it NOW.  Applications are costly, so you want to put careful thought and consideration into the schools you plan to apply to.   Check out an old post to give you some guidance on how to proceed.

–        If you haven’t already, start working on your personal statement!!!  Don’t put this off.  It will take you longer to write than you think and you will need time to get it reviewed by multiple people, edited and revised, and reviewed again; all in time for an on time application.

–        Gently remind faculty members about your letters of recommendation!  I say, remind, because again, this should have already been done.  If not, request them today.  Your faculty members are inundated with requests for LOR, make sure that yours is one of the first one’s they will write.

Senior Year Spring Timeline

–        Keep preparing for your interviews.  Familiarize yourself with common interview questions and have a framework for your responses.  Certain questions, you can expect to have, so try and be prepared.  Others, will be completely random J and you’ll just have to do your best.  Online, there are many resources with samples of both.  Look them over and be prepared. Consider having someone do a mock interview with you.  Sure, the faculty members haven’t advertised that that’s a service they offer, but I can’t think of one faculty member who would turn you down if you asked them.  Try it! You have nothing to lose! Preparing for your interviews means more than prepping for the questions.  It means prepping your look and also your knowledge about the school.  So don’t neglect those areas either.

–        Honestly assess the likelihood of being accepted to the professional school of your choice during this admission cycle.  Start thinking about your plan B if with guidance and honest evaluation, you do not think your efforts will be successful this time around. I hate to sound discouraging, but only about 50% of total first time applicants to professional schools are accepted.  That’s a huge number!  If to date you have not received secondary applications, or interviews, start to consider what your options for next year would be in the event that you are not accepted.

–        For those of you who have been accepted, consider your funding options for professional school.  The majority of medical students take out exorbitant amounts of student loans to cover tuition and living expenses.  Admittedly, the competition for funding professional school is a tad bit steeper than acquiring funding for undergraduate studies, but there are still options to consider.  Begin to do some exploration on your own and look out for a future post listing some options HealthOU was able to dig up.

–        For those of you toting around multiple acceptances, congratulations!  Now you have to whittle them down to one final pick.  Factors to consider: location, cost, curriculum / teaching style.  There will be a post in the next month of two with some tips to consider as you narrow your choices down to one final school!

Freshman and Sophomore Spring Timeline

February 2, 2014

Contrary to popular belief, preparing for admission to the prehealth school of your choice doesn’t start in one’s junior year.  For you guys, it starts right now!  The habits you form or break now, and energy and work you put in during these two very important years will help to propel you to the future you desire as a full fledged doctor / dentist / chiropractor / pharmacist / epidemiologist, etc etc.  Make this time count!  Use these years well, and the requirements during your junior and senior years will be so much easier.

Freshman Spring Timeline

– Keep those grades up.

– Seek out opportunities to demonstrate your interest in the field of your choice.  Shadowing and volunteering during this time period will also help you those who are still undecided about which path to take.

– Finalize your plans for the summer! Apply to summer programs that provide research experience, exposure to the health professions.  Be sure to select summer opportunities or research programs that are related to your field of interest.  If you opt for a program that is not overtly medical, be sure to pursue something that demonstrate a prolonged interest in another activity, but still make time for something healthcare related as well.

-Consider working as a CNA, scribe, phlebotomist, or volunteering at a hospital, clinic during the summer.  This will provide exposure to the medical field.

– Start working on an activity journal where you document the health related activities you have participated in.  This will serve as a good foundation when you prepare to write your personal statement. Start your journal now, and keep adding it to as you engage in a new activity.

Sophomore Spring Timeline

–       Seek out opportunities for leadership on campus, preferably in an organization associated with your field of interest, but truly, any leadership role on campus will be regarded positively on your application.

–       Keep your grades up!  A good academic record is an important part of a competitive application.

–       Finalize your summer plans!!!!  If you don’t have any plans, make some immediately. Many students devote the summer after their sophomore year to test preparation, research, regular shadowing etc.  The bottom line is to use this valuable time well!  You do not want to be sitting at home doing nothing, or working at the Gap so you can get a good discount.  This time is for doing something that will support your application to medical, dental, graduate, pharmacy school etc.  There are many PAID research opportunities available.  Check out this post for an extensive list, but be sure to check today because deadlines are fast approaching or have past for quite a few of them.

–       If you are planning to devote your time to test prep, then devote your time to test prep, be that with a class or on your own.  This is one of the most important tests you will ever take. You want to be prepared so you can get the best possible score!  This may mean not working full time during the summer.  Trust me, a competitive score on the MCAT, DAT, OAT, PCAT, or GRE is worth more than any summer employment can pay you.