The End of the Beginning

Or maybe the beginning of the end, it depends on how you look at it. Either way, I am finished with my application! After spending upwards of twelve hours on the thing, each little section is complete and ready for submission on June 1st. I’ve even edited each part twice.

So without further ado, here’s a breakdown of each section:

(1) Identifying Information

All straightforward. Names, pseudonyms, birthplace and date and IDs. Took about 5 minutes to complete. Easy peasy.

(2) Schools Attended

High schools, colleges, where transcripts will be coming from, whether you’ve ever matriculated at med school before or had any institutional action against you. 5 minutes.

(3) Biographic Information

Contacts, alternative contact person, addresses, race, ethnicity, languages, childhood information including parents, siblings, financial info, the breakdown of where money came from to pay for college, felonies, misdemeanors, disadvantaged status and explanation if necessary. 20 minutes, tops. More if you think long and hard about why you want to be considered disadvantaged.

(4) Coursework

Every single college class you’ve ever taken must be entered in. Year, semester, course classification, course name, course number, credits, and letter grade all plugged in using a drop down menu. 2 hours of time at least. It took me four because I was watching Dexter in the background and thus had to double check to make sure I didn’t make any mistakes. This must match your transcripts perfectly or there will be delays in verification.

(5) Work/Activities

Worst section ever. You can choose up to fifteen undergraduate activities to add. Each one must have an experience name, an experience type (clinical, research, publications, etc), average hours per week, an organization, a contact name and number or email address, as well as 700 characters worth of explanation of the experience. Three activities can be named “Most Meaningful” and you are given 1325 additional characters to explain the “transformative” nature of said activity. 6 hours over a couple different days. I didn’t pre-write any of my explanations, though, which would considerably speed things up. The system was also very buggy. Sometimes I’ll go back to edit and a few characters will just be cut off from my entry and I have to add them back on. Hopefully that will be fixed before submission.

(6) Letters of Evaluation

Here you just enter in the names and titles of your letter writers. I have only one committee letter that will include all my other LORS, so I’m lucky in that I only have to record one letter in AMCAS. 10 minutes, more if you have to enter in each individual letter.

(7) Medical Schools

Yay, the fun part! Using a drop down list, all the schools are selected. There’s a nice tally at the bottom of the page to calculate how expensive the total application will be. I got 14 schools for free. Just out of curiosity I added Harvard as a fifteenth school to see what would happen. And I got charged $33. Well, looks like I won’t be going back to Boston. After entering them in, you select which letters of recommendation will be associated with them. I only have the one for all the schools which makes it easy. 30 minutes, more or less depending on the number of schools selected.

(8 ) Essays

Here you enter in the 5300 character Personal Statement addressing why medicine. I just copied and pasted from a text document and I was good to go. I reread it a couple times to make sure there were no formatting errors and will probably be rereading a few more times before submission. 5 minutes with the reread, tops. I doubt anyone would just start typing something off the top of their head here, which would, of course, take much longer.

(9) Standardized tests

You have the option to release previous MCAT scores to AMCAS which I did. You can also choose to let them know that you’ll be taking an additional test date. I of course, said I was good to go. There are also places for GREs or LSATs or other graduate level examinations. 5 minutes.

Well, that’s it. It’s all filled out. The earliest submission time is 9:30am ET on June 1st. That translates to 2:30pm my time this Wednesday, the 1st. In theory I’ll be able to submit right then with my office wifi. Here’s my AMCAS menu, all filled out and ready to go:

you complete me

There was a little mix-up with my transcripts basically ending up with me being very angry at my fiancé and the requests not going out until last week. I know for a fact that two of my three institutions have at least sent the transcripts out. I need to check on the last one on Monday. At this point, it is unlikely that my transcripts will be received and processed by the time I submit on Wednesday. Right now AMCAS is processing transcripts received May 23rd and I know mine weren’t even sent out until the 25th. Sooo, we’re looking at about a week’s lag time from receipt and giving three business days for transport…mine will probably be processed by the 3rd or maybe not until 6th or so. As long as they’re processed in time for me to get verified in the first batch of applications, I’ll be happy and that date is sometime around the 10th I believe. Oh, well. It’s out of my hands now. That’s what I get for relying on other people.

But, say no more. It’s time to crack open that last diet coke and toast to the end of the beginning. On Wednesday all my work will really be out there for the world to see. Here’s hoping they like what they find.



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