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Thoughts on applications


Guest HanSolo

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Guest HanSolo

Having seen several (10+) friends go through this process, and now going through the process myself, I wanted to share a few things. I'm not an expert by any means, but having just received word that I was granted an interview at 11/11 programs I applied to, there is definitely a method to the madness. After reading hundreds of posts on this forum, i see the same themes coming up time and time again. Thus, the purpose of this thread is to help provide guidance to some of those questions. 

1) GPA trend matters more than overall GPA. I didn't have above a 3.0 GPA until junior year. That being said, you still need to be within the ballpark of the accepted students. Nobody wants to take on an academic liability, and if you haven't proven yourself recently, then why would anyone want to take a chance on you now? 

2) In terms of application materials, your personal statement is the most important part of your application. It's a difficult thing to write. Start writing it in January of the year you want to apply. Finish your personal statement before CASPA opens. Everyone has numbers. You distinguish yourself with your statement. 

3) Research where you want to go and apply selectively. Can't stress this enough. For example, if a program says they emphasize in-state students with a military background - and you are from out-of-state without a service record - then don't bother. 

4) Apply by June 1st for any program with rolling admissions. Just do it and you'll never wonder if you were too late to be considered. Don't think that just because you submitted an application by the deadline that you have a shot. You need to get in there before someone else. 

5) If you are applying for next year's cycle, open a CASPA account now and look at this years supplemental essays for the programs you are interested in applying to. Start jotting down notes on these early. These are also just as important as your personal statement. 

6) Above 300 combined for GRE. Higher the better. While many say this aspect is trivial, it does show your ability to study for a standardized test, which is ultimately one of the biggest metrics of program success. 

7) Get real experience that you are interested in. If you think you have an interest in emergency medicine, then become an EMT and see where that goes. If you think you have an interested in surgery, try becoming a surgical tech or possibly a peri-op LNA/CNA. If you want to do primary care, maybe go for MA at the primary care clinic. The point is this: if you seek out experiences that you are genuinely interested in instead of just trying to check off the hours box, then you'll be rewarded with having genuinely interesting and passionate experiences to draw from when you are writing your essays and during your interviews. Quality is better than quantity (just make sure you also have the quantity required!). You'll also get better LORs this way. 

8) Don't be naive about your own application. Know your strengths and weaknesses. There's always someone with a better GPA, PCE, etc. You don't have to win them all, but it's important to be well rounded. A good GPA doesn't make up for lack of PCE, nor does 10 yrs as a combat medic make up for a 2.0 GPA. 

9) Be honest and genuine. If you write in your PS that you want to do rural primary care but you have lived in NYC your whole life while gaining PCE as an inpatient CNA...well, that's suspicious. 

10) Many applicants have the bare minimum requirements. Don't be that person. 

 

I hope some of this helps. Again, I am not an expert, but I applied early and started preparing my application about 6 months before CASPA opened. I've seen many people with better "stats" than me apply much later in the cycle with poor results. Give yourself the best shot at success by doing your due diligence before the application cycle starts - not during it. 

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