Seeking Guidance for College Junior Premed Summer Plans and Timeline

Please share your wisdom and advice for best plans for this summer and general timeline of med school application.

DS is a 3rd year college premed student. He is signed up to take MCAT 6/1/17. He has been shadowing different doctors during the past 3 years both at college and at home during breaks. He has reasonable leadership and service EC’s at college.

Summer after freshman, he had a paid research internship at a hospital research lab. The next summer, he went back to the same paid position and continued researching the same topic/project. In addition, both summers, he volunteered in a hospital 4hr/wk.

The question is, what should he do this summer to continue to strengthen his EC’s?

  • More research? He cannot go back to the research job he had the last two summers as that project is completed. Should he try to find another research opportunity? Most research deadlines are coming up in a couple of weeks so he is not sure if he will be able to find a meaningful research job.
  • Working on his med school application? When do premed start working on med school apps? If he only works on med school app this summer, does it make him look like his is slacking off?
  • More volunteering? What types?
  • Take college course at community college at home?
  • Other idea?

Your guidance is highly appreciated.

Not really necessary if he’s had a satisfactory research experience in his previous years and is not gunning for strongly research-oriented med schools.

Also, it’s is late to be applying for REUs and other summer research programs. Some deadlines have already passed and the rest will close in 10 days. It will be difficult to get his application, transcripts and LORs together and submitted by the deadline.

However, if he wants to do more research, there’s still time to find a position with one of his professors at his home institution.

When do they start? Around now. If his school offers a committee letter, he need to investigate the requirements and deadlines. (At many schools the deadline for requesting a committee letter is March.) He needs to be contacting recommenders for LOEs if he hasn’t already done so. (Letter writers take forever so the sooner he gets on that the better.) He should be drafting his PS so he can send it to second readers for critiques and then he’ll need to do revisions. Pre-health committees will want a finished PS when he submits his committee letter request. They will also expect his LOEs to be submitted before the committee interviews your son in April/May.

When AMCAS opens May 1, he can work on filling out his primary application (HINT: he’ll need a copy of his transcript to fill it out–so he should request an official transcript for himself) so he’s ready to hit the submit button on June 1 when AMCAS goes live for 2017-18 applications.

If he’s feeling really ambitious, he can look up past secondary prompts on school-specific threads on SDN and start pre-writing secondary essays for the schools he’s most likely to apply to.

Working on med school applications isn’t a full time endeavor. His primary app will be done done by June 1. Secondaries will come out in a flood in July/August and need to be returned promptly. But that only lasts a week or two.

I’d suggest he plan on doing something this summer. A job? Full time volunteering? Something. Otherwise once his apps are in–he’ll go crazy watching his inbox. There’s lots and lots of waiting in this process.

More clinical volunteering is always good. If he has not worked with vulnerable populations (elderly, mentally ill, homeless, low income, non-English-speaking and/or newly immigrant) this might be something he could try.

What course(s) would he take since he’s probably beyond academically what a CC might offer? Personal enrichment classes? He could certainly take a class, work on his med school applications and still have time for a job or volunteering.

Since he’s take the MCAT late, he won’t have results back until end of June/beg of July, therefore when he submits his app in June (after filling it out in May), he won’t know his scores to pick schools. Therefore he’ll need to error on the side of caution and apply to a few extra schools. He’ll need to assume he scored lower than he expects and include more “safety” schools. (There really aren’t true safety schools in medicine) And he’ll need to assume that he might do better than he thinks, and add a couple more reach schools. So, perhaps instead of applying to 15 schools, he might end up applying to 20. It’s not that much more for the extra primary apps.

If he gets his scores and realizes he has too many “very unlikelies” or too many safeties, then he can just skip a few secondaries and save the time and extra money.

Or another approach would be to submit his primary with ONE school listed (probably an in-state public where he will apply no matter what) so his application gets placed in the verification queue. Then once he gets his score back, he can add a range of appropriate schools.

And mom2 is correct–there is no such thing as a safety school for med school.

@WayOutWestMom after putting down the first school on AMCAS, how much is it for each add’l one? The reason I was suggesting including an add’l 5 schools (2 more reaches, 3 more "safeties) is because I didn’t think it would add much.

I can understand the strategy of applying to only one first (but why not at least do 10) and then add more after scores, but I still think that getting the 20 or so apps in June (and then maybe add 1 or 2 more after scores come out, will be less stressful at the end of June/beginning of July.

AMCAS charges per school listed on the primary. ( $160 for first school, $38 for each additional school.) The price would be the same whether an applicant lists just one school initially and adds 10 later or lists 5 initially and adds 6 later.

The reason I suggest using only one school is that if the MCAT score comes back as being non-competitive and the individual decides not to pursue the application process further, then the applicant would only be a “official reapplicant” at the 1 school next cycle.

(Of course, Adcomms can tell by the applicant’s AMCAS ID number approx when they first took their MCAT and will make judgments about their status…but it does prevent an applicant from being an official reapplicant where the adcomm will pull up their previous applications for comparison.)

As for applying to 10 without a score being less stressful? I really don’t get your point. And I don’t see any advantage.

The primary doesn’t get transmitted to any school without a MCAT score (application is incomplete without a MCAT score) so the applicant won’t be getting any secondaries regardless of how many schools he lists initially. Only once the MCAT score is release does the verified application get forwarded to med schools at the next application download date. (Application downloads are done once a week starting in late June–usually on a Friday morning.) If the applicant adds 15 school as within a day or 2 of his score release–then his application will go to his list probably the same week his score is released. No different than if he had initially listed those schools.

Right! so apply only for Harvard or Stamford, if the MCAT score is 540, then start with Howard and go up, if the score is 480, then nothing is lost, try again next cycle… :slight_smile: