7-Step Guide to Completing your Medical School Application

You’ve written your MCAT, succeeded in your degree program, gained valuable extracurricular experiences and now the time has come to apply to medical school, and you want to put your best foot forward. I was in your shoes one year ago and this is the general plan I followed to make my dream of being accepted to medical school come
true! The application process can be a daunting task, but this post aims to provide a general overview, putting the steps into perspective and providing tips along the way.

  1. Develop a personalized timeline and plan
    → Prepare a list of your target schools’ deadlines for application completion, transcript orders etc.
    → Set your own goal dates for completion of various steps (contacting references, first draft etc.)
  2. Self-reflection
    → Create a working document listing ALL of your experiences (professional, employment,
    extracurricular, personal) including structured and non-structured activities
    i. Contact family, peers, supervisors – they may remember activities you’ve forgotten!
    → What makes you stand out? What’s your “personal brand”? Why should they choose you?
  3. Do your research
    → Understand the details of what each school will look for (academic and extracurricular)
    → Ensure you meet all requirements
    → Consider each school’s values & the Canmeds clusters. How do you display these qualities?
    → Download application guides from each school (if available)
  4. Work through application(s)
    → Takes longer than you expect! Start early
    → Complete the personal and academic information
    → References/verifiers – contact each one and confirm details, hours, contact info (contact early!)
    i. When requesting a reference: Would you be willing to provide a positive
    reference for my medical school application?

    → Non-academic activities: (choose from experience bank in Step 2)
    i. What you did (brief – just enough for them to understand role)
    ii. The impact you had (results, contributions, achievements)
    iii. Description demonstrates how you displayed the desired characteristic

    → For essay questions ensure you clearly address the question (be comprehensive but concise)
    → Consider this the “first draft” of your application  now you enter the editing stage
    i. Develop non-academics and essays in a word document to allow for sharing/editing
  1. Add meaningful impact (~1 month before deadline)
    → Be quantitative (use numbers where possible – makes description tangible to reviewer)
    i. We raised $7500 from 3 silent auctions organized by our 5-member
    executive team.
    ii. I individually taught a weekly 1-hour seminar to 50 first year
    undergraduate students.

    → Each word should be essential or impactful (often tight word counts)
    → Personalize to the school’s values and your personal brand
  2. Gather feedback (~3 weeks before deadline)
    → Utilize trusted peers, colleagues, supervisors, family, friends, professional consultants
    → Check for typos and clarity but more importantly this is an opportunity to add impact
    i. Ask reviewers specifically where and how you can add value
    ii. Allow lots of time (~2 weeks is generally reasonable)

  3. Press submit and relax! (within final week before deadline)
    → Submit in advance of deadline if possible (avoids technical issues and last-minute stress)
    → Once submitted, move on and trust the process!

We hope this guide helps to ease the application process and assist you in developing your personal plan. Try to enjoy the experience – it truly is a valuable self-reflection exercise. If you have questions or if we can help with any of these steps, let us connect you with one of our medical student consultants who has been through this process and can help give you a competitive edge. We wish you the best of luck this application cycle!

Check out more blogs on the medical school application process:
Start Preparing your CV and ABS for Med School
5 Tips for Applying to Med School
Perfecting your OMSAS ABS
Write a Solid Personal Statement
7 Tips for Applying to the University of Toronto