Once you’ve submitted your medical school application it will take a number of weeks to get your application verified by AAMC. Schools are unable to view your application until verification is complete, so what do you do in the meantime?
This is probably your most relaxed period of applying to medical school. The best way to maximize your time is to start writing your secondary essays. If you meet the bare minimum MCAT, GPA, and other requirements for the schools you applied to, you’ll likely receive a secondary essay invitation from every school. Only a handful of schools screen and sift primary applications (the University of Colorado, for example). These start hitting your email inbox during the days and weeks after verification of your primary application.
Many schools reuse essay questions each year. There are many online databases that record secondary essay questions from previous years. Use these prompts to start writing your essays and get a head start!
Search for something like “medical school secondary essay prompts.” If you notice that one school’s essay question has changed every year in the recent past, it is best to wait until you receive the prompt directly from the school. Identify prompts that have remained relatively constant over the past few years and begin writing, re-writing, revising, and polishing these essays.
Again, timing is everything. The sooner you turn in your secondary essay, the sooner you will be considered for an interview. That’s why writing and revising your secondary essays now can be a huge advantage. Schools start accepting students soon after the interviews start. Students cannot be notified of this decision until a specific date (October 15th for AMCAS). Early interviews maximize your chance of earning a seat in the class. As time goes on, students are “competing” for fewer and fewer seats as they are filled.
Other things to consider:
Continue pursuing things you are passionate about in volunteering, working, researching, or clinical hours. On your interviews, you can talk about new developments in your research or new experiences at your clinical job that you were unable to include on your primary application. It’s important that student is committed to continuing their medically-related interests even after everything is recorded on their primary application.
On interviews, I was asked what books I was reading, what I did that summer, etc. This is a great time to relax and celebrate your medical school application submission while getting a head start on the next phase.