One of the most common questions students have with regard to their application is how many schools should they apply to. Remember that the more schools you apply to, the bigger the amount of money, time, and effort you’re going to have to put in. Are you ready for it?
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[00:24] Schools to Apply To
Applying to all of 160 medical schools would seem almost impossible as it’s a whole lot of money, not to mention the amount of essay writing involved.
Some students are geographically limited. Nontraditional students who have spouses in a specific career can only work in certain areas. So they’re geographically limited in terms of where to apply to medical school.
As you start to figure out which and how many medical schools to apply to, remove as many barriers are possible.'Remove as many barriers as possible when it comes to choosing schools.'Click To Tweet
[01:15] Applying Broadly
Every medical school is different. They may not be looking for you. Even if you have great stats and extracurriculars, there may be something in your application that they just don’t like. Therefore, you have to apply broadly.'There is no such thing as a safety school.'Click To Tweet
[01:50] Average Schools Applied To
The AAMC released its number of schools applied to at 14. They’ve calculated this by taking the number of total applications divided by the number of total applicants.
AACOMAS for DO schools does a similar thing and averaging at about 9 schools.
Assuming every student applies to both MD and DO schools, the average is about 23 (excluding Texas schools).
TMDSAS for Texas schools is a little bit different because, for one application fee, you can apply to all 9 of the Texas medical schools.
Whereas AMCAS and AACOMAS get more money for each school you’re adding to the list. So if you’re financially confined, you may only be able to fewer schools.
[03:20] One More Thing to Consider: Secondary Essays
The majority of students out there don’t prewrite their secondary essays. So they submit their applications. They get verified. And then schools ask for their secondaries as well as money.
So there are two things to think about on the backend of the application:
- More money
- Time requirement
Think about what your budget is for secondary essays. The more schools you apply to, the more secondary fees will you need to pay. This is assuming you actually submit the secondary and pay the fee.
The time requirement is a large problem since you need to fill out all of the secondary essays. So if you’re not pre-writing your essays and you’ve applied to 23 schools, you’re going to also get that much of secondary essays. Just imagine working on each application with multiple essays.'The more schools that you apply to, the bigger the burden on the backend.'Click To Tweet
Prewrite your secondaries. Get your application in early enough. Get your MCAT done soon enough so you have time to prewrite those secondaries.
I don’t recommend students to apply to any more than 25 schools or you’d get burned out writing essays. There are only so many times that you can write about diversity and so many times that you can write about why you want to go to that school and answer all those other questions.
It may go easier as you go along. The more essays you write, the more you can just copy and paste and “massage” for each school. But that being said, this could still be a lot tedious.
Ideally, you turn around your secondary essays within two weeks. It’s a general rule of thumb. There’s no written policy out there, however. Some schools have been known to actually track this. The more you apply to, the more likely to get behind on that as well.
[07:06] Final Thoughts: 3 Most Important Things to Consider
There are a lot of factors as to how many schools you apply to.
First, you have to consider your finances from both a primary application standpoint and a secondary application standpoint'A lot of people forget about the secondary application fee.'Click To Tweet
Secondly, how much time do you have to allocate for all of those secondaries. How much time do you have for prewriting and writing them as they come in? What are your other tie restraints and requirements?
Thirdly, consider your geographic restrictions. If you’re restricted to one particular location, then just apply to schools in that area that hopefully has a lot of medical schools.
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