How to Maximize Happiness, Stability, and Success Among Medical School Applicants

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To the Editor: I am writing to offer some of my thoughts about the medical school application and selection process. Although I managed to successfully matriculate into medical school, proudly accepting a position in the second class of the Dell Medical School in Austin, I look back with some skepticism on parts of the application process—namely, secondary applications.
Just like many of my peers, I applied to a multitude of medical schools—a whopping 30 to be exact. Having heard stories of students with perfect scores, numerous publications, and countless hours of volunteer experience getting rejected from every medical school they applied to, I decided to apply to as many medical schools as I could—a gut instinct to maximize my chances of appealing to the admissions board of at least one school.
A few days after completing the primary applications, my inbox filled with e-mails instructing me to complete secondary applications. I completed all the secondary applications because I felt obligated to continue the process into which I had already invested so much of my time and effort. Within the span of a few days, I was rejected from many schools. I felt I had drained my bank account of all its funds to pay the secondary application fees for schools that were clearly not interested in any part of my application.
For the mental sanity of applicants—and the maintenance of their financial stability—medical schools should distribute secondary applications only after cutting down the applicant pool and identifying individuals whom admissions committees are seriously considering for their programs. This way, students who receive secondary applications will know from the beginning that they have a good chance at receiving an invitation to interview. Such a reform will help applicants by saving them money, circumventing any false hope they may feel about moving forward in the process, and allowing them to better allocate their time by concentrating their efforts on only the applications for schools they have a good chance of getting into. I believe that by implementing this change, as Dell Medical School and some other schools have already done, the application process can be greatly improved.
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