Medical School Application Mistakes | 6 Common Pre-Med Blunders

Every year, I interact with hundreds of pre-med
applicants who are eager to gain admission to medical school and take the next step in
their journey of becoming a doctor. Unfortunately, there is a great deal of misinformation resulting
in several common pre-med mistakes that hinder their chances of getting accepted. Here are
the top 6 mistakes to avoid, and what you should be doing instead. Dr. Jubbal, A surprisingly common mistake amongst pre-meds is going through the application process without
actually being ready. Applicants often decide to apply one year, knowing full well that
they may not get accepted and that they would be a stronger applicant by waiting one year.
But hey, if it doesn’t go well, they can just apply the following year with a bit of
practice under their belt. Seems like a good idea, right? This is actually a terrible idea for multiple
reasons: First, and most obviously, it is a significant
waste of money. When you apply to medical school, you’ll be using the American Medical
College Application Service, also known as AMCAS. This is a common application you fill
out once and send to multiple schools, and it’s the first step in the application process,
thereby called the primary application. In 2019, AMCAS costs $170 for the first school
and $39 for each additional school you apply to. With the average applicant applying to
15-20 schools, that brings the total cost between $755 and $911. But that’s just the
primary application fees. After receiving a primary application, most schools also require
a secondary app, which requires additional essays, and is also subject to additional
fees. There are then additional fees for submitting your transcript
and letters of recommendation from your college. And then there’s the interview process, the
cost of which adds up quick between airfare and lodging. In total, it’s safe to say
you’ll spend more than $2,000 or even $3,000 just to apply to medical school. Second, the application process is not something
you want to do more than once. Certain aspects, like the interview process, are particularly
fun and rewarding, but most if it is quite tedious. You’ll be writing countless essays,
handling the administrative aspects such as score reports and letters of recommendation,
and likely finding yourself somewhat stressed during the process. But lastly, and most importantly, being a reapplicant
decreases your chances of acceptance. If you apply and don’t expect to get in, understand
that next year you’ll be earmarked as being a reapplicant. Schools will know you applied
in the past and did not get in. You’ll now have to overcome the additional hurdle
of explaining how you’re an improved applicant this cycle and why you deserve a second chance,
which will also require a complete rework of all your essays. This is a position you
should avoid if possible. That being said, if you do find yourself as a reapplicant,
our team at specializes in finding the weak spots and crafting a compelling
narrative to your medical school application to maximize your chance of an acceptance.
We’ve helped dozens of reapplicants ultimately become successful medical school matriculants
and we have the highest satisfaction rating in the industry. Now rather than applying prematurely
and then expecting yourself to reapply again the next year, it’s best to strengthen your application
and apply just once. Apply to win, and apply to get in. Don’t shoot yourself in the foot. Tying in with the first point, I’ve come across far too many pre-med applicants who
are surprisingly nonchalant about the idea of going to a Caribbean medical school. Sure,
gaining acceptance to a Caribbean medical school is quite easy, but there is a reason for that. To get a more in-depth understanding of the
pros and cons of going Caribbean, be sure to first watch our video covering the truth about Caribbean Medical Schools. I’ll give you a hint, there aren’t many
upsides. Rather than going the Caribbean route, we
advise most of our pre-med clients to do two things: first, work on strengthening your
medical school application. Most applicants are surprised how much can be done in a single
year. And second, apply to D.O. schools if you are unable to secure a U.S. M.D. acceptance. For most students, I would recommend going
Caribbean only after one or more failed attempts at applying to U.S. allopathic and osteopathic
medical schools. If you were to check the application deadlines for most medical schools, you’d find dates
listed between October to even February of the next year. Does that mean you’d be fine
to apply any time before that? Absolutely not. Applying early is one of the most important
medical school admission strategies. Why is that? Unlike college or university admissions, most
medical schools follow a rolling admissions process, meaning applications are reviewed
sequentially as they arrive. If you are late in submitting your application, many interview
slots may already be filled, and now you’re competing for a smaller number of open spots.
You may even find yourself in a position where you don’t make the cut for an interview, but would have had you applied earlier. AMCAS opens up for data entry in early May,
with application submissions opening in early June. But know that once you hit submit, your app is not
immediately sent to medical schools. AMCAS first has to verify your application as well.
If you submit early, expect the verification process to be relatively quick. If, however,
you wait until July, it can take several weeks. My general recommendation is to apply as soon
as possible, ideally within the first two weeks of June. July is not optimal, but is
fine in most cases. Applying in August is borderline, and September would be considered
too late. Of course, exceptions exist, and that’s something that our advisors can take
a look at with 1-on-1 guidance. It happens every year. A student with stellar numbers, a 3.99 GPA and 99th percentile MCAT
score does not get accepted. Usually, they have very few interview invites, which points
to poor primary and secondary applications. Less commonly, they can have several interview
invites but no acceptances. This points to weak interview skills. We had a few students approach us who were
in this exact position. After working with us, they didn’t only get accepted, but are
now attending prestigious programs. Now how did that happen? It’s a matter of understanding
that the application is multi-faceted and your numbers are only a part of the whole
picture. A big part of an effective and optimized medical
school application is conveying an effective narrative as to why you will be an excellent
future doctor, an asset to the program, and bring value and diversity to the upcoming
medical school class. Conveying this narrative starts with a nuanced and strategic personal
statement, AMCAS application, and secondary essays. Congruence in the interview along
this narrative is also required to get an acceptance offer. Now tying in with the previous point, put yourself in the shoes of a medical school admissions
committee member. They are bombarded with thousands of applications every cycle, yet
they only have 100 or 200 seats to fill. Of all the hundreds of highly qualified applicants,
why should they pick you? Imagining the perspective of someone from
the other side is one of my favorite tools not only for medical school and residency
admissions, but even as a strategy to perform better on the MCAT or USMLE Step 1. As a medical
school admissions committee member, what would you care about? What would concern you or
make you apprehensive about an applicant? What would you want to see? Once you understand these principles, it becomes
more readily apparent why certain elements and narratives are more effective in a medical
school application compared to others. Demonstrating a commitment to medicine, maturity, resilience,
and the ability to handle the rigors of a medical school curriculum are going to go
a long way in improving your odds. Effectively communicating these and other traits in a
nuanced, indirect, and interesting way is going to be much more effective than claiming
to be those qualities. It’s great to have another pair of eyes
looking at your essay, whether that’s your mom, friend, aunt, or mentor. Improving your
writing is never going to be a bad thing. But while effective story telling and writing
skills are important, they’re just one element of the application and personal statement.
You also have to consider what admissions committees are looking for. Last cycle, we had a student with a relatively
well written essay. The essay opened, as many do, with a personal anecdote related to medicine.
While what was written was completely innocent and well intentioned, the physician advisor
who was editing the student’s essay pointed out that the story used could remind some
physicians of drug seeking behavior. A negative association like that is something you absolutely
want to avoid in your personal statement. For those of you who are unfamiliar, drug seeking behavior
occurs when patients present, most commonly to the emergency department, with the desire
to obtain pain killers. It’s a massive headache and not something you want your admission
committee member to be thinking of while reading your essay. If you’re a reapplicant, it’s even more
important to get this soft elements of your application just right. The personal statement,
AMCAS or AACOMAS or TMDSAS application, the secondaries, and of course the interview.
If you need help, look no further than Med School Insiders. Our team of advisors has
served on medical school admissions committees, so they know firsthand how to make an applicant
stand out and how to get them accepted. You can learn more about our pioneering approach
and why we have the highest satisfaction rate in the industry at
The first 20 customers to sign up for our services will receive $30 off their purchase
using the coupon code GETACCEPTED2019. Link in the description below. Now if you’re applying to medical school this
year, I wish you the best of luck. If you have any video topic requests, let me know
down in the comments below. My priority is always providing you guys with value and helping
make the journey to becoming a doctor a little more manageable and a little more fun. Make
sure you’re subscribed with the notification bell enabled, and I will see you guys in that
next one.

82 thoughts on “Medical School Application Mistakes | 6 Common Pre-Med Blunders

  1. I don’t know if you will respond to this or not, but I was just wondering if taking maybe 2-3 pre-med requirements during the summer at a community college would hinder my chances of getting accepted to some med schools. I’ve heard numerous answers to this question like how I only should take two, don’t take any, or that I should take them at a 4 yr college. I really need to take summer classes because I’m behind on my requirements, but I’m also trying to take classes that are affordable.

  2. all this makes me think one hundred times again about medical school. is it that impossible ???!! is it??!!

  3. Plz do a vid about cardiology cards and cardiovascular surgery explaining every type with their salaries cuz i wanted to become a cardiologist but when i heard that u said its not surgery
    So it got complicated

  4. Idk if you already did a video about this but if not can you give me advice for what path to follow in High School

  5. I'm about to enter my freshman year at college this year as a pre-med. Thank you for these tips! Also, does that mean if you want to attend to med school immediately after college you have to apply at the end of junior year ?

  6. I was wondering do your videos also apply to Canada? For instance, do Canadian medical schools take into account if you are a reapplicant?

  7. Move to Sweden.The medical school here are almost free. Additional fees is always existing but you dont need to pay to apply to the school. 🙂

  8. I think step 1 is the most important tip. Take time with making a good application, surprisingly enough not many met school first yearers are straight out of college (age 22).

  9. You make great points in this video! Applicants definitely underestimate the impact of a personal statement

  10. Great insight! I know you are a graduate from American medical school so this is in your expertise, but it would be awesome if you could go in depth on the application process for Canadian medical students. There are only 17 schools so it's a very competitive process; would appreciate if you could cover the topic!

  11. I worked as a pt tech for a year thinking I would become a PT but now I want to go to medical school. Will this experience still be of some use?

  12. I’m surprised people sometimes go through the app process halfheartedly and are then limited on options or have to go through the whole process all over again.

  13. As someone who applied last year, these points are very true. If you are applying this year, keeping these tips in mind will be helpful 🙂

  14. I agree with most of points, however I will like to add that you should add an exception to the Caribbean schools as Puerto Rico is in the Caribbean and are part of the US Medical School system. Not only that, they produce equal or better education than some school's in the mainland.

  15. I was wondering if you have a video already on the pros and cons of taking a year off between pre-med and med school. If not, that could make a great video!

  16. Listening to this video made me realize how lucky I’ve been to be born in Europe, and be able (at least in Germany) to apply for free and pay less than 500$ a year for medical school. It’s a different world.

  17. I just applied last month, thank you so much for this video 💆🏻‍♀️💆🏻‍♀️

  18. I’m always conflicted about how prepared my application would be for medical school. Thoughts like “Is it good enough? Should I strive to do more? When will I know I am ready to go for the application?”

  19. when is the latest time one can take the MCAT and still be competitive? You said the best time to submit the application is the first week weeks of June, does that mean you should have taken the mcat by the first two weeks of May latest?

  20. This shocked me so much, in the UK applying to med school is free (excluding the cost of the entry exam which is around £60) however you are only allowed to apply to four med schools. So there’s a lot of competition. I can’t believe up to $2000 can be spent on applying & you may still not be accepted

  21. I don't know if you can answer this, but I know Medical Schools filter based on scores (after that it is holistic depending on the school) but what is the average baseline they use? Or does it just depend on the school?

  22. I'm a bit confused about the last example w/reminder of drug seeking behaviors – is the issue related to how the adcoms would view the student's behavior, or simply an association with a negative experience for many physicians?

  23. AMCAS that’s sounds like the test in Massachusetts your force to do every year and to graduate high school which is the MCAS

  24. Is it normal to think that this is quite overwhelming?
    I am 14 and really interested in medicine and becoming a general surgeon since I was 10

    Thanks for to your videos I know what to expect in college and med school.

  25. Here’s what you need to know if you have MCAT scores too high and too high GPA… you get rejected for choosing schools with lesser competition

  26. My summer grades and hospice volunteering will be in the July application. So that’s why I am waiting til mid July. Do you think it could be too late?

  27. Idk why I watch these video I’m barely making it through undergrad. My GPA is great but I’m feeling like I’m dying lmfao

  28. Can you make a video on what steps a premed student should do each year of undergrad to build the best application for med school?

  29. This vid is very timely for me. I'm currently waiting my call for interview right now and I'm actually really nervous especially because I applied late. I can only hope that I will do well on the interview and entrance exam so I can make it to the cut off. Needless to say, I was 148th on the list of application and they will only accept 100 students. I'm reeeally nervous right now. Please pray for meee. 😢

  30. 7th blunder, applying to a DO school when you can't get into an MD school. DO schools can see that and are less likely to accept students who they feel are just applying because they are not competitive enough for MD schools.

  31. i was thinking of getting a stable work overseas and gaining a lot of experiences after pre-med and it will take me a lot of years for me to go back because i need to save and reality hurts..will this hindered me from applying to medical school? because lets be straight,we're not rich and i lived outside america.

  32. lastly….what if I got failed classes during my premed? should I take another route like masterals after bachelors? pls..someone answer me

  33. Your videos are becoming more and more pushy towards selling your online services. Pretty sad, this video was basically an ad.

  34. the issue I am going through is tough. I don't know if others feel the same but in school, I have trouble getting the scores They want to see. I am talking about big FAT (A's). I benefit more from my ability to use the knowledge on the field or lab. As a tactile learner, the trouble in school is getting the grades and I decided to wait till next year May to finish my applications. Any tips on how to improve my chances of getting accepted. My current plan is to use the next year to get lab experience and ENT hours completed. I also will be taking the MCATS sometime in October and start picking schools in January. Any help will be great because my GPA of 2.8 is discouraging me. I'm afraid a 99-100% on the MCATs will not be enough for acceptance.

  35. In terms of medical experience, is it good if you start younger? Right now I’m in my senior year of high school and I’ve had a EKG certification (and have actively been using it) for almost a year. My school offers a program that gives you CNA, EKG, and phlebotomy certifications upon completion (basically high school graduation) and you can also be certified as an EMT or Phlebotomy technician if you do extra classes, and clinical rotations are present through each certification course.

    I do have straight A’s, but since my overall class is very competitive, I rank 46/431 (not the top 6% I want for college). I was hoping that this experience in the medical field would be able to give me an edge against other applicants, and if starting younger would benefit me in any way.

    Sorry for the long comment lol

    Love your videos and keep up the great work!

  36. Hi there, I’m a junior in high school right now, and I just got my SAT score back as 1340. I’m not really a smart student and suck at memorization, but I want to go into medical field and become a doctor. Do you think it’s possible? Also, I don’t know why do I want to choose to become a doctor; in some way, I feel like I don’t know anything exactly I want at all, including what am I looking for in college or anything at all…. so to conclude…. I’m confused in life… 😂

  37. This has some good points, but its lame that so much of it is obviously just an ad for his service.

  38. That being said, a lot of these mistakes only apply to US medical schools. If you're a Canadian applicant, there is no rolling admission process. I'm also not sure if you get "earmarked" as a re-applicant and whether you have to work extra hard on subsequent applications. There are numerous classmates of mine who got in after multiple applications.

  39. Hello I'm a Junior at the University of Arizona and I am considering doing my application this cycle even though I dont take the mcat til July13. I have a 3.83 GPA, Ive been the president of a small club this year, Ive volunteered in the emergency department for about 500 total hours, I have also shadowed a few doctors, and I worked in a lab for about a year and a half. After watching this video I am worried about applying late because I dont want to be a reapplicant next year. Can someone give me advice who knows more about the process, thank you!

  40. How can you advice us not to look at Caribbean schools first if you have an ad for one in your video? I don’t like the feeling I get connecting this

  41. It is good to know that the Texas schools have a separate application process altogether (but worth noting that they tend to be less expensive)

  42. I'm graduating in May and I am going to a one-year masters program. I had intended to apply to med school this year so I could enter in the 2020 cycle. However, I have not studied for the MCAT because I have been studying for the GRE. What are your recommendations? Do I have to wait until 2021?

  43. PLEASE CAN YOU DO VIDEO ABOUT BEING A FRESHMAN PRE-MED AND STUFF YEAR TO YEAR YOU NEED TO ACCOMPLISH, and when should you buy your thingy like I’m an incoming premed freshman

  44. Although this video was informative, it wasn’t very encouraging. You put doubt into my head. I suggest you counter every reason why we wouldn’t be getting into medical school with why we would, like you did, but this time really convince us that we have a good chance of getting in and build our confidence. Thanks for the video.

  45. Can you guys talk about applying to a combined ba/bs and md school, is the process still the same, pros and cons? Thank you!

  46. I read an article which interviewed several admissions officers from various med schools in the US that stated it's common for applicants to apply 3 times before getting accepted. Applicants in the middle are chosen like a lottery system, as compared to one another, they all have the equal potential to make competent physicians. That being said, this video seemed quite ad-like, although it contained some helpful tips.

  47. Do you think I am good candidate.

    •3.68 GPA (Biomedics Bachelor's) •505 MCAT
    •Shadowed 2 physicians
    •Volunteered in the Red Cross
    •Board member for American Chemical Society in my area
    •Part of an Honors program in my University for the 4 years. (Also in my high school)
    •Was a science and math tutor

  48. Thanks for watching and good luck to all the pre-meds out there! It's a long path, but incredibly rewarding and enjoyable with the right mindset =)

  49. Can you please make a video explaining the pre-med process for first generation students? All my pre-med friends know exactly what they’re doing. I’m doing my best to learn by researching and asking advisors, but my advisors aren’t helpful and the research I find seem to be directed towards students who already know what the process is like.. I don’t want to be discouraged, but it’s hard when advisors and professors joke about “going back to my country” so that it’s an easier process for me to become a doctor.. I know medicine is what I want to do, and I know I can do it, I just don’t know what I need to do.

  50. THANK YOU for the whole reapplicant thing. Everyone is so confused as to why I am not applying this cycle. I am not ready. I know I could do better. I knew I was not ready to take the MCAT so soon after the death of 2 close family members. I want to use this next year to grow as an adult and as a future doc.

  51. I love how in my country we only have to take an exam because only one public university in the whole country gives it, its competitive because only the top 2% enters, but it is quite practical because there are no interviews or anything like that

  52. is the 40% acceptance rate for applications to med school 40% for each application (i.e. if you apply to 15-20 schools you have very good chances) or 40% overall (i.e. 60% of people applying to 15-20 med schools wont get a single acceptance)?

  53. I’m a Freshmen in college in the Applied Health Sciences college and I am a Pre Med student, Medical school seems so confusing. I’m not sure what I want to Major yet, Kinesiology, Biology? Photography Can i get into med school with a photography degree?

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