Since I’m not even close to actually applying to med school yet this is just a curiosity factor for me…but is there a centralized database where you can just apply to medical schools? I thought I saw something like that offered in my browsing but I could be mistaken…doesn’t it get costly to apply to each medical school? I haven’t looked into the cost or anything yet, and of course I know it’s worth it but I’m just curious. Also, I have another question on letters of recommendation…I mean is it like the more the better or the weightier the better? Say you have like 20 but none of them are really super important people is that just as good as say 3 but 3 from pretty important people? Does that make sense? Also what if the doctors you know are family friends does that lessen the value of the letter of recommendation even if you have volunteered and shadowed with them? I’m asking because I have several friends who are physicians and I have been shadowing and volunteering with them trying to learn from them and evne though they are friends they are pretty darn tough on me!
Rhonda, these are all questions that you can find the answers to with some simple Google searches… since OPM is a friendly place, I am willing to bet that someone is writing an answer right now, but I urge you to do a little more research on your own. Seeking information from various resources is a good skill that will serve you well in the future – no time like the present to hone that skill!
That’s the thing, I found so many and some seemed less than reputable…I’m sure that the AAMC one that I found was reputable at least it looked to be so, but how can you be sure? I suppose the your school can point you in the right direction as well. Thanks though Mary!
Try searching old posts through the search funcion on OPM. I know its been mentioned before in several posts.
In general (I believe), there is the centralized application fee which varies depending on the number of schools applied to plus fees associated with each school’s secondary application.
AAMC and the major test prep sites (Princeton Review, Kaplan) provide good comprehensive descriptions of what is involved.
- RAdamson Said:
You're right that some places are more reputable than others. Definitely search AAMC's website - they're the consolidated application place you mentioned, required for applying to 95% of US allopathic schools - and search OPM's old posts as well. Lots of great info to be found.
That said, I'll give a whack at a few I can answer quickly...
For allopathic (MD) schools, you'll complete a primary application through AMCAS (for our purposes in thist post, consider it equivalent to AAMC). Each school has a specific secondary application to fill out - usually another essay or two, as well as often restating some info you already gave on your primary.
It costs $30 for each primary. The cost of secondaries varies from $25-$110 or so. The average is about $70. The rough average of schools people apply to is 15, but that varies hugely. Some here have gotten in by applying to just 1 - but that is NOT recommended unless you have specific reasons that is the only school you can or would attend. I completed ~30 primaries and about 23 seconaries, IIRC.
After that, you have travel expenses - flights, hotels, clothes, food, whatever.
Applying is an expensive process. Estimate it could cost a few thousand dollars.
Most schools will cap the number of letters of rec you can send. I believe the average schools want is about 3-5. I think I had 5 in my file.
It doesn't much matter how well-known or famous or important your recommender is. What matters is how well they KNOW you and can report how capable you'll be of handling med school, especially in relation to your peers. Definitely quality over quantity for this.
You'll also want to keep in mind that most schools require - or request, depending on your perspective and finageling skills (spell check that for me? ) - varied sources of LoRs. One school might, say, want 2 from science professors, 1 from a non-science prof, 1 from someone who's supervised you outside of class (e.g. research PI, work supervisor, etc) and one to your discretion. Some schools actually want a letter from a friend, for some reason.
I don't think being a family friend would disquality someone from writing a LoR - if they can objectively comment on your suitablity for the profession and its pathway. Keep in mind also that shadowing letters tend not to be overly highly considered; the doc you shadow often just doesn't know all that much about you, your work ethic, or what makes you tick.
Hope this helps. I can see you have a lot of questions bouncing around, which is a good thing . Try to satisfy some of that curiosity with searching and see what you come up with. And good luck with the process - have fun with it!
That said, I’ll give a whack at a few I can answer quickly…
As Mary said, some friendly soul will answer you, and many did - good luck in your search! :)
Thank you all so much! I’m going to start saving in a seperate fund for the application to med school process now!