Question about questions .....

First, I apologize for what is probably a very “green” question …. But, some days, after reading several posts on this site I get very anxious. Very anxious. Worried that I am plodding down a very mucky trail … with less than adequate direction. And, I do try to do adequate searchs on this site before asking too many questions ….
So, today’s worry is two-fold:
One, about how to ask questions ---- I understand that I need to start approaching schools that I am interested in attending to see if I’m “on track” for future consideration (esp since I don’t have a pre-med advisor). Things like if they consider CC coursework acceptable, what GPA/MCAT do they really contemplate, what level of research & volunteer efforts are necessary, is part-time pre-med schooling adequate, etc. But WHO do I contact? And what type of call is this — a casual Q&A session, or do I need some formal preparation?
Two, about how to decide what schools to phone ---- I’ve read how I’m suppose to choose from schools that have curriculums, local and perspectives that are attractive to me. But, after looking at a slew of schools sites, the curriculums seem fairly consistent, locals are all interesting in one way or another, and all seem to represent themselves (as med schools) similarly. I intend to apply to all state schools, but how do you choose others? And, is it relatively more difficult to get into out of state “state schools”? How do you read between the lines to weed out schools that I’m either probably not a strong candidate for or that they might be less attractive than what appears?
Thanks for reading — I appreciate any suggestions, opinions, or feelings that you care to share!!!

The one thing that worked for me was to get the AAMC medical school book…cannot remember the name but it is available at their web site. All medical school will have gpa,mcat, etc…their mission all that. Okay so once I had that like four years prior to applying due to my OCD-ness…I then sat down with my husband and figured out what states would we be willing to move if that school was the only one to accept me. This narrows the list a lot! then out of those states I had a certain “cutoff” number for out of state applicants accepted my magic number was 20% the school had to at least accept 20% out of state folks for me to even consider this school. Most private schools at other states accept many non resident folks but the state schools are more choosy except a few so beware. Then, out of the states we picked I also looked at cities…for example NC was an option but Winstom-Salem was not…so that took one school out from NC…
Okay, after that list I also looked at schools that were diverse…I did not want to go to a school that was not. Again, I purchased another book from AAMC called minority opportunities in us schools that gave me a breakdown of how many folks from each group applied and how many were accepted and how many matriculated.
Then, after this cut my list down even more (of course my list ended up being 32 schools!) I also looked at finances, how many could I “afford”. I made sure to include travel/hotel/secondaries/primary.
Then, I contacted ALL schools that I had on my list 32 of them, and I e-mailed most of them. I did this before application time…they usually do not talk to you if you do this while applying so beware. I briefly gave them some idea of who I was and my goals and waited for replies. All of them actually replied if you go about this at the rigth time and not when they are bogged down with interviews/applications. I think that the best time is after they have chosen the incoming class but applications for the next time have not rolled in yet…so I think like the June-August time frame was when I did it…this gave me a lot of insight into what schools were looking for and to see if I was a good match. I e-mailed the admissions director usually…or the assitant director. This I think I got from the AAMC minority book, you can also e-mail the person in charge of the “diversity program” they were very helpful and being non-trad for sure puts us in the minority pool somewhat…Good luck

First, I would like to just say that you should never feel bad about asking a question on here–that’s what this organization is for, and nearly every member can relate to having questions for which they felt they couldn’t find the answer.
Second, efex did an EXCELLENT job of outlining what to do. I followed nearly the same course, but happily I was able to narrow mine down to 18 before I had to do a final list of which schools to apply.
Good luck, and keep the questions coming!

Let me echo what Larry said about efex’s post. This is a GREAT game plan and one that I intend to follow myself. I have a few different things that I need to consider as well but most people do.