How many emails to her program director does it take for a postbac to complete the primary application?

Right now I’m going to say upwards of ten. The first three or so didn’t bother me much. By the fourth I was apologizing for my seemingly endless stream of questions. By now I’ve given up on apologies and have simply accepted that to apply to medical school, a person has to be comfortable with being a bit of a nuisance.

Medical school applications consist of a complex series of tasks that I’m relatively certain exist primarily for the purposes of dissuading the unwary from getting too far in the process. Some of the hoops are expected; personal statements, transcript requests, interviews. Some of them seem downright mean.

For example, there are two rounds of applications. The first, the primary application that is currently the bane of my existence, is run by AMCAS, the American Medical College Application Service. It’s a single online application accepted by nearly every medical school in the country. (Except for Texas schools for some reason. But since I’m not applying to any Texas school I’m not going to worry about it.)

The AMCAS application includes such delightful activities as typing by hand every single post-secondary school class I have ever taken along with class type and grade. This is in addition to sending them my official transcripts. It also costs $160 for the first school and $39 for each additional school to which the application is sent. My primary application costs over $700 right now. This is after I trimmed a good five schools off the list.

Then comes round two, the secondaries. One might think that receiving a primary application would allow the schools to weed out the few students who they would never consider accepting. Not so. Apparently medical school applicants raise quite a stink if they don’t get a secondary application, so the schools send them out to everyone. These applications tend to cost between $25 and $100. They’re more in depth; a series of short essay responses to questions similar to the type you might expect in an interview.

For all my complaints though, it’s pretty exciting. At midnight tonight I will submit my primary application to AMCAS and will have officially applied to medical school. It’s a small step on my journey, but symbolically it’s momentous. A year ago I could hardly imagine this day would come. Look at me now.

Edit: Apparently submissions don’t open until 9:30 AM tomorrow. Which is slightly less dramatic, but still exciting.