AMCAS and AACOMAS

Preparations for family vacation are well underway! Since all three of us “daughters” are rarely in the same state anymore, our vacation is always more complete when everyone can go so we opted to go somewhere close while everyone is here! To the lake it is! We were going to camp but it looks like thunderstorms are in the forecast so we booked a lodge in the state park. Vacations with my nieces are the best because I get to be like a kid again. I just show up when the food is ready, eat, and then go play again. Haha!

Other than that, summer is pretty calm. I’m feeling much better, and not worrying about AMCAS, AACOMAS, letters of recommendation or anything like that like I was last summer.

To anybody who is there right now, or will be there in the next couple years-

1. I suggest staying organized. AMCAS and AACOMAS (and I’m sure the Texas application service) are organized by tabs so I always organized related papers in the same way. I had folders with tab dividers that helped a lot.

2. Print and save a copy of everything. I typed all my “activity descriptions” in a word document and saved it. That way I could email it to everyone I knew, which I did for my next tip…

3. PROOFREAD, proofread, proofread. I had several people edit over everything I submitted. That included personal statement, the CV I had to make for my premed committee letter, my activities and work experience- all of it.

4. Make “letter writer” packets- I printed a copy of my CV, my personal statement, and the AMCAS or Interfolio instructions for submitting a letter an addressed and stamped envelope just in case they decided to submit their letter that way all in a nice crisp Manila envelope with each letter writer’s name on it. I thought the extra effort and thought would look nice and make sure that they put some thought into it, since I made it look important. I also put a $5 Starbucks card inside a handwritten thank you card in with it. I didn’t want it to reflect as a bribery technique or anything but you could send it separately if you think that far ahead. My card was thanking them in advance for thinking of me to write the letter but mostly I thanked each of my letter writers for their role as a mentor in my premed career. (I sent another thank you card promptly after I saw that they had uploaded their letters). I’ve never written a letter of recommendation for anyone. Maybe most of them do consider it an honor to use their credentials to help you in your goals, but if they do a lot of them, I imagine it gets sort of hard to write something original. Plus, if you look at this way, they take time out of their busy workday to spend time doing something for you, so being overly grateful isn’t really possible. I was shadowing one of my letter writer docs one day and he actually asked me to go shadow someone else while he went to lunch and wrote my letter! He was glad to do it, but it just puts it in perspective.

5. Thank everyone who helps you. I think it’s a good habit to write handwritten thank you’s and I got a lot of practice last summer! Thank people who proofread for you, thank your mentors, thank your professors, thank your parents, etc.

6. Submit ASAP. Make sure it is complete, well-written, no mistakes, and represents YOU. Once those are checked off, don’t obsess any more about it. Just turn it in!

7. If you’re applying DO through AACOMAS, I used interfolio. It just seemed a lot more streamlined and efficient. I paid $6 for the one-year subscription and all my letters were available to OSU for as many copies as they needed, and instead of having to fret about if my letter writer sealed and sent the envelope right, on the right letterhead, etc. (The schools are rarely particular to the letter writers about how they send it anyway because they know they are busy) and they can’t bother you about it because you didn’t write it!

I feel your pain, Juniors-now-Seniors. Your apps will be in before you know it and you will be prepping for interviews!

Good luck!

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