There is so much going on during year three that I will probably have several posts before I am through. This post will be dedicated to school work and extra curriculars. Than I will focus on the DAT, and finish up with the application cycle and just how it works. I love trilogies.
So what should you be doing at school besides realizing that things are finally starting to set in motion? Well namely, you probably still have a few pre-reqs to polish off – namely any English requirements (unless you got them earlier) as well as the dreaded Physics I and II. Many schools have additional requirements as well, but the general ones I have already listed.
So now what? Several schools have a recommended course listing; and slowly but surely, many of these courses are becoming mandatory. You may want to take Biochemistry, Histology (great course), Immunology, Verterbrate Biology, Comparative Anatomy, Human Anatomy, Physiology (human or animal) all with their respective labs. Obviously you won’t have time for them all and your school probably doesn’t offer everything. I STRONGLY recommend taking biochem, histo, anatomy, and physiology. Assuming you cranked out most of your gen eds, you should have time. However, with the DAT looming ever closer, you may want to set up a really light spring semester as to provide ample DAT study time. Don’t forget you still have senior year to fill in some classes as well.
What about ECs? Well now is the time to get involved with research (if you haven’t already). If you can do your own project, and get published, you will have a nice addition to your application. Obviously this is ideal and not always realistic. I didn’t actually do my own, but I did assist a professor for one semester and used my data to present a grant proposal in one of my courses. Just get some sort exposure to research, especially if you have your eyes set on Harvard or Michigan, they eat it up. Oh yea, you should still be shadowing and volunteering as mentioned before. By now you should have plenty of hours to brag about on your application.
Your pre-health committee (if you have one) is probably going to write you a letter in the spring time, so you will need to compile your own LORs so that they can write the composite letter. Get these letters going in the fall semester so that you will have LOTS of time to get them. Many profs take weeks, even months of nagging and pestering before they actually get the letters done. Do not procrastinate. More on this later.
Continue improving your time management. Things are probably getting hectic this year, and don’t expect them to improve until you get accepted somewhere. You have lots of future concerns, as well as very difficult courses to master. Junior year is by far, the most difficult of undergrad (in my humblest of opinions). Don’t get overwhelmed, paranoid, frustrated, insane, ect. Things will work out in the end, patience is a concept you will really need to work on – especially once you get your application in. If you are going through personal turmoil, don’t use it as an excuse; work through it all and become a stronger individual. Life is full of challenges, sometimes the little victories matter most.
Don’t forget to get out and relax sometimes. You still are in college, more responsibility is being thrust upon you, but it isn’t impossible to handle. If you took care of business your first two years, you are already priming yourself for a very successful application cycle.
Finish pre-reqs: Physics I/II, English, any additionals that specific schools require
Take additional Biology coursework: Histo, biochem, anatomy, and physio may as well be pre-reqs
Get involved in research. If you can get a publication, you are supercharging your application
Get LORs done EARLY. I cannot stress this enough, so many people get their app. held up because they slacked on the letters.
Try to take a light load during the spring semester (DAT time)
Don’t remain in the dark about the application process, seek advice, read about it, and research the schools you plan to apply too. Do not wait until may to start looking at schools.
Continue to enjoy life