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Lives of Doctor Wives: My husband is a med school applicant. In fact, he's been a med school applicant twice.

Friday, August 16, 2013

My husband is a med school applicant. In fact, he's been a med school applicant twice.

written by: anonymous

My husband is a med school applicant. In fact, he's been a med school applicant twice.

Yup, that's right. This is the second go 'round for him. In fewer than 12 months, we're on application cycle number two. Dos. Twice as money schools this time. Twice as much money (at least--fingers crossed for many interviews). Twice has much time waiting for this whole doctor train to finally depart from the station.

I know it's typical of wives to brag about their husbands, but mine really is top notch (I'm sure yours is, too). He went to a public-Ivy for undergrad. He decided to be a doctor after studying business, and then banged out his pre-reqs in one year--with a 4.0. He teaches, tutors, volunteers, works, and studies like crazy. He got a 94% percentile MCAT score...They guy really is not dumb.

But neither is anyone else applying to med school. (Well, I have my suspicions, but really, the application process is so tedious and complex that I really think someone has to be at least of average intelligence to even figure out AMCAS.)

About this time last year, my husband had just taken the MCAT. FYI, it's already early July right now. The score wasn't returned until August, there were some straggling letter writers, and a few nervous personal statement revisions, and his fifteen applications were finally submitted in early September. We thought we were sitting pretty.

Well, we were. Kind of.

Secondaries came in from both coasts and the Midwest. In an effort to save some money, he concentrated on the secondary applications for schools in our current state. All three schools offered him an interview. Of those, two offered wait list spots.

We're still waiting.

There is an extremely small chance he will get phone call inviting him to fill a spot on the first day of class. My guess is that we saved between $500 - $1500.00 not filling out every single secondary that came through the door (I say up to $1500 to budget in for potential interviews requiring flights and hotels). Any guesses on how much the second cycle has already cost?

$1,500. (So far.)
Life is funny like that.
 After doing some soul searching and self flagellation, we learned a few things:
1. Future Doc is a competitive applicant. He was lucky enough to have an internal med resident friend review his CV with two admissions counselors at a top public university who said he is a great applicant. This friend is a straight shooter, so we're trusting what she tells us. This is the most important thing, because it's kept him (us, really) confident. You have to be confident.

2. Applying in early September is way too late. I can't tell you how many conversations we've had that start out with, "If we knew then what we know now...". The truth is that we had no clue early September was so late in the game. People take the MCAT in August! Sure, we would have preferred he was ready to go Day One, but between his classes and jobs, there was no way to effectively study for the MCAT. His score was worth the July test date. But early September was way too late. Why? Because there a bunch of people exactly like my husband ready to go at 9:00 AM as soon as admission open. Because there a bunch of people way smarter than we were, or who had better intel than we did, just ready to get those applications verified and sent out to schools. Apply early.

3. Saving money on application fees is not a smart move. At all. Really. Like, don't do it. I would rather be writing this post from the Middle of Nowhere Med School than writing this one. It sucks seeing your mate unhappy and self-conscious. It sucks pushing your plans back another year because you were trying to be financially responsible. It sucks spending that same money (and then some) on the same process while you replay your mistakes in your head over and over again. Did I mention this process kind of sucks? As much as I wanted to deny this fact, the $3,000 - $5,000 you may spend on applications fees are worth a year. Until there is a shiny, happy acceptance letter in your hot little hand, don't stop applying. Start curbing application fees when there's a guarantee he's going somewhere. If he'd prefer MD, there's not reason to spend $500 on a flight and hotel to that DO interview. But until he gets what he wants, just keep churning those puppies out. Apply broadly, and fill out secondaries. All of them.

4. Staying positive is the most important. We already know he's a strong applicant. We already know he knows how to interview. We know he's put the hay in the barn and the rest is awaiting this crap-shoot process to work itself out. Until that happens, though, we're staying as positive as possible. Yes, we have to wait a year, but it's one more year we have together before life gets really nuts. Yes, this process is expensive, but we're both working this year (which hasn't happened in years!) and we'll be able to pay for it, pay down some debt, and maybe even put money into savings. Since he applied all over the place this year, we're thisclose to the possibility of living in a new state and starting all over again. That's pretty exciting stuff, and we're pretty lucky to have the chance to bounce around a bit (remind me of this when we're moving for his fellowship).

So, that's it, four things we've learned so far. It's expensive, it's hard, it's time consuming and nerve wracking. But, we've been here before and lived through it, and this time we're a little smarter (and more desperate, maybe?), and will figure out how to make it work. And with that, on to editing another secondary...

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