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When should a student start considering medical school application prep?

Short answer: it’s never too early!

Long answer: picture yourself as part of the McGill medical school admissions board. You come across the resumes of two different applicants:

Applicant A spent the summer volunteering in Africa (for two months), worked in a research lab for a summer (three months), worked as an administrative assistant in a medical clinic (two months), and was a camp counselor for two consecutive summers.

Applicant B worked every summer at his parents’ restaurant since the age of 12 (he is now 18). He’s also been playing the violin for over eight years.

Both have amazing grades. Which do you choose?

If you chose applicant A, you missed the point of this exercise. In the world of admissions, more does not mean more. On the contrary—less means more.

Yes, applicant A’s CV might look more impressive because of its greater content. But if you take a closer look, you’ll notice all the entries have a shelf life of two three months. This CV shows inconsistency and a desire to add content to appear impressive.

Applicant B, on the other hand, has a less populated CV, but the few entries speak volumes. This CV tells the story of a full-time student who was able to maintain the same job for six years. A passion for music is also a significant advantage, as this student continues to actively play their instrument. This CV shows dedication, perseverance, and commitment—all crucial qualities that admissions officers are trained to look out for.

So again, when should a student start considering college prep? As early as possible!

I’m hoping that this exercise clarified the following:

(1) Decisions such as signing up for piano or karate lessons at the age of 5 can significantly impact your college admissions likelihood 15 years down the line

(2) The idea of quality over quantity. Don’t think of overpopulating your CV when just a few significant entries can do the trick!

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