Applications are the first step towards starting ones journey through medical school (well, after the dreaded MCAT of course). When Dani (my boyfriend) told me that he would be applying to 20 + schools, my jaw dropped. First, I had no idea that you had to apply to that many! Second, I worried that I would never see him again. Luckily, this was not the case and he involved me quite a lot in the process as I took the role of “Master Editor in Chief” of his essays. Through application season, I learned a lot of different tips on how to support him through the process and I hope they help if you too have a significant other applying to medical school.
Be open about your opinions but also value theirs
There were medical schools on Dani’s list located in places that I wasn’t sold on. However, they had stellar programs and he was really excited about them. Therefore, we discussed and made compromises. While he didn’t base his list solely off of me, he did add schools that he knew were in areas that would be beneficial for my career as well. Obviously every relationship is different but we entered medical school applications knowing that wherever he ended up would also be where I moved post-graduation. Therefore, it was important to both of us that we valued each other’s opinions and thoughts (and it couldn’t have worked out better–we are both exactly where we want to be now!).
Offer your help
You may know nothing about medicine and know even less about medical school but that doesn’t mean that you can’t help your partner with the application process! Because I am a writing tutor, I have had training and experience editing graduate and medical school applications. This came REALLY in handy because I was able to help proofread and edit Daniel’s essays for him. Because we weren’t together (I was working in Ohio for the summer), a lot of this was done on FaceTime or through email. However, I know that he really appreciated the help. Even if your S.O. denies your help, they will definitely appreciate your offer and it will mean a lot to them.
Send words and acts of encouragement
The process is stressful and time consuming. Do nice things and say nice things to that person to help support and encourage them. While Dani was studying for the MCAT, I sent him a study care package including his favorite snacks, words of encouragement and little gifts that I knew he would appreciate. He still talks about that package over two years later! You never know what is really going to mean a lot to someone.
I cannot tell you how many of Dani and my conversations these last two years have revolved around medical school. Remember that this is a huge life step for them and they are excited and need someone to talk to. Listen to them and allow them to tell you their latest updates and thoughts. It means a lot to them to have your support. Embrace the fact that soon enough you will know the medical school process well enough to apply yourself 😉
You are an important member of your significant other’s medical school application team! Support, love and encourage both them and yourself endlessly during this process–a positive mindset can truly go a long way.