Free resources every aspiring physician should read

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“Where do I even start?” This is a common question for students as they decide to pursue a career in medicine or move from one part of the process to the next. It can be easy to feel overwhelmed, but there are many free resources available to help you navigate preparing and applying. Learn about the resources and tools you can take advantage of at any stage on your path to medicine.

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As you make the decision to pursue a career in medicine, you may wonder, “Where do I even start?” It can be easy to feel overwhelmed by the process, but there are a lot of resources out there designed to help you. No matter what stage you’re in, below you will find free resources, information, and tools that you can take advantage of throughout the process to guide you as you navigate your medical journey.

1. Aspiring Docs fact sheets

Reading the AAMC’s Aspiring Docs fact sheets is great place to start. These short fact sheets tell you about the basics of getting started on your path to medicine, how to get experience, tips for applying, and what medical school is like according to current students. Whether you’re looking for information as a high school student, wondering how to make the most of your gap year(s), or getting ready to apply to medical school, it’s worth reading through to make sure you’re informed and prepared for your next step.

2. Aspiring Docs Diaries blog

If you’re interested in personal stories from other premeds, as well as current medical students and residents, check out the AAMC’s blog, Aspiring Docs Diaries. These student bloggers write about their experiences, often including challenges, how they overcame them, and advice based on what they learned. If you’re interested in becoming a blogger, email

3. Anatomy of an Applicant

As you decide what courses to take, which volunteer or research experiences to choose, or begin drafting your personal statement, it can be helpful to first understand what medical schools are looking for from their applicants. Anatomy of an Applicant highlights the 15 core competencies that medical schools have identified as important for entering medical students. These competencies are a way to think about the skills you have gained and how you have grown from your experiences. Keep in mind, one experience can demonstrate multiple competencies.

4) Financial Information, Resources, Services, and Tools (FIRST)

Medical school is expensive, so it’s essential to learn how to manage your money and finance your medical education. FIRST has all the resources you need to understand and navigate the complexities of financial aid, student debt, money management, and loan repayment. It’s a good idea to start thinking about these things before you get to medical school, and FIRST has the resources to help you. Get financially prepared for medical school by learning what questions to ask medical school financial aid officers, understanding how to complete the financial aid application process, and finding scholarship and loan forgiveness programs. FIRST can help you be well-prepared for medical school and residency.

In addition to these online resources, don’t forget to take advantage of the many resources available to you locally. These may include working with your pre-health advisor, joining clubs and organizations, or forming study groups with peers. It can also be helpful to attend premed fairs (either in-person or virtually) to interact with admissions officers from schools you may be interested in. The process of applying to medical school can certainly feel stressful, but knowing about the various resources available to you can make it more manageable. To stay up to date with new resources, follow AAMC Premed on Facebook or Twitter.

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