If you’re preparing early, I recommend that you create a PTCAS application the year before you plan on applying. I was able to look around the site, see what everything is like, and made sure that I had everything ready for when I applied the following year. It doesn’t cost any money and you don’t have to submit the application.
Here’s what I suggest doing before the cycle opens:
1. Record all your volunteer, work, and observation hours. Include dates, hours per week, any responsibilities, and any cool things you observed.
2. Ask people to write you letters of recommendation. Give them a heads up that you’ll ask them to write them the letter in July.
3. Determine which schools you want to apply to.
4. Figure out how to send transcripts.
5. Write descriptions for your volunteer and work responsibilities. You have 175 characters to list your positions and what you did. I had most of them already on LinkedIn and a Resume, which made this easier.
6. Follow PTCAS on Facebook.
7. Start writing your PTCAS essay, if you’re applying to PTCAS schools. They released the essay mid-June in 2014.
8. Start writing any supplemental essays. These are less likely to change every year.
This isn’t necessary, and you’ll be fine if you haven’t started any of this before the application opens. I was surprised how quick it was to fill out the application. The essays take the longest time. Just make sure to fill out everything as best as possible.