Many students succeed in college despite waiting until the last minute to write papers and cramming for exams. Applying to medical school requires a great deal of time - and an early start. The medical school admissions process is a marathon rather than a sprint. If you really want to win a spot in medical school you must plan ahead and carefully monitor your progress. The timeline below is a guide. Be sure to discuss your aspirations with your academic advisor and other faculty to ensure that you are on the right track given your own circumstances.
Junior (3rd) Year: Fall
- Seriously consider medical school: Is it for you? What is entailed in a successful application.
- Review course requirements and ensure that your transcript satisfies these minimums. Gain clinical, community and volunteer experience.
- Gather information about medical schools. Review the resources at the Association of American Medical Colleges site.
- Become familiar with the application process.
- Find out how your school handles writing recommendation letters for medical school applicants as well as the process for obtaining one. Some programs provide a committee letter, written by several faculty who collectively evaluate your potential for a career in medicine. Other schools permit students to
- Prepare for the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). The MCAT is critical to your application. Learn about its content and how it is administered. The MCAT tests knowledge of science. Prepare by studying material in biology, inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry and physics. Invest in MCAT prep books and perhaps review courses for a thorough review of science and practice exams that can help you determine your strengths and weaknesses.
- Continue studying for the MCAT. It may be taken as early as January (through the summer). Register early because seats fill quickly. Take the MCAT in Spring, early enough to allow you to retake it if needed.
- Continue researching medical schools.
- Take the MCAT. If you are unhappy with your score register for another exam. Remember that seats fill quickly - even more so in Spring when many med school applicants compete for seats.
- Request letters of evaluation. If your school does not provide committee letters, consider which faculty you will ask, prepare materials for them, and request letters.
- Request a copy of your transcript to ensure that there are no errors and that you have taken the range of courses required by most medical schools.
Junior (3rd) Year: Late Spring
- Finalize your letters of evaluation.
- Finalize your list of medical schools.
Summer between Junior and Senior Year (3rd and 4th)
- Begin working on the AMCAS application. It may be submitted as early as June.
- The first application deadline is August 1 and application deadlines continue through December. Make sure that you know the deadline dates for the schools you choose.
Fall of Senior (4th) Year
- Retake the MCAT, if necessary
- Complete the AMCAS application, if needed
- If medical schools are interested in your application they will follow up with secondary applications that contain additional questions and essays. Again, take time writing your essays and seek feedback. Submit secondary applications.
- Send thank you notes to faculty who wrote on your behalf to thank them but also to subtly remind them.
- Medical school interviews may begin as early as August but usually in Fall and continues into early Spring. Prepare for interviews by considering what you may be asked and determining your own questions
- Schools begin notifying applicants of acceptance beginning in mid-October and continuing through Spring.
- If you are waitlisted, update schools about new accomplishments.
- Letters of acceptance and rejection arrive. If you are not accepted to med school, learn from your experience and consider your options and whether to apply again next year.