If you intend to enroll in medical school immediately after college, your work is cut out for you.

Medical school application timeline

In addition to your science-heavy course load, graduation requirements, and extracurriculars, you now must juggle (1) preparing for and taking the MCAT and (2) applying to medical schools. You’re not alone! But navigating the med school application process as a college student means budgeting your time effectively. Our medical school application timeline will help you determine what you need to do and when you need to do to attend your dream med school.

Fall of Junior Year

Start thinking MCAT. This is a high-stakes exam that you must really prepare for to do well. The test requires knowledge of biology, inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry, and physics. To gauge your performance, take a free online practice test; then make arrangements to prep for the test.

Timing is an important factor with the MCAT. The field of applicants grows more crowded as the admissions season advances. Therefore, the earlier you sit for the MCAT, the better off you'll be. Even if you complete the remainder of your application early, the vast majority of medical schools will not closely consider your candidacy until they have a copy of your MCAT scores.

Late Winter/Early Spring of Junior Year

Register for the MCAT at aamc.org. (The basic fee is $300, with additional charges for re-scheduling and other services.)

Spring of Junior Year

Take the test. If you are dissatisfied with your score, register for the next exam (while there is still time) and create a plan to get the score you need. Additionally, you should start doing research to find schools that are a good fit for you. Visit potential schools and be sure to talk to students on campus.

Late Spring of Junior Year

You'll need letters of recommendations for your application. Identify and contact potential recommenders. It's a great idea to write a brief profile or bio about yourself to help them write the best letter possible.  Make sure your recommenders have the deadlines.


Retake the MCAT, if necessary. You should also finalize the list of schools you will apply to and complete the AMCAS application. If you apply through the early decision program (EDP), the deadline is August 1. Regular deadlines stretch between now and December—stay on top of them!

Fall of Senior Year

If a med school likes your candidacy, they will send you their own secondary application. You'll have some essays to write. Give yourself enough time to revise and to allow someone else (a good writer) to read them. Send thank you notes to your recommenders—it's the perfect way to gently remind them to get on this task if they haven't already. Prepare for interviews.

Winter/Spring of Senior Year

Acceptances (and rejections) arrive. If you don't get in, reconsider your career options or prepare to apply again next year.


Relax (for now). Classes begin in August. Congratulations, future doctor!