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medical | opinions & advice | positioning yourself for admission to medical school
Medical School Admissions Timeline
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If you intend to enroll in medical school immediately after college, your work is cut out for you.
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 can't do either of these overnight.
Here is an informal timeline to help you get organized.
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. If you decide you need more formal preparation, make those arrangements.
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. Be prepared to pay a hefty fee.
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
Late Spring of Junior Year. You'll need recommendations for your application. Identify and contact potential recommendations. It's not a bad idea to write a brief profile or bio about yourself to help them. Make sure your recommenders know the deadlines.
Summer. Retake the MCAT, if necessary. You should also decide which are your chosen schools 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.
Summer. Classes begin in August