More than ninety allopathic medical schools operate Early Decision Programs (EDPs). Is applying early right for you? Even for very competitive applicants with high MCAT scores and GPA , applying early to medical school is risky. We advise caution as you carefully weigh the potential advantages and drawbacks.

applying early decision to medical school

How Early Decision Programs Work

Students who apply for early decision take the MCAT in April or May (or in the year prior to applying) and typically submit their AMCAS application in early June. The official EDP deadline for schools that participate  in AMCAS is August 1.

Early decision applicants are prohibited from applying to any other school until they receive a decision on their application, by October 1 or earlier. If you are accepted, then you are obligated to accept the offer.

Potential Advantages of Applying Early to Med School

1. It streamlines the admission process.

You will only have to apply to one school, thus reducing the cost and hassle of applying to med school .

2. It reduces senior year stress.

You will have your med school admission decision early in your senior year. If accepted, you will be able to enjoy your last year of college with less stress and worry.

3. It demonstrates your enthusiasm.

You are clearly stating your first choice of school, which can be advantageous to your med school application. Medical schools prefer to admit students who have a strong interest in their particular program. However, med schools do not admit students via early decision who would not be admitted during the regular admissions cycle. If you are a marginal applicant, you will not improve your chances of admission by applying early decision.

Drawbacks of Applying Early

1. You must be 100% ready to commit.

You need to be absolutely certain that you want to attend the medical school you apply to. If you are accepted, you have to attend, even if you later discover something that makes you less inclined to go to that school.

2. Only a small portion of the entering class is accepted early.

Early Decision admission, like everything else related to med school, is very competitive. Since med schools only save a few seats for early decision applicants, your application must be a standout from  great grades  to extensive clinical experience to make the cut.

2. You could enter the admissions cycle late.

If you are not accepted early decision, you will enter the regular admissions cycle, some time between September 1 and October 1. AMCAS says this still provides sufficient time to apply nationally, meeting all final deadlines (which occur between November 1 and December 15). But the reality is that you will be entering your application at the tail end of the admissions cycle, and at a measurable disadvantage, unless you are a particularly strong applicant.

When it comes to getting into medical school, there are no shoo-in applicants or safety schools. So, while an an outstanding GPA, high MCAT scores, and stellar overall application could put you in a good position to apply early, they also put you in a good position to apply regular decision—without risking a competitive disadvantage.

Consult with your pre-med advisor or strategize with our med school admissions experts to determine if applying to an Early Decision Program is the right game plan for you. Whatever you decide, we can help you position your accomplishments for your best primary and secondary applications.

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