2011-2012 Medical School Application Timeline

If you are applying for entry starting fall 2015, you can find my 2014-2015 medical school application timeline here.

As you make your plan for the 2011-2012 medical school cycle, remember that most medical schools have rolling admissions. This means that the school does not wait until all of the applications are submitted to begin evaluating applications and that applying later in the cycle could place you at a disadvantage as spots in the class fill up.

There are three separate centralized application services for U.S. medical schools:

To help you get started making your schedule, here is a timeline to follow for the 2011-2012 application cycle:

2010

September- December

  • Become familiar with the application process. Good sources of information are the application service websites above, medical school websites and a  premedical advisor.
  • Gather information about medical schools. The Medical School Admissions Requirements (MSAR), available for purchase through the AAMC site, is an excellent resource.  The Osteopathic College Information Book can be downloaded online or purchased at the AACOM site.
  • Find out if your undergraduate institution offers a committee letter of recommendation and the process for obtaining one.
  • Continue to gain clinical, research and community service experience throughout the next year.
  • Make sure that you are on track to complete the prerequisite course work for medical school.

2011

January-March

  • Request letters of recommendation from faculty and physicians individually or obtain a committee letter per your undergraduate institution’s protocol. Check with individual schools about their letter requirements.
  • Begin studying for the MCAT several months before you plan to take the test.
  • Request copies of your transcripts to ensure that there are no errors on them before you have official copies sent to the application services.
  • Register for the MCAT early in order to get your preferred date and site. Information regarding the MCAT can be found at https://www.aamc.org/students/applying/46412/mcat/
  • Take the MCAT in the spring if possible, but no later than early summer in order to have scores submitted to the schools early in the cycle.

April-June

  • Register for the MCAT if you have not done so already.
  • Prepare for and take the MCAT.
  • Fill out primary applications.
  • Arrange for a clinical, research or shadowing experience as part of your summer activities.

The AMCAS application may be submitted on or near June 1 and the ACOMAS  application may be submitted starting June 1. Both applications become available a month or two prior to that so you can begin filling them out online, although you may not submit them until the application cycle opens.

The TMDSAS application becomes available in early May.

July-Sept

  • Retake the MCAT if needed.
  • Complete supplemental (secondary) applications. Some will come within days of submitting the primary application, others will take months. Return these to the schools as soon as possible.

September 2011 – spring 2012

  • Continue submitting secondaries in the fall.
  • Begin interviewing at medical schools. Interviews start in late August at the earliest schools and continue into the early spring.
  • Some schools begin notifying applicants of acceptances October 15. Notifications continue until the class is full.
  • By May 15, applicants to AMCAS schools should only be holding a spot at one school. They may remain on waitlists for other schools.

spring-summer 2012

  • Update schools you are waitlisted at about new activities and accomplishments.
  • Prepare to start medical school.

Fall 2012

Begin medical school!

Need the help of an M.D. experienced with medical school applications? Contact Dr. Eaton at (626) 768-2154 or info@prehealthadvising.com for a free 20 minute phone consultation.

27 Responses to "2011-2012 Medical School Application Timeline"

  1. Thank you very much for this information! I am going to take the MCAT this May and apply in June. I am going to get in and marticulate for 2012!!!! (^*^)

  2. Do you have any recommendations for a student returning to school and only taking premed classes? I only have about a year of classes to take, but the application process looks to take about two years. I cant really start applying now since I do not have the science background and have not taken the MCAT. I feel like I am going to spend a year applying and not in school, is there anyway around this? Are there schools out there that begin classes in the January semester, if so, how do I find them?

  3. You are correct that the medical school application process is approximately one year. Therefore, if you apply at the end of the year that you take you complete your prerequisites, you will end up with a gap year. I am not sure if you are asking if there are medical school programs that begin in January or if there are programs where you can take your prereqs starting in January. Although some of the Caribbean schools admit students for fall, spring and even summer semester start dates, I do not know of any U.S. schools that do that. For the pre-requisite courses, check nearby colleges and universities and find out if you can take the courses through open university or extension. Those classes are usually available year-round. There are also more formal post-bac programs for career-changes who need to take the science pre-reqs for medical school. Finally, if you just have a class or two left to complete, you may be able to finish those in the summer after your application has been submitted, although it would be better to have those done before you apply.

  4. I am wondering my girlfriend took the Mcats and only got a 20. It was the last test this year but she wants to get in to school next fall is there anyway to get score up to be able to apply with confidence?

  5. Hi Vincent,

    To raise her MCAT score, your girlfriend should assess how she prepared the first time, the reasons for the low score (understanding of material, interpreting the questions, timing, etc.) and then get help accordingly. There are many MCAT preparation courses offered as well as tutoring that may be beneficial to her. A score of 20 is well below what is competitive for medical schools, so it may take some time to raise the score to where it needs to be. It is very late right now to be taking the MCAT for admission for fall 2012, so she may need to consider taking the test with an aim of applying next year.

    It is hard for me to give specific advice without knowing her exact situation. For example, if her score was low because she had not completed the prerequiesite coursework, then my advice would be to hold off on retaking until she takes those. Some test-takers are non-traditional applicants who have not had science coursework in years, in those situations, I advice taking science courses to refresh themselves on the material. If she took a test prep course to prepare for the MCAT, her instructor for the course would be a good resource to ask as well.

  6. Good Afternoon Dr. Eaton,

    My daughter applied to 15 medical schools in July 2011. She scored a 31 on her MCAT and has a 3.5 GPA. She is currently enrolled in a Masters program for Medical Physiology. She just had a publication also. She applied early but so far she has had only 1 interview and has not received a reply back as of yet. Her interview was on October 14th. What is the time line to receive the decision? Is it getting to late for an interview since it is rolling admissions? I would greatly appreciate any information that you can pass on to me. Thank you.

  7. Hi Sandra,

    Since your comment is specific to your daughter’s situation, I sent you a reply via e-mail.

  8. My niece has applied for medical school. She has an undergrad degree in Biology and a MPH both from a solid NY college. No interviews yet. Should she be concerned.

  9. If your niece applied in the summer, then it is likely that she would have had at least one interview by now. Since she has not, her application may be on pre-interview hold at some of the schools. In that case, the schools may have read her application and determined that it was not competitive enough for an immediate interview; however, she may still be offered an interview later in the cycle.

  10. Dr Eaton, pls i will like to know how to go about applying to medical schools as an international student. I am a Nigerian and I have a B.Sc in Public health but will like to further into medicine.. Will appreciate any information on how to go about applying for 2012..Thanks in anticipation

  11. Hi Halimah,

    To apply to U.S. medical schools, you will first have to take the prerequisite science courses. These are typically two semesters each of physics, general chemistry, organic chemistry and general biology plus lab as well as 1-2 semesters of college level math. Some schools have additional requirements such as English and biochemistry. Schools vary on their policies regarding acceptance of coursework done outside the U.S. and Canada to fulfill prerequisites. You will also need to take the MCAT to apply to medical schools. Some schools do not accept students who are not citizens or permanent residents of the U.S., and others do. A good resource to start with is the Medical School Admissions Requirements book (MSAR), which may be purchased at the AAMC website. AAMC.org. When you are ready to apply, you will do so through the AMCAS application service. Information about this is also available at the AAMC site.

  12. Dr. Eaton,
    I applied to medical school for matriculation for fall 2012. My application was not complete until October due to a straggling recommendation letter. I was given secondaries at all of the schools I applied to, but I haven’t gotten one interview yet. It this because I applied so late and the interviews may still be coming or is it more likely that I am not competitive? Just for reference I have a 3.7 gpa, 30 on the MCAT, published author, extensive community service, and will have a BS in biology at the end of this semester. Also I am a 19yr old applicant, which I am assuming could also be a factor.

  13. Hi Katie,

    In addition to the late application, another factor could be the range of schools you applied to. I do not know how many schools you applied to or how competitive they are, but with a 30 MCAT, even with a 3.7 GPA, your list should have been tailored towards the less competitive schools. I also don’t know your section breakdown on the MCAT. A 10-10-10 is a very different situation than an 11-11-8 for example, as the schools sometimes have thresholds for each section, not just for the overall MCAT. Being 19 may help you stand out as an applicant, but it also means you had less time to gain life experience and develop a well-rounded application, although you do mention that you have published and done extensive community service. I can’t comment too deeply on your situation without all of your background information, but the late application, possibility of not applying broadly enough and MCAT score are the areas that stand out to me. If you are interested in doing an initial 20-minute consultation by phone, we can talk about your situation in more detail. The contact information to arrange that is on the site.

  14. Dr. Eaton,

    I was a pre-med major in college, but decided to back out when I discovered Organic Chem to be challenging. I graduated with a BS in Biology and minor in Chem. I took the route of teaching and have been teaching Bio, Anat and Phys and Earth and Space Science for the last 16 years. I’ve since had a desire to go to med school. I took the MCAT back in ’99 and did not do well, even after taking a Kaplan course.

    I would like to start med school in 2013. Could you give me pointers on where to get started? I was planning on registering for the May MCAT.

    Thanks.

  15. Hi Sem,

    Since you took your premedical requirements years ago, you should check with the med schools you are interested in to make sure that those are still valid. For most of the schools they likely are, but some want the coursework to have been taken within a certain number of years of the application. You should also get some recent experience in the medical field, such as through physician shadowing or clinical volunteer work. Since you are teaching several science courses, you are fresh on some of the subjects you will need for the MCAT, but if organic chemistry is a weakness, and you have not had that class in many years, taking an organic chem class before diving into the MCAT may help you on the biological sciences section of the MCAT. For information about applying to medical school, check out the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) website as well as the individual school sites.

  16. ChristieLynne Williamson Posted February 23, 2012 at 10:34 am

    Hello Dr. Eaton,

    I am interested in applying to medical school, but am just starting my process and am a little overwhelmed! I have a PharmD which I completed in 2009 and have also completed a post-doctoral fellowship in clinical research and early drug development. What would you suggest my first steps should be? I have started to study for the MCAT, but when should I take it? Where can I find information on the application deadlines and timelines for this process?

    Any information you can provide would be extremely helpful!

    Thank you very much,
    Christie Williamson

  17. Hi Christie,

    Take the MCAT by early May (or earlier) if you will be ready by then. That way, you will have your scores at or near when the admissions cycle opens in June.

    The AAMC website aamc.org is a great source of information for the application process. For specific information about individual schools, you can purchase the Medical School Application Requirements (MSAR) book from the site when the new edition comes out in the spring. Another step to get started on early is obtaining letters of recommendations. The personal statement can take weeks or even months to perfect, and also is something to begin well in advance.

    If you would like to discuss your situation in more detail, contact me at info@prehealthadvising.com or 626-768-2154 to set up a free 20-minute phone consultation.

  18. Dr. Eaton,

    I graduated with a BS in nutritional science in 2000 and worked at Memorial Sloan Kettering and NY Prebsyterian hospital as a reserach assistant.Intially planned on medical school then changed my mind. I have completed all my prerquisites. I pursured an MBA in 2009 and I am seeking to apply to medical school. I plan on taking the mcat by July. I would like to get your opioion about how medical school treat older applicants, I am 35 years old.

  19. I have met numerous older applicants who have been admitted to medical school. As with any other applicant, a competitive MCAT score and good cumulative and science GPAs are important. Taking science classes beyond the minimum prerequisites can also help strengthen an application. It is important that you also demonstrate to the medical schools that you have investigated the profession through volunteering, shadowing or other exposure to a clinical environment, especially since you are changing careers. As a research assistant you may have worked with M.D.s and other health professionals and had some patient interaction depending on if you do basic or clinical research.

    In and of itself, being 35 shouldn’t be a disadvantage. The problem comes more when an older applicant took the prerequisites years ago (I don’t know when you did yours) and therefore doesn’t have a recent record of academic performance in the sciences or does poorly on the MCAT due to having been away from the basic science material for too long.

  20. Hi Dr. Eaton,

    I am taking the MCAT in April and planning on submitting my centralized applications in June. However if I have to retake the test, which would be in July, would this set me behind in the application cycle? Would it be better to change my test date?

  21. Hi Dr. Eaton,

    I am currently a student enrolled at the University of Michigan. I am pre-med with an econ major. I will probably be graduating here with a GPA in the 3.5-3.6 range and I have not taken the MCAT yet (I am currently a sophomore). I was just wondering, in your opinion, is that GPA range okay to be in do you recommend going to a post bac program? Also, the advisors here tell us that coming out of Umich as a pre-med student makes a difference on our application, what is your opinion on that?

  22. Hi Greg,

    Your overall GPA of 3.5-3.6 is good, but the science GPA is important as well. If the science GPA is low and/or an applicant has only the minimum pre-requisites for medical school then they could still benefit from taking some post-bac classes or doing a post-bac. I don’t evaluate individual situations on this forum since I do not have the background information about applicants that I would need to do so, but this is general advice. If the science GPA is solid (3.4 at least) then a post-bac is not necessary. The undergraduate school one attends does matter, and I agree with your advisors that coming from U Mich will be an asset to your application.

  23. Dr. Kathryn Duplantis, MD Posted May 17, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    My daughter is age 31, married with a child and was given an early decision spot for medical school in Texas and will start this august 2012! I am a physician and think the process has changed alot since I applied in the 1970′s! She was grilled on the interviews about being a mom and starting medical schooll at age 31! She is an engineer and worked in the corporate world in dallas so she knew how to handle tough questions! I was very surprised to hear the questions that were thrown at her at 2 of the 3 medical schools that she interviewed at! However, I am very proud of her accomplishment to enter medical school but want to warn the married women about some of the questions that they may get! I was shocked!

  24. Dear Dr. Eaton,
    First of all – thank you so much for all the Q&A on this website – it is a wonderful source of information and my daughter and I are finding this super helpful. We have a question pertaining to our specific situation. My daughter just graduated from UC Berkeley with the GPA of 3.7, science GPA of 3.7 and her MCAT of 34. Besides, she has a diverse range of outstanding research, public health, clinical and community outreach experiences.
    Next year she will be gaining a valuable cancer research experience as a research assistant in one of the top biomedical research labs in the world. She would like to apply to top 20 medical schools with UCSF and UCLA being her top choices and we are struggling to determine if applying this cycle makes sense. The main question we are concerned with is that if she applies this cycle and doesn’t get in, will it impact her chances for the next year admissions? Will it be harder for her to be a competitive candidate if she is a re-applicant? She may be viewed more favorably by the top schools next year, upon gaining more research experience and obtaining letters of recommendations from Harvard Medical School professors, so we are trying to be careful not to offset it with the possible negative stigma that may be attached to re-applicants. Thanks so much for your help!

  25. How will Med School look at My transcript with 3.7 GPA and having 4 F’s in classes that i retook an got As? I have a 3.58 GPA and am a smart intelligent active student at my school as well as an athlete. I pledged fall of my sophmore year, failed 4 classes but because i knew i wanted to pledge before i got to college i always took extra classes so that i can afford to retake classes in the spring after i pledged. I want to get into medical School and once i retake these classes my GPA will increase to a 3.68 How will this be viewed when applying to medical school?

  26. Hello,

    I am doing bachelors of science in Biology and minoring in Healing and Humanities. I am also in honor’s program and my gpa is 3.986 and my science gpa is 4.0. I have worked at a nursing home from past three years and I have worked in a lab on retinobastoma cancer and am currently working in a different lab. I have shadowed three doctars so far and have done about 70 hours community service and I am currently volunteering on every sunday and I will shadow more doctars in octoberl. I will enroll in a Kaplan course this december for MCAT. I am a little worried because my scandized scores are not very good. What schools should I apply too and how should I FOCUS ON MCAT. Thank you!

  27. please what if i take the exam by september,when will i get into school

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