2015-2016 Medical School Application Timeline (for applicants planning to start med school in fall 2016)
For Latest TimelineThis blog post is the timeline for applicants who entered medical school fall of 2016. If you are applying for entry starting fall 2018, you can read my 2017-2018 medical school application timeline.
The medical school application process takes nearly a full year to complete. Therefore, excellent planning and organization are essential, especially since most medical schools have rolling admissions. Rolling admissions means that the school does not wait until all of the applications are submitted to begin evaluating applications. Therefore applying later in the cycle could place you at a disadvantage in the application process. Many schools begin interviewing in September, and some offer acceptances as early as mid-October. As spots in the class fill up, it may be more difficult to gain admission.
Medical School Application ServicesTo start, you need to know some basic information about how the medical school application process works. There are three separate centralized application services for U.S. medical schools:
- AMCAS (American Medical College Application Service) – Used by most M.D. schools. https://www.aamc.org/students/applying/amcas/
- TMDSAS (Texas Medical and Dental Schools Application Service) – For public medical schools in Texas. http://www.utsystem.edu/tmdsas/
- AACOMAS (American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine Application Service) used by D.O. schools. http://www.aacom.org/InfoFor/applicants/Pages/default.aspx#aacomas
In addition to submitting a primary application, most medical schools require a secondary or supplemental application. The final step in the application is an interview.
Medical School Application TimelineTo help you start planning for the coming year, here is a timeline to follow for applicants who plan to enter medical school in fall 2016:
September- December 2014
- Become familiar with the application process. Good sources of information are the application service websites above and your prehealth advisor. Find out if your school offers a committee letter for recommendations, and the process for obtaining one.
- 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 at the AACOM site.
- Continue to gain clinical and research experience throughout the next year.
- Request letters of recommendation from faculty and physicians individually or obtain a committee letter per your undergraduate institution’s protocol.
- Register for the MCAT at least two months prior to planned test date. Information regarding the MCAT can be found at https://www.aamc.org/students/applying/46412/mcat/
- Begin studying for the MCAT several months before you plan to take the test.
Note: January is the last month that the “old” MCAT will be administered.
- April is the first month that the revised MCAT will be offered.
- Prepare for and take the MCAT if you have not already taken the test or need to retake. 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.
- Request copies of your transcripts and check to ensure that there are no errors on them.
- Begin working on primary applications. The AMCAS goes online on May 5 and may be submitted beginning June 2. The AACOMAS application opens on May 5.
- TMDSAS opens in May.
- Take/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 within one to two weeks of receipt.
September 2015 – spring 2016
- Finish submitting secondaries at any remaining schools in the fall.
- Interview at medical schools.
- Some schools notify applicants of acceptances October 15. Notifications continue until the class is full.
- By April 30 applicants to AMCAS schools should only be holding a spot at one school. They may remain on waitlists for other schools.
- Update schools you are waitlisted at about new activities and accomplishments.
Begin medical school!