The medical school application process takes nearly a full year to complete. Therefore, excellent planning and organization are essential. The med school application timeline below lists the steps and schedule of the application process to help keep you on track.
Staying on schedule is especially important because most medical schools have rolling admissions. Rolling admissions means that applications are evaluated as they are received. Applying early in the cycle may increase your chance of admission. Many schools begin interviewing in August or September, and some M.D. schools offer acceptances as early as mid-October (and even earlier for D.O. schools). As spots in the class fill up, it may be more difficult to gain admission.
To 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 (M.D. and D.O). http://www.tmdsas.com
AACOMAS (American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine Application Service) used by D.O. schools. https://aacomas.liaisoncas.com/
In addition to submitting a primary application through the applicable service, most medical schools require a supplemental (“secondary”) application. The final step in the application process is an interview.
Here is a timeline to follow for applicants who plan to enter medical school in fall 2023:
- Become familiar with the application process. Good sources of information are the application service websites above and your pre-health 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: https://students-residents.aamc.org/medical-school-admission-requirements/medical-school-admission-requirements-applicants , is an excellent resource. For osteopathic medical schools, the Choose DO Explorer is available on the AACOM site here: https://choosedo.org/choose-do-explorer-registration/
- Continue to gain clinical and research experience throughout the next year.
- Request letters of recommendation from letter writers individually or obtain a committee letter per your undergraduate institution’s protocol.
- Register for the MCAT at least two months prior to your planned test date. Information regarding the MCAT can be found at https://students-residents.aamc.org/applying-medical-school/taking-mcat-exam/
- Begin studying for the MCAT several months or more before you plan to take the test.
- 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.
- Begin working on primary applications. AACOMAS opens in May.
- The AMCAS application is available online on May 3 for applicants to begin filling out but cannot be submitted May 31.
- TMDSAS opens in early May.
- Have official transcripts sent from every college or university you attended to the application service(s) you’re using.
- Prepare for and take CASPer (Computer-Based Assessment for Sampling Personal Characteristics) if some of the schools you’re applying to require this test. This is a situational judgment test. Scores take about a month to arrive to schools, so aim to take CASPer in the spring or early June, if possible. Some schools may also require or recommend other assessments (Snapshot and Duet) that are administered by the same company as CASPer. Information about all three can be found here: https://takealtus.com/
- Take/retake the MCAT if needed.
- Complete supplemental (secondary) applications. Some will come within days of submitting the primary application, others will take months. Submit these to the schools within one to two weeks of receiving them.
- Interviews begin as early as late July at a small number of schools. By late August, many schools are interviewing. For 2023, some schools may continue to do remote interviewing or offer both in-person and online options.
- Note that some D.O. schools have their supplemental application questions within AACOMAS under the “Program Materials” tab, while others send the supplemental questions to applicants after AACOMAS is submitted.
- Continue to interview at medical schools.
- Some MD schools notify applicants of acceptances as early as October 15. DO schools may notify applicants even earlier. Notifications continue until the class is full.
- Some schools send additional interview invitations in early to mid-January. Interviews are complete at many schools in January or February, although a small number of schools continue into early spring.
- Attend “second look” events for schools you’ve been accepted to and are considering attending.
- By April 15, applicants to AMCAS schools may be holding a spot at no more than three schools. They may remain on waitlists for other schools.
- By April 30, applicants to AMCAS schools may be holding a spot at only one school. They may remain on waitlists for other schools.
- Update schools you are waitlisted at about new activities and accomplishments.
- Begin medical school!