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 offer acceptances as early as mid-October. 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 secondary or supplemental 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 2022:
November- December 2020
- 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://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.
- Request copies of your official transcripts from every college or university you have attended and check to ensure that there are no errors on them.
- Begin working on primary applications.
- AACOMAS opens in mid-May.
- The AMCAS application is available online in May for applicants to begin filling out but cannot be submitted until early June.
- TMDSAS opens in early 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 receiving.
- Interviews begin as early as late July at a small number of schools. By late August, many schools are interviewing. For 2022, some schools may continue to do online 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 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 some 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!