The road to medical school is long
– and can be complex and sometimes confusing. To help
keep you on track, here's a calendar of what medical
applicants should be doing, and when.
July – August
Gain the Early Bird Advantage: With both AMCAS and AACOMAS now accepting applications, it is very important that applicants stay on track and
that they submit their applications as early as possible. Applying early in the cycle will give you an admissions advantage because many medical schools follow a rolling admissions policy under which class seats go to the first candidates who are deemed worthy of filling them. Later applicants, no matter how well qualified they are, may find there are simply no seats left.
If you have not yet taken the MCAT
or if you are not satisfied with your previous
scores, sign up for a summer test date.
Make sure to take sufficient time to fully prepare for the exam. There are various prep companies out there
and some do better than others at offering a good
overview of the material that is to be covered in
the exam. If you want recommendations on which test prep company
may be best for your particular needs, please do give us a call at
1.800.809.0800. Our clients over the years have provided us with great feedback regarding
the various test prep services.
to guarantee yourself the most options in test dates
and locations. Seating is limited at many test sites
and the available spaces for any given test date may
fill up quickly. For more information, go the AAMC
Medical school admissions witnessed yet
another competitive admissions season this past year.
Therefore, it is even more important for future
applicants to complete thorough research on each of the
respective schools to which they will be applying.
Review the minimum admissions
requirements. Before you commit your energies
and hopes to applying to specific schools, make sure
that you pass the academic qualifications hurdles at
Create a checklist of your own
school selection criteria. In addition to
tracking information on state residency preferences
and recent class profiles, make sure to create a
detailed checklist of the factors that are most
important to you, personally, in selecting the
schools you would want to attend. Factors that many
applicants consider include location and climate as
well as a school's curriculum, the quality of its
facilities, the amount of support given to students,
and opportunities for international exchange or
study. Applicants should take special care to
research the type of clinical opportunities each school provides – for example,
do students do their learning in big city hospitals,
in rural settings, in family medicine practices, etc.
Keep your options open. There are many opportunities to consider. Be
realistic about the differences between allopathic and osteopathic
schools, including individual school's track records in
preparing students for residencies in your target
fields. If you're considering applying to
foreign medical schools, make sure you understand the different
guidelines involved and the educational and career
trade-offs that might be associated with those schools.
(For more information, see "Caribbean
Medical Schools and U.S. Residencies.")
Narrow down a realistic list
of choices. Many times an applicant either
applies to too small a number of schools or
too large a number of schools.
Applying to not enough schools can minimize your
chances of interviews and admission while
applying to too many may not allow you enough
time to complete all the necessary materials in
a careful and attentive manner. Sticking to 10
to 20 schools is an average number which seems
manageable and advantageous to most.
If you need assistance with choosing
your best fit schools, call us at 1.800.809.0800 to discuss
your situation. We're here to help you!
medical school admissions committees will be taking a hard, critical look at
your profile. You must do the same thing first. Only by understanding your candidacy from their perspective
can you best mitigate your weaknesses, highlight your strengths, frame your fit,
and employ the 'wow' factors that will differentiate you from the
many other highly qualified applicants in your demographic.
Your story themes and 'wow'
factors. What are the
most important points you need to make about your background, values, beliefs,
experiences, and reasons for pursuing med school? Have you adequately
prioritized these points? If you attempt to convey too many different points,
you risk coming across as disparate and and may not be able to cover any
one point in adequate
detail to successfully set your application apart from the others. What makes you unique in a
way that is going to make any admissions officer want to recruit you
to their school?
Extracurricular activities are an important component in
medical school admissions. Think about the activities you participate in. Will
those activities support your case for medical school admission? What is the
best way to spin these activities to optimally advocate your candidacy?
Your fit. Why are you a match made in heaven for the
specific medical school you have targeted? Why will you be a better fit and contribute
more to the program and the community than the other applicants can? Does your
application convincingly argue that, if admitted, you will gladly attend the
"Putting together a medical school application is an arduous
process that takes months to complete – but investing time and energy into creating a strong application
is a small price to pay for the difference it makes in your chances of acceptance to medical school."
Admissions Consultant Dr. Anne Williamson. Anne
medical school applications for Yale School of Medicine.
Complete your applications as
promptly as possible. There is no time to waste
working on your applications. Use your time now to prepare a cohesive and well-written
application. If you keep focused and on-track you
can still complete your applications in a timely fashion.
Request your transcripts asap if
you have not already done so.
Give yourself and your undergraduate
institutions enough time to provide AMCAS with your
transcripts. That means mailing your transcript
request forms well in advance of the dates by which you want
to complete your applications.
And don't forget to request unofficial copies of your
transcripts, for your own use, when you start planning your
applications. You'll use these to refresh
your memory about your school performance and to decide
how to position
yourself for medical school admission.
Letters of reference. If you
have not already done so, start thinking about your
choice of recommenders. Be proactive and approach
your prospective recommenders early. Make sure they
know what the timeframes for your applications are,
and why you want them to write a letter for you.
Look over your resume/cv. Be
sure your resume or cv is updated and that it
presents you in an optimal light for the admissions
committees. Would you benefit from gaining some
additional work or volunteer experience? If so, use
summer months to build up your record.
Finish up your personal statements.
You need a personal statement that will give the
admissions committees a clear idea of the unique
individual that you are and of your motivations for
seeking admittance to a long and rigorous medical
training program. Your transcripts, MCAT scores, and
recommendations will tell the committees that you're
smart. You want your essays to express the person
you are beyond that. If you are not yet ready to
apply, start keeping a folder or
notebook with notes about life experiences that
might be good material for your statement.
Determine whether you need to include an
to your personal statement. What additional points,
if any, do you need to make? If you are attempting
to mitigate a weakness, be sure you don't come
across as defensive or whiny. Doing so will only draw more attention to your flaw.
Final Review. Remember to have someone look over your entire application before you submit it. In particular you personal statement needs to be a good piece of writing, well edited, and it has to reveal something about who you are that is not apparent elsewhere in your file.
There is similar urgency regarding early deadlines for the secondary applications. Therefore, as soon as you have completed work on your primary application, begin anticipating the arrival of the secondary applications. The majority of medical schools will automatically send requests for secondary applications to all
Our Medical School Admissions Timeline page will be
updated on September 1.
Do you have questions about any of
the items you see here? Please call us at 1.800.809.0800
(+1 703.242.5885 outside the US and Canada) or
us if you do. Our consultants can help you with school
selection, application strategies, application and
interview preparation, and all other aspects of the
medical school admissions process.
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