Understanding the Medical School Application Timeline [2020 Updates]

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Applying to medical school can be daunting. There are many components to a successful application – prerequisites that need to be taken, recommendation letters requested and received, essays written, internship and volunteer experience obtained, not to mention the preparation required in studying for and taking the MCAT.

And all these components need to be accomplished in time to meet application deadlines.

With so many moving pieces, it’s important to have a good understanding of what needs to be done and when. In order to help keep you on track, we’ve compiled a medical school application timeline outlining what you’ll need to accomplish this year no matter where you are in your journey.

Whether you’re a freshman new to the process or a seasoned senior keen on making sure all your ducks are in a row – we’ve hand curated what you need to get done to make this year a success.

Before we get started, let’s outline what you’re working towards. Ultimately, by the time you’re ready to apply to medical school you’ll need an arsenal of materials and accomplishments at your disposal.

Before You Apply To Medical School, You’ll Need:

  • Required/recommended premedical coursework
  • Premedical experience:
  • Completed Applications, including required essays and supplementary materials
  • Letters of recommendation: Anywhere from 2-5 letters and varies by school
  • MCAT scores

Each of these deceivingly simple bullet points requires significant planning and investment. Applying to medical school is an endeavor that should be carefully planned out over the course of several years.

Let’s see what your medical school application timeline looks like for 2019.

Med School Application Timeline for Freshmen

If you’re a freshman, this year is about discovering resources, establishing relationships, and getting started on the formation of a plan.

First Semester:

  • Arrange to meet and then get to know your school’s pre health academic advisor. He or she will be able to help you plan out which premedical classes to take now and which to take later.
  • Join a premedical organization on campus. There you’ll make valuable connections as well as learn about healthcare related opportunities on and near campus.
  • Get to know your professors. They may open doors for you down the road in terms of research opportunities. Strong relationships with your professors will also be crucial when it comes time to ask for recommendation letters.

Second Semester:

  • Review your academic progress from the first semester. College classes can be very different and are often far more difficult than those you took in high school. Take stock of what you found challenging and what you enjoyed. Was your coursework too heavy or too light? Take into account your previous academic experience when planning out your future semesters and coursework. Be sure to reach out to your academic advisors and professors if you find yourself struggling and need additional support.
  • Meet with your pre health advisor again (you should be meeting with him or her every semester)
  • Look into summer opportunities. Summer is a great time to explore healthcare areas you may have a personal interest in, while at the same time building up valuable experience that will help you when applying to medical school.You can do an internship, volunteer, conduct research, or take additional classes. Look out for summer volunteer and internship fairs on campus.

Med School Application Timeline for Sophomores

If you’re a sophomore, this year is about building upon what you accomplished last year. Now that you’ve learned the ropes, it’s time to become more involved, to deepen and strengthen those relationships, and to do the work to make sure you’re on track academically.

First Semester:

  • Look to see if you can take an even bigger role in your healthcare related extracurricular activities. Medical schools like to see students maintain continued involvement with their extracurricular activities of choice and over time take on additional responsibilities. Are there leadership positions you can apply to? Are there committees you can volunteer on? Look out for ways you can get more involved.
  • Meet (again) with your pre health advisor.
  • Make sure you are on track with your premedical coursework

Second Semester:

  • Consider returning to the summer activity you were involved in last year or explore something new.
  • Start to do initial research on the medical school application process, the MCAT, as well as the Fee Assistance Program (FAP)
  • Don’t forget to meet with your pre health advisor.

Med School Application Timeline for Juniors

This is the year things get serious. You’re more than halfway through your undergraduate career and need to start really preparing for your next step – medical school.

First Semester:

  • Start thinking about who you will ask to write your recommendation letters. Develop new relationships if needed and solidify existing ones so you know who to go to when the time comes.
  • If you don’t already have leadership positions in campus organizations, actively seek those out, preferably in healthcare related organizations
  • If possible, expand your role in any healthcare related volunteer, research, or work activities you may have
  • Start researching the medical schools and programs that you may be interested in
  • Decide on when you want to take the MCAT. Consider that most students need 3-5 months of studying to be ready. You also want to have plenty of time between when your MCAT scores are ready and when you apply to medical school. If you’re unhappy with your scores, you may also want to take the MCAT more than once.  If you’re having trouble deciding when to take the MCAT, check out our article, When Should I Take the MCAT. Be sure to also check out our list of MCAT testing and registration dates for 2019. Consider taking the MCAT next semester
  • Meet with your pre health advisor. Discuss with him or her your plans for taking the MCAT and applying to medical school. Discuss your plan for completing the remainder of your premedical coursework.
  • Research in depth the schools and programs you are interested in applying to. Familiarize yourself with their applications. Some applications open as early as May.

Second Semester

  • If you’re ready, study for, register, and take the MCAT.
  • Meet with your pre health advisor to discuss your medical school application strategy.
  • As they become available, begin to fill out applications. A list of which applications are due on which dates is further down in this article.
  • Let your recommenders know you will be asking them for a recommendation letter soon
  • Consider returning to the summer activity you were involved in last year or explore something new.

Summer between Junior and Senior Year

This is an important summer and so it warrants its own section!

  • Continue with your chosen summer activity (internship, volunteer work, research, etc.).
  • If you are ready for and either have not yet taken the MCAT or wish to take it again, study for, register, and take the MCAT.
  • As they become available, fill out and submit applications! Many applications become available to submit during the summer months. A list of which applications are due on which dates is further down in this article.

Related: Stand Out from the Pack with These Personal Statement Tips

Med School Application Timeline for Seniors

This is it – the final stretch. This is the year when you finally submit all your applications (if they haven’t already been submitted this past summer), interview at and visit schools, get accepted, and determine your medical school future!

First Semester:

  • If you are ready for and either have not yet taken the MCAT or wish to take it again, study for, register, and take the MCAT.
  • Complete any open applications and complete supplementary application materials as needed.
  • You should be in constant dialogue with you pre health advisor and discussing the status of your applications.
  • Prepare for your interviews and campus visits at medical schools.
  • Complete and submit your FAFSA to be eligible for financial aid.

Second Semester:

  • If you have not yet already, complete and submit your FAFSA to be eligible for financial aid.
  • If you are applying to Osteopathic Medical School, complete and submit your applications before the deadlines.
  • Prepare for your interviews and campus visits at medical schools.
  • Be checking your mail for your acceptance letters!
  • Decide on which medical school you will go to.
  • Inform schools that you have been accepted to but will not attend.
  • Celebrate on finally being done!

We hope this medical school acceptance timeline helps you plan ahead and stay the course! Regardless of where you are in your medical school application process, stay on track and ahead of the curve with the many resources we have available. Check out MCAT Prep: Our Ultimate Guide as well as our many MCAT blog articles. Succeeding in both the MCAT and your medical school applications is possible. Good luck this year!

And finally, if you are ready to apply to medical school during 2020, you will need to observe the following deadlines:

2019 Medical School Deadlines

AMCAS

Medical School Application Dates

If you plan to matriculate in the fall of 2020, the AMCAS application opens in May 2019. MCAT scores are initially transmitted to medical schools in June. Final application deadlines vary by school but range from September to December 2019. For official deadlines, see the AMCAS website.

AACOMAS

Osteopathic Medical School Application Deadlines

If you plan to matriculate in the fall of 2019, you must apply in the spring. Application deadlines vary by school, ranging from January 1 to April 1. For those wishing to matriculate in the fall of 2020, applications will open in May of 2019 and be due the following spring.

AACOMAS Website

TMDSAS

Texas Medical School Application Deadlines

May 1, 2019: Application Becomes Available and Can Be Submitted

TMDSAS Website

Caribbean Medical School Application Deadlines

St. George’s University School of Medicine: Rolling admissions. Classes start in January and  August

Ross University School of Medicine: Rolling admissions. Classes start in January, May, and September.

Saba University School of Medicine: Rolling admissions. Classes start in January, May, and September.

American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine: Rolling admissions. Classes start in January, May, and September

We hope you found this medical school application timeline helpful! Have more questions? Email us at info@testprepnerds.com! Good luck.

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