Medical school application timeline is a crucial piece of information in preparations for your med school applications. Whether you are applying through AMCAS, AACOMAS, TMDSAS, OMSAS, and so on, you must know specific deadlines of your application system and what you can do to prepare. Note that specific dates can vary from year-to-year, so you must verify the exact dates for each application cycle. Here is a rundown of the general medical school application timelines you can expect and particular landmark moments for each application season.

2021 Medical School Application Timelines: Prior to Application Season

Regardless of which application type you’ll be using, we recommend you begin planning for application season well in advance. With proper planning, all of your applications will go more smoothly, since you’ll have plenty of time to arrange for standardized tests and secure references from letter-writers. You’ll also be able to start consulting with experts for feedback before the big push as applications open and deadlines begin approaching. Here’s what we recommend for the months leading up to the application season.

Check the GPA and Prerequisites Requirements

Compile short list of schools

How can MSAR help you find the perfect school?

Research Information About the MCAT

Keep in mind that there are medical schools that do not require MCAT, but most do.

Prepare to Write Your Personal Statement

Approach Your Writers for Letters of Reference

  • Decide on ideal writers for your letters of reference, and verifiers
  • Approach professors or other possible letter-writers (in person or by email) to request a medical school recommendation letter
  • Meet to discuss the content of the letter, bring details of work done in each professor’s course(s), and be prepared to offer some idea of the qualities you hope each letter-writer can speak to in their evaluation
  • Provide any information/material your letter-writers might need for their writing, such as information about the program(s) you’re applying to, your academic transcripts, your career goals, and anything else they may ask for. 

3 Reasons You Must Start Your Med School Applications Early:

2021 Medical School Application Timelines: Application Season: AMCAS, MD

Early May:

Late May – Early June:

  • AMCAS begins accepting application submissions

You want to submit your application as soon as possible – information needs to be verified, and the longer you wait, the longer it takes for your apps to get to the schools. Technically, you can usually submit your application up to the end of July, but this significantly harms your chances. Try to apply by July 1 at the very latest – but even this is far from ideal. U.S. medical schools use rolling admissions, which means that those who apply earliest will receive first consideration; if there are spots remaining after that first round, then additional invitations will be sent out.

Check out why applying early is key for rolling admissions:

Late June:

  • AMCAS releases the first batch of processed, complete applications to medical schools

Ensuring that your application is in this batch means that you must take the MCAT by the 3rd week of May, so the scores will be released by this time.

May – February:

August – October:

  • Secondary applications

Medical school Secondary Essays come with prompts the school would like you to consider, so they can learn more about you, your priorities, experiences, and values as an applicant and as a person. While there are many different prompt types, adversity essays for medical schools and diversity secondary essays are particularly popular. Some schools send all applicants a secondary application, others send secondaries to candidates who make it through a first round of review. Check each school’s deadlines and/or the instructions sent with the secondary application request, as these vary by institution. Some may specify that you have 2 weeks from receipt to complete and return the secondary essays/application

September – February:

You need to begin your MMI prep and/or your medical school interview prep as soon as possible. Practice how to answer common medical school interview questions, such as “Why do you want to be a doctor?”, and “Tell me about yourself”. Perfect practice makes perfect: seek out help from your academic mentors and professional consultants to help you with your interview prep, to get effective feedback on both your answers and presentation.

2021 Medical School Application Timelines: Application Season: TMDSAS, MD, DO, MD/PhD, DO/PhD

Early May:

  • TMDSAS Application opens

Prepare your TMDSAS Employment and Activities, personal statement, TMDSAS Personal Characteristics Essay, optional essay, and Dual Degree MD/PhD essay, if applicable.

May – July:

  • Complete you CASPer test, and any other Altus Suite components that may be required by your schools of choice, such as the CASPer Snapshot and the Duet.

Mid-May:

  • Submission deadline for applicants applying through the Joint Admission Medical Program (JAMP)

JAMP is a special program designed to help highly-qualified and economically-disadvantaged students in Texas pursue an education in medicine.

Late May – Early June:

  • Deadline for JAMP applications to submit letters of recommendation

July – Mid-January:

  • Medical School Interviews

Learn how to prepare for your medical school interview. Practice with MMI questions and panel interview questions to get ready!

Early August:

  • Deadline for supporting documentation (transcripts, letters of evaluation, MCAT scores) for Early Decision Programs (EDPs)
  • Deadline for submitting the application for select programs
  1. AAMC Early Decision Program - Texas Tech University HSC SOM
  2. Early Decision Program - UNT HSC - Texas College of Osteopathic
  3. Texas A&M COM - Partnership for Primary Care Program (PPC)
  4. Texas A&M COM - The Premed Fellows Early Admission Program (PMF)
  5. Texas A&M COM - The Engineering to Medicine Early Admission Program (E2M)

Mid-September:

  • Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Medicine and University of North Texas Health Science Center - Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine notify Early Decision Program applicants regarding their admission

Late September – Early October:

  • Medical School Application deadline

All sections of the application must be complete by this date. This includes payment of fees. Fees received after the deadline will be refunded and the application will not be processed. No extensions are granted.

Mid-October:

  • Deadline for all supporting documents (transcripts and letters of evaluation)

If sent by mail, documents must be post-marked by this date. Note that some schools will not extend offers for interviews until all supporting documents have been received. It is recommended to ensure these arrive as soon as possible This is also the initial date for medical schools to begin extending admission offers for non-residents, Special Program applicants (MD/PhD, DO/PhD and MD/MBA), and Assured Acceptance Program applicants.

Mid-November – Late December:

  • Pre-match open acceptance period for admission offers to Texas resident med school applicants

Mid-January:

  • Deadline for Ranking of School Preference for TMDSAS admissions match

Late January - Early February:

  • Results of medical school admissions match are announced
  • Rolling admissions period begins

2021 Medical School Application Timelines: Application Season: DO School Application Timelines

Osteopathic medical schools aren’t as systematized as those schools that participate in AMCAS. In general, the application cycle opens in May each year, and closes the following April, but actual deadlines vary by school. General deadline guidelines will be provided below, but it is critically important that you verify the exact dates for each cycle, as well as each medical school's requirements. Do not forget to review DO school rankings to make sure that your GPA and MCAT score are competitive.

Check out the best DO schools:

Early May:

  • AACOMAS application opens

Prepare your personal statement and all the other primary application components.

Mid-June:

  • First AACOMAS applications released to medical schools

At this time, most osteopathic colleges begin reviewing applications.

Early August:

  • Applicants are encouraged to ensure application materials are complete and submitted by this time

Early December:

  • Application deadline for Michigan State University COM

January – April:

  • AACOMAS application deadlines

Early January:

  • Application deadline for:
  1. Arizona COM of Midwestern University
  2. Chicago COM of Midwestern University

Mid-January:

  • Application deadline for Nova Southeastern University, Dr. Kiran C. Patel COM

Early February:

  • Application deadline for:
  1. A.T. Still University – Kirksville COM
  2. Marian University COM
  3. New York Institute of Technology COM (Old Westbury, NY/Jonesboro, AR)
  4. Ohio University Heritage COM
  5. Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences COM
  6. Philadelphia COM
  7. Georgia Campus – Philadelphia COM (Suwanee and Moultrie campuses)
  8. Rowan University COM
  9. University of New England COM
  10. University of Pikeville – Kentucky COM
  11. Western University of Health Sciences/COM of the Pacific (Pomona and Lebanon campuses)

Mid-February:

  • Application deadline for West Virginia SOM

Late February:

  • Application deadline for Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences COM

Early March:

  • Application deadline for:
  1. Alabama COM
  2. Arkansas COM
  3. A.T. Still University – SOM in Arizona
  4. Campbell University Jerry M. Wallace SOM
  5. Des Moines University COM
  6. Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences COM
  7. Liberty University COM
  8. Edward Via COM – Auburn
  9. Edward Via COM – Carolinas
  10. Edward Via COM – Virginia

Mid-March:

  • Application deadline for:
  1. Lincoln Memorial University – DeBusk COM
  2. Rocky Vista University COM (Colorado, Utah)
  3. Touro University COM – California
  4. Touro University Nevada COM
  5. University of the Incarnate Word SOM
  6. William Carey University COM

Late March:

  • Application deadline for Burrell COM at New Mexico State University

Early April:

  • Application deadline for:
  1. Idaho COM
  2. Lake Erie COM Bradenton Campus
  3. Touro COM – New York

2021 Medical School Application Timelines: Additional Notes on Application Deadlines

Not all medical schools (DO and MD) in the U.S. use AMCAS, TMDSAS, or AACOMAS. You must ensure that you are aware of any independent deadlines for such programs. 

Top Five Tips for Medical School Applicants

As you prepare for application season, always keep the following top five tips in mind to make your application the best it can be!

  1. Start early. The earlier you begin to prepare for your application, the stronger your application will be. Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to meet all of your prerequisites and to get all of your application components in ideal shape.
  2. Always check and double-check prerequisites and deadlines. Never assume that School A will want the same prerequisites or have the same deadlines as School B! Do thorough research for your schools of interest, and make careful note of the prerequisites and deadlines you need to meet.
  3. A good MCAT study schedule is crucial. If you are applying to a school that requires your MCAT scores, make a good study schedule that starts six months before your planned test date.
  4. Your personal statement requires multiple drafts. You are going to have to set aside the time to draft and re-draft your personal statement to make it the best it can be. Get someone you trust or a professional to read your writing before submission.
  5. Realistic simulations and professional feedback are the key to interview success! The MCAT is not the only application component that requires plenty of practice and prep work – you need to practice for your interviews too! Check out our blogs on common interview questions and interview formats linked in the timelines above to familiarize yourself with the process. Get expert feedback from a consultant to help build your confidence.

Want a recap?

1. Do all schools have the same application timelines?

No, they do not. Most often, medical school application timelines depend on the application system they are using. For example, medical schools that use AMCAS will have similar primary application deadlines. Schools that use TMDSAS will also have similar application deadlines for the primary components. However, keep in mind that most schools will have their own secondary application timelines.

2. Do all medical schools in the US use one of the application systems you mentioned (AMCAS, TMDSAS, or AACOMAS)?

No, there are medical schools that do not use any of these systems. There are schools that have independent application timelines.

3. Do Canadian schools have unified application system?

No, most medical schools in Canada have independent application systems, except for medical schools in Ontario. The latter use a unified application system called Ontario Medical School Application Service (OMSAS).

4. Why is it important to apply early?

Most US medical schools have rolling admissions, which means that available spots are filled as soon as a good candidate is found. The earlier you apply, the more spots are available and the less competition you have. If you apply later in the process, you have less of a chance to be admitted even if your application is stellar.

5. When should I begin preparing my application?

You should begin preparing your application as early as possible because crafting quality application components takes a lot of work. For example, your personal statement will take you 6 to 8 weeks to complete. Also, you should gave your referees plenty of time to write you strong reference letters, so aim to approach them at least 2 months before the application deadline. Additionally, remember that filling out AMCAS work and activities, employment history, and other such application sections also takes preparation and time. Give yourself at least 2 months to get your components together.

6. When should I take my MCAT to make sure it's released on time for my application deadline?

Firstly, only take the MCAT when you feel 100% ready. Most students tend to sit their MCAT after the second year of their undergrad when all the necessary prerequisites are completed. If you are a non-traditional applicant or someone who decided to take/retake the MCAT later than their second year of undergrad, we suggest that the latest period you should consider writing the MCAT is from January to March or April of your application year. This way your MCAT prep and writing will not interfere with your medical school application process.

7. What about secondary application timelines?

Every medical school tends to have their own secondary application deadlines. Some schools will indicate exactly how much time you have to complete the essays, for example, 10 days, while others may not give you a deadline at all. In this case, it is advisable to submit your secondaries within two weeks of getting the supplemental application.

8. Do medical schools accept late applications?

Due to high competition, medical schools do not accept late applications. The application systems simply close to new applicants after the deadline passes.

To your success,

Your friends at BeMo

BeMo Academic Consulting

Image credit: Dafne Cholet, via the Creative Commons License: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode 

Have a question? Ask our admissions experts!

Anything we didn't cover? Have a question? Ask below or share your comments for a chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card! Weekly draws!

Comments