Your medical school application timeline is a crucial piece of and maximizing your chances of acceptance. Tracking the important dates and deadlines ensures you don’t miss anything, and staying organized with your own schedule helps keep you on track during a busy and intense process. Whether you are applying through AMCAS, AACOMAS, TMDSAS, OMSAS, or any other application portal, you must know specific deadlines of your application system and what you need do to prepare. Plus, it’s important to build your schedule and desired matriculation date around your life and goals. In this blog, we’ll show you the important dates and deadlines for application season, and how to create your own personalized medical school application timeline.
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Freshman Year To-Do List
- Start completing medical school prerequisites, including chemistry, biology and English
- Focus on making the academic transition from high school to college. Don’t forget to ask for help if you need it!
- Explore , volunteer opportunities and to learn more about the medical field
- Look at opportunities to or learn more about the medical profession
Prepare for med school applications
- Connect with your school’s premed advisor or premed committee
- Join on-campus premed clubs or other student organizations
- Start building relationships with your science professors and faculty
- Start thinking about why you want to become a doctor and what your future career goals are
Sophomore Year To-Do List
- Continue completing medical school prerequisites and other major requirements
- Keep up with your extracurricular activities, volunteering or work experience.
Preparing for med school applications
- Start researching medical schools and begin building your medical school list
Junior Year To-Do List
- Keep up with your major coursework. Maintain your GPA as high as possible
- Start your MCAT prep and create an MCAT study schedule.
- Aim to take your first MCAT in the spring of your Junior year, leaving time for a re-take if you need it
Summer Before Senior Year
- If you are applying through Early Decision or Early Action, prepare and submit your medical school application by the deadline
- Prepare your medical school application and submit it as early as possible.
- Start researching your financial aid options
Senior Year To-Do List
- Send thank you notes to your recommendation letter writers and check that they’ve submitted their letters
- Prepare for medical school interviews
- Apply for financial aid and medical school scholarships as required
- Attend medical school interviews
- Complete medical school secondary applications as they come in
- Wait for decision letters!
AMCAS Medical School Application Timeline
First, we’ll go over the important dates and deadlines for the AMCAS medical school application season. If you’re applying to any allopathic medical schools in the US, you’ll likely be using the AMCAS centralized application service.
Note that not all allopathic schools participate in AMCAS, in which case you’ll need to verify this application season’s deadlines for individual schools.
TMDSAS Medical School Application Timeline
AACOMAS Medical School Application Timeline
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 timelines will be provided below, but it is critically important that you verify the exact dates for each cycle, as well as each . Do not forget to review to make sure that your GPA and MCAT score are competitive at your chosen school.
DO Schools Application Deadlines
OMSAS and Canadian Medical School Application Timeline
To apply to all other , you’ll either apply directly to the school of your choice or use the relevant provincial university application service, as Ontario is the only one with a centralized application service for medical schools.
Below are the important dates for the OMSAS medical school application timeline. Other med schools in Canada follow a similar timeline, but the dates will vary depending on the province and institution.
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 med school applications will go more smoothly, since you’ll have plenty of time to arrange for standardized tests, secure reference letters and cross off everything else on your list. 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 years and months leading up to the application season.
1. Create your medical school list
Start your medical school application prep with compiling a list of medical schools you want to apply to. Your entire timeline and application to-do list will be guided by your selections, since medical schools may not all have the same requirements and deadlines.
If you’re not sure , start by familiarizing yourself with and average GPA and MCAT scores. Narrow down which schools where your GPA (and MCAT score, if you’ve taken it already) would be most competitive. If you’re worried your GPA is too low, check the list of and check out your options for
You can also use to help you select which medical schools might be the best fit for you. Thoroughly research each potential medical school to be sure it is a good option for you, and that you have a reasonable chance of admission.
2. Check prerequisites and requirements
can vary from school to school, but in general you’ll need to complete the core science courses during your undergraduate degree. are also worth nothing, since some schools only accept a GPA of 3.0 or even higher.
Aside from these requirements, each medical school may value something different in its applicants. For example, some schools prefer applicants with experience, or with a greater number of . MSAR can help you find out what medical schools require, recommend or value in your background and experience. And learn about essential to make your application comprehensive and compelling.
3. Schedule your MCAT (and other tests)
It’s recommended that you take at least 6 months to study for the MCAT, although a shorter schedule may work for you. Keep in mind you’ll want to give yourself some wiggle room in case you decide to retake the test, and have enough time for your scores to be released to medical schools before the application deadline.
4. Ask for recommendations
Medical schools may ask for letters from specific individuals, such as a physician you’ve shadowed or worked with, your professors or faculty members or your university’s premed advisory committee. If a school does not list a preference, decide who would be the strongest referees for you and ask them if they would write you a recommendation.
If you can, meet with or email your referees all the important information they will need about which programs you’re applying to, what the deadlines are and how to submit their letters. You can also discuss what qualities or work you’ve done that should be highlighted in the letter, based on the school’s profile and values. You may also wish to share your future career goals with your recommendation letter writers.
5. Begin drafting your personal statement
Start brainstorming ideas and making a draft as soon as possible. Your personal statement will go through several drafts until it is polished and as strong as it can be. is essential here, so it’s a good idea to ask an advisor, professor or other expert such as a to review your essay and give you feedback.
Your personal statement should answer the question “”, what experiences drew you to medicine and developed your interest in the field, and what you will bring to the medical profession. It may also include what your future career goals are and how a particular medical school will help you achieve those goals.
Give yourself at least 6-8 weeks to plan, draft and revise your medical school personal statement. Don’t rush the process and take the time to reflect on your experiences!
As you prepare for application season, always keep the following top five tips in mind to make your application the best it can be!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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. And be sure your scores will be released on time for the deadline.
- 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.
- 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 both the and the most . Use a to hone your interviewing skills or get expert feedback from a consultant to help build your confidence.
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 also some 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?
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 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 has 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.