When to apply to medical school…here’s a quick and simple answer!
Want to apply to medical school? It boils down to three main steps:
(1) Deciding on the medical school program(s) you want to pursue
(2) Taking the MCAT; working hard in pre-med classes
(3) Applying to the schools you want to attend
Deciding on a medical school program
First, making a decision on the program you want to pursue. Here are some options:
—Medical school MD
—Medical/Osteopathy DO school
You may already know your choice; if not, there are countless resources out there to help you learn about your options. Checking out programs on the Internet is a good way to start your research. Talking to those who’ve completed the same degrees is another great way to help you narrow down your choice.
Taking the MCAT
Next, you’ll apply for, and take the MCAT, then second step before you apply to medical school. This should happen in your junior year. Whether you take an MCAT prep class is entirely up to you. At the very least, you need to devote a good semester or summer to studying before you take the MCAT (see recommended posts below).
I know this seems like common sense, but I’ll say it anyway. Before you apply to medical school, you should have finished the core pre-med classes at your college or university.
Applying to medical school
The end of your junior year is the time to apply to medical schools you are interested in attending. This year, the AMCAS application website opened on June 1, and applications can go to medical schools (along with the application packet) for several months. Though not too complicated, the application process adds the extra element of completing a personal statement for each school to which you plan to apply, and getting letters of recommendation.
You’ll probably get back lots of requests for secondary applications, which you then submit with another fee. You may be invited to come to one or more schools for an interview, and you’ll have to travel there at your own expense.
If you’re accepted, you will likely know by the spring and/or summer before the start of your medical school career.
How long does the application process take?
The short answer is, applying to medical school can take a few months to a year. On the Association of American Medical Colleges website, there is a very detailed timeline that stretches from the freshman year of your pre-medical education through your final undergraduate semester. Check it out here.
How long does it take to hear back from the medical school after I apply?
If you apply for medical school close to the application deadline, you may hear back within weeks. However, most medical schools send acceptances out in stages, with the top tier of pre-med students being notified first. The final acceptances can come as late as spring or summer. So if you don’t get a letter right away, don’t assume that all hope is lost!