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Medical School Application Timeline

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Lauren DiProspero

Written by Lauren DiProsperoon December 29th, 2022

I began my undergraduate admissions career at Stanford University where I helped coordinate diversity events and outreach. This ignited a passion for higher education which led me to Columbia University where, after earning my masters, I began recruiting and reviewing the applications of students applying to Columbia College from all around the country including the northeast, mid-west, Texas and California. I also reviewed the applications of international students from countries across Asia as well as Canada and Mexico. During my time at Columbia, I was Director of Admissions at Columbia’s College of Physicians and Surgeons where I oversaw the entire medical school admissions process, including recruitment, application review, interview days, and admitted student events. From there I became the Director of Enrollment Management at the University of San Francisco where I oversaw a team that supported both undergraduate and graduate admissions. In that role I recruited in Southern California and reviewed applications from multiple domestic territories for the undergraduate admissions team. Most recently, I was the senior director at Stanford Medicine, where I again oversaw the entire medical school admissions process.
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by Lauren DiProspero, former admissions officer at Columbia University The medical school application timeline should be simple, right? Well, it is and it isn’t, and the main reason is that applicants come to this process at very different time of their lives. Some apply when they are in their junior or senior year of college while others take a gap year or more. Add to this all of the experiences and preparation applicants need to be competitive, such as clinical experiences, volunteering, and research. In general, it is helpful to think about the application process beginning two years before you hope to attend medical school. Let’s look at what the application timeline looks like: Fall, Year 1 Applicants should connect with their pre-med advisor. The goal of this conversation is to hear an objective opinion on how ready you are to apply to medical school. What are the strengths and weaknesses in your application? You will also learn what assistance the pre-med office provides. Most pre-med advisors will support both current undergraduates and alumni, at least until a certain number of years post-college. If you are in a post-bacc program, they will provide the advising and support you will need to navigate this process. Winter, Year 1 This period of time is one of the busiest in the application process because you should do the following:
  • Register for and take the MCAT, ideally between January and April, whenever you have the most time to dedicate to studying.
  • Purchase a subscription to the MSAR (Medical School Admission Requirements) and begin medical school research. AMCAS, the governing body for allopathic medical schools, will also host virtual and in-person fairs where applicants can learn more about medical schools.
  • Begin writing your personal statement and experiences section. By starting early, you will have enough time to edit and revise the two biggest writing sections of the application.
  • Request transcripts to check for accuracy and contact your recommenders about writing letters of recommendation.
  • As your medical school list narrows, pay attention to which schools require or recommend situational judgement tests. It can be helpful to schedule those over the spring or at least be aware of the available dates.
Spring, Year 1 Continue to revise the essay and experiences section, narrow down your medical school list, finalize testing, and, when May comes around, open and fill out the AMCAS application. That final one is really important: be ready to submit your AMCAS application on the first day of submission. The verification queue will grow to be weeks long and your application will not be sent to medical schools until it is verified. Summer, Year 2 In late June/early July, medical schools will begin releasing their secondary applications. You will only receive an invitation to apply if you have been verified by AMCAS. Set a goal to finish these secondary applications by the end of July. Fall/Winter, Year 2 Interview season begins at the end of August and continues through the end of February. Each school has its own timeline so keep an eye out for interview invitations. Spring, Year 2 If you have been admitted to one or more medical schools, congratulations! You will have until April 30 to make your decision and you may want to attend a Revisit or Second Look weekend. If you have been waitlisted, don’t fret! Schools will begin to pull from their waitlists in late April and that can continue through the summer. If you were not invited for interview or admitted, you will want to take a step back and decide if it makes sense to apply again.

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