The American Medical College Application Service–the universal primary application for American medical schools–opens in early May each year. All your hard work and preparation will pay off as you submit your transcripts, enter in your Work and Activities, and write a personal essay with heart and enthusiasm.
But the start of the decade brought a lot of changes when everything shut down due to COVID-19. So, the question is, when do you apply for medical school during a global pandemic that’s left you unprepared? That’s the question we will seek to answer in this article because, sometimes, pre-med advising and medical school admissions consulting means handling the unprecedented.
The Ideal Time To Apply To Medical School
The ideal time to submit your AMCAS application is right when it opens in May. It typically takes about a month to thoroughly and completely fill out the application, although some people may be quicker or slower. Submitting your primary application by late May is perfect, though. It takes about six weeks for AMCAS to process all the applications. So, you can anticipate receiving invitations for your secondary applications around early July.
Applying Later In The Summer
The AMCAS doesn’t close until September. But most medical schools operate with a rolling admissions system, so the later you apply, the less of a chance you have to get in.
But even with the rolling admissions systems, COVID-19 changed the timeline for when admissions began accepting students. How? Because your MCAT score is required to get into medical school. But since testing centers closed down and many students were unable to take the exam, a lot of medical schools encouraged students to submit their applications without their test scores. But until test scores were submitted, no one would be offered admissions. Because of that, it would be safer to apply later in the summer. Everything was essentially halted.
But just because it’s “safer” doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed a spot! So, if the school you’re applying to says to submit your application without your MCAT score, do it! If you aren’t sure what your school’s stance is, check their website.
Is July Too Late To Apply For Medical School?
Early July is when most medical schools start sending out secondary applications. So, you’ll most likely miss the first round of interviews, which will automatically reduce your chances of getting in. But your chances are nowhere near shot. You’re still early enough in the application cycle to have a good chance at getting interviews.
What About August?
August is not past the deadline for applying to medical school. Remember that the AMCAS doesn’t close until September. But many students will have been able to take the MCAT and submit their scores by then. So, your chances are much, much lower than they were even in July. That rolling admissions system will ultimately bite you!
So, When Do You Apply For Medical School?
Apply as soon as you possibly can. Check the admissions pages on the websites of the schools to which you’re applying. See what their COVID-19 guidelines are. If you can submit your application with your MCAT or other supplemental parts of your application (an unfinished internship, a Pass/Fail grade instead of an A-), go for it. Know that you’ll be among thousands of students whose preparations were interrupted by COVID-19.
What If It Is Too Late?
If you have to wait, then cross your fingers that it won’t be too late once you’ve taken your MCAT and/or met other requirements. But if it is, then you’ll just have a gap year. You can use that time for pre-med advising and medical school admissions consulting. You can up your game. Take extra courses to help yourself stand out. Of course, it wouldn’t be ideal, but your chances of getting into medical school are by no means gone!
Don’t let COVID-19 drag you down or steal your dreams. Seriously, though. The pandemic has caused enough damage. Schedule and take your MCAT exam as quickly as possible so you can receive offer letters. But turn in your applications now if you can. There’s no shame in submitting an incomplete application, especially when it’s not due to any fault of your own.
If you need advice or have questions you need answered, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. IMA is here to guide you through the admissions process. That includes when difficulties arise. Click here to get started.
Not sure where you want to apply to medical school? Many students face the same dilemma. That’s part of why we created our definitive series of guides for getting into medical school. Check out these schools and other resources on our blog. Good luck!
- The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine
- UNT Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine
- University of Houston College of Medicine
- Texas A&M College of Medicine
- Johns Hopkins Medical School
- Baylor College of Medicine
- George Washington University School of Medicine
- Vanderbilt University School of Medicine
- St. George’s University School of Medicine
- Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (in Pennsylvania)
- Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University
- Wake Forest University School of Medicine
- Western University of Health Sciences (in California)
- Drexel University College of Medicine
- Stritch School of Medicine at Loyola University Chicago
- Georgetown University School of Medicine
- Yale School of Medicine
- Perelman School of Medicine
- UCLA Medical School
- NYU Medical School
- Washington University School of Medicine
- Brown Medical School