Medical school admission is very competitive, so you must get your applications in early. Schools with rolling admissions review their applications as they come in. As students are accepted, there will be more and more competition for the smaller number of remaining spots available. Admissions committees will then have a greater number of other applicants to compare with you for those few remaining seats. You are, in a sense, stacking the odds against yourself by procrastinating.
The AMCAS application process begins every year on or around May 1, and applicants may begin filling out their applications at that time. Approximately June 1 of each year is the first day that applicants may submit their applications to AMCAS.
It is not in your best interest to wait until right before a medical school’s deadline to apply. Here’s why: If you apply to a medical school on November 1 (the AMCAS deadline for the medical school that you are applying to), you will meet that deadline, but if the medical school has a final deadline for a completed application of December 1, you may not make the medical school’s own deadline for having a completed application on file. AMCAS is very clear that it may take four to six weeks to verify an application – and that is if everything goes smoothly. It is not uncommon for additional information to be requested, delaying the verification of your initial AMCAS application and, in turn, delaying your application from being received or reviewed by the medical schools of your choice. Clearly, it is not in an applicant’s best interest to wait until the very last day to apply to medical school. You will not be able to meet the medical school’s final deadline.
This is also true of schools that do not have rolling admission, such as Harvard, Yale, or Johns Hopkins. It is always in your best interest to apply early, when more interview positions are available.
While application deadline extensions can be requested, they are rarely granted and are usually requested as a result of procrastination on the applicant’s part. To avoid the complication of requesting an extension, start the application process early and be proactive. Keep in mind the kind if impression you are making on the admissions committee when you have to request additional time in order to complete your application. Enrolling in medical school and later becoming a physician requires a great deal of responsibility, organization, and time management. Your inability to meet a deadline for which you have been allotted ample time might speak volumes about how you will perform in the future, as a student, and eventually as a physician.
- 10 Secrets of Good Writing
- 2011 Duke NUS Med Admissions Q&A, chat transcripts.
- Write Your Way to Medical School, an ebook.
This is excerpted from 101 Tips on Getting Into Medical School by Jennifer C. Welch, who has served as the Director of Admissions at SUNY Upstate Medical School since 2001.