Nurse writing in notepad

The Medical School Application Timeline

The road to medical school starts early. There are a number of prerequisites that medical school applicants must meet, and that takes time. Advanced eClinical Training (ACT) can help set you up for success as you make that journey with budget-friendly pre-med student advisors who guide you through the application process right from the beginning.

When do you begin, though? The answer is different for each person. This article will walk you through a typical med school application timeline. Let’s get started.

It Begins as an Undergraduate

Three to four years before you want to attend medical school, you need to ensure you take the right courses as an undergraduate.

Pre-Health Advisor

Many schools employ a pre-health advisor that can keep you on track as you work towards your bachelor’s degree. If your school offers one, make an appointment to finalize your class schedule. The pre-health advisor can also review a class schedule with you for the next few years to ensure you cover all the common prerequisite courses.

Begin Networking

In addition to your coursework, it’s crucial to start building your professional network early in your undergraduate studies. Inquire about resources available for pre-health students at your school. Are there support groups, either in-person or virtual, or study circles? Engaging in these groups not only aids in your academic journey but also connects you with faculty and fellow students who share similar career aspirations. This networking can be invaluable for future opportunities and gaining insights into the medical field.

Career Services

Reach out to the career services office at the school, as well. They can help you develop clinical opportunities to meet the application requirements.

This is the time to be building up your resume by:

  • Shadowing doctors
  • Participating in research projects
  • Publishing papers
  • Writing grants

Most medical schools will also require program candidates to have a set number of patient experience hours. It is common for schools to require anywhere from 100-150 hours of clinical experience.

ACT offers affordable pre-med certifications that provide credentials to meet that challenge. As a certified medical assistant (CCMA) or a patient care technician, you could work in hospitals and clinical and medical practices and gain valuable experience that enhances your resume.

Also, start making a list of medical schools you want to consider. A valuable tool for your research is the AAMC’s MSAR. It lists each school and some basic information.

Starting your search early allows you to understand the specific criteria you need to meet. For example, how many hours of clinical experience do your top three choices require?

Two Years Before Planning to Attend Med School

The real work starts two years before going to medical school.

Do an Assessment

First, assess your status. You need to be at the top of your game to get into the medical program you choose.

Review your school transcripts to ensure you meet the medical school criteria. Determine what classes you still need to take and check your GPA. Many schools have GPA requirements, as well.

Plan to start applying to schools sometime after May of your junior year as an undergraduate. That means you want to have your clinical hours before that benchmark.

January Through March of Your Junior Year

This is when you should start preparing to take the Medical College Admissions test or MCAT. The timeline tightens when you take the MCAT, so getting it done early is critical. If you are late, it could put your application process behind for months.

May to August

Apply to the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS) or American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine Application Service (AACOMAS) starting in May. You submit one primary application through either service, usually with a medical school personal statement. It goes through a verification process, so the earlier you submit, the better.

This is also when you want to have your letters of recommendation available. Plan to have two or three letters for science faculty members and at least one from a non-science instructor. Ideally, look for someone who teaches humanities or social science.

By June, you should be ready to select schools via the service to send applications. AMCAS and AACOMAS will send your primary application to these schools after verification.

After the medical schools receive and review your primary application, they may send a secondary one out. This would indicate they want more information. The secondary application might have essay requirements and short answer questions.

September Through March

Interviews generally come in during a five or six-month period after secondary applications. The medical school interview questions will vary from school to school. They may also be in-person or virtual.

Be ready to give specific information about why you want to be a physician and try to avoid vague answers. Also, practice discussing your clinical experiences and how they impact your choice to apply for medical school.

October Through May

Starting in the fall of your senior year, you will begin seeing the results of all your hard work. Medical schools typically accept, reject, or put candidates on a waitlist during this time.

If you get acceptance letters from more than one program, AMCAS holds a “second look” option from March to May. This is your opportunity to revisit each school and make your final choice.

After final choices come in, the schools will go back and review the candidates on waitlists to fill up their program. Med school starts in August or September.

ACT Can Help Streamline the Med School Application Process

Clearly, getting into medical school is a marathon, not a sprint. It takes forethought and planning. ACT partners with pre-health students to improve their chances of getting into the school they want and enjoying the career of their dreams.

You can take affordable, online pre-med certification classes that let you work in healthcare environments for clinical hours. You can also partner with a mentor who can provide medical school application tips, help you practice for interviews, and work with you to create the perfect personal statement.

Enroll now in one of Advanced eClinical Training’s many cost-effective online programs and jumpstart your medical school application process.

Inquire Now

Fill up the form below for us to assist you with your inquiries.