When to Apply
1. Apply Early!
It is very important to APPLY EARLY to medical schools. AMCAS, AACOMAS and TMDSAS applications should be submitted in early to mid-June or as soon as you receive spring semester grades. Even if you plan to take or retake the MCAT in July or August, you should complete and submit your AMCAS,AACOMAS or TMDSAS applications by mid-summer, indicating one school to keep your costs down until you know your score and can pick schools appropriately.
Check the Websites of non-AMCAS schools to see when their applications become available and the earliest date you can submit them. Although regular deadlines for most schools are not until October, the earlier you apply, the sooner you will be interviewed, which is the last step of the admissions process. Most schools send secondary applications to all applicants with a verified AMCAS application; they do not screen and it is not necessary for your MCAT scores or committee letters to be posted. Submit secondary applications no later than two weeks after receiving them. Many medical schools have rolling admissions and it is impossible to receive an acceptance until you have been interviewed. Beginning in mid-October, their admissions committees send out acceptance letters until the class is filled. Submitting materials late in the application period will mean that you will be interviewed at a time when few places remain open in the class.
2. Early Decision
Please see Gigi Simeone if you are thinking of applying for early decision. Generally it is not a very wise thing to do since you cannot apply for regular admission and early decision simultaneously. Applying early decision to medical school does not give you the same advantage as it does in undergraduate admissions. Early decision plans generally have an August 1st deadline, and notification of early decision is not sent out until October 1st in most cases. If you are turned down, you have a very short amount of time to get everything together for other applications. It is wisest to go the regular application route unless you have a very, very strong record here, very high MCAT scores, and special reasons for only wanting to attend one particular medical school.
3. Request for Deferment
In general, deferrals should only be requested for an unexpected life-altering reason, either positive (like getting a Rhodes) or negative (serious illness). If you are certain that you do not want to attend medical school next year, it generally makes more sense to hold off on applying, rather than count on being allowed to defer. (This also gives you another year's worth of experience to strengthen your application.)
4. Application Suggestions
When you apply through AMCAS, AACOMAS, TMDSAS or directly to any school, you should make copies of everything you submit. You will want to refer to these in preparation for interviews, and if something happens to get lost or misfiled in the admissions office, you then can forward another copy to a school without delay.
You should keep careful records, with dates, of everything you submit. Think of yourself as the keeper of your own process. After submitting your AMCAS application, check the status of your transcripts and your application by viewing the status information on the Main Menu page that loads after you log in to your AMCAS application. Many medical schools also have online systems for checking the status of your application. After you submit your secondary and we notify you that we have uploaded your Committee letter to AMCAS, check that your file is complete at each medical school. Because of the huge volume of applications, part of your application may be lost or misfiled. This could result in hundreds of other applicants being considered before they get to you. It is your responsibility to check with AMCAS and with individual schools to make sure that everything is in order. For that reason, it may not be wise to plan to travel abroad for a long period after submitting your application.