This is a guest blog post from our friends at InGenius Prep.
Applying to med school requires careful thought, planning, and preparation. While the decision that you want to become a doctor can be made overnight, preparing takes a much longer time. Before you apply, it’s important to understand the application process, prerequisites, and timeline for applying to medical school.
Deciding if Medical School is For You
When you evaluate your career options, think about the future ahead – not just the next four to five years in med school. Becoming a doctor requires serious educational commitment. Evaluate your ability to survive years of training, residency, and practice medicine for the rest of your life.
More importantly, ask yourself: Do I have what it takes to succeed in medical school? Take a couple of weeks or months to make the decision. Seek advice from professors, your family, and talk to practicing doctors. Once you made the decision to pursue medicine, make sure to fulfill all med school prerequisites.
Taking the MCAT Exam
The Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) is a standardized multiple-choice exam that med school applicants need to take as part of the medical school admission process. In most cases, the test is taken one year prior to the year you plan to enter medical school. Normally, applicants take the MCAT exam during or after their junior year in college. There are many different ways to prepare for the MCAT, from self-study, to MCAT prep classes, to private MCAT tutoring. The MCAT, however, is a beast of an exam, relative to other standardized tests you may have taken. It not only tests core academic skills like reading comprehension, verbal reasoning, and mathematics, but also speciic content knowlege in biology, physics, and chemistry. So, you need to plan to study for a bit longer than you might expect. Some students spend > 6 months preparing for the MCAT.
Applying to Medical School
The entire medical school application process takes about one whole year, including AMCAS application, med school interviews, and acceptances. June marks the start of the AMCAS application submission. Because med schools use rolling admissions, the earlier you submit your AMCAS application the better.
After you submit your AMCAS application, start working on your secondaries. It’s important to start your secondary applications as soon as possible because often times you are required to write more than one additional essay. Try to return all of the medical school admission requirements within a few weeks to increase your chances of getting an early interview slot.
Interviews and Acceptances
Medical school interviews normally begin in mid-September and often continue through winter and early spring. If your application is evaluated early, expect to get notified as early as October. However, some med schools wait to notify all their candidates in March or April of the following year. If you got accepted to multiple schools, you should decide where you want to attend and withdraw your other applications.
If you need help throughout your med school application process, an InGenius Prep admissions expert can provide you guidance every step of the way – from your school list to your interview preparation.
In general, it's important to approach the process of applying to medical school strategically, which means you need to 1) set a goal (i.e, target med school program(s), 2) build a fact-base around what it takes to reach it (i.e, required classes, MCAT score, etc.), 3) consider various alternative ways you could go about meeting your goal, design an approach that works best given your unique situation, strenghts, and weaknesses, and then develop a specific plan. Approaching your academic and professional life more strategically is perhaps the most important of the seven rules MyGuru discusses in its new, free eBook -The 7 Rules of Academic Performance