Our poster today is looking at his med school application timeline and wondering if completing his prereqs after he applies to medical school will hurt his application.
The short answer is, no, it will not hurt your med school apps to apply before finishing your last prerequisites. But let’s dig a little deeper. What are the other possible ramifications of applying to medical school before your prereqs are all completed?
Listen to this podcast episode with the player above, or keep reading for the highlights and takeaway points.
[01:10] OldPreMeds Question of the Week:
As usual on the OldPreMeds Podcast, our question is taken from the Nontrad Premed Forum.
Our poster this week is saying he has four more labs—biology and organic chemistry labs—to complete tentatively in Summer 2018 and Fall 2018. He plans to spend Spring 2018 preparing for the MCAT (no classes). The poster is working 60 hours a week, so he’s working full time and studying full time as well. He’s planning to take the MCAT in 2018.
Side Note About Medical School Application Deadlines
Our poster goes on saying, “I noticed from the MSAR (Medical School Admissions Requirements) that most of the schools close their primary application by November to early December.”
I have an important point to make about these deadlines. It’s true that medical schools have their application deadlines around the end of November, early December, depending on the school. But if you’re applying in November or December, you are not going to get into medical school.
The majority of schools have already sent out all of their interview invites by late November. They have already set aside a lot of acceptances for their next class. And so if you’re applying that late, you’re not likely going to get an interview. You’re not likely going to get into medical school.The application deadlines posted by medical schools should be ignored. You need to apply as early as possible, as close to June as possible.Click To Tweet
Back to the Question: Should I Apply Before Completing All My Prereqs?
Going back to the poster’s question, he says his final prereqs will be completed in the Fall of 2018. So his question is whether he would be at a disadvantage for the 2019 application cycle. He has read that he could still apply by June 1st, even without all his prerequisites done.
[03:22] Applying to Medical School Without Prerequisites Finished
The poster wants to apply in June of 2018 to start medical school in June 2019. So he wants to know, if he finishes his prereqs in the Fall of 2018 (Sept-Dec), would this put him at a disadvantage to apply in June of 2018?
The answer is no, it would not put you at any disadvantage. You do not need to have your prereqs done before you apply to medical school. You only need to have your prereqs done before you matriculate into medical school. Other than that, it doesn’t matter.It does not put you at any disadvantage to apply to medical school before your prereqs are completed.Click To Tweet
How Will It Affect Your GPA on Medical School Apps to Not Have Your Prereqs Finished?
One factor to consider is that, if you’re taking your final prereqs after applying, schools won’t see your grades on those final classes when considering your application. If you’re struggling with your GPA, those final grades might help bump it up just a little more.
Another option is to send an update letter to the medical schools after those final prereq grades are in.
[04:48] Taking the MCAT Without Prereqs
What might hurt you is if you’re taking the MCAT without those prereqs. It might hurt not to have that foundational knowledge for the MCAT. But many students will take the MCAT before all of their prereqs are done. That’s just the normal timeline of undergrad classes, the MCAT, and applying to medical school.I see more and more students taking a purposeful gap year to study for the MCAT after all their classes are done.Click To Tweet
Students who take a gap year to study for the MCAT are thinking they don’t want to cram everything in together. So they decide on doing all their classes first, they graduate, and then they start to prepare for the MCAT. But if you’re a strong enough student and you think you can fit it all in, then go ahead and do it.
[Related episode: What Prereqs Do I Have to Have to Take the MCAT?]
[05:55] Wrapping Up
Again, the answer is no, it doesn’t hurt if your prereqs are not done prior to submitting your application. But remember that you need to submit as early as possible in the cycle.
If you have a friend who is going through this process, grab their phone and have them subscribe to this podcast.
Also, I’m available to help you through this process. I help students with their personal statements and interview preparation. I offer complete application prep where we work from January to December, all through the application cycle. I’ll help you write your personal statement, secondaries, update letters, and prepare for your interviews.
I wlll help you with everything and anything you need to successfully get into medical school.
Check out my offerings here!
Links and Other Resources
- Check out our Nontrad Premed Forum, and ask a question of your own!
- Related episode: Can I Apply to Medical School Without Prerequisites?
- Related episode: How Recent Should My Prereqs Be for Med School?
- Need MCAT Prep? Save on tutoring, classes, and full-length practice tests by using promo code “MSHQ” at Blueprint MCAT (formerly Next Step Test Prep)!