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Should I Apply Early Decision to Medical School?

Session 13

This week’s topic on the OldPreMeds Podcast is applying early decision to medical school—whether it’s a wise decision and how to weigh out the pros and cons.

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 deciding if they should apply for early decision at the medical school in the city they live in. They are also asking about applying for the HPSP scholarship: What are the pros and cons?

What is Early Decision?

Early decision is a program by some medical schools typically designed for students who:

  • Are very strong candidates
  • Have a strong geographic connection to the school
  • Can make a strong case why they would be a good fit for that school

When you apply early decision for medical school, it means you’ve committed on the AMCAS application to only apply to that school until a decision is made.

When you apply early decision for medical school, it means you've committed on the AMCAS application to only apply to that school until a decision is made.Click To Tweet

The Cons of Applying Early Decision to Medical School

The major downside of applying early decision is that the decision often doesn’t come out until October. This can result in a situation where you don’t get accepted to that school, and now you have set yourself back for all the other medical schools.

Now it's October, and you've set yourself back on applying to all the other medical schools.Click To Tweet

If you then applied to other schools in October, you’re already late in the cycle. We’ve covered in other podcast episodes why that’s not a good idea.

When to Consider Applying Early Decision to Medical School

You should not even consider early decision unless you’re an extremely strong applicant, you have a strong geographic connection to the area, and you are a good fit for that school.

How can you tell if you’re a good fit for that school? It’s based on the school’s mission and the specific angle they have. If they have an emphasis on rural primary care, for instance, that is a pretty specific focus, and if you align on that, that would make you a good fit. But still, it’s risky to apply early decision and set yourself back with all the other medical schools.

Generally speaking, the cons outweigh the pros, and we can’t recommend applying Early Decision to medical school.

Generally speaking, the cons of applying early decision to medical school outweigh the pros.Click To Tweet

Links and Other Resources

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