Applications – When Should I Apply to Medical School? Does it Matter?

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Session 5

Ryan and Rich again take in questions from the forum over at where they pull a question and deliver the answers right on to you.

In today’s episode Ryan and Rick talk about the risks of late application to medical school and the repercussions of taking the MCAT late.

OldPreMeds Question of the Week:

If you are taking the MCAT on August 22nd and sending in the primary application in July, are you going to compete for a very few (less than 25%) remaining interview slots in most schools?

Here are the insights from Ryan & Rich:

Applying to medical school has to be done early and often.

Consider this scenario during the medical school application process:

  • Several schools in late September suggest that 50% of the interview slots have been assigned
  • There are rolling admissions
  • Limited number of interview slots
  • Your chances start going lower and lower

Reasons for the slim chances:

  • There is enormous competition.
  • There are 50,000 people applying for 20,000 MD spots
  • 20,000 people are applying for 7,000 DO spots
  • Steep competition with lots of good candidates
  • The process involves time and processing, verifying and transmitting applications to the AMCAS or AACOMAS
  • Each school may get 5,000 applications for just 100 spots
  • There are so many OCD, neurotic, and near paranoid premeds when it comes to submitting early (An Admissions Committee said that they got 25% of their applications on the first day of transmission, which was on opening day)

What is “Rolling Admissions?”

Med schools admit students as they come through the application cycle (no end date as to when all the admissions will be announced); instead, they do this as the cycle continues. Hence, the first day of acceptances can be sent out by October 15. Schools lock down good candidates before they get offers from other schools.

Fewer seats and more applicants = application screening gets more critical

What happens when you take the MCAT late:

If you’re taking the MCAT late, you still have to submit your applications early so it can go through the verification process. Once there is a mark that you have an MCAT pending, the school will sit on it and wait till they review everything. But at least they already have your application.

Rich recommends that if you need to take a late MCAT, think about applying the next cycle. Otherwise, take the MCAT early enough to get your score back and apply early.

A professor at the NIH said that the application process is your first medical school test, an open book test, and applying late is your first failure of this test in medical school.

Major takeaway from this episode:

Submit your applications early. Take the MCAT early enough to get your score back so you can apply early.

Links and Other Resources

If you have questions you want answered here on the OldPremeds Podcast, go to and register for an account. Go into the forums and ask a question.

Listen to our first episode at to find out more about who we are.

Also check out the Premed Years Podcast at

Find us on iTunes and go to and leave us a rating and review.

Check out for all the shows that we produce including the Medical School Headquarters and the OldPreMeds Podcast. We will soon be launching a medical school podcast as well so stay tuned!

Email Dr. Ryan Gray at or connect with him on Twitter @medicalschoolhq.


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