Most medical schools start accepting applications in June for the class entering the following fall. Some students diligently finish their applications in June while others wait until the last minute to submit theirs. So, is it advantageous to apply as early as possible? Looking at all the evidence we gathered, the answer seems to be a resounding yes. In this article, we will explain why students should apply as early as possible, and how they can actually do that.
One of the main reasons that applications should be submitted as early as possible is because medical schools advise students to do so; that should be enough reason to convince you. Students who follow this advice can seem diligent. On the other hand, students who wait till the last minute will make the admissions committee wonder why they did so. Holding everything constant, would you rather accept a student who applied as soon as the application opened or a student who turned in his or her application a minute before closing?
Another reason to apply early is because medical school admissions are on a rolling basis. In other words, medical schools interview and accept students as applications “roll-in.” They do not have one set date where they release all the accepted and rejected students. Let’s pretend that a medical school has a hundred spots available for their next class. If you apply early in June, you will have more spots potential open to compete for. However, if you apply really late, most of the spots will be filled already. To make matters worse, most students tend to be procrastinators and apply later. If you apply late, you will be competing with more applicants for fewer spots.
Lastly, if you apply early, it allows medical schools more than one chance to review your application. Let’s say that you applied in June, but then they did not want to offer an acceptance offer; however, they did not want to reject you yet either because they want to see how the rest of their applicant pool will look like. Therefore, they put your application on hold so that they can compare you with the next pool of applicants. Though you did not get accepted based on your competition in June, maybe the medical school will believe you are the right fit based on the rest of the applications. If you applied late, this option is not given.
There are probably many more reasons why applying early is helpful, but we hope that those three are enough to convince you. But just because you know that, does not always mean you will. To actually be able to apply early, you will need to prepare early for medical school as well. The following is a checklist of things you need to absolutely remember to finish if you want to start submitting applications in June:
- Finish MCAT by June
- Have your professors’ complete letters of recommendations. Remember to ask them way ahead of time.
- Compile a list of all the medical schools you want to apply to.
- Look over prior years’ applications to get an idea of what kind of essays you will need to write. A lot of essay questions are recycled from year to year. Do not underestimate the importance of essays and personal statements.
- Be prepared to pay a hefty amount for all the application fees. Applying to medical school is not cheap.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ProspectiveDoctor. Follow ProspectiveDoctor on Twitter @ProspectiveDr