“I’m very afraid that my daughter may miss something important and disqualify herself,” her frantic father confessed to me during our consulting call. “She wants to go to medical school so badly, and I can tell she’s very worried about her chances. But when I talked to her recently about how she’s getting on with all the steps she needs, she didn’t sound prepared. At all.”
I get phone calls from concerned parents regularly. And I don’t blame you … the medical school application season is a very nerve-wracking time for everyone — premed and parents. Premed requirements, midterms, finals, admissions tests, dozens of applications, interviews … it’s enough to make you go gray. Again.
In this series called “For Parents,” I’ll be tackling the most common concerns that parents have shared with me about helping their son or daughter get into medical school. I hope you find some relief and reassurance, and know that someone is here to help you and your child through the maze.
Medical School Application Timeline
The most misunderstood aspect of the entire med school admissions process is the timeline. When do you apply? When do you take the MCAT? What other steps are involved in the admissions process? What deadlines do you have to know about so you don’t get disqualified before you even know it?
Here’s the thumbnail timeline that I share with my students. I’m calling the year before you apply “Year 1,” and the year that you apply “Year 2.” This means that the year you start medical school is “Year 3.” Here are the milestones:
Year 1 – The Year Before You Apply to Medical School
- Have the majority of your premedical prerequisites completed
- Have one or two good-quality medically-related experiences underway
- Select your recommenders and talk to them about your plans to apply
- Start to study for the MCAT in October or November
Year 2 – The Year You Apply to Medical School
- Continue your study for the MCAT
- Plan to take the MCAT in April
- Have all recommendation letters written and turned in to the preprofessional office by March
- Work on the outline of your personal statement for the medical school application, starting in January.
- Complete your essay by April, then have it reviewed by people you trust
- The online medical school application opens in early May. Send in the medical school application, including all the required parts, in early June
- Continue working on the secondary applications as they come in
- Interview season starts mid-October, and continues through the following year
Year 3 – The Year You Start Medical School
- More interviews coming in the winter and the spring
- Final selection of your schools / second look in mid-March
I’ll be writing more about the different parts of the Medical School Admissions process in other articles just for parents.
Need More Help?
Check out my application timeline video to learn how to get your application submitted and verified as early as possible.