Medical School Application Timeline

It is important to create a timeline for yourself when applying to medical school but perhaps more importantly, you need to evaluate if you are competitive enough to apply. Course scheduling, extra-curricular activities, deadline changes, etc. all contribute to the need of having flexibility in your timeline to be the most competitive applicant you can be. The AMCAS website has a very general timeline that covers an applicant’s four-year stay at a college or university: AMCAS Timeline (PDF)

For specific application deadline dates, you should always check the AMCAS or AACOMAS websites.

Gap Year or no Gap Year? What does that mean?

You will NOT have a gap year if you apply at the end of your junior year and are accepted to a medical school, as you will begin your medical studies right after you graduate.

You WILL be taking a gap year aka an application year if you apply at the end of your senior year, which is the current choice for most students. Students who plan to take a gap year have the advantage of providing 4 years of academic work, they have more time to do research and/or gain clinical experience, and they don't have to rush through their prereq courses which means students have more time to study for the MCAT during the summer of their junior year and take it at the end of the summer.

Prior to Applying

  • Make sure to register for an Interfolio Dossier.
  • Gather Letters of Recommendation and consider giving your letter writers this AAMC link regarding guidelines and suggestions.
  • Continue with your volunteer, work, or research activities.
  • Prepare for the MCAT – Register and choose from approximately 20 dates but should not take later than April of the year that you submit your medical school application.
  • Attend various medical school admissions and application workshops, pre-med. conferences, graduate
    school fairs, etc.
  • Purchase and consult the MSAR (Medical School Admission Requirement) to confirm school-specific requirements. To view the MSAR online you need to purchase access to it from AAMC. See the AAMC website for details.
  • Continue to save money for the application process.

April/May of the Application Year

  • Should be taking the MCAT or waiting for the release of your score from an earlier test date (April/May) but no MCAT after June unless you choose to delay your application. Later MCAT scores will put you at a disadvantage in the admissions process.)
  • AMCAS application opens in May. Begin to fill out the primary application. Contact AMCAS directly for specific questions that are not found in their AMCAS Applicant Guide.
  • Order and collect official transcripts from ALL colleges and universities that you have attended.
  • Confirm deadline dates for AMCAS and medical schools.
  • Focus on finals or if alumni, continue to work, volunteer, etc.

June of the Application Year

  • Make final decisions on which medical schools to apply to and submit the primary application. You are able to add more schools during and after your application has been verified.
  • E-Send official transcripts to AMCAS through CalCentral. Be sure to send transcripts from all courses taken at a community college or other colleges.
  • Have letters of recommendation sent to AMCAS - check individual schools for specific criteria.
  • AMCAS verifies the primary application.
  • Medical school decisions regarding secondary applications begin to be forwarded to applicants (if invited to complete a secondary application, begin and submit sooner than later).

July of the Application Year

  • AMCAS verification process continues.
  • AMCAS notifies applicants of verified primary applications or problems with verification
  • Medical school decisions regarding secondary applications begin to be forwarded to applicants (if invited to complete a secondary application, begin and submit sooner than later).
  • Continue to submit primary applications.

August of the Application Year

  • Continue finishing and submitting secondary applications.
  • Applicants may begin receiving interview invitations.

August–March/April of the Application Year

  • Prepare/attend interviews. Use Big Interview for practice.
  • Continue to complete and submit secondary applications (check deadline dates).
  • Send medical schools application updates if acceptable.
  • Continue to check the medical school application status website for each individual medical school.

October–May of the Application Year

  • Medical school admissions committees meet and decide status: accept/reject/waitlist. Applicants notified.

March-May of the Application Year

  • Medical schools hold “Second Look” or “Admit Weekend” activities. Newly admitted applicants are invited to attend.

May of the Application Year

  • Newly admitted applicants must notify AMCAS and the medical school that they plan to matriculate their decision by May 15th.
  • Admits with multiple acceptances must choose one school by May 15th and withdraw their application from other schools.


  • Applicants on waitlists are notified of an admission offer (typically, medical schools confirm their class by the end of June).


  • Medical school orientation and the school year begin. An applicant on a waitlist can no longer be offered a position at another school once orientation begins at a medical school.


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