What is meant by a “Holistic” review process? According to the AAMC, a holistic review means a selection process that takes into consideration an applicants’ experiences, attributes, and academic metrics as well as the value an applicant would contribute to learning, practice, and teaching. Holistic Review allows admissions committees to consider the “whole” applicant, rather than disproportionately focusing on any one factor.
How many schools should I apply to? The average number of applications filed by each application in the 2021-2022 application season was 18. The number of schools you apply to should be based on a realistic assessment of your competitiveness and fit for the school. For example, if you are a Missouri resident with a science GPA of 3.2 and an MCAT in the 80th percentile, it’s probably a poor use of resources to be applying to state schools in California. Students are advised to purchase an online subscription the MSAR® – Medical Student Admissions Requirements in the year before they will applying. This resource will provide you with information that will help determine your competitiveness for each school in the country.
Which schools should I apply to? This is really an impossible question for any pre-health advisor to answer. It’s really a personal decision that will likely be based on several factors. How competitive of an applicant are you? Which kind of medical school curriculum would you prefer (i.e. traditional, PBL, integrated)? Do you have any specific career aspirations that are better met by certain schools (for example, a strong interest in primary care, research, public health, etc.). Do you have a specific area of the country where you would like to live? All of these questions need to be answered by the applicant. For this reason, students should take time to research schools using both the MSAR, and the schools’ websites.
When should I start researching which schools to apply to? Students who are not planning on taking a GAP year should start looking at MSAR® (Medical Student Admissions Requirements) and the school’s websites 1-2 semesters before they will be applying.
When should I apply to medical school? Students are strongly advised to submit their application as soon as possible after AMCAS (American Medical College Admissions Service) begins accepting applications. This occurs at very end of May/first week in June. (For Texas schools is ~1 month earlier). AMCAS opens in early May so you can begin working on your application about a month before you are able to submit it. Because admissions decisions at most schools are made on a “rolling” basis (where students are accepted and spots are filled as the season moves along), it’s advisable for students to submit their application as early as possible and subsequently start interviewing with schools as early as possible. In order to meet this timeline, students should plan on having their MCAT results and letters of recommendation by June 1 of the application year. Applying in August is late.
What’s the general timeline that AMCAS and medical schools follow? May: AMCAS opens to allow for data entry. Very end of May/First week of June: AMCAS opens for application submission. Depending on when one submits their application, verification by AMCAS takes from a few days (early June) to a ~6 weeks by mid-July. Longer delays can happen in later summer. In the third week of June AMCAS begins transmitting applications to medical schools. Within a few days med schools begin sending secondaries out to applicants. Some medical schools begin reviewing applications and scheduling interviews in July/early August. WUSM begins interviewing applicants in September.
If I need help with my secondary application essays can I come to a Pre-Health advisor? While Pre-Health advisors would love to be helpful here, the team has agreed that coaching students on secondaries is not really helpful to students or medical schools, where the purpose of secondaries is partly to find the right fit between student and school. It is essential that your secondaries are in your own voice.
Am I supposed to enter my AP scores? If so, do I enter them in my first semester freshman year? Yes and yes.
Also, what do I put for my final grade? Do I put CR or the test score (1-5)? CR
Finally, I have more that 15 credits of AP classes that I could have counted. Should I just enter 15 credits worth of classes, or should I enter all of them? You can enter them all, but don’t give yourself more than 15 units of credit when you distribute credits among the courses. So you might only record one unit each for AP art history, US history, and psychology to “save” your recorded AP credits for calculus (3) and English (3), which medical schools sometime require.
What are some common application mistakes? Applying late, spelling errors, poor grammar, scheduling interviews late in the season (the sooner you interview the earlier your application will be reviewed and in a rolling admissions process this is important), a personal statement that simply reiterates the student’s resume, and taking the MCAT too late in the season.