Another question I get asked the most is when I submitted my application. For the 2013-2014, I made sure to apply as soon as the application cycle opened. Everyone’s experience may be a little bit different from mine, but I figured it would still be helpful to a few people out there. I’m writing it all from memory, so please forgive me if any of the dates are a little bit off.
If you will be applying for any fee waivers or financial assistance, then this is the best time to make sure that you file your taxes and fill out your FAFSA. Both AAMC and AACOM will require this information. Also, if you plan on taking the MCAT in the spring this will allow you to apply for the AAMC fee waiver as soon as possible. I had already paid for my MCAT by the time I applied for mine, but it would have saved me quite a bit of money had I done it earlier. The AAMC FAP application is now open for those applying for the 2014-2015 cycle so take advantage of it if you can!
The AACOMAS application should open around May 1st, and the AMCAS application opens shortly after that. You won’t be able to submit the application until June, but it gives you a month to add in everything and make sure it’s perfect. The sooner you get started the better because once submitted it can take up to six weeks to process. You should also send in your transcripts at this time.
This is also the time when you can submit the AACOMAS fee waiver application. I submitted mine around the first week of May, and I was approved on May 24th. This will allow you to apply to three DO schools for free.
For those of you planning to take the MCAT, this is also a good time to do so because it will ensure that you receive your scores back in June or early July. A lot of schools will wait on these scores, so if you have never taken it, the earlier the better. I did not need to worry about taking the MCAT early this past cycle because I still had scores that were valid (they’re good for three years), so I scheduled mine for July.
Lastly, start asking for letters of recommendations and try to give a one to two month deadline. Be sure to follow-up with your writers because they tend to have busy lives and can forget. You can also ask for these at the start of the year and store the letters in Interfolio. It’s super convenient, and allows you to send your letters to both MD and DO application services.
Because I had received a fee waiver in advance and started on my application a month prior, I was able to submit my AACOMAS application on the first week that submissions were allowed. I also submitted my AAMC FAP application on June 10th and was approved on June 14th. This allowed me to apply to 14 allopathic schools for free, take the MCAT at reduced cost, get free MCAT assessment tests, and free MSAR and Getting to Know the MCAT books. Unfortunately, I had already paid for all of these months prior so it really was of no benefit to me. The reduced MCAT fee did come in handy when I re-took it in September though.
You want to submit as early as possible, but don’t stress if you don’t get your application in within the first week. The application services do not actually send the applications to schools until weeks later, so the only benefit is being a part of the first batch of applications that are transmitted.
AACOMAS released my application around the fourth of July this past cycle, and I started receiving secondaries the next day. I believe AMCAS had a bit of a delay, so I wasn’t verified until August 2nd. Secondary applications came in pretty fast though. I made sure to have all secondaries mailed back within two weeks of receiving them. The Student Doctor Network website is a great resource for pre-writing your secondary responses because it has the prompts for the previous year. These typically do not change, so it helps save some time.
This time was spent filling out secondary applications, and playing the waiting game.
I received my interview invite around the 16th of October, but I was first complete at the school around August 27th. It just goes to show how long of a wait it can be sometimes.
I had my first interview and an acceptance a few days later. It was my first-choice school, so I was officially done!
Unfortunately, most people will not get an acceptance so early in the cycle. This is why I recommend that you apply as early as possible! Don’t feel discouraged if you haven’t been given an invite or an acceptance before March because as you can see there are still five more months to go and this is a very long process.
I have no experience with wait-lists, but I’ve heard stories of some people not being accepted until a few days before classes start in August! So continue to keep the faith and think good thoughts if you have been placed on a wait-list.
I guess that sums everything up. Remember that I did all this from memory so let me know if you think I forgot anything.