Nontraditional Medical Student
Getting into Medical School: A Guide for Older Nontraditional Students



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The Application Process

The difference between a successful person and others is
not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will
– Vince Lombardi

The Application Process

Time Table
Applying to medical school is a yearlong process beginning in June of the
previous year. The ideal situation is to take the MCAT in April and submit your
primary application in June, 15 months before you expect to begin medical

Keep in mind that most medical schools have  a rolling admissions policy
and fill their classes on a first-come, first-served basis. This means that
an average medical student who applies early has a distinct advantage over a
better student who applies late.
Note also that your place in the queue is
determined only after all of your materials have been received. Here’s the time
table you should follow.

  • Take the MCAT in August the year before you apply, or in April the year you
  • Submit your transcripts in April, or as early as AMCAS and AACOMAS will
    accept them.
  • Submit your primary application on June 1st, or the first day that AMCAS and
    AACOMAS will accept it. Because of the early bottleneck, if you submit your
    application even a week late, it can add more than a month to the processing
  • Complete secondary applications as soon as you receive them. It will help if
    you have an up-to-date resume and a few versions of your personal statement
    ready ahead of time.
Primary Applications
The majority of U.S. medical schools accept applications only through the
American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS),
which is associated with the Association of American Medical Colleges
(AAMC).  Applications for any of the 19 osteopathic medical schools go
through the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine Application
Service (AACOMAS). These organizations do
not render any admission decisions and do not give advice to applicants on where
to apply. Each participating school is completely autonomous in reaching its
admission decisions.

Secondary Applications
Secondary or supplementary applications are utilized by schools that participate
in the AMCAS or AACOMAS application services. Some schools screen applicants
prior to sending secondary applications.  Make sure to return your
completed applications quickly, since your place in line waiting to be reviewed
will not be assigned until all information has been received.

The interview is one of the essential criteria medical schools use to rank their
applications, along with MCAT, grade point average, and letters of
recommendation. Check out the
site to find out what other students have said about the schools
where you are interviewing. For the borderline student, the interview is your
best chance to sell yourself.  Make the most of the opportunity, being
honest, punctual, and diplomatic at all times. You want your interviewer to feel
comfortable with the fact that one day you may be his or her physician.