While getting ready to apply to medical school when to do certain things, like research, volunteering and shadowing, can vary depending on the student. But one thing that doesn’t vary? You need to apply early to medical schools.
Most US medical schools use a common application called the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS). This application becomes available for the next application cycle around May 1. The month of May is basically the time to complete the application. It goes live and can be submitted around June 1. I typically recommend that students get their medical school applications submitted, at the latest, by June 25 of the year before they wish to attend.
I often hear students say that they need to submit the application as soon as it opens, around June 1. In my experience, it doesn’t make much difference from an admissions standpoint as long as the application is submitted by June 25. Once you get into July, submission is generally considered late.
The reason that the earlier application is preferred is that most medical schools use rolling admissions which means they start to evaluate applications as they come in and take them in order of receipt.
However, there is something that many students miss. While the applications will not be reviewed until the application is submitted, the medical school also requires the verified transcript from the undergraduate college and the official MCAT scores. Since it can take several weeks to have the transcript verified, it is best to get the transcript sent in May or early June. This can be a problem if you are applying straight through without a gap year as it can take a while to get final transcripts from many colleges. So don’t delay and order your official transcript to be sent to the verification company as soon as it is available.
For most students the timing is not a problem but you have to be aware of these dates early on to make sure your application isn’t late.