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When to Apply?

A common question of any pre-health student is, “Am I a competitive applicant?” Despite what you hear from medical forums on the internet or what you hear from your peers, there is no formula that guarantees your acceptance into a health professional school. The most competitive applicants are well-prepared in a number of areas and present themselves as people who want to become physicians or any other health professionals-- not premed checklists.

Students who plan to begin medical or any other health professional school directly after graduation should begin the application process in the spring of their junior (third) year (submit June 2012 for entry in August/September 2013). Not all students apply to health professional schools  during the summer prior to their senior year. Some students take a year or two off to pursue other opportunities. Those who plan to take some time off between graduation and medical/health professional school should begin the application process in the spring of the year before they wish to matriculate.

Juniors whose academic credentials are not competitive for medical/health professional school should wait to apply. In addition, it can be very advantageous for students with low science GPA’s to complete post-baccalaureate coursework before applying to medical/health professional school. Therefore, a student with a relatively weak but improving academic record should consider delaying his/her application until after the senior year or beyond to have any continued improvement taken into account.

Spring Preparation for the Medical/Dental School Application Cycle:

  1. Meet with a Pre-Health Advisor to discuss application.
  2. Attend USC pre-health application workshops and events.
  3. Contact/Meet with your potential recommenders to request letters of recommendation (LOR).
  4. Applicant/Recommender Agreement Form must be signed by your recommenders and returned to our office no later than Friday, March 2nd, 2012. Note: ALL LOR must be submitted to our office by August 1st, 2012.
  5. Beginning April 1st open LOR file at the Pre-Health Office.
  6. Prepare for, register, and take standardized exam (e.g. MCAT, DAT).
  7. Research schools.
  8. Draft/Revise personal statement.
  9. Update resume and write descriptions/reflections of your activities
  10. Initiate primary AMCAS, AACOMAS, AADSAS, etc. application (first week of May).

Note: Most health professional schools follow a rolling admissions schedule. Rolling admission means that offers for interview and admission are made continuously through the application cycle.  Schools do not wait until all of their application deadlines have passed prior to reviewing completed applications. In theory, completed applications will be reviewed on a first-come, first served basis. Submitting all the elements of the application early in the application cycle has distinct advantages. Completing the primary application early will improve your chances of being invited for interviews and being accepted by schools that use a rolling admission process.