There’s an old saying, “If you’ve seen one medical school, you’ve seen one medical school.” What is meant by that is that all medical schools are unique. They vary in mission, location, size, and countless other variables. Deciding which medical schools to apply to is a very personal decision based on your goals and interests, but there are resources available to help you narrow down your options.
How many schools should I apply to, and what will it cost?
You can apply to as many or as few schools as you’d like, but over the last several years, medical school aspirants have sent applications to an average of 14 schools through the American Medical College Application Service® (AMCAS®). AMCAS fees are subject to change and can be found on the AMCAS Web site. There will be additional costs associated with secondary applications and traveling to your interviews, so it’s a good idea to apply only to schools you would seriously consider attending.
Are there any tools or resources to help me decide where to apply?
The MSAR Online® is a database-driven guide that provides a comprehensive listing of U.S. and Canadian medical schools and B.S./M.D. programs. The medical school profiles show specific admissions requirements along with all of the applicant and acceptance statistics. You can use the site to perform advanced searches, sort data, browse schools at a glance, save favorites, compare schools, save notes, and access more data and information available elsewhere. The Web site is revised completely each year through a collaboration of the AAMC and each medical school and B.S./M.D. program. New LCME accredited medical schools are added to the MSAR Online soon after preliminary accreditation is granted. MSAR is the best source for trusted, up-to-date information.
When should I start looking into where to apply?
If you’re in high school and considering a B.S./M.D. program, you typically want to do your research during your junior year. If you’re in college, or post-college, you will want to start researching medical schools at least several months before you begin your AMCAS application, which opens in early May each year for entrance into medical school the following year.
If you’re not ready to start looking at specific schools yet, the MSAR®: Getting Started guidebook and eBook might be your best first step. The guidebook contains chapters on deciding if a career in medicine is right for you, how to prepare for medical school, how to choose the right school, and an overview of what is learned in medical school. MSAR®: Getting Started also provides details about the MCAT® exam and the AMCAS application, how to apply, how admissions decisions are made, information about diversity in medical schools, financing, applicant and matriculant data, and more.
Who can I discuss my options with?
The most knowledgeable person you can talk to is the pre-health advisor at your school. Be sure to schedule an appointment to discuss your options as early as you can. If you do not have a pre-health advisor, talk to an academic advisor, or find an advisor through the National Association of Advisors for Health Professionals (NAAHP) Web site.
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