February 15, 2020

Medical School Application Timeline 2020-2021: AMCAS, AACOMAS, TMDAS Dates and Deadlines

Application Timeline
Ryan Karmouta MD, MBA

Medical school application dates: the earlier the better (usually)


medical school application timeline


When I was applying to medical school, I felt overwhelmed and confused with the massive amount of information out there on the medical school application timeline. The truth is, the medical school application timeline can be confusing at first. There are a lot of components, from the AMCAS application to your medical school interview timeline, that you need to keep track of and organize. The timeline can also vary slightly depending on whether you are planning your gap year before medical school or if you are applying straight to medical school after your senior year of college. Unlike

The good news is mapping out your medical school application timeline doesn’t have to be  complicated. With organization and these 5 pieces of key information, you can successfully plan out your medical school application timeline without feeling so overwhelmed.

Key Information #1: When should I apply for medical school?

The medical school application process ideally starts about 2 years before your planned medical school start date. For example, if you are planning on starting medical school Fall 2021 (i.e. August 2021), then you need to start preparing your medical school application process in Spring 2020 (i.e. January 2020). Don't forget, you'll need to take CASPer as well!

Key Information #2: What are the main medical school applications in the United States?

  1. The AMCAS application which is for allopathic or MD schools
  2. The AACOMAS application which is for osteopathic or DO schools
  3. The TMDSAS application which for medical schools in Texas

Key Information #3: When does medical school applications open? When are medical school application deadlines?

AMCAS Deadlines 2020

May 4 - AMCAS Application Opens

This date is important because it's the first date your actually alowed to fill out the application. While it sounds easy, just inputting all the required information outside of the essays probably takes between 4-6 hours. The coursework section is probably the most grueling. You can make it easier for yourself by ordering an official transcript from all schools where you took courses from. Trust us, you don't want to be scrambling around trying to find them last minute.  Even though this is the date AMCAS opens, you can get a head-start on your essay writing much earlier.

May 22 - Last MCAT Date Without Delaying Your Application

While this is less relevant given the COVID-19 pandemic, this date would be the last date you could take your MCAT and get your scores back without causing any delay in our application. Even though applications are open for submission on May 28, AMCAS does not transmit applications to individual schools until June 26. With a May 22 test date, you get your scores back June 24.

May 28 - First Day to Submit AMCAS

It will feel so good to push the submit button.  This is the first date to submit your application. Even though you can submit it any time after, medical school admissions are not like other graduate schools. There is no 'hard and fast' deadline.  Sure, you can submit in August, but you'll be basically shooting yourself in both feet.

You should aim to submit within the first few days (or first week) if at all possible. Don't sacrifice your essay quality if you need a few extra dates. Submitting early means your application will get verified earlier.  Verification is the process where a real human goes through every line of your transcript and confirms it with what you manually inputted. I hear they're hiring if you're interested in this riveting position. This process gets backed up - the longer you wait, the longer this human takes to say you didn't lie about your grades and verify your application. At times, this can take 4-6 weeks to complete, so even if you submit your application on June 30, it could potentially take until early August or mid-August for your application to actually make it to medical schools.

Take a deep breath after submitting, you did it. But don't wait too long, as the secondary onslaught is coming.

JULY 10 (from June 26)* - First Day AMCAS Releases Applications to Medical Schools

At least: AMCAS is done hoarding all of your applications. If you are verified before this time, you'll likely begin receiving a bunch of secondaries starting this week since most schools do not screen before sending secondaries to students. You could end up with ~30-50 seconary essays alone by July 4th. How will you survive?  PLANNING. Pre-writing your secondaries will save you headache, stress, and get your application complete more quickly. Here's an article on the most common secondaries to pre-write as well as a database of all previous secondary prompts.

*Note, this was updated as AMCAS delayed application transmission to medical schools by 2 weeks secondary to COVID.

Deadline: August 2020-December 2020 (visit AAMC for specific medical school deadlines)

These dates don't really matter. Get your application in early. If you can't get it in by the first week of July, consider waiting until next year. Rolling admissions and application review puts you at a significant disadvantage if you apply late.

AACOMAS Deadlines 2020

AACOMAS follows a very similar process to AMCAS above, so why these dates are important are the same reasons why they're important for AMCAS.

May 5 - AACOMAS Application Opens

June 15 - First Day AACOMAS Releases Applications to Medical Schools

Deadline: January 2020 - April 2020 (visit AACOM for specific medical school deadlines)

TMDSAS Deadlines 2020

May 1 - TMDSAS Opens AND can be submitted

Deadline: October 1, 2020

Key Information #4: When are med school interviews?

Interviews happen between August 2020 to March 2021. Some schools have rolling admissions and send offer acceptances as early as October 2020. These schools send acceptances until their medical school class fills up, usually latest by the end of June 2021. Other schools release their decisions on one specific date, and send acceptance decisions usually in March of the following year (i.e. if you turned in your AMCAS in 2020, the school will release its acceptance decision March 2021, even if you interviewed for that school in December 2020).

Key Information #5: What if I do not receive a medical school acceptance offer by Spring 2021 (i.e. turned in AMCAS in May 2020 and have not received an acceptance by March 2021)?

If you end up on the waitlists at some schools, you can write a letter of intent to try to get off the waitlist. If you have not received an acceptance offer, start thinking about your reapplication strategy. To put it in perspective, the AAMC cited that the average acceptance rate to any medical school is around 40%. The path to medical school looks different for everyone. Set yourself up for success by addressing the gaps in your application and mapping out your medical school reapplication timeline. Grit and perseverance are just as important as numbers and scores when applying to medical school.

Key Points to Take Away

The medical school application timeline is about a 1.5 year process.

The key to not being overwhelmed with the medical school application process is creating a medical school timeline and keeping track of important deadlines and information using a calendar or spreadsheet.

Turn in your applications as early as possible to optimize your chances for acceptance.

If you have not received a medical school acceptance offer by Spring of the following year (i.e. turned in AMCAS in May 2020 and have not received an acceptance by March 2021), start thinking about your reapplication strategy.

The road to medical school is different for everyone.

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