Applying late in the cycle

Bear with me. I still have quite a few pre-requisites to take, but am going to give it a go in the 2016-17 application cycle. However, I don’t want to take the MCAT until I have completed my summer courses and used the month of August to study for the MCAT. Has anyone else out there applied late in the cycle and had some success? Can you fill out the AMCAS early in the cycle and update it as new transcripts arrive in mid-August and the MCAT score comes in after the September exam?

Has anyone out there had success while applying late in the cycle?

Keep in mind that there is about a 6 week lag time between taking the test and getting your scores. The latest they’ll take is roughly an aug/sep test date.

I submitted AMCAS in August and was verified in September because I didn’t know that you could submit to enter the queue before your mcat scores post. I’m not sure if you can update transcripts once you submit. I believe there is a section about future courses or something like that. During the verification process, they bounce your transcripts against a national clearing house, so they may ask you for transcripts later if they’re required. More than likely, the schools themselves will request updated transcripts, especially if you’re accepted. I highly recommend submitting your application without MCAT score instead of waiting because they won’t “complete” your application and send it to schools until your scores come in.

My first interview invite came in early December. Due to scheduling conflicts, all of my interviews were in Feb/Mar timeframe, so for schools with rolling submissions, I was vying for theoretically fewer seats than if I’d applied earlier. I have no doubt that I would have gotten a couple of more interviews if I’d applied earlier as well (got a few “we like you but we have don’t have enough interview slots” letters).

I applied AACOMAS pretty late as well and submitted my primary application to the one school I applied to shortly before the due date. I had a late interview there as well.

AMCAS schools: applied - 15; interviewed - 5

AACOMAS schools i was 1 for 1.

I ended up getting accepted off of a waitlist to my target school and had 1 outright acceptance from another school.

For what it's worth, giving yourself one month to study for the MCAT might be pushing it a bit. I don't know your background, so it might be fine for you. Remember that the MCAT isn't like undergrad tests, so you should take a look at some prep material that's available either free online or commercially. All the better if you can balance looking at subject-specific MCAT material while you're actually taking the class.

I am taking the MCAT on July 9 and planning on submitting apps to DO schools at the same time (so it should be complete by mid-August). Is it way to late to apply to MD schools? I get the sense that DO schools are more flexible with their timelines.

It really does put you at a disadvantage to apply in the fall. I had a friend who had an excellent MCAT score, good application overall, very strong GPA. He took so long with secondaries (October-ish) that he didn’t start hearing about interviews until this month. Meanwhile friends with lower stats were accepted back in the fall. Rolling admissions is real, even if schools accept applicants from every interview day.

I also agree that one month of studying is probably not enough for this test. It’s a beast. And I personally would be worried about being both a reapplicant and a repeat MCAT taker, not because it kills your chances, but for me would kill my spirit. It’s just a lot – stress, money, time, what ifs, etc.

That said! If you’re positive you want to apply this year, fill out the applications as soon as possible. Have your letters in, fill out the sections for future coursework. Then pick a single school on each MD and DO that you’ll apply to and submit your apps. The verification process will start, which takes about 4 weeks for each. So when you’re ready, you just add more schools and your already verified app is sent out immediately and you should start getting secondaries immediately. Plus if you decide not to apply, you’ll only be a reapplicant at one school (but will still be one overall, I believe.)

For coursework stuff, see Bottom line: You can enter future coursework, but your GPA won’t be recalculated when you’ve completed the courses.

It really depends on the school.

At my school, the vast majority of the spots are filled before Christmas, (I was accepted in september the year I applied). Around here, it’s pretty much common knowledge that interviews in Jan/Feb are mostly for the waitlist.

I agree with Prodigal that it really depends on the school. My application at LSU wasn’t complete until November, I interviewed in December and was accepted with a large group in February.

So, it can happen, but you can put yourself at a disadvantage by applying late.

Thanks all. This is a great and supportive community. I really appreciate your advice and wish you all the best of luck as you continue to plug away at your programs.

I’m certainly studying the Kaplan materials as I go along, but at a less-than-optimal rate, while working full-time (tenured English professor at a small liberal-arts college) and taking multiple classes. August will just be a month to bear down and show some true grit. It’s nice to know that I can get the application rolling earlier, but it does sound like I’ll want to hold off on transcripts until August so those courses can boost my science GPA. Not too concerned about my overall GPA or my GPA from my M.A. and Ph.D. years.

While the MCAT is not the same thing as my comprehensive exams in grad. school, the testing experience will be very similar. So I may not be as stressed as the traditional test taker, if that makes sense.

Thanks once again, and I’ll keep checking in on this thread.

At a bear minimum, please do yourself a favor and take a full length practice test of some sort before taking the actual MCAT. I’m with you, the MCAT isn’t the most stressful thing I’ve ever done. The stressing part of the MCAT is that it asks you questions about some stuff you have learned in a completely new way, and some of the questions will be on topics you had no clue about but are essentially “taught” them in the question stem. The practice test can either serve to boost your confidence or help you reassess your testing strategies (which are very important for the test).

I definitely will take a few practice tests, Kennymac. Thanks for the advice! Does anyone have a preferred practice test system? How useful is QBank?

I don’t know about practice tests as they relate to the new MCAT, but for the old one, the AAMC practice tests were the closest to the real thing, and my score on those practice exams very closely reflected my actual score.

I used the M Prep Qbank when I was studying, and found it useful. It was good to have some practice questions that I could do in small batches, rather than having to carve out 4+ hours for a real practice test.

Thanks for the advice, bennard.

In other news, I just found out that the state school in my state of residence doesn’t even begin to invite for interviews until mid-October, so I may luck out on that end as well.

I want to chime in and make sure you’re looking at this realistically. If you take the MCAT in August your score won’t be out until September. If you actually wait to submit your AMCAS application until a summer transcript has been received in August, your application will then have to go through the verification process at AMCAS. At that time of year it could take some time for processing. If your application isn’t actually transmitted to the medical schools until September/October you’re at the bottom of a very long pile of applications by that time (other applicants will have been submitting since early June).

The vast majority of medical schools operate on a rolling admission basis; the later you submit the application, the more of a disadvantage you’re creating for yourself. You can certainly do it but have your eyes wide open as to how you’re negatively impacting your own application by submitting the application late in the cycle.

Timing counts heavily in the medical school application process!

Good luck,


I chose to apply early (June) to both AMCAS and AACOMAS. However, I decided to get a committee letter from my undergraduate institution, which meant my applications were not complete until late September. Ultimately, I got into my top choice schools, but I would not recommend gambling the way I did. I did not fully understand how much the committee letter would help me until July, which meant delaying the process by a few months. I knew it was risky, but in my case that risk paid off.

As thankful as I am that the stars aligned for me, I would not recommend doing what I did; I really rolled the dice. Knowing what I know now, I would have actually delayed my application by a year, or I would have made sure my committee letter would be ready when the rest of my application was in June. Realistically, I would have ended up with multiple acceptances and probably earned more scholarships than I did. I have no regrets, since I will be attending my top choice medical school, but I don’t think it’s wise to rush to submit a great application that won’t be complete until fall when you could wait until next June and potentially have infinitely more options in terms of both acceptances and financial aid.

Hi @englishprofessor, I’m curious what ended up happening here. Will you be waiting until the next cycle?