Early Decision Program

I have a question about this. What is the advantage of doing the Early Decision Program versus just sending in your application as early as possible? It seems like you can only apply to one school if you do early decision. I read that if you are denied during early decision you can then apply to other med schools, but not until October time frame.

I am only planning on applying to 2-3 med schools (only schools within ~1 hour from my house). I really want the school that is 20 min. away from me. If a school knows you took the chance to do the early decision, will they give your application a deeper look? What do you guys think?

Early Decision (ED) is risky, since if you don’t get into your ED school then you are forced to apply later in the cycle for regular decision. Beth Jolly is an OPMer who did ED at the Univ of Maryland and was successful (she’s in her fourth year). If I remember correctly, there were three people who applied ED in her cycle and she was the only one who was accepted ED. She was in a similar situation where she couldn’t move from Baltimore and there are only two schools there. I would think you need to be a strong candidate for them to consider you (I say that generically without any knowledge of your background). Others may chime in here, but applying regular decision you may be able to relay your overwhelming desire for that program.

I was only willing to consider two schools and I thought long and hard about early decision. In the end I decided that it was too risky. My application for Georgetown would’ve been waaaaay behind while I waited to see what GWU would do – and since I had NO other options I was willing to consider, I just couldn’t take that risk.

Maybe if you are planning to apply to a whole mess of schools, you can put a bunch of eggs in the early decision basket because you know that you’ll still have plenty of eggs left over. (this metaphor is not going to hold up, I can see it now…) But if you’ve only got two or three eggs I think you need to spread 'em around… ugh, like I said, the metaphor doesn’t hold up, but I still think early decision is probably not a good idea when you only have a small number of schools to consider.

“samenewme” successfully applied early decision to UW-Milwaukee; I have to be honest I don’t remember more of her story but you can look through the archives.


I’m a veteran of the ED process, and I’ll tell you, early decision did not work out for me. I wound up waitlisted at Tulane alllllllll the way from September of 2006 to August of 2007 when I was rejected. (Yes, I am and always will be the Waitlist King.) September became this crazed rush where I was racing to find schools to apply to, and probably spent more on AMCAS than I should have, because I wasn’t pondering and researching in June like a normal applicant. It was also a confidence killer at the very beginning of a difficult year.

MCW is an unusual case, in that they LIKE and rather prefer ED applicants and if they think you’re probably good enough to get in in the regular application cycle, they’ll happily admit you ED. They also use rolling admissions and you get your results a week after your interview date. I think their cultivation of this reputation gets them a lot of ED applicants and lets them pick their application pool and start filling their class faster.

I heard a rumor this policy is changing.

I decided I was a pretty competitive applicant (4.0 post-bacc, 35 MCAT, good letters and LOTS of ECs) and I wanted to stay in Milwaukee where I have very good social support, so I decided to take the plunge.

But at any school other than MCW I don’t know if I’d have done it.

I don’t recommend EDP. I think applicants are much better off applying early and applying to all the schools they are interested in. If a EDP school doesn’t make a decision until 10/1 (the required deadline by AMCAS), and if it is “no,” then the applicant is really behind the time line for getting applications into all other schools.



Thanks for the info everyone. Sounds like EDP is very risky.

On an unrelated note, have any of your talked to someone in admissions before you applied to med school? I was wondering if that is an acceptable thing to do. I just want get their opinion if I even have a chance before I fork out the cash for applying.

This is not only acceptable but I highly encourage it!

You can definitely talk to admissions folks but you must do it WELL before the application cycle, maybe even a year ahead of time. I made some calls in May of the year when I intended to apply in June, and got only the most generic friendly “I’d tell this to anyone” sorts of advice. They were very concerned that they not be giving me an “unfair advantage” over my competition by talking to me.

If you’re thinking that you’re going to apply in 2008 to start in 2009, by all means call schools NOW. They are just starting to gear up for this year’s application cycle but they will have a few moments for you, hopefully.