How many applications?

I’m curios… what’s the average number of applications one person submits to med school?

There’s 5 schools in Mass (I wouldn’t have to relocate), and a couple NY schools that would relocate me closer to family in Canada.

I may also apply to Canadian schools, but I’m not sure about that yet.

Is the typical list longer or shorter than that?


I think the number of schools one applies to has to do with several factors. First, how do you think you stack up against your competition, ie where do your numbers fit with what Barrons says is the average for any given school. And given that personal assesment, how many schools can you reasonably afford to apply to.

Im not sure if Im being clear (I have my first block exam Friday so my mind isn’t 100% here right now ) But I will illustrate my point using myself as an example.

I looked through Barrons and compared my MCAT and GPA, and according to them, I really had no business in applying to Med school. So I cast a VERY WIDE NET, I basically emptied my bank account and applied everywhere that I had even the slightest chance if getting into.

Long story short, I interviewed at at 4 or 5 places, was wait-listed at three, now here I am, MSI at one of those three

I totally agree with formerartist. Everything depends on how strong/ or weak a candidate you are! I was somewhere in the middle, and couldn’t really relocate! I applied to 10 schools - all in 120 miles radius from where we were leaving at that time. I interviewed in 3, got waitlisted in all 3 of them, and ended up accepted to 2.

I only know handful of people who applied to more than 15 schools. Majority applies to between 10 and 15.

Keep in mind that application process is very expensive. So I would only apply to schools that if accepted I’d be willing to go to! If you don’t think you’ll be eager to move to CA, don’t apply there!

Hope it helps.


It does seem to depend on how good of a candidate you are… For example, I was hoping to apply to only 10 schools (because of the cost and desire to stay in New England), but my advisors recommended applying to 12-15 allos and 4-5 DOs. They explained that I couldn’t rely on my academics (acceptable but not stellar), so my net needed to be wide enough to catch the schools which might give me a second look and extend an interview so I could show off the strongest part of my ‘package’. Not sure how accurate this assessment is, but I have decided to consider schools beyond my geographic region…

Close to 30 for me.

Shotgun approach.

30? Wow! I don’t know if I will have even that many on my list. I have kids/family to consider when moving (not saying you don’t, but for me it’s just a big thing - my husband already left Canada for me, but we’re a 7 hour drive from home).

I’ve divided my list into 4 parts…

My “wish list”: Harvard is #1 (I really want to get into their “New Pathway” program, then Brown is #2 (really cool individual research program).

My “stay in Mass” list: #3UMass Med, #4 Tufts, and #5 BU.

My “move close to family” list: #6SUNY Upstate, #7 UOttawa (Ontario), #8 McMaster (Ontario), #9 SUNY Buffalo, and #10 URochester.

The first 3 lists were easy It’s list #4 that I’m having a hard time with. That’s the “where I’m willing to move to if it’s my only way into med-school” list.

I’ve eliminated all of the schools in the south (too hot) and and the west (too far from family). That leaves the northern portion of the MidWest. I’ll start by looking at the schools near the Great Lakes (still close to family in Canada).

I guess I’m hoping that my grades will be good enough to get into lists #1-3. I have a 3.7 right now, but I’m just starting to get into the heavy science classes, and I have no idea how I will do on the MCATs.

Average is 15 and may need to increase that based on the poor economy…as things get worse more folks apply to schools.

I usually recommend “about 20” (17-23 or so). This casts a reasonably wide net without going overboard. If you are a stellar applicant (not sort-of stellar, but stellar), then 10 is probably just fine.



I will work on expanding my list then. I’m sure once I’ve taken Chem, Physics, and Orgo, I’ll have a fairly good idea of just how wide of a net I’ll need to cast.

I was reading another post about approaching AdComs ahead of time. I may do this as well just to get an idea of what they look for in a NTS.


1 school for me, a 5 year MD/post-bacc with linkage. Of course, my situation is extremely unique and started with numerous connections with said medical school.

I live in Washington… As far as I know there is only one med school near here (UW), serving many different states. When the time comes, should I be applying in CA and across the country as well?

I’m personally looking regionally. We have a few med schools in our state alone. Two D.O. programs (though one does not have as high of a rank as the other) and at the very least 3 in one of the major cities. I’m 45 minutes away from yet another, so I’ll start in state and move east and south as I decide which schools I want to apply to.

  • blueshift Said:
I live in Washington... As far as I know there is only one med school near here (UW), serving many different states. When the time comes, should I be applying in CA and across the country as well?

Most likely, yes. UW and the California schools are extremely competitive. How many you will need to apply to will depend on how competitive of an application you have when it comes time to apply.

I’m in a state medical school in Virginia. The second most represented state in my class (an almost every incoming class in this school) is California.

Having said that, I think you shouldn’t put all your eggs into one basket and apply to more schools… or course, as long as you’re willing to move to wherever you’re accepted. I applied to roughly 10 schools (but again, Virginia and neighboring states is the area quite rich in medical schools); I would say it was an intermediate number of schools, comparing to others, or even on the low side. Most of the people I know applied to more schools than that; many of them to 20.


I am from Florida and currently live in Oklahoma, I will probably apply at every school in both regions and actually I’m pretty much prepared to move anywhere for medical school, and my family is on board with it. I moved to Oklahoma to be with my boyfriend so he is fully prepared to move wherever we have to for me to go to med school. I’d love to go back to Florida…because I always wanted to go to UF and it’s warm. But if not then USF is my 2nd choice. After that I really don’t care as long as I get in and they say Dr. Rhonda Adamson when I am done.

Tangential, but having visited both, UF and USF feel very different from one another. For whatever that’s worth

Check into residency requirements for each state. Florida’s very in-state focused - which can be good for you, as long as you officially qualify as in state. If you’re living in OK, you may not.

And don’t forget that UCF will have a new med school when you apply!

When browsing the MSAR looking for schools to apply to, look closely at what percentage of matriculants are in-state vs. out-of-state (for state schools, not private). If the OOS percentage isn’t pretty close to 20% (or even better), then it probably isn’t worth your time/$$ to include it in your list. BTW, I usually recommend “about 20” schools to apply to.



I just moved to Oklahoma like 6 months ago and I hate it here. So moving back to Florid and having to stay there for my residency would be fabulous! A plus really! I don’t know if you’re referring to the “feel” of the general areas of Tampa and Gainesville or the actual feel of the school. I attended both schools in my checkered undergrad career so I’m comfortable with both areas and schools, I just really want to be back in Florida.

Why do you recommend 20 schools? Is applying to more a bad thing?


I think 20 is a number ‘in between’. It’s enough schools to get few interviews (hopefully), and not sooooooo many that you’ll have to file for bankruptcy before the application process is over ;).

If you can afford it, you can apply to more! But if you really carefully consider every single school you might want to apply to, with respect to stats, location, friendliness towards OOS and non-traditional students, cost of living, student composition etc… it should narrow down the list to some reasonable number.


You can apply to however many schools you want to. But once you get into the process and realize just how much work is involved in every single application, you tend to whittle down the list a tad. Although your initial application is a one-size-fits-all application sent through a clearinghouse (AMCAS for allopathic, AACOMAS for osteopathic), you then have to do a secondary application for every single school.

Each of those secondaries is unique to that school. They can ask one or a dozen essay questions. They may ask for additional information. I remember hearing from someone who was asked to produce her SAT scores. (!!!) They will ask for photographs (to identify people at interviews, NOT for discriminatory purposes). In order to “perform” well on the secondary application, you will need to know the school well (there are almost invariably questions about “Why Dr. Nick’s Hollywood Upstairs School of Medicine?”); it takes time to read through their website so that you can actually explain what interests you about the school. You will be asked personal questions - a pivotal experience, or an inspiring person you’ve met - and while some of those responses can be cut-and-pasted to fit more than one secondary, it’ll still be a lot of work to put together the right answer for the right school.

Then there’s the money. Each secondary application has to be accompanied by a check to the school. Somebody said the average was $75. That seems low to me, but I don’t have any current information. (I am pretty sure my 2000 GWU secondary was more.) AND if you pass muster and are invited for an interview, you’ll have to travel to the school and stay in a hotel for at least one night.

And then there’s the unquantifiable time factor. Keeping track of all these applications is a royal pain in the butt. Following up on them takes time and requires organizational skills. It is a BIG job.

So 20 applications is enough to keep you busy, and then some.


eternally grateful to have managed only two applications during my app year…