The following provides more detailed information about the application process to U.S. allopathic (MD) medical schools. Osteopathic (DO), Dental, and Texas medical programs follow similar timelines. Always check application service websites and with individual schools you might want to apply to in order to ensure you’re meeting their requirements and deadlines.
For general information as to what you should be doing throughout college to get to your application year, see the Roadmap.
When to Apply
Students should apply to medical school in the early summer, one year before they intend to begin medical school. Preparing to submit your application is a time-consuming process that begins months before you submit your application and take entrance exams. This process begins in the fall semester before you intend to submit your application.
- Make sure you’re registered as a pre-health student, so you don’t miss important announcements.
- Submit the Intent to Apply form (available on this website October - January) by the end of the fall semester. Note: submitting the Intent to Apply form does not obligate you to apply. If you think you might apply during this cycle, submit the Intent to Apply form and follow all PHPC deadlines.
You need to decide when you want to apply. Most Loyola students apply during their senior year or the year after they graduate (taking either one or two gap years). Taking a gap year gives you adequate time to prepare for the MCAT and allows you to focus on doing as well as possible in your courses and research work. It also allows you time to gain meaningful experiences that will not only improve your application, but also might improve your ability to be a good medical student and doctor.
Preparing to Apply
Medical schools have different required prerequisite courses. Check the requirements of all schools you’re interested in applying to.
Most medical and dental schools prefer to receive a committee letter. While the format varies among colleges and universities, a committee letter is essentially a single document that contains a pre-health committee evaluation along with individual letters of recommendation written by faculty who have taught you. This means you will only submit one letter to your application service – your Loyola committee letter. Loyola’s committee letter includes a summary evaluation letter (written by the PHPC) with your individual letters (written by faculty) attached. The PHPC submits this letter packet directly to the application service.
The PHPC requires that students meet certain criteria to be eligible to receive a committee letter. More information about the committee letter criteria and a sample letter can be found on the Pre-Health Canvas site.
Spring semester before your application year:
- Meet with the Pre-Health Professions Advisor to ensure that you are going to be able to meet the PHPC requirements for a committee letter. Plan to meet with the Pre-Health Professions Advisor again in the fall.
October-December before application submission:
- The Intent to Apply form will be available in October. You must submit this form if you intend to apply to medical or dental schools and wish to receive a Loyola committee letter. You should submit this form in the fall even if you are not entirely sure you are going to apply this year.
- MCAT dates open in two batches. Dates fill up quickly, so consider when you will want to take the exam and sign up. You can usually change your exam date for an additional fee. Most Loyola students take the exam no later than July of the application year. Note that you can submit your primary application before you have taken the MCAT.
- Begin working on your personal statement. The PHPC will offer to provide feedback on your essays in the spring, so it is a good idea to have a decent draft completed by February. As these essays often benefit from a lengthy writing process in which you take a break and go back later to improve your essay, it is better to get started on your statement sooner rather than later.
- Begin asking faculty members to write letters of recommendation on your behalf. It is best to ask them in person. Ask if they will be able to write you a strong letter.
- The PHPC notifies students of their decisions on committee letters. If you are denied a committee letter, you will be able to appeal the decision. If you are approved to receive a committee letter, the PHPC will request additional materials from you and ask that you schedule an interview with a member of the committee. Pay attention to deadlines and make sure that you submit everything that is required.
- If you haven’t already, begin preparing for the MCAT
- Set up your interview with the PHPC faculty member assigned to you.
- Continue working on your personal statement.
- Application services open for you to begin preparing your application. Get started on this during this time so that you can submit your application in early June when AMCAS opens for submission. You can submit your transcripts to AMCAS at this time. (Note: TMDSAS usually opens for submission in May.)
- Submit your primary application to AMCAS (If applying to TMDSAS, pay attention to deadlines; it usually opens for submission in May.) The PHPC recommends submitting your primary application to AMCAS no later than early July. It takes about one month (sometimes a little longer) for AMCAS to verify your primary application and send it to the medical schools you indicated on your application. Keep in mind you only have to designate ONE medical school when you submit your primary application. You can add additional schools later.
- After individual medical schools receive and review your primary application, you will receive secondary applications from individual schools. Try to submit these within a week or two of receiving them. Generally, they will require additional essays, so try to work on those ahead of time, if possible. (You might be able to find past or current secondary essay prompts from particular schools online.)
- After your application is complete (including secondaries) your file will be evaluated and you might receive interview invitations from schools. Please be patient. If you don’t receive an interview in the fall, don’t panic! This is a long process and many medical schools continue to send out interview invitations in the spring. Remember, most medical schools will accept updates to your application, so keep working to improve it even after you’ve submitted it!
- Begin medical school in the fall!