Application Process

The application process for medical, dental, or other health professions schools can be daunting. It will be a test of your patience, your endurance, and your ability to remain positive when faced with rejection. It is important to give yourself enough time to prepare adequately for all components of your application. The following is a general timeframe of activities related to the application process for an undergraduate (not all inclusive and timing will vary for each individual):
Freshman Year

Sophomore Year

  • continue developing strong study habits and maintaining a strong gpa
  • continue participating in activities that interest you
  • gain some clinical experience either paid or as a volunteer
  • become “well read” –  keep up to date on issues of the day related to health care and health professions
  • start researching schools where you may wish to apply
  • attend workshops offered by the Pre-Health Advising office
  • meet with your advisor and make sure you are on track for completing your pre-reqs in time for your planned application
  • review your Self-Assessment Survey – have you made progress?

Fall of Junior or Senior Year (depending on when you decide to apply)

  • attend workshops offered by the Pre-Health Advising office
  • review the Georgetown Pre-Health Committee recommendation process. Be sure you understand the steps necessary to receive a committee recommendation.
  • review your Self-Assessment Survey and use it to start an outline for your personal statement and activities resume
  • develop a list of professors/other professionals you will approach for a letter of recommendation
  • develop a list of medical schools that you may be interested in applying to
  • develop a budget for application expenses – primary and secondary application fees, MCAT/DAT study and exam, clothing, interview travel and expenses, etc. 

Winter of Junior or Senior Year

  • attend workshops offered by the Pre-Health Advising office
  • begin study for the MCAT or DAT or other admissions test required for your application
  • continue work on your personal statement
  • review materials and resources on the application site (AMCASAACOMASADEA, etc) and understand your obligations when applying
  • meet with a pre-med advisor if you have questions or need advice
  • review again, materials and instructions for applying for a Pre-Health Committee Recommendation
  • order an official transcript for yourself from any school where you took courses (other than Georgetown)

Spring of Junior or Senior Year

  • attend workshops offered by the Pre-Health Advising office
  • work toward a final draft of your personal statement and seek input from advisors, mentors, peers, the writing center, etc. 
  • submit an application for a Pre-Health Committee Recommendation
  • request letters of recommendation from professors and other professionals
  • continue developing the list of schools where you will apply
  • study for and take the MCAT/DAT exam when you are ready
  • start the application for professional school (AMCAS usually opens May 1) – remember to start an application for the year in which you hope to matriculate, not the current year.

All schools use some form of a central application service. Allopathic (MD) applicants use the AMCAS service. Osteopathic (DO) applicants use the AACOMAS service. Dental applicants use the AADSAS application, etc. 
AMCAS works as follows (and other application services have a similar – but not identical – process):

  1. Application submitted
    • online application completed
    • fees paid
  2. Application processed
    • all official transcripts submitted by applicant to AMCAS
    • AMCAS “verifies” your application by comparing transcripts to entries you made on the submitted application
    • GPAs calculated
  3. Application delivered
    • verified application sent to designated medical schools
    • MCAT scores automatically delivered as they become available
    • LORs delivered as they are received

The AMCAS application opens in late spring – usually on May 1. This gives you about a month to work on your application before the submission opening date – usually in early June. Submitting as early as possible is always advantageous, but it is not critical that you submit on the opening day. You should submit your application when it is complete, error free, and you are confident that all your written materials are in the best form possible. 
Once you submit your application you may only go back to revise certain limited items such as contact information, name changes, LOR additions or changes, etc. You will not be able to add or change any transcript information so be sure you have entered this information completely and correctly before hitting the submit button. Use an official transcript to enter your coursework on the application. That way you will be working from the same document that AMCAS will use to verify your application. 
The Registrar’s Office is the keeper of the student’s academic record. The Pre-Health office does not submit transcripts for you. AMCAS provides a transcript request form which you should use to attach to your submitted transcript. The form will ensure your transcript gets to the right place with your ID numbers attached. AMCAS reports that problems with transcripts are the number one cause of processing delays and missed deadlines. To avoid delays you should follow precisely the instructions provided by the application service. 
Be sure your final grades are available and recorded on your transcript before submitting it to AMCAS. You cannot add grades to your application after you submit.
MCAT/DAT scores are automatically reported to the application service. Reporting can take up to four to six weeks. 
Ongoing monitoring of your application is done through the appropriate application site.
Just when you thought you were done writing essays and answering questions, you will receive a request for a “secondary” essay. Secondary applications involve additional essays or requesting answers to specific questions posed. Every school has its own process for secondaries. Some schools send secondaries to every applicant, some to selected applicants. Some will send secondaries before they have reviewed your application and some will send them after. There is no uniform approach among schools. Secondaries almost always come with additional fees. Follow the instructions provided by each school for completing any secondary application. 
The Pre-Health office will submit to AMCAS (and other application services) the Pre-Health Committee recommendation along with the four letters that were submitted for your committee recommendation application. This is referred to as a “committee letter packet” and should be recorded as such on your application. Some applicants submit additional letters to some or all the schools where they are applying. The Pre-Health office can also help submitting additional letters or the individual letter writers may submit directly to AMCAS by following the directions provided by the application service. Please see the link to letters of recommendation and FAQs for more information.