DaVinci's Man

Timeline for Applying

Top 20 Deadlines   Timeline for Applying   

Below is a more in-depth timeline of things to think about and things to do. It assumes that you intend to attend medical school the year following graduation from Clark. Keep in mind that for some people this may not be the best approach. In such cases, you still need to do the following, but the exact timetable will differ for each individual. Remember that a large percentage of many medical schools' entering classes is comprised of students over the age of 25.

College, Year 1:

  1. Attend orientation session on prehealth (premedical, predental, etc.) program.
  2. Speak individually with Prehealth Advisor (Dr. Denis Larochelle, Lasry, Room 334).
  3. Plan course of study (all four years) to include all required courses.
  4. Develop good study habits and time-management skills to help you attain good grades.
  5. Begin extracurricular activities that develop desirable personality traits and provide relevant experience (sports, clubs, student government, community service, volunteering in a medical setting, etc.)

Summer, Year 1:

  1. Look for employment that provides relevant experience.
  2. Explore volunteering opportunities that develop desirable personality traits.
  3. Take any necessary summer courses that keep you on track for graduating in four years.

College, Year 2:

  1. Work on study habits and time-management skills that will allow you to improve your grades or keep your grades at a high level in increasingly rigorous courses.
  2. Start preparing for standardized exams by reviewing material covered in your introductory science courses.
  3. Choose a major that you can complete without jeopardizing your ability to take all required courses and others that will help you on standardized exams.
  4. Begin contacting faculty to write letters of recommendation.
  5. Continue extracurricular activities that develop desirable personality traits and provide relevant experience.
  6. Begin to explore research opportunities.
  7. Begin to focus your career goals and think about choosing schools.

Summer, Year 2:

  1. Look for employment that provides relevant experience.
  2. Explore volunteering opportunities that develop desirable personality traits.
  3. Take any necessary summer courses that keep you on track for graduating in four years.
  4. Continue preparation for standardized exams (e.g., MCAT) by reviewing science courses you have taken, using commercially available study guides, and by taking practice exams.

College, Year 3 (Fall):

  1. Continue to develop your study habits so that you learn cumulatively in your science courses.
  2. Begin serious preparation for the standardized exams (e.g., MCAT): take practice exams, identify weak areas, study, repeat.

    Note: The actions outlined for Spring and Summer, Year 3, represent the heart of the application process. These steps are available separately as a pdf and are also part of the Premed Checklist. If you are not on the Fast Track to medical school, the steps are the same but will take place during your senior year or after you graduate. We are available to work with you whenever you decide to apply.

College, Year 3 (Spring):

  1. If you have not already done so, contact the Health Careers Office (Sackler, Room S228) (ideally by February), and let us know you intend to apply. Obtain and fill out the Request for Committee Letter of Evaluation Form. This form 1) provides us with contact information, which you should always keep up-to-date; 2) acknowledges that we will obtain transcripts of your academic and judicial records at Clark, and reminds you to have transcripts from other colleges you have attended sent to us; 3) provides the Committee with names of faculty to whom we should send requests for letters of reference; and 4) asks you to provide information relevant to why you want to become a doctor, and why you would make a good one. The last part is especially important because this will help you write your personal statement on your application to medical school.
  2. Obtain forms from the Health Careers Office requesting letters of reference from faculty, fill them out, and return them to us (ideally by March). We will distribute them and collect them from faculty. Do not distribute them yourself!
  3. Register early to take the MCAT. Other standardized exams will have different dates or may be offered on-line at any time. Be sure to release your scores to Dr. Larochelle, Clark University.
  4. Check with the Health Careers Office to see how many letters of reference we have on file. You should have at least 5 letters from Clark faculty: 3 from the sciences and 2 from outside the sciences. Work with the Health Careers Office and your letter writers to ensure that all requested letters arrive in our office.
  5. Take the MCAT. Remember that if things do not go well during the exam, you may void the exam before you leave.
  6. Make final decisions about schools to which to apply. A total of 10-15 schools is reasonable, with 2-3 "safety" and 2-3 "reach" schools.
  7. Begin filling out (May) AMCAS on-line application (or other standardized application service, if applicable). Consult with our office about your personal statement, which is a critical part of the application. This essay is arguably the most important single page (5300 characters) you will ever write in your life. Also, work with the Health Careers Office on completing your Experience Descriptions. Be sure to construct a clear, concise, complete description of what you did, what you learned, and what you gave.

Summer, Year 3:

  1. Find a job or research fellowship that keeps you engaged in the health-related field.
  2. Complete AMCAS (or other) application. This requires that you:
    a. Continue to work with the Health Careers Office to finalize your essay and experience descriptions.
    b. Submit to the Health Careers Office drafts of other parts of your AMCAS application (e.g., Biographical Information, Courses Taken, etc.) to ensure the absence of typos, correct format, etc. Silly formatting errors or omissions are common, and can slow down processing of your application.
    c. After getting approval from the Health Careers Office, submit your application and then send a pdf of your submitted (dated) application to the Health Careers Office. This will be our signal to finalize your committee letter.
  3. Contact Dr. Larochelle to go over the ranking, tone, general tenor, and non-confidential content of the letter to ensure accuracy of the information and that the letter is appropriate.
  4. Obtain, sign, and return a form that you can get from our office that indicates that our letter is confidential and that authorizes us to send the letter on your behalf. If you add schools to your application later in the process, be sure to let us know.
  5. Immediately fill out and return Secondary Applications that medical schools will send you after they receive the AMCAS application. Many of these will have essay questions, and you should consult our office for advice as to what things to emphasize, and what things to avoid. Any delays in getting these back to schools can hurt your chances of being selected for an interview.
  6. Take a deep breath, look around you, see what's going on in the world (especially in the world of medicine), and start thinking about how you would answer questions at an interview. Boning up on current events is a good way to begin this process.

College, Year 4:

  1. Complete courses required for your major, graduation from Clark, or by the medical school.
  2. Practice interviewing. We will conduct a mock interview, videotape it, and then review it with you.
  3. Plan your finances and consult with your professors about exam schedules so that you will have the money and time required for interviews.
  4. Keep our office apprised of all communications with schools, especially interview dates. Consult with us so that we can give you names of people to contact in case you want to learn more about the school, the area, or lodging possibilities. We will also provide you feedback from other Clark students who have interviewed there.
  5. If you do not get interviews, consult with us about preparing to reapply or exploring alternatives (See: What if I'm not accepted?)
  6. If you are admitted to a school, accept the offer and pay the deposit, which is usually refundable prior to May 15. You usually have two weeks to respond, but do not wait until the last minute.
  7. If you receive multiple offers, withdraw immediately from schools you do not intend to attend. After May 15, you must not hold multiple acceptances because if you do, they may be withdrawn.
  8. Be sure to get your financial aid applications in on time, but the earlier the better. Deadlines range from March to May. Delaying your financial aid package can jeopardize your ability to choose the most cost-effective school because you may not hold multiple acceptances after May 15.