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Taking MCAT mid June--Best time to send in primary applications?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical Osteopathic [ DO ]' started by AspiringDoctor0, May 3, 2012.

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  1. AspiringDoctor0

    AspiringDoctor0

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    As the title of the thread says, I'll be taking the MCAT around mid-June to give myself enough time to get scores back and sent in so my applications won't be looked at too late in the game. I will probably apply to a couple MD schools (UNC and Wake Forest) and 8 or 9 DO schools. So, from others who have been in a similar situation or are knowledgeable enough to give me an informed opinion, when would be the best time for me to send in my applications? I was thinking about just sending in 1 application before I get my MCAT score back, and if the score is competitive, I will proceed to send in the rest (although I'm not sure how secondaries come into this--will they be sent in soon after I send in the primaries in my situation?) to ensure that I don't waste hundreds of $. Appreciate it.
  2. Iliketoytles

    Iliketoytles

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    It'd help to know how competitive your GPA/ECs are, but in general... you want to submit your application as soon as possible. It takes a month for your MCAT score to come back... so you want your primary verified around the same time, so there's no idle waiting period. To do this... you'll probably need to submit in early June, if that's possible.

    Do your AACOMAS first, since you have a better shot at still getting interviews with a lower MCAT score than with the 2 MD schools. It's also better to be early for 9 schools than 2. Once you get your MCAT score back, you can decide if it's even worth filling out AMCAS or not.

    If you submit your primary in early June, and take your MCAT in mid-June... you should be considered "complete" by the end of July. Which means secondaries will start rolling in by August... which is still early and great for your chances at getting interview invites.
  3. SoulinNeed

    SoulinNeed

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    Submit it as early as possible, regardless of MCAT date.
  4. chiddler

    chiddler

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    Really?

    I was advised to wait until I see the scores in case I change my mind. After all, there are no guarantees on the mcat even if you go in confident.
  5. AspiringDoctor0

    AspiringDoctor0

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    Thanks for the the helpful insight. But I heard that admissions committees don't even look at applications until they receive MCAT scores? My main concern right now is just preparing as much as possible for the MCAT, leaving me with minimal time to prepare well-written personal statements (do you think I could use a single written PS for all of the schools I apply to, or would that not be a good idea?). But it sounds like you both are making it seem as if DO schools will look over applications in the order they are received, regardless of whether the MCAT score is sent to them yet or not. Is that correct, or am I better off focusing solely on studying for the MCAT until mid june and then focusing on writing the personal statements and getting them in as soon as possible after I have taken the MCAT? Thanks again.

    Btw, I attended Emory and Henry College and will be graduating with a BS in Biology this July; made Dean's list 1st and second years, and fall semester of senior year. My cGPA is 3.53 (yes it is pretty average because I had to take a lot of liberal arts classes that I wasn't really interested in), and my sGPA is about a 3.42 (very unprepared for the challenges of 300 and 400 level sciences due to not having taken any science AP in high school; did very well in 100 and 200 level sciences). I have 100 hours volunteering in the ER (9-12am on Thursdays and 6-12am on Fridays for 3 months last summer), 3 months of research with my biology professor on Gypsy Moth prevention, a year of interface stress fracture research with my chemistry professor, 50 hours of shadowing between a family doctor I know (wrote one of my LORs), a GI, and a Pediatrician, volunteered at a food pantry one semester (also set up a food drive to raise canned good donations for them), volunteer club member that reaches out to general student needs on campus (1 semester), volunteer english/math tutor at a local middle school (1 semester), worked 1 year as a writing tutor for the college, and this may or may not matter, but I played classical piano for 11 years (took a year and a half of advanced lessons at my college) and always won the "piano performance award" at the performing arts high school I attended for 3 years.

    My awards at college include Outstanding First Year Biology Student, pre-health scholarships 2nd, 3rd, and 4th years, and Phi Eta Sigma national academic honor society (for doing well in 1st year), inducted into Sigma Mu Honor Society (membership given to top 10% of graduating seniors). I started out my first 2 years strong (3.78 cGPA), but I went through a breakup with a girl before junior year and it really got to me and my grades started declining. End of my junior year I was sitting at about a 3.34 cGPA (yeah, my grades were that bad--about a C+/B- average throughout junior year), but I managed a 4.0 last semester and a 3.56 this semester, which I suppose would count as a slight upward trend in grades.
    Last edited: May 3, 2012
  6. chiddler

    chiddler

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    I think the idea is to start your application early so your grades get verified. Mcat scores are digitally sent so there is very little waiting after you get your scores back.
  7. SoulinNeed

    SoulinNeed

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    Change your mind about what? Even if you retake, they are still going to see all of your attempts.
  8. chiddler

    chiddler

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    that's a good point.
  9. AspiringDoctor0

    AspiringDoctor0

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    Yes, I was actually advised to make sure I do my absolute best on the first attempt, which is primarily why I created this thread--to see if it's OK that I just allocate 100% of my time toward MCAT preparation until mid-June before I start working on the med school applications.
  10. Iliketoytles

    Iliketoytles

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    The application really only takes 2 full days to fill out completely. Maybe even 1 full day if you stay up late. So it won't really take away from your MCAT studying.

    Personal statement will take another few days... but you can at least fill out the AACOMAS so it's set. At least, that's what I'd do.
  11. AspiringDoctor0

    AspiringDoctor0

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    Ah, you make it sound a lot less time consuming than I've heard it made out to be. People I've spoken to who applied last year kept telling me that it takes a while ie more than 3 days to write a personal statement that will absolutely sell you to an admissions committee. Perhaps it was because they were going the allopathic route, but I'm not sure if the PS/application process is much more different.
  12. Iliketoytles

    Iliketoytles

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    It's not much different... and allopathic/osteopathic has nothing to do with it, lol. Most people just aren't willing to spend a whole day working on an application or personal statement... but you'd be surprised how much you can get done if you do. :)
  13. CopToEM

    CopToEM OMS-2

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    There's absolutely 0 reason to wait until you see your MCAT score. You can't hide it from them so what difference does it make? Whether you submit now or you submit in August after your retake they're still going to see your score.

    When you get your score in and report it you will have the option of marking it for retake. Typically schools will hold your application until you retake it. My advice is don't be quick to mark that - some schools may show you love with the score you got so give them time to react.

    Applying early is exponentially more important than waiting on your MCAT score to release. Every week you wait is another week of seats gone and every week your statistical chance of acceptance drops.
  14. AspiringDoctor0

    AspiringDoctor0

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    Thanks for the helpful advice. Can I fill out the AACOMAS now, or do medical schools only let you apply starting early in June? I think you missed my point though about waiting to submit my applications until I take the MCAT; again, I was concerned that preparing applications now would be detrimental to my MCAT preparation time-wise, since I'll be taking it in mid June. However, given what you've told me and what the other poster said, I will definitely be applying as soon as possible.
  15. CopToEM

    CopToEM OMS-2

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    Applications open May 1st and cannot be submitted until June 1st. This gives you a month to work on them before the entrance deadline.

    I see what you meant now - I did misunderstand. With that said, only work on your application sparingly. Your focus needs to be on the MCAT. You will need volunteer hours, average hours weekly, dates for those hours, and a brief description. The same for any awards and/or jobs you've held. That's the most time consuming part.

    I highly recommend you start an Interfolio.com account and you go ahead and have your transcripts and letters of recommendation submitted to AACOMAS. There are several aspects of this process that are completely out of your control - LORs and Transcripts are a big big part of that. Think of all the other students at your school who need these things for professional school - stay ahead of the game to avoid long wait times!
  16. FrkyBgStok

    FrkyBgStok DMU c/o 2016

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    Ok. i skimmed through, but my advice is to focus on your mcat and forget about the application right now. MAYBE do a little here and there but don't focus on it. Focus on your MCAT. After your mid june mcat, sit down for 2 days and bust it out and submit. Submit your transcripts now so they have them. I submitted June 2nd, verification started June 22nd because of transcripts and I was verified by July 7th. You will be fine, focus on your mcat.
  17. AspiringDoctor0

    AspiringDoctor0

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    Change of plans.. I'll be taking the MCAT on July 6th (mid June was unavailable); so my question now is, if I submit my primaries in early June, will it give me any advantage rather than if I waited to submit primaries as soon as I take the MCAT? I've read several posts on this very subject, and the general consensus seems to be that applicants who get their primary apps verified early (but without their MCAT scores back yet) stand a better chance at getting more interview invites. I'm just throwing that out there for input from anyone who has legitimate experience or knowledge about this sort of thing.

    Right now Im planning to have the AACOMAS filled out to be sent early june and have it sent to just a couple in state schools to avoid wasting $ applying broadly before I know my MCAT score, but at least to have those primaries verified early so I can send in my secondaries before or shortly after I take the MCAT. If my MCAT scores are competitive, I'll proceed to send in primaries for the other schools on my list as soon as possible. Do you think this plan would set me at a disadvantage in terms of my chances for interviews? I've heard such a mix of opinions about this, but I still would appreciate some honest feedback. Thanks
  18. Iliketoytles

    Iliketoytles

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    Short answer is yes, submit your primary in June.

    You won't receive secondaries until schools get your MCAT score, but that's fine... if you take the MCAT on July 6th, you should get your score back in early August. Schools will receive the score mid-August, and you should receive secondaries in September... which is still relatively early. Your primary will be verified well before all this, which helps a lot.
  19. AspiringDoctor0

    AspiringDoctor0

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    So would you suggest that I send in all of my primaries early, or does just 2 for now until I get my scores back sound like a better idea?
  20. Iliketoytles

    Iliketoytles

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    What do you mean "all of my primaries"? You mean send your primary to 2 schools for now, until you get your MCAT score and will add more schools depending on how similar each schools' MCAT average and your score are?

    Yes.
  21. AspiringDoctor0

    AspiringDoctor0

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    Yes, sorry about the confusing wording there. Thanks for clearing that up for me.
  22. lavenderose

    lavenderose

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    What about if I'm planning to re-take the MCAT for the 2nd time in July? Still submit early June to only a couple schools?

    Also, does anyone know if all schools will wait for your 2nd MCAT score to be released before reviewing your app, or does it depend on the school?
  23. Iliketoytles

    Iliketoytles

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    Try to still submit early June. This gives you piece of mind that your application is finished, so that you can spend the last few weeks studying hardcore for the MCAT without worrying about your app. Also, if you submit sometime early June... your app will be verified in mid-July. Your MCAT scores will be in a couple weeks after that. So you spend those weeks making sure your LORs are ready to go, and begin prewriting your secondaries for the schools you initially added on your primary. Once your MCAT score comes in, update your school list and pre-write the secondaries for those schools you added.

    Most schools I've heard of will review your application with your first MCAT. If it's not up to par, and they see you're retaking... they'll look at it again when they receive your second score.
  24. CopToEM

    CopToEM OMS-2

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    Applying to a single school low down on your list is a common tactic for retakes. It allows you to get your application verified and then once you have your MCAT score it's a pretty non-trivial thing to submit your apps to the other schools.

    I'm still of the opinion that there's no point in doing it that way though. Let's say you made a 21 on your first MCAT and you're hoping for a 28 on the next. So you don't apply until you get your MCAT score of a 25. Are you just not going to apply with that?

    I mean ultimately you're probably going to submit your app to those schools regardless of your MCAT retake score. Why not get ahead of the game and just get it in there.

    Being invited for an interview without an MCAT score at all yet or pre-retake is rare but it does happen!
  25. Ibn Alnafis MD

    Ibn Alnafis MD

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    But, wont s/he be at the risk of being rejected due to the low MCAT score, regardless of the intent to retake status?
  26. Iliketoytles

    Iliketoytles

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    If you put on the application that you're retaking the MCAT, the schools will look at your first MCAT score, and if it isn't up to par for an interview invite... they'll put your file on hold and look at it again when they get your new MCAT score. If the new mcat is good enough, then they'll send the invite (assuming everything else is up to their standards).
  27. FrkyBgStok

    FrkyBgStok DMU c/o 2016

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    It is less for that and more for the saving of money. If you retake your MCAT and get a 30, you probably won't spend the money for the lower schools because you don't need to. If you retake and get a 25, you probably won't spend the money on the high tier schools. If you retake and get another 21, you probably are going to retake again and maybe cut your losses for this cycle. If someone is 100% positive their score will go up significantly, your way is best. But most people aren't positive.

    Another reason is schools sometimes have automatic cutoffs and no one knows how they work. They could be a reject under 22 and it may neglect, not see, miss, etc. the "plan on retake." If you retake and get a 30, you probably could have scored an interview, but you were already rejected, so that sucks.

    Also some people might paranoid. I didn't want my app to go to some "hold" pile and then be forgotten about for a few weeks. so I waited. however I took an end of may mcat so my scores we released end of june and I wasn't verified anyway at that point.
  28. CopToEM

    CopToEM OMS-2

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    I see your points.

    OP, for what it's worth, I tested in August and submitted around the end of August. I was complete at all schools at the first of October and accepted the second week of October. I was the first student accepted at my university and another 11 went on to be accepted this cycle (everyone who applied). An August application isn't early by SDN standards but it's not late either. Most schools consider mid-Sept the start of their full-force interview season.

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