Application and AMCAS Guidance for 2021 Cycle

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gonnif

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Since I am already getting questions, and seeing misinformation being bandied about, I am issuing the first AMCAS 2021 Timeline Summary post of the 2021 Cycle, along with other information

********AMCAS 2021 Timeline Summary (post count #001)************
-Applicants should be filling out the AMCAS 2021.
-AMCAS provides dozens of “How to” tutorial and videos, most of which are linked in my signature. Applicants should download the free 2021 AMCAS Applicant Guide when available. It should be considered the study guide on how to fill out AMCAS.
-Applicants should have the MSAR, which should be considered the text book for the application process
-Applying to medical school is a full time job from May until through September and then on call for the rest of the cycle. There is no general rule across schools when they may evaluate and review your application, possibly invite you for an interview, when the interview may be, when a decision may be reached, or when you may get off a WL. For some of you, the cycle will run until August 2021.
-AMCAS May 4, 2020, Primary application opens up. Can send formal requests for transcripts from your schools and letter requests to your letter writers.
-AMCAS May 28, 2020, Completed primary applications with all ECs, PS, and course information can be submitted.
-You enter the verification queue (“time to verify”) only when both completed primary application and all transcripts have been received.
-AMCAS does not, repeat, does not verify LOR or MCAT score. Your primary application will be verified regardless of LOR or MCAT score status
-AMCAS June 26, 2020,(delay due to COVID-19) JULY 10 begins transmission verified applications (though some schools have secondaries sent to contact info upon submission to AMCAS)
-Verification peak is about August 1st and takes 20 days
-Most Primary Apps are transmitted early July thru early September
-Secondaries timelines can vary widely as to when to they are sent out from almost immediately upon submissions to 3 months, though most are in the range 1-3 weeks after transmission.
-Letters via AMCAS are processed/transmitted separately from primary
-Letters can be added after primary has been submitted and transmitted and are mostly not needed until secondary reviews at the earliest.
-While applications are transmitted at end of June, most schools do not start any processing until at least mid-July at the earliest; even then, most dont get up to full speed until mid-August.
-There are usually 3 main phases in processing application
----1) Initial Screening/Evaluation: A hybrid of automatic GPA/MCAT screen plus human for "quick review" of application. Used to for general priority and, in some cases, which team/subcommittee gets application. At some schools, preset criteria or informal policy can lead to II at this stage.
----2) Full Evaluation: This is where evaluator/reader/team/subcommittee will fully evaluate all sections of primary, secondary, and LOR and generally summarize in broad categories or point system. This essentially becomes your priority for adcom review and II. This function may be split up among several evaluators and may go to a team or subcommittee for II decision. Application are not typically evaluated until complete with Primary, Secondary, MCAT, and LOR
----3) Full adcom: this is where your fully evaluated application is reviewed and decided for interview invite After interview Adcom will vote on admission (acceptance or alternate WL)
-Application and candidate evaluations timeline varies widely by school may not done in a linear, chronological order. EDP, High achievers, URM, family of alumni, feeder schools, associated UG programs, linked postbaccs, and other factor may push an app forward in the process.
-Most adcoms dont start meeting for review of evaluated applicants until at least mid-August, more likely September, though some reviews may be done earlier for groups mentioned above. Evaluation may start almost immediately at some schools.
-Schools receive 5,000-10,000 application but can only evaluate several hundred applications a week. Therefore, it can take anywhere from 4-16 weeks (1-4 months) or more to be evaluated, reviewed and invited for interview after your application is complete.
-Schools must reduce several thousand applications to several hundred interviews.
At least 80% of applicants at any individual school must be rejected pre-interview.
-There are about 900,000 individual applications across 150+ medical schools with about 150,000 interview slots maximum. That means on average of 16 submitted applications only 3 will get an II.
-Applicants should check each applicant portal daily until application is marked complete, under review, or similar. After that, you should check applicant portal 2 to 3 times as week as schools may invite you for interview solely by portal; some schools do not send email for interview invite.’
-Medical Schools are deciding on Acceptance. All applicants start as “Unaccepted” or rejected. With 60% of applicants not getting a seat, all applicants must assume that may be reapplicants and start enhancing their record from the moment they submit AMCAS.
-Medical schools have no requirement to inform you of any decision other than an interview invite, an acceptance, or alternate/WL position. Some schools will never send out any rejection or other notice on your application as all start as “rejected”.
-Timing of early, on time or late refers to any impact that “lateness” may have on your chances. Being early or on time does not improve your chances but rather it means that timing will not be a factor in lowering your chances.
-Submitting Primary Application June is Early, July Medium, August Late
-Having Primary verified and transmitted to school by middle of August is normal speed
-Having Secondary and all LORs complete to school by Labor Day is early for all applicants at all schools, even highly competitive programs.
-Late or end of September is about on time for solid candidates at most programs
-End of October is about late for almost all programs
-After that point you will generally start getting impacted by the number of applications submitted and the finite number of essentially rolling interview slots. Seats given by rolling admissions is not a big factor in this. These aren’t absolute dates nor is it a fixed timeline. It should be used as a guideline
-Medical schools focus on evaluation and pre-II review up until approximately Thanksgiving. At that time they need to start transitioning to post-interview acceptance decision. However, with the increasing number of applications per school, some fraction of interview invites will continue into the new year.
-Timing matters to getting your application in. Once you are in and evaluated, timing has little impact on your chances. It is a myth that schools fill all the seats early and then just have alternate slots.
-When you get invited for an interview is a better indicator of your interest of the school rather than when the actual interview is. Stronger candidates typically invited earlier.
-Medical schools cannot inform regular MD candidates of admission (acceptance or alternate) prior to Oct 15th. However, medical school can inform applicants of any other decision, such as rejection or hold, at any time from initial primary submission until past end of cycle. Do note that the only formal vote an admission committee need to make is for admission (acceptance or alternate/WL) and that is the only decision they must inform you about. A large fraction of applicants will never get a formal rejection; they will simply never get II or acceptance.

Getting primary in on time does matter because of all the other items that follow it. But applicants often see the beginning and not understanding how it flows from there. Additionally, how each school then opens a file, reviews them on GPA, MCAT, and other factors, and what order they wind up in a queue has less to do with when the primary arrives then when the secondary is completed and received. Since the majority of schools, I dare say, send out pre-transmission, unscreened, or minimal cut off screened secondaries, this is probably a larger factor in where you wind up in the queue for 1) reading an application and 2) decision on interview invite. As I have said previously, and will undoubtedly say dozens of time during this 2021 application cycle (see count above) review of apps is not simply done in a linear chronological order. High achievers, URM, family of alumni, feeder schools, associated UG programs, linked postbaccs, and other factor may push an app forward in the process.
 
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gonnif

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I am always utterly astounded by supposedly high achieving students who assume a self-imposed timetable for applying, do not understand the process well enough to realize how much time they need to complete finishing prereqs, MCAT prep, and filling out in a highly polished way, the AMCAS Primary Application and 10-25 additional secondary applications, the reality of the chances and competition that getting an acceptee truly is

Applicants look at this as “when is the latest” they can submit, when they need to be looking at how to optimize their chances. Applying with a rushed, late MCAT and AMCAS, all of which is fully under your control, is a way to be rejected and reducing your chances on the next cycle as a reapplicant

Timing, Scheduling, and Priority
1) applicants need to be as fully prepared for the MCAT as possible and need to spend near 100% time, energy and focus prepping for this as the score will stay with you forever. Frankly, applicants shouldnt be planning AMCAS until they have completed the MCAT.
2) applicants need to have a well-written, highly-polished AMCAS is needed to get an interview and they should be spending near 100% time, energy and focus on getting this done.
3) trying to do both the MCAT and AMCAS at the same time risk doing badly on both, not to mention coursework if you are in classes
4) frankly, applicants need to have MCAT complete prior to application season starts and you should go prep another month and take MCAT in Sept for next cycle

Here is my reasoning in outline form of what applicants should prioritize

Applying to Med School means:
*Illuminating your positives
*Minimizing your negatives
*Optimizing your chances with timing
*Reducing your risks
*Efficiency in doing your application
*Being the strongest first time applicant

The MCAT:
*Is weighted as much as GPA
*Should be considered at least a 6 credit course in time and work load
*Will stay with your forever
*Risk should be reduced by having the prereqs completed and sufficient time, energy, and focus to do well on it once
*should prepped for and completed prior to working on AMCAS

Filing out the Applications:
*is the AMCAS primary and 10-25 supplemental applications
*that need to be coherent, concise and compelling
*completed with high quality and in a highly polished way
*Has lengthy transcript entries, ECs and many, many multiple essays
*Should be considered a nearly full-time job from mid-May thru at least early September

*Be completed early in the cycle as to give applicants the most optimal timing

The data on applicants include:
*15 is the average number of applications
*40% with 3.8 GPA or higher dont get an acceptance
*60% with 3.6-3.8 GPA dont get an acceptance
*20% with MCAT 517 or higher dont get acceptance
*nearly 50% of matriculants get a single offer of acceptance
*So nearly 1/2 of acceptees have a 7% acceptance rate
*about 60% of matriculants took a gap year

Therefore in priorities:
*Complete prereqs and focus on GPA before attempting MCAT
*Put nearly 100% time, energy and focus into MCAT for 6-12 weeks or more. Complete the MCAT before starting AMCAS, optimally before the application cycle begins
*Put nearly 100% of time, energy and focus into the actual applications
*Begin application prep weeks or months before they open (Jan of application year)
 
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gonnif

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Consider what you are throwing away with a “throw away” application

To be accepted to medical school, you need at the very least: a strong MCAT score, a strong GPA, and well-written, highly polished AMCAS. Indeed one of biggest mistakes a premed can make is applying to medical school without knowing your MCAT score. Some people will recommend that if you do not have an MCAT, put you AMCAS in with single throwaway school (either one you never would attend like OOS or such a high reach, unlikely they would consider you. This is suggested so your AMCAS application can verified faster (once you are verified, it is good for all schools that you may add at a later date).

However, by doing this you are splitting time, effort and focus across these three critically important factors of MCAT, GPA, and AMCAS. If you have not taken the MCAT, you need to be prepping for that at nearly 100% focus. It has to be a solid score to be a competitive applicant. But you also need a well-written, highly polished AMCAS and you only get to submit AMCAS once. Therefore, you should be having nearly 100% focus on that. In addition, if you are still in classes, you need to keep a high GPA, so much time and effort must be in that.

Trying to split these all up is a risky thing, and I do not, repeat, do not recommend the throwaway school method if you are submitting AMCAS before you have taken MCAT. After you have completed the exam, but before you get the score back, is the only time you should be working on AMCAS and submitting
 
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gonnif

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Do Not Take the MCAT until you are ready. Schools will see every score you ever get so get a good one the first time around

Frequently Asked Questions | UW Medicine
If I take the MCAT more than once which score will be used in the admissions committee process?
All previous scores can be seen on your application. AAMC data show that averaging all scores is the best predictor of future exam scores.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) | MD Program Admissions
Data from the AAMC suggest that applicants who took the MCAT more than once perform in medical school most like applicants who only took the MCAT once and had the average of the multiple scores. In other words, someone who took the MCAT twice and had total scores of 505 and 509 is most likely to perform in medical school like someone who took the MCAT once and had a score of 507.

Admissions | Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook University
How are the MCAT scores evaluated?
If an applicant has taken multiple MCAT exams, scores are averaged.

Title
Multiple MCAT Scores
Many applicants to TUSM apply with more than one set of MCAT scores. Our policy is to consider all MCAT scores (taken within the approved time period preceding enrollment) and note the highest MCAT total.

Handheld Requirement FAQ - School of Medicine
If I have taken the MCAT multiple times, which do you consider?
We consider only the most recent MCAT scores.

Medicine |
Does Tulane allow multiple MCAT scores to be reported on the application?
Yes. Members of the admissions committee typically look at the highest scores. Many schools do not find multiple MCAT scores of use. Applicants should prepare with great care to take the MCAT examination.

FAQ
I took the MCAT several times. Do you see all of my scores?
Stanford Medicine can see all of your MCAT test scores from previous administrations of the MCAT. We do not combine scores of the sections to make your cumulative score higher.

General FAQs
How are multiple MCAT scores viewed?
Many applicants take the MCAT more than once. This is not considered a liability. We attach greatest importance to the most recent scores, although we will review the most recent last two sets of scores.

http://medicine.hofstra.edu/admission/admission_faq.html#a17
I have taken the MCAT exam multiple times, will all scores be considered?
The School of Medicine only uses the highest composite MCAT score for consideration of admission.

FAQ - Cooper Medical School of Rowan University
How are the scores from multiple exams viewed?
We will use the highest composite score of any single exam taken in the accepted time frame. Individual section scores from different test dates will not be combined to produce a new composite score.

https://www.bcm.edu/education/schools/medical-school/admissions/faqs
If I take the MCAT exam multiple times, which test scores will be reviewed by the Admissions Committee?
Baylor College of Medicine will accept/review the most recent test scores.

http://phoenixmed.arizona.edu/faqs/faqs-students-prospective
How are multiple MCAT exams viewed?
Multiple MCAT scores will be reviewed by the Admissions Committee for demonstrated growth and competency in the test areas. Subsequent scores that are higher than the original score are viewed positively; however, declining scores are concerning. We do not average multiple exam scores.

https://www.gvsu.edu/cms4/asset/8E60AE8A-DD89-F38B-68F611A92AA5D47A/msu_chm_fact_sheet(2).pdf
The College of Human Medicine does not have a specific policy on how multiple MCAT scores are considered. However, they like to see improvement in scores, and they do tend to consider the highest score in each section.

https://www.bumc.bu.edu/busm/admissions/application-process/faqs-for-current-applicant/
I have more than one MCAT score. How does the Committee view multiple MCAT scores?
AMCAS will supply us with all MCAT scores you have taken. The Committee on Admissions will take into account all reported tests as a part of your application as a whole.
 
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Thanks gonnif! I look forward to seeing many of the questions answered here reiterated in new threads over the coming year
 

MrsDr2014

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Do you think the AMCAS application opening date will be impacted by the coronavirus due to many students having to reschedule their MCAT exams?
 
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gonnif

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Do you think the AMCAS application opening date will be impacted by the coronavirus due to many students having to reschedule their MCAT exams?
Rule One : Take a Breath

This is a constantly changing situation with no definitive answers. Anything we say hear is pure speculation and all that will cause is stress, worry, and anxiety without giving any information. Continue on with normal deadlines until notified otherwise.
 
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zeddd78893

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This is very in-depth and an amazing resource!

I have 2 CC courses that were taken in high school that are random bio courses. They transferred to my university as "general elective credit" for 7 credits, but in the transcript I received from the CC, they were assigned grade values of "A".

Would this be calculated into my AMCAS GPA? My university doesn't factor these grades at all in my gpa which is why I'm confused now that I'm going through the AMCAS guide.

If so, would it be as 7 credits which is what my university assigned to them?
 

gonnif

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This is very in-depth and an amazing resource!

I have 2 CC courses that were taken in high school that are random bio courses. They transferred to my university as "general elective credit" for 7 credits, but in the transcript I received from the CC, they were assigned grade values of "A".

Would this be calculated into my AMCAS GPA? My university doesn't factor these grades at all in my gpa which is why I'm confused now that I'm going through the AMCAS guide.

If so, would it be as 7 credits which is what my university assigned to them?
Yes to part of GPA
Yes to University that assigned credits
 

zeddd78893

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Yes to part of GPA
Yes to University that assigned credits

One last question,

I took another course at a university, lets say I took French 101 for 3 credits and got a final letter grade "A".

My university accepted this is French 101 for 3 credits AND 2 General Elective credits. When calculating my AMCAS GPA, would I have an A for 5 credit hours (as assigned by my university) or an A for 3 credit hours (as assigned by the university where the course was taken)?

Thank you!!
 

gonnif

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Hey everyone
I’m a reapplicant for this cycle
graduated in 2017 from uconn
I studied in a medical school in Syria for three years, but because of the war I had to leave in 2012 and started again from zero
I applied in 2018, but my bad mcat score (510 Cars 122) was probably my killer, yet I got two interviews but no acceptance
I was planning on doing my mcat in April, but I had to move it til July 7, and this is killing me because I took a cars course to improve my grade and I’m hoping I can get some 5 extra points at least
I did around 120 hours as a volunteer research Assistant
120 clinical experience shadowing a physician
Around 200-250 hours of volunteering as a translator and medical coordination for refugees
And I’m currently working for a covid-19 testing site
My bcpm gpa is 3.72, AO 3.44, and overall 3.66, not to mention that in my medical school in Syria I did around 132 credits with a 3.56 gpa
Do you guys think I have a chance with additional research and post bacc studies in the fall? And are there any considerations gonna be given for this cycle?
please create a WAMC thread for this
 

gonnif

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One last question,

I took another course at a university, lets say I took French 101 for 3 credits and got a final letter grade "A".

My university accepted this is French 101 for 3 credits AND 2 General Elective credits. When calculating my AMCAS GPA, would I have an A for 5 credit hours (as assigned by my university) or an A for 3 credit hours (as assigned by the university where the course was taken)?

Thank you!!
see my highlight
 
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