Is July 30th MCAT too late for MD schools for 2021-2022? COVID

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sadpremedstudent2014

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Hi,

Short version:
Is July 30th MCAT late for me to be competitive at top 20 schools?
(primary app is already submitted to AMCAS for review, will be verified near the end of July, will submit it to all the schools on my list 50+ (wide range), receive secondaries from most of the schools that dont require MCAT or pre-screen, submit secondaries within 2 weeks)

Long version:
I got COVID this April which completely threw me off of the timeline I had. I was severely ill and had to take time off from work, studying, and everything in life for the entire month. I just feel like it was thrown in the trash can. I could not take MCAT that was scheduled in early May 2021. Then, primary applications happened and now I am still studying for MCAT... That one month gap was huge and frankly, preparing for primary apps in June, I did not get to grill and study. I submitted my AMCAS to one throwaway school mid June just to get my app verified. I am confident I can do well on MCAT (at least 516+) if I take it on July 30th.

I have a high GPA (near 4.0) and great ECs (I think). I want to get into a top tier school (preferably top 20). Would a July 30th MCAT be too late? I have no MCAT score. I was no show for my May MCAT as I had passed the bronze deadline for cancellation due to being sick with COVID.

If I take it July 30th, scores come out August 31st.

On the website, many schools say that they will review my app without MCAT (though I do not believe I will be competitive without), which means for many schoools, I will receive secondaries within a week of submitting my primary app to their school. I'll realistically be able to submit my secondaries throughout the month of August (before my scores come in) and would be complete, hopefully, by the first week of September. Is my timeline of things too optimistic?

The private consultant I talked to say that it would severely demolish my chances to any top tier school (top 20) since my apps won't get looked at until probably late October or November of this year since so many applicants would have submitted before me. Schools review apps as they come and I will be fighting for the limited interview spots (majority of interview spots will be filled due to being complete late). I don't have a disadvantaged status on my app or anything.

My FL MCATs have been high and I know I can do well on July 30th, but I am worried that it would be too late. What are your thoughts? Do some schools require MCAT before sending out their secondaries? Am I totally screwed for this cycle if I want to get into a top tier school?

I most certainly know my situation is not ideal but I want to get an understanding of how bad a July 30th mcat would be.

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will submit it to all the schools on my list 50+
Do not add more than one throwaway school to your primary application prior to receiving your MCAT score!

Edit: also 50 programs is way too many. Pare your list down to a more reasonable number based off your gpa/mcat percentile, state of residence, mission fit, etc.
 
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@GreenDuck12
Thank you for the advice. But not adding any more school until I receive my MCAT would really be too late for this cycle tho wouldn't it?

I am pretty confident that I will at least score 516+ (based on the stats from my 4 FL AAMCS).
 
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@GreenDuck12
Thank you for the advice. But not adding any more school until I receive my MCAT would really be too late for this cycle tho wouldn't it?

I am pretty confident that I will at least score 516+ (based on the stats from my 4 FL AAMCS).
The single biggest mistake we see on this forum is submitting primary applications without an mcat score. Many folks are confident that they will earn a high score but things happen. Score decreases of 6+ points are somewhat common and can be devastating to one’s application cycle.

Secondary applications typically come out within a few days to a few weeks of being added to your primary. If you are pre-writing essays as you describe, it really will not affect your timeline since you could receive your secondary app and submit it quite quickly.

On the flip side, if you take the mcat and do not score as you anticipate and decide to wait until next cycle you will be considered a reapplicant by every school that received your primary application. To me, the risk/reward ratio is too skewed for it to make sense.

Applications complete by Labor Day is early, end of September is on time. Aim for that while minimizing your risk. Also keep in mind that applications are not necessarily reviewed in the order they are received.
 
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I’m not well versed in the admissions practices of top 20 programs so I won’t speculate on the July 30th test date and subsequent application timeline. The correct time to take the MCAT is when you are best positioned to achieve your highest score, regardless of application timelines. I really only wanted to chime in regarding the risks of submitting a primary application without an MCAT score. Best of luck to you!
 
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@gonnif Thank you for your reply. I am aware that this is an optimistic outlook on things. After I got sick with COVID in April, I rescheduled my MCAT for the end of June. What I didn't take into account was the amount of time I would need to spend to get all my primary application together. So, I decided that I cannot go with the June 30th test date since I wouldn't be fully ready. However, with primary apps submitted, I can now devote 100% of my time to MCAT and will be ready to take it July 30th.

I do not have the power to change what has happened. However, I can decide on my next actions and decide whether it is even wise to apply to top tier schools at all with a July 30th MCAT. Like @GreenDuck12 have pointed out, I don't want to be considered a reapplicant to every school.

I just wanted to know that I wouldn't be considered late and have little to no chance in getting accepted to many of the top tier schools due to the late MCAT (on the premise that I do as well as I want to, which I understand sounds optimistic in an objective perspective).

With that said, I understand that my situation is not ideal and there are mistakes I made along the way but I don't quite appreciate the insulting phrasing and rudeness of your comment. I don't find the negativity helpful in assessing the current situation I am in.
 
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I’m not well versed in the admissions practices of top 20 programs so I won’t speculate on the July 30th test date and subsequent application timeline. The correct time to take the MCAT is when you are best positioned to achieve your highest score, regardless of application timelines. I really only wanted to chime in regarding the risks of submitting a primary application without an MCAT score. Best of luck to you!
Thank you for your reply. You are correct that I should've put more time into thinking about the risks of submitting a primary application without MCAT as life doesn't always go as planned. I do have to work with the current situation I've put myself in haha. I'll try my best to do well on the upcoming MCAT and decide on what schools to submit my primary app to and when to submit them (whether it'd be before or after MCAT).
 
You will be considered late with very reduced chances of being accepted at highly competitive schools and reduced chances at other schools. i will not let the excuse that you could not changed things go by as a warning to others not to make the same mistake. When you had to postpone the MCAR You could have made the prudent decision by not applying this cycle, to 50 schools no less, and instead focus on the MCAT. Hey but what do I know? Just because the turn around time means you may not be complete at any school until at least Oct 1st which means you only get into the bottom of the evaluation queue snd maybe, just maybe they will get to you before most potential interview slots are gone. I mean Its not like getting rejected by every school this cycle will make you a reapplicant at 50 schools thus reducing chances further. Why am I harping on this? To make sure others dont make the series of poor decisions you have

PS if I were you before you go waste thousands of dollars on secondaries, throwing good money after bad, I would withdraw all applications, focus solely on the MCAT and apply next year.
THIS^^^^^^. @sadpremedstudent2014 -- What happened to you totally sucks. It cost you a month of your life, at the worst possible time with respect to preparing for an application cycle. Given that you otherwise look like you are on track to be a competitive applicant at top schools, why on earth would you want to screw around and jump through all of these last minute hoops in a probably ill-advised effort to salvage the cycle, rather than accepting the situation for what it is and putting everything on hold until next year????
 
Just because the turn around time means you may not be complete at any school until at least Oct 1st which means you only get into the bottom of the evaluation queue snd maybe, just maybe they will get to you before most potential interview slots are gone.
I don't understand why we're saying OP won't be complete anywhere until October 1st? If their score comes out August 31st, they can be complete at nearly every school by 1st week of September. During my cycle, I submitted to a throwaway school before my MCAT to get verification moving, took a mid-July MCAT, got my score mid-August, and was complete at almost every school by last week of August. You just have to pre-write all your secondaries.
 
First schools have to get MCAT score, screen/file, and first send out secondary.
@gonnif Due to COVID, many schools are not requiring an MCAT score before they send out secondaries (e.g. UCSF). And, I've seen many people indicate that there are schools that send out secondaries to any applicant who submits primaries (e.g. UChicago, Hopkins). For these schools, does the timeline you mention still hold true? Of course, all this is on the assumption that I do get the desired MCAT score.

@KnightDoc Yea, you are probably right. But it's just that I have everything ready except for MCAT. I don't want to throw what I have away just because COVID happened. If I won't be considered late by the schools that send out secondaries without MCAT score, I think I want to apply to them. I've made a list of those schools from my 50 schools.

@gonnif @KnightDoc But if you guys say that even with the condition above my cycle is too late, then I will probably hold off all of my application until next cycle. And, I am fully aware of the financial risks and am okay with it.

@lanzhou_lamian Hey good to hear that you have done something similar. May I ask how your cycle went?

I guess for the schools that require MCAT prior to sending out secondaries, I will be considered late.
 
@gonnif Due to COVID, many schools are not requiring an MCAT score before they send out secondaries (e.g. UCSF). And, I've seen many people indicate that there are schools that send out secondaries to any applicant who submits primaries (e.g. UChicago, Hopkins). For these schools, does the timeline you mention still hold true? Of course, all this is on the assumption that I do get the desired MCAT score.

@KnightDoc Yea, you are probably right. But it's just that I have everything ready except for MCAT. I don't want to throw what I have away just because COVID happened. If I won't be considered late by the schools that send out secondaries without MCAT score, I think I want to apply to them. I've made a list of those schools from my 50 schools.

@gonnif @KnightDoc But if you guys say that even with the condition above my cycle is too late, then I will probably hold off all of my application until next cycle. And, I am fully aware of the financial risks and am okay with it.

@lanzhou_lamian Hey good to hear that you have done something similar. May I ask how your cycle went?

I guess for the schools that require MCAT prior to sending out secondaries, I will be considered late.
Just to be clear, there is no such thing as "considered late" as far as the schools go. Considering late is something we all do on SDN. And, yes, the consensus on SDN is that complete after Labor Day is late. Whether it will be "too late" is something nobody can know until the cycle is over, because plenty of people will end up being complete after Labor Day and still have successful cycles. It's just that they will be fighting more of an uphill battle than their counterparts who were complete in July and August because, by definition, they will be vying for relatively fewer II slots.

For adcoms, as long as you meet their deadlines, you are not considered late. It's just, as @gonnif so starkly describes, that your application would be entering a review queue in September/October while others have been in that queue since June or July, depending on the school. That just puts you at a disadvantage, greater or lesser, again depending on the school. Some schools like Harvard actually say everyone is treated the same no matter when they are complete, as long as it is before the deadline, but most schools do affirmatively urge us to return secondaries as soon as possible.

So, the issue for you comes down to the risk/reward of maybe being a reapplicant for no reason other than your crappy timing, and having to deal with all of the negative baggage that goes along with that, versus just, as @gonnif is very strongly advising, slowing down, focusing solely on the MCAT, and accepting that this was put in motion back in April and is not simply throwing in the towel in July or August. Because, bottom line, what you are asking about now is not something anyone would plan. It's a last minute, half-a**ed rush to meet an arbitrary deadline due to a refusal to give in to a debilitating illness smack in the middle of preparing for an application cycle.
 
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Because August isnt September

First schools have to get MCAT score, screen/file, and first send out secondary. By the time September 1st rolls around they are drowning in this process. Even though its mostly automated, most schools a staff member will check it for intake, a process that takes just a few minutes. But getting to thru the pile of 1,000-4,000 apps ahead of the OP takes time. Could take a few weeks for all secondaries to be first sent to OP especially with FIFTY schools!

Second, the OP had to get, complete, and return the secondary. Dont tell me that is just cut and paste. They read exactly like cut and paste. While schools may have similar questions, their length can be from 500 characters to 500 words. Just slashing longer versions to fits smaller size reads like crap. You dont get in for a fast turn around. You get in because your application is good. And just how long do you think it will take the OP to get this done with FIFTY schools? OP will still be filling out secondaries in October and still give up before all FIFTY are done

Third, now the secondary comes in and has to be checked by staff as being complete. Again with a few thousand applications ahead of him. That can take weeks.

Fourth, only after all that is the application is being evaluated. Then, if it hadnt been rejected, it goes for consideration by adcom review for interview invite, you know the number of slots that have been dwindling since July. And how many weeks/months do you think it will take for FIFTY schools to do that

Fifth, and all this assumes a decent MCAT Score. How the hell do you even target FIFTY schools without an MCAT score? And why the hell would add all FIFTY schools on AMCAS spending the money and risking rejection if a reapplication is needed

And I sure I will hear “well OP is this far into process already so..”. Yeah lets spend thousands more on secondaries wasting time energy and resources instead of just focusing on MCAT for next cycle. Anyone who thinks they MUST apply on a certain time frame, even though they suffer a major illness, is making a poor decision.
Fair. But like you said, sending the secondaries is largely automated. I received 2/3 of my secondaries within 1-3 days of being complete. I added additional schools (beyond my throwaway) once I had the score. I don't know if that would have been largely different if I were complete last week of August versus 2nd week of August.

I also returned every one of my secondaries within 48 hours of receiving them. To do this, I made sure all of my secondaries were effectively "done" before I received them. Every secondary is here on SDN already, so there's no reason OP can't pre-write well-written, polished essays between now and when their score is released late August. Then they can just paste the essays in and ship the secondary off.

Look, I acknowledge the timeline is tight with little room for error. I also didn't apply to 50 schools, so I think OP really has to ask themselves if they believe they can get a large number of well-done secondaries done by the time their MCAT score comes out. But if you're going to do it, that's how I recommend doing it. FWIW (and this is purely anecdotal), I did basically the same thing, just with a timeline shifted up 2 weeks. Got multiple T20 acceptances.
 
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Hi,

Short version:
Is July 30th MCAT late for me to be competitive at top 20 schools?
(primary app is already submitted to AMCAS for review, will be verified near the end of July, will submit it to all the schools on my list 50+ (wide range), receive secondaries from most of the schools that dont require MCAT or pre-screen, submit secondaries within 2 weeks)
Applying to 50+ schools is insane. You'll burn yourself out writing secondaries. Target 25-35

I am pretty confident that I will at least score 516+ (based on the stats from my 4 FL AAMCS).

Even I can hit .300 in batting practice. But when you're out at the plate facing a Jake deGrom fastball, you're going to hit a lot less.


I received 2/3 of my secondaries within 1-3 days of being complete.

Secondaries are often a tax on the hopelessly naïve, if not pathologically optimistic.
 
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@lanzhou_lamian Thank you for your response. I think I'll narrow down my school list. 50 schools came from my anxiety with the whole situation and doesn't seem feasible. If I am to apply and have a good application ready, I would need to get this list down to half (25) and have a well-polished essay for every school by the end of August. I'm glad that you were able to get multiple acceptances to T20 schools with the late August complete date.

@Goro Thank you for your response. You are right. 50+ schools is insane. I'm going to narrow down my list to 25 and maybe add a few more depending on how much I can get through secondaries for the schools I've picked.

As far as MCAT, at this point, I can only trust myself and have a positive outlook on things. You are definitely right that I might completely botch it and not have a good cycle at all. During my practices, I could tell pretty well when I didn't do well on passages or questions. I'm going to see how I feel right after MCAT. If I feel like I didn't do well, I'm going to go with everyones suggestion and not submit my primaries to anywhere until I receive my MCAT so that I am not considered a reapplicant to every school. I will probably wait another cycle if this does happen.

@KnightDoc Thank you for your response. I guess it is really school dependent and I should take this into consideration when I narrow my school list down. I see that 50 is way too many and I won't have well polished secondaries if I apply to this many. I have a month to get all my secondaries written and I think I can do this for maybe 25 schools and produce a polished essay. I will be narrowing down this school list after my MCAT. I probably would take up your suggestion and wait if I don't feel like I did well on the MCAT. I've been able to tell when MCAT is not going well (lots of flagged questions, uncertain concepts, being chased by time etc). After all, it's not worth taking the risk, if I don't feel like I did well.

@gonnif Thank you for your response.
 
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@GreenDuck12
Thank you for the advice. But not adding any more school until I receive my MCAT would really be too late for this cycle tho wouldn't it?

I am pretty confident that I will at least score 516+ (based on the stats from my 4 FL AAMCS).
the options:

a) you add one school now and add more once your (hopefully satisfactory) score comes in
b) add more schools now

I’m no expert, but imo there really isn’t much of a time difference in your application between choice a vs b. The whole point of the throwaway method is so that once you get your score back you don’t have to wait to be verified - so you will be able to apply to additional schools pretty quickly. If you added more schools now, they’d wait to decide on your app until they saw your MCAT score anyway. And then if you don’t like your score, you’re now a reapplicant to additional schools.

That’s just my 2 cents
 
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