Secondary submission turnaround, in times of COVID

qseau9

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My MCAT was postponed until 7/18, and with AMCAS postponing the primary data submission to 7/10, I would be receiving secondaries right around when I'm taking the MCAT. The consensus seems to be turn secondaries in asap but with thoughtful consideration. Since I'm applying to ~20 schools and have no time to work on secondaries (studying for MCAT), I'm worried I simply won't have enough time to make that turnaround, so I was wondering what you all thought. I know this is probably one of the only cycles this is a problem, and would love to hear from others in this situation.
 

gonnif

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My MCAT was postponed until 7/18, and with AMCAS postponing the primary data submission to 7/10, I would be receiving secondaries right around when I'm taking the MCAT. The consensus seems to be turn secondaries in asap but with thoughtful consideration. Since I'm applying to ~20 schools and have no time to work on secondaries (studying for MCAT), I'm worried I simply won't have enough time to make that turnaround, so I was wondering what you all thought. I know this is probably one of the only cycles this is a problem, and would love to hear from others in this situation.
1) If you have more than a couple of secondaries before you take the MCAT, I would be suprised
2) most medical schools will not be looking at secondaries until about August 1st and most wont really get into them until after Labor Day
3) Be complete before end of Sept and you will be fine
 
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KnightDoc

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My MCAT was postponed until 7/18, and with AMCAS postponing the primary data submission to 7/10, I would be receiving secondaries right around when I'm taking the MCAT. The consensus seems to be turn secondaries in asap but with thoughtful consideration. Since I'm applying to ~20 schools and have no time to work on secondaries (studying for MCAT), I'm worried I simply won't have enough time to make that turnaround, so I was wondering what you all thought. I know this is probably one of the only cycles this is a problem, and would love to hear from others in this situation.
There is no reason to take for granted that you will be receiving anything right around when you are taking the MCAT. While some schools do not screen for secondaries, others do, and while some have said they will send secondaries without MCAT scores, others have not.

Also, some schools place a timer on how long you have to return a secondary, and it could be as short as 2 weeks. The absolute best advice for you would be to only submit to a throwaway school until you have your scores back. In that case, you would have nothing to worry about. If you already submitted, then, what's done is done and you'll have to meet whatever deadlines the schools set for you.
 
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gonnif

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There is no reason to take for granted that you will be receiving anything right around when you are taking the MCAT. While some schools do not screen for secondaries, others do, and while some have said they will send secondaries without MCAT scores, others have not.

Also, some schools place a timer on how long you have to return a secondary, and it could be as short as 2 weeks. The absolute best advice for you would be to only submit to a throwaway school until you have your scores back. In that case, you would have nothing to worry about. If you already submitted, then, what's done is done and you'll have to meet whatever deadlines the schools set for you.
A word about secondary deadlines. Then are done by most schools solely to project and plan workflow. That is they want some control on the flow of applications back to the school so they can how much they need to meet. It is rare that adcom will notice when apps was sent to you and when you returned it

However, at some schools, if you do not return on time, they will assume you may not at all, and you go to bottom of pile for review later if you return secondary.

I tell all applicants that applying to medical school is a fulltime job from May thru September precisely for focusing on secondaries. BUT MCAT MUST COME FIRST! A bad MCAT will make a secondary unneccessary
 
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KnightDoc

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A word about secondary deadlines. Then are done by most schools solely to project and plan workflow. That is they want some control on the flow of applications back to the school so they can how much they need to meet. It is rare that adcom will notice when apps was sent to you and when you returned it

However, at some schools, if you do not return on time, they will assume you may not at all, and you go to bottom of pile for review later if you return secondary.

I tell all applicants that applying to medical school is a fulltime job from May thru September precisely for focusing on secondaries. BUT MCAT MUST COME FIRST! A bad MCAT will make a secondary unneccessary
Yes, plus, as you and the other adcoms have said repeatedly, we should not apply to schools (other than maybe a throwaway) without knowing our MCAT scores, so worrying about secondaries before receiving an MCAT scores, let alone taking the exam, really ought to be moot, no?
 

KnightDoc

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In addition, schools stratify the apps as they come in and don't send out secondaries or IIs merely in chronological order.

Secondaries are often a tax on the hopelessly naïve, if not pathologically optimistic.
Except for those that don't screen - they do indeed just send them out in chronological order, don't they?
 

gonnif

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Yes, plus, as you and the other adcoms have said repeatedly, we should not apply to schools (other than maybe a throwaway) without knowing our MCAT scores, so worrying about secondaries before receiving an MCAT scores, let alone taking the exam, really ought to be moot, no?
Worry about anything before MCAT is just not be focused or having your priorities in the right order
 

gonnif

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Except for those that don't screen - they do indeed just send them out in chronological order, don't they?
Not necessarily. Schools have limited resources for processing, evaluating, and reviewing secondaries. They may stagger secondaries sent out in order to have less coming in at once. And screening while screen may not occur as a score cut off, they may stagger based on scores. For example, week one goes out to those 3.8 and higher, the two week later week 3.7 and higher. That is not considered screening as ultimately all will get it. How and when schools do things is based alot on workflows or their processing methods
 
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OchemOficionado

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Don’t apply to 20 schools without a score. How do you know you’re competitive there? If you want to be verified earlier apply to a throwaway and then make a well-rounded school list only once you are certain of your score. Problem solved and you are less likely to waste money :)
 

qseau9

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Thank you all for your thoughts. I honestly didn't want to send in my primaries, but our premed advisors are really pushing for it. They seem to think many schools will be sending secondaries without an MCAT, but I guess that depends on where you're applying. Also, it seems they're worried about having our apps at the top of the pile type of thing, so I'm just worried about sending my applications 'too late'.
 

qseau9

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Not necessarily. Schools have limited resources for processing, evaluating, and reviewing secondaries. They may stagger secondaries sent out in order to have less coming in at once. And screening while screen may not occur as a score cut off, they may stagger based on scores. For example, week one goes out to those 3.8 and higher, the two week later week 3.7 and higher. That is not considered screening as ultimately all will get it. How and when schools do things is based alot on workflows or their processing methods

If that's the case, I would be getting my secondaries back really early, which now seems like an even further argument to postpone applying to schools. Wouldn't sending the primary application in late July be too late? I have the Fee Assistance Program, so I'm not worried about wasting money really. I just don't want to be considered a reapplicant next year if everything goes downhill.
 
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