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When should we expect secondaries?

gonnif

Rule One: Take a Breath
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Since AMCAS won’t transmit our applications to med schools before July 10 we shouldn’t expect secondaries before then right?

That is incorrect. Once your application has been verified, but prior to transmission, AMCAS will send a signal to all schools you have listed to expect a file for AMCAS ID XXX. This also includes name, address, email, and other contact info. A small fraction of schools will send secondaries immediately upon receipt of this contact and invite you to submit. You could in fact, have you secondary submitted prior to your AMCAS transmitted. Of course, the school can then take you secondary fee and reject you immediately.

Most secondaries can be sent anywhere from 1 day to 3 months after primary is transmitted to school, with it averaging 1-3 weeks. Many schools throttle their secondaries (ie control speed which it secondaries are sent out). They do this primarily to control the work flow of secondaries back in to the school and spread out the work. And, after you are complete (primary, second, LOR and MCAT, though that is variable this cycle) it can easily take 4 to 16 weeks (1-4 months) to hear anything in a normal cycle. It can easily be longer in this cycle.

********AMCAS 2021 Timeline Summary (post count #024)***********

Because of COVID-19 and the very dynamic changes this will bring throughout society for the this year (and likely for the next 2-3 years if pandemics of the 20th century would indicate), questions will come up again and again about online prereqs, P/F courses, MCAT prep and testing, volunteering, shadowing, Physician LOR, lab requirements, virtual interviews, etc. However, there is no definitive answer as no one knows which schools will act in which ways, nor how the upcoming cycle will happen. However, as medical schools are on the front lines of this both in treating patients as well as setting appropriate behavior for community public health, it would seems reasonable that most medical schools will take into consideration over the next few years at least. In this time of crisis, we all must learn to live with uncertainty and ambiguity about the future.
-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 and transmitted regardless of LOR or MCAT score status
-AMCAS June 26, 2020 (delayed to due Corona/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, though this year it will likely move slower
-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, July 10, 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 to early September.
-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 Mid-to-Late September (due to Corona/COVID-19) is likely early for all applicants at all schools, even highly competitive programs.
-Late September to Early October 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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