Medical School Early Decision Programs: Good or Bad Idea?
Date Posted: 06/21/12
What Should I Consider About the Medical School Early Decision Program?
The medical school early decision process is much different from college early decision. When applying to college, you can apply to one school early decision and also submit normal applications to any other college you’d like. With medical school, if you choose to apply early decision, you cannot apply to any other medical schools until you receive a decision from your early decision school.
Most medical schools offer interview invitations and admission decisions on a rolling basis. Therefore, your chances are much better if you apply early in the process. Students who want to have the absolute best chance at admission often submit their applications before August. However, if you apply early decision, you might not hear back from the school until October. If you are not accepted, this can leave you in a mad scramble to apply to other schools. You will have tons of secondary applications to fill out and even if you finish them quickly, your application will still arrive late in the process and you will be at a disadvantage compared to those who submitted early.
Our Advice on Medical School Early Decision
For this reason, we almost never recommend the medical school early decision program. For the vast majority of students, it is simply not worth the risk. You would be much better off applying early to a broad range of schools.
There are a couple of cases where early decision might be beneficial. For example, if you have your heart set on one particular school and would never go anywhere else. If you are only applying to one school and will only consider attending that one school, early decision would be the way to go. The program might also be beneficial for elite applicants. For example, if you are sure you want to go to school X and your statistics are well above that school’s averages, go ahead and apply early. If for some reason you aren’t accepted, you might still have a good chance applying to other schools late because of your high statistics.
Overall, while the early decision program sounds like a good idea in theory, its negatives far outweigh the positives for the majority of applicants. If you are thinking about applying early decision, please keep this in mind.
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