Applying to Medical School

While the majority of students interested in medical school plan to complete premedical requirements during college and start the application process by the end of their junior or senior year, others take the necessary courses as postbaccalaureate students. Many students don’t make the decision to pursue a career in medicine until late in college or after graduation. Applying after college does not put you at a disadvantage; in fact, many medical schools say they appreciate the maturity of older applicants.

If you are a current applicant for the 2023 cycle or if you an alumni planning to apply in the future, please subscribe to the OCS Medical School Applicant ListservNote: please subscribe using a @college, @post, or @alumni.harvard.edu email address. If you do not have a @post or @alumni.harvard.edu email address, please email premed@fas.harvard.edu with your name, @college.harvard.edu email, and preferred email so we can verify that you were an undergraduate at Harvard.

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There are two timelines to consider, depending on when you plan to apply to and attend medical school:

Senior Applicants
Attending medical school directly after graduation; applying the summer after junior year.

Alumni Applicants
Taking a year off before medical school; applying the summer after senior year. About 75-80% of Harvard College applicants to medical school take one or more gap years. Of this number, around two-thirds take 2+ gap years.

First-Year

  • Review the Premedical Information for Students booklet, which provides an overview of academic requirements and dispels some pervasive premed myths.
  • Read the weekly “This Week at OCS” email newsletter and choose to receive “Health and Med” updates.
  • Begin to identify possible sites for volunteering in the health field.
  • Get involved on campus.
  • Get to know your faculty, preceptors, instructors, and teaching fellows – attend office hours, invite them to dinner, etc.
  • Seek out help and advice from faculty, students, and/or OCS advisers.
  • Attend a Pre-Health 101 workshop.
  • Attend workshops in the Gaining Traction in Pre-Health Series.
  • Complete the Navigating Premed and Pre-Health form and schedule a Navigating Premed and Pre-Health advising appointment.
  • Connect with the Pre-Health Peer Liaison PAFs (PPL PAFs) and attend Pre-Health Question Centers.

Sophomore Year

  • Attend medical and other health-related programs at OCS in your House, and the broader campus community.
  • If you did not attend one as a first-year, schedule a Navigating Premed and Pre-Health advising appointment.
  • Participate in service organizations and campus activities.
  • Refine extracurricular interests whether or not they are medically relevant.
  • Continue gaining healthcare experience.
  • Continue meeting with faculty. Consider asking for a recommendation letter.
  • Think about what you might like to do during the summer.
  • Attend some medical school admissions information sessions co-hosted by OCS with premed student clubs (schedule available in the OCS Employer and Graduate School calendar).
  • Attend workshops in the Gaining Traction in Pre-Health Series.

Junior Year (Senior Year for Alumni Applicants)

Fall term

  • Make an appointment with one of the OCS Premedical/Pre-Health Advisers to discuss your timeline, grades, and activities to ensure that this is the correct cycle for you to apply.
  • Begin Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) preparation (MCAT calendar).
  • Apply for AAMC Fee Assistance Program (FAP) prior to MCAT (if eligible).
  • Make an appointment to speak with one of the Resident Premedical Tutors on the Premedical/Pre-Health Committee in your House (or the Dudley Community).
  • Attend pre-applicant meetings and/or other programs for upcoming applicants arranged by your House/the Dudley Community Premed/Pre-Health Committee.
  • Review House/the Dudley Community deadlines for submitting required application materials to your Premed/Pre-Health Committee.
  • Attend OCS workshop on Medical School Application Process (pdf).

Spring term

  • If you have not already applied for the AAMC Fee Assistance Program (FAP), be sure to apply now (if eligible). Note that the benefits are not retroactive and need to be approved before registering for the MCAT or submitting the AMCAS to receive full benefits.
  • Take the MCAT by early-mid May of the application year.
  • Brainstorm and begin a draft of your personal statement for AMCAS application.
  • Attend or request the link to view the recordings of OCS spring applicant workshops covering the following topics:
  • Generate a list of medical schools to which you would like to apply.
  • Confirm that all letters of recommendation have been sent to your Resident Dean’s Office/ your Premedical Committee. (See your House/the Dudley Community website for the waiver form and instructions for how to request and have your recommenders submit your recommendation letters to your Resident Dean’s Office.)
  • Send spring grades and GPA recalculation to your Premed/Pre-Health Committee. (May-June)
  • Arrange for official transcripts to be sent to AMCAS from all colleges attended.

Summer

  • Complete and submit your AMCAS application by the middle of June.
  • Receive and complete secondary applications for individual med schools within 10-14 days of receipt. (July/August)
  • Premedical Committee letters are sent to all medical schools by August 15 provided you have adhered to House/the Dudley Community deadlines.

Senior Year (Post-Grad Year for Alumni Applicants)

Fall term

  • Confirm with medical schools that your application is complete. (September)
  • Prepare for medical school interviews:
    • Attend a Medical School Interview webinar.
    • Keep up with current issues in medicine and healthcare.
    • Schedule a mock interview with your House/the Dudley Community.
    • Practice interview questions with friends/family.
    • Attend medical school information sessions co-hosted by OCS with premed student clubs.
  • Receive invitations to interview. (August through March)
  • Travel to interviews. (September through April) (Please note that for the 2022 application cycle, the majority, if not all, of interviews will continue to be held remotely due to Covid-19.)
  • If you have received 0-2 interviews by mid-late October, please let your Premed Tutors and the OCS premed/pre-health advisers know and make an appointment with the OCS premedical/pre-health adviser you are working with to discuss your application and strategies to gain interview invitations.

Spring term

  • Stay in touch with Premedical Tutors regarding the status of your application.
  • Be aware of the last date to hold more than three acceptance offers (April 15) and the last day to hold more than one. (April 30).
  • If on wait list(s), keep in touch with medical schools.
  • Register for your first day of medical school!
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