While the majority of students interested in medical school plan to complete premedical requirements and start the application process by the end of their junior year, others take the necessary courses later in college or as post-baccalaureate students. Many students don't make the decision to pursue a career in medicine until after graduation. Applying after college does not put you at risk; in fact, many medical schools say they appreciate the maturity of older applicants.
There are two color-coded timelines below depending on when you plan to apply to and attend medical school. Regarding the "Alumni Applicant" timeline, many Harvard alumni/ae choose to take more than one year off before entering medical school so the timeline should be adjusted accordingly.
||attending medical school directly after graduation; applying the summer after junior year
||taking a year off before med school; applying the summer after senior year
- Read Premed Information for Harvard Students: Courses and Resources. This will help to dispel some pervasive premed myths.
- Join the OCS Premedical Listserv.
- Begin to identify possible sites for volunteering in the health field, e.g. hospitals, community clinics, nursing homes, HIV clinics, etc.
- Get involved in the campus and Cambridge communities.
- Get to know your faculty - attend office hours, invite to dinner, etc.
- Sketch out a tentative timeline for completing premedical requirements.
- Seek out help and advice from faculty, student, and/or OCS advisers.
- Attend medical and other health-related programs at OCS and in your House.
- Discuss your interest in medicine with friends and others on campus.
- 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 a couple of med school admissions deans visits on campus.
Junior Year/Senior Year
- Begin Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) preparation (MCAT calendar).
- Make an appointment to speak with one of the Resident Premedical Tutors on the Premedical Committee in your House.
- Attend pre-applicant meeting and/or other programs for upcoming applicants arranged by your House Premed Committee.
- Review House deadlines.
- Register for the MCAT.
- Brainstorm and begin draft of personal statement for AMCAS application (Why medical school?)
- Attend OCS spring applicant workshop series:
- Generate a list of medical schools to which you would like to apply. Review Alumni Evaluations of Medical Schools (also in OCS library).
- Confirm all letters of recommendation have been sent to the House Premedical Committee.
- Send spring grades and GPA recalculation to your House Committee. (June)
- Arrange for official transcripts to be sent to AMCAS from all colleges attended.
- Apply for AAMC Fee Assistance Program (FAP) prior to MCAT.
- Complete MCAT by June/July.
- Complete AMCAS application by end of June.
- Receive and complete secondary applications for individual med schools with two-week turnaround. (July/August)
Senior Year/Post-Grad Year
- House Premedical Committee letters sent to all medical schools provided you have adhered to deadlines
- Confirm with medical schools that application is complete. (September)
- Prepare for medical school interviews:
- Attend an Medical School Interview workshop
- Keep up with current issues in medicine
- Schedule mock interview if your House provides these.
- Practice interview questions with friends/family.
- Review Alumni Evaluations of Medical Schools (also in OCS library)
- Contact alumni/ae at the medical schools for further information.
- Attend medical school visits on campus.
- Receive invitations to interview. (August through February)
- Travel to interviews. (September through March)
- Stay in touch with House Premedical Tutor regarding status of application
- Apply for financial aid.
- Last date to hold multiple acceptance offers. (May 15)
- If on waiting list(s), keep in touch with medical schools.
- Register for your first day of medical school!