Does the early bird get the worm when it comes to medical school admission? Yes if you apply early in the cycle of the regular process but a resounding “No!” if you apply early decision.
As a medical school admissions consultant, I am often asked by clients whether applying to medical school early decision is a good idea. Applicants often believe that indicating their strong interest in a particular medical school will give them a better chance of getting in. This belief spills over from the resounding evidence that applying to college as an early decision applicant does, in fact, favor applicants. This is simply not true for medical school applicants, with the reasons listed below.
- When you apply early decision in the med school application process you are barred from applying to any other school.
- By the time you receive your decision from that one school it is October, well into the “regular” application process timeline.
- If you are denied acceptance by that one school, you are significantly behind schedule in the medical school application process.
- Your application at other schools will automatically be at the bottom of the pile, giving you a markedly reduced chance of admission elsewhere.
- The evidence is clear: applying early decision in the medical school application process disadvantages applicants and reduces their chance of admission. It does not give you the same increased chance of admission as in the college application process.
My advice to clients is always the same in regard to early decision: do not do it. Instead, apply widely and early to a range of schools, positioning yourself for good results and many options from which to ultimately choose.
–Liza Thompson, Expert Medical School Admissions Consulting