Early Decision Medical Schools [Ultimate Guide]

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Upon planning to pursue medicine, knowing the early decision medical schools is extremely helpful. This will help you understand your available choices and secure admission if you do well. Everyone knows that the challenge in med school starts at admission, so it’s better to work on your chances early on in your studies.

If you are thinking of applying for an early decision, read on. We will be discussing everything to know, including the requirements you’ll need, pros and cons, and what to expect in the process.

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What Is an Early Decision Program For Medical School?

The primary purpose of early decision programs is to allow medical school applicants an opportunity to secure admission from a program-participating medical school. This works well for those students who already have a particular school in mind.

However, know that you can apply for only one school through the Early Decision Program (EDP). It is like a commitment to that school. You can only apply to other schools if they do not accept you through the program. 

Like a regular college admission, EDP secures the spot for highly qualified students and people who align with the institutions’ characteristics and strengths. Medical schools want to attract individuals that will be an asset to them. It is their way of protecting their reputations as it will be a significant part of their student’s successes. 

Having the following qualities makes you a good candidate for the Early Decision Program:

  • Exceptional accomplishments and qualifications that align with your chosen school’s strengths, like community work.
  • Strong geographical connection to the area where your chosen school is, like growing up within the city or state.

Remember that your overall qualification is not limited to these but merely acts as an advantage. We all know how nerve-racking it is to apply for medical school. That is why it is better to start preparing early in your journey to determine your options if the first plan does not get through.

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Every student must follow this set of guidelines when applying:

  • You should apply to one US medical school before the given deadline (August 1st for medical schools in AMCAS)
  • Do not apply to other schools if you have already submitted an Early Decision application to a participating AMCAS or non-AMCAS US medical school for the entering class.
  • If you are offered a place under the Early Decision Program, you will be required to attend the school and familiarize yourself with its Early Decision Program policies and agreements.

If you could meet the provided guidelines, you can expect a notification from your chosen school’s admission no later than October 1st. If you were not accepted into their Early Decision Program, don’t worry because you will be placed under their regular applicant pool. This gives you another chance to apply to your dream school and any additional options.

Not all medical schools offer this program. Check their admission requirements so you can prepare early. You should also know that Early Decision only accepts students that are considered highly qualified. If you plan to apply for one, researching a particular school’s qualifications related to MCAT and GPA scores will be extremely valuable.

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Early Decision Pros And Cons

The Early Decision Program has its fair share of benefits and drawbacks. Some may find it rewarding, while some don’t. It differs from each person’s experience. Therefore, these are the advantages and disadvantages of EDP:

Pros

  • Lower cost

It is no surprise that applying for med school can be pretty costly. Going through the AMCAS application would cost you $170 for the first one and $40 for every school you apply to. Of course, you are not going to apply to only a few med schools, right? You would want to ensure that you have several options, and applying to at least 25 institutions may be around a thousand dollars.

Secondary applications are not yet included, which average $100 for every school. If you apply through EPD, it will only cost you $250. For people whose money is not a problem, applying to several medical schools provides a better chance of getting accepted and continuing to become a physician. This is a great option for those who can’t but have excellent grades and significant experiences.

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  • Less stress

Senior year is already stressful with all the requirements and papers, and you need to work on them before the end of the school year. Since you will receive the results of your admission on October 1st, you will be able to do the rest of your senior year without worrying. 

  • Time efficient

In regular applications, students who apply to at least ten schools should begin preparing early, especially for the secondaries, after submitting the primary applications. This can be very intensive and takes much of the student’s time.

You might be forced to ignore other responsibilities and commitments during this time. Submitting rushed and ungenuine essays will only make you suffer in the long run. Getting admitted through the Early Decision Program saves you time from the process and has a more manageable preparation for your medical school.

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  • Increased consideration

One thing you must know is that schools appreciate the amount of interest that they receive from aspiring medical students. Applying through EDP shows your enthusiasm for a particular school, therefore resulting in an increased consideration. This might help you have the edge over other applicants in showing your commitment to studying in the school of your dreams.

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Cons

  • EDP is binding

As official as it might sound, it is true. Applying through the Early Decision Program is binding. You should do this only if you are more than 100% sure about the medical school you want to attend. You cannot just change your mind later on. Most students consider several factors when choosing an institution, including the location, educational mission, reputation, size, and so on. 

It is essential to make an informed decision before entering this program so there will be no regrets later. Another thing you must know is that you will not be able to compare financial aid and scholarships you may receive, unlike when applying to several medical schools. 

If you are somehow selected, you are obliged to attend the school. If you are not yet ready for that kind of commitment, this program is not a good option.

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  • Competitive

Medical schools usually reserve only a few spots for EDP. The acceptance rate in this industry is already low, making the EDP even harder, where some of the most competitive schools only admit 1% of the total applicants.

In the medical industry, there are no safety schools. You have to work your way if you want a career in this field. Medical school admissions can be unpredictable, even if you think you are highly qualified for specific institutions.

Medical school classes often have smaller positions available, and students must try to get admitted into one.

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  • Unpredictable process

Even if you might have already looked into the school you want to apply to, there is no certainty that the efforts you put into your statement, MCAT and GPA score, letter of recommendation, and extracurriculars are enough to impress the board. Different schools may also have different perceptions of your accomplishments, and there’s no telling what the outcome will be. 

  • Entering the regular admission cycle late

The Early Decision Program is limited, and you cannot apply to other schools until you have already been notified of whether or not you passed. The latest decision is often released by October 1st, and the deadline for a regular medical school application ends around November 1st to December 15th.

Suppose you were not able to get accepted through the EDP program; this puts you at a disadvantage. The application usually starts around July, and those who could apply early in the regular cycle had enough preparation. 

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How To Apply For Early Decision To Medical School

If you are interested in going through the Early Decision Program with your dream medical school, these are things you should know for the application process.

Application process

For online applications, you must complete the ED Agreement first. This is a binding agreement stating that you will attend that school upon acceptance. You can do this by selecting the early Decision term option on the school you wish to apply to. After that, the agreement will be available in the section of Recommenders and FERPA on your Common App account.

Read the agreement, sign it within your account, and save the page. Once you are done with this, you should notify your counselor about your decision to apply for EDP.

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Your counselor will read and sign the agreement from their Common App account if they agree to complete the forms online.

After that, you will need to add and select a legal guardian/parent at the bottom of the page in your Recommenders and FERPA before sending it to them.

Your legal guardian/parent should read and sign the agreement. They can do that by entering the URL and entering their email address. After reading and signing the agreement, they should then save the page.

If your counselor would not complete the forms online, you can print the ED Agreement. Then, gather all the necessary signatures before giving them to your counselor, and they will send them to the institution of your choice. The responsibility of submitting your ED Agreement after you complete it is on your counselor

If your listed legal guardian does not have an email address, their signature will not be necessary. However, you must inform your counselor so they can sign their portion to complete the ED Agreement if it is done online. 

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Early Decision Program Timeline

The deadline for AMCAS for EDP applications is August 1st. Before applying, make sure you have already made up your mind before submitting your AMCAS primary and secondary. Expect to hear back on or before October 1st

If you are not selected for this program, you can apply again to the same school as a regular applicant. However, you will be entering the pool later than the ideal time.

AMCAS applications for regular and EDP open at the same time, so the preparatory elements of the two are identical. Below are the months you need to remember:

  • March to early April

This is the start of the submission of applications to EDP-participating medical schools.

  • August to September

You would be attending the interview if you were granted by your chosen institution. If rejected before the interview, you have two choices: reapply for the next cycle or proceed as a regular applicant. If you continue as a regular applicant, you should submit your application as soon as you can. 

  • October 1st

The results will be released by this time. If you are accepted by the school, you did a good job. If you are rejected, there’s still a chance to pursue your dreams.

Even if you have a proven excellent record, admission to med school is highly competitive. You can wait for the next cycle to apply again for the EDP or join your peers in the regular pool of applying students. 

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Early Decision Medical Schools

Here is the list of the Early Decision Program-participating medical schools based on the data provided by the AAMC for the 2022-2023 cycle. Keep note of the schools with an asterisk (*) at the end, which means that EDP is only open to in-state residents. 

EDP-participating Allopathic (MD) Medical Schools

EDP-Participating Osteopathic (DO) Medical Schools

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FAQs

Here are some frequently asked questions and answers about Early Decision.

Is Early Decision Harder Than Regular?

Yes, early decision is usually more challenging. Although the process of applying to an EDP is similar to a regular application, the applicant pool is more competitive and packed with highly qualified students from different states. You will need to exert extra effort if you want to stand out from the rest.

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Do Colleges Prefer Early Decision?

Colleges do not necessarily prefer early decision, but they find those who apply through EDP more earnest and enthusiastic about their institution. If your accomplishments and character are in line with what the school is looking for, you have a high chance.

Does Early Decision Increase Chances?

Many qualified students apply through EDP to secure a slot in their chosen schools. That is the main reason why the acceptance rate in EDP is higher than in regular applications. It also allows institutions to see the students who will be an asset to them at an early stage. 

Should I Apply To The Early Decision Program?

If you have your heart set on a particular school and believe you have what it takes to get accepted, then you should try applying for the Early Decision program. This will put you at an advantage, and you will only have to prepare the necessary documents for one school. 

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Can You Submit Regular Decision Applications While Waiting For An Early Decision Response?

No. If you are currently applying through the Early Decision Program, you are not allowed to apply to other schools. You should wait for the results first before working on the next step. You can only apply to other schools if your EDP application is rejected. That is one of the conditions in the agreement. 

What Happens If You Get Rejected From Early Decision?

If you get rejected from your EDP application, you have two options. The first one is to wait and reapply to their next cycle. The second one is to apply as a regular applicant to the same school and other institutions in which you would also consider studying. 

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If you are ready to start your career in the medical field, you can always check out the early decision medical schools listed above for the next cycle. Taking a risk is always a big step.

Whatever the results are, you can always learn something from your experiences. Work with what you’ve got, allow yourself to be in the world, and seize the opportunities life presents at your feet.

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That’s all for now! If you found this article helpful, you might want to check these posts as well:

Until the next one my friend…

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