Early Decision Option for Medical School Admission

Should I consider the Early Decision (ED) option if the specific medical school I want to attend has an Early Decision Program (EDP)?

About 25% of allopathic medical schools take at least 10 students each year on their Early Decision Program (EDP). At some state-assisted schools, Early Decision is the only mechanism whereby out-of-state students are considered. Some medical schools also use ED for deferred students. Although the criteria for accepting ED applicants vary from school to school, applicants for Early Decision should be able to show extraordinary credentials for admission. To be realistic, applicants should be aware that Early Decision admission usually requires MCAT scores of at least 10 or higher and GPAs higher than 3.5. Four osteopathic medical schools have Early Decision Programs. Applicants who are interested in Early Decision should check for details in the written and web literature provided by schools. Many schools prefer that inquiries be made by your pre-medical advisor as to your eligibility and likelihood of acceptance when using Early Decision. This is not the place for a student to test the waters. Your advisor can provide additional information about Early Decision Programs at various medical schools.

Early Decision allows competitive students to apply to their first choice school. From the perspective of the medical school, Early Decision is their opportunity to attract excellent students who are interested in attending their school. From the perspective of the student, Early Decision, for highly competitive applicants, is a chance to bypass the stress of the long waiting period to find out whether you are accepted at the school of your choice. Early Decision applicants are notified by October 1 whether or not they are accepted.

Students should think carefully about using this route because there may be both advantages and disadvantages. For instance:

  • Students must apply as early as possible after June 1, so that all AMCAS application materials, including the fee and official transcripts, are received by AMCAS by August 1.
  • All supplemental application materials must be received by the EDP school by the school's deadline date.
  • If invited to interview, ED applicants will have their interviews scheduled during August and early September.
  • Students who apply Early Decision must not have submitted an initial or secondary application to a U.S. allopathic school for the current entering class.
  • Students who are accepted must attend that school and cannot change their minds.
  • Students who apply Early Decision are prohibited from applying to other schools until after October 1, or notification by the school that they were not accepted under their EDP.
  • Students who are not accepted under Early Decision may be at a distinct time disadvantage in applying to other schools.
  • Students who apply Early Decision and are denied may still apply to that school as a regular applicant. In most cases, the school places applicants who are not accepted ED into their regular pool as soon as an EDP decision is made.

Specific ED information for Missouri schools:

Saint Louis University School of Medicine: In one recent year, two applicants out of eight who applied were accepted. Only advisors should inquire for advice on whether a particular applicant should apply ED.

University of Missouri - Columbia School of Medicine: Missouri residents with a 3.75 GPA and an MCAT total of at least 30 with no score below 9 were "viable" in the 2001 entering class. Students or their advisors can call for advice on applying ED. Students who are not accepted ED will not be re-interviewed until the middle of the interview season by a different interviewer.

University of Missouri - Kansas City: There is no EDP because of the nature of their 6-year program.

Washington University School of Medicine: There is no EDP.

Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine: One or two students were accepted out of a half dozen applicants. The applicant should inquire and the college itself advises on whether the applicant should apply ED.

The University of Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine: There is no EDP.

Department of Biomedical Sciences
Missouri State University
Springfield, Missouri 65897