March 27, 2020

5 Bold Coronavirus Predictions: What Will Happen to Med School Admissions in 2020?

5 Bold Coronavirus Predictions: What Will Happen to Med School Admissions in 2020?

 No one knows what will happen for sure, but we can make an educated guess.

No one knows what will happen for sure, but we can make an educated guess.

By: Savvy Pre-med Staff

Canceled MCATs. Online pass/fail pre-reqs. Indoor gap years. Research projects put on hold indefinitely. Lost positions for “non-essential” healthcare volunteers and staff.  

What was once inconceivable is now reality. And our reality at the moment is just a constant state of flux.

Every day, we hear new speculation as to how the coronavirus will affect medical school admissions and how the AAMC and individual medical schools will respond.

Unfortunately, there are currently many questions without answers, so we can only join in on the speculation.

BUT we will try to base our predictions on the latest information available, albeit limited, so that you can plan accordingly.

5 Bold Coronavirus Predictions: What Will Happen to Med School Admissions in 2020?

NOTE: At this point, everything is subject to change, so PLEASE take these speculations with a grain of salt!

Prediction #1. The MCAT will be canceled through the end of June.

As of this writing, the March 27 and April 4 administrations have been canceled. But make no mistake: more cancelations are coming.

What this means for you:
If you’re holding an MCAT date in April or May, I would proactively reschedule to late June. There will be a rush to get spots in testing centers once they re-open, and you will likely get a preference on re-scheduling if the AAMC cancels your test date.

Update on 3/31/20: The AAMC just added more MCAT testing dates for July, August, and September.

Prediction #2. The application opening will be delayed.

The AMCAS is scheduled to be available to submit on May 28, and the TMDSAS and AACOMAS will be available in early May, but I don’t think those dates will come to pass.

What this will mean for you:
You’ll submit applications later, secondaries will be sent later, and interview invites will be sent later. It will delay the entire application process, both for you and for everyone else.

Prediction #3. It will be less competitive to get into medical school this cycle.

You’ve all experienced uncertainty in your lives. Though you might still be on track, many pre-meds are not: many have withdrawn from classes, have had their internships evaporate, and are needing to take a gap year. If you add the coming crisis of sickness and death, many students will need to step up to care for their families. The applicant pool should be significantly reduced this cycle, even though spots in medical school will remain the same. This should make getting in somewhat easier.

What this means for you:
You should apply if possible, since your shot of getting in will be better.  

Plus, next year, the application process will be more competitive than ever, because:
a) all those people who put off applying this cycle will finally submit
b) during an economic downturn, applications to medical school go up
c) this event will make even more people want to become healthcare providers and will increase the demand for them.

Prediction #4. The timing of the application will matter less than in previous years.

We made an entire video about the application timeline, recorded before the coronavirus made its intentions on our way of life known.

Normally, when you apply matters a lot. But there will be so many disruptions to this cycle – both from the applicants but also the admissions offices and application processors themselves – that MANY students will apply late or not at all.

What this means for you:
It’s okay to apply late. Even if you don’t submit an application until Fall, and even if you have to take your MCAT in August or September.

If you’re rip-roaring and ready to go, then by all means apply as early as you can. But in these uncertain times, applying to med school is a victory unto itself.

Prediction #5. Medical schools will relax their requirements for a variety of application hoops.

In the past week, it’s become clear that thousands of you:
a) won’t be able to take certain classes you need to get into medical school
b) won’t be able to shadow doctors (since you’re non-essential personnel)
c) have been forced into online classes for the first time

Technically, all three of these run afoul of the typical application requirements, but med schools are staffed by humans, and they will adapt their rules to the circumstances.

What this means for you:
Don’t sweat the requirements for this cycle. Is there a DO school that requires shadowing before admitting someone? Is there a school that doesn’t take online courses? They will probably not care as much this cycle.

If you have any news or information that would confirm or refute these predictions, please don’t hesitate to leave us comments, so that we can keep our post as up-to-date and useful as possible.

Please be responsible and stay safe during this chaotic time!

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