When Do I Apply?
The answer to this question can have a large impact on when and for how long you study abroad. However, we will first give you an overview of the application timetable, then discuss the three-year and four-year program options.
Overview of the Medical/Dental School Application Process
Individuals generally apply to health professions graduate school more than one year before they plan to matriculate (see timetable below). Some students apply during the summer after their junior year, which this allows them to matriculate the Fall after graduating from Boston College. Many students choose to apply the summer after graduating from college — or later. This is especially true of those individuals who study abroad, as it allows more flexibility in their curriculums. The additional year also allows extra time to strengthen cumulative averages — a big help for those candidates whose grades are "borderline."
Approximate Application Timeline
Annual Applicant Meeting — distribution of Application Packet & Forms
Initial Forms submitted to Premedical Programs Office
Remaining Forms submitted to Premedical Programs Office
January to April
Meet with Assigned Premedical Advisor
Deadline for Letters of Evaluation
April to Mid-June
Suggested dates to take MCAT/DAT/GRE
Recommended submission dates for your application
September to February
If competitive, you will be invited for interviews.
August to September
If accepted, you will begin graduate school.
If you are an undergraduate and plan to enter medical/dental/veterinary school the Fall after you graduate, you will need to complete all of the required courses (see IV above) by the end of your junior year so that you can file your applications the summer before you begin your senior year. While simultaneously taking junior year coursework, we recommend that you study for and take the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) between April and mid-June. Students taking the Dental Admissions Test (DAT) are encouraged to take it in early summer (e.g., May/June). In addition to a competitive test score, health professions graduate schools also expect a high level of academic performance, significant exposure to the health field, and other meaningful experiences.
Clearly, this is a lot to accomplish in three years. Therefore, increasing numbers of students choose the four-year option below. Nevertheless, if you follow the three-year program and are a competitive candidate, you would be invited for interviews during the Fall or early winter of your senior year. If accepted, you would begin graduate school in August/September after your graduation from BC.
We note that the majority of students at BC (and other institutions) are applying to health professions graduate schools at the end of their senior year — or even later. Students who follow the four-year (or four-year-plus) program have the opportunity to pursue other interests and/or opportunities (e.g., study abroad, completing a thesis, minoring in a nonscience discipline, volunteer work, research) in a more leisurely fashion, thus potentially making them more attractive candidates. This is an especially good option if you have had a modest performance during your freshman year, as it may allow you to bring your grades into a more competitive range.
The four-year option also allows for more flexibility in terms of deciding when to take the entrance exams (MCAT, DAT). We note that the average age for students beginning health professions graduate school is approximately 25; therefore, the majority of students do not enroll directly after graduating from college.