An early decision program (EDP) for medical school can be an amazing opportunity for you if you have been a motivated and accomplished student, and you are passionate about a particular medical school.
EDPs allow medical school applicants to submit their application to a single school for admissions consideration ahead of the regular cycle.
While not every medical school has an early decision program, if your school of choice does, adcoms will see your application before the sea of others.
EDPs do come with a catch: You can’t apply to any other medical schools until you have gotten your decision, and if you are accepted, you must attend that school.
Making the decision to apply to an EDP presents both enticing advantages and undeniable challenges. I frequently work with pre-meds to determine whether or not applying to medical school early decision is the right choice.
My goal here is to give you an in-depth understanding of the pros and cons, the schools that offer EDPs, and the application cycle timeline to see if it is a good fit for you.
This article was written by Sahil Mehta, MD and reviewed for accuracy by Renee Marinelli, MD. Drs. Mehta and Marinelli are physicians with combined decades of experience coaching students pursuing a career in medicine.
The biggest advantage of early decision programs is getting your admissions decision earlier than regular applicants. Because of this, it is imperative to be mindful of the application timeline.
August 1st is the AMCAS deadline for EDP applications, but we always recommend starting the medical school application process early. You should always double check with their schools about important deadlines and dates.
Here’s a glance at the AMCAS Early Decision Program 2024-2025 timeline:
August 1st and October 1st fall on weekdays in 2024, but if these dates were to fall on a weekend in the future, the deadline would be moved to the soonest business day.
Before you decide to apply to an EDP, it’s important to make sure your first choice school of medicine offers this type of program and know how to apply to the medical school you’ve chosen.
Each medical school program has similar application requirements, including the following:
The 3 application services have different application fees and character limits, but one major difference is how you will signal your intent to apply for a school’s EDP.
On the AMCAS application, you have the option to select Program Type and choose Early Decision on your application.
For DO schools, AACOMAS recommends contacting the school for the best information. You may be required to submit a letter of intent to apply to an osteopathic EDP program.
TMDSAS schools have a Select Schools section where you can indicate you are applying for an early decision program.
We can help you boost your MCAT score to boost your chances of being accepted into an Early Decision Program.
Is early decision for medical school worth it? If you believe that you are a competitive applicant who will stand out ahead of the majority of other medical students, early decision may be worth it for you. For most students, regular admissions are a better option than an early decision program for medical school.
When applying for an EDP, remember these 3 crucial pieces of information:
It’s helpful to know which medical schools have early decision programs so you can determine if your school of choice offers this option. This table contains all EDPs available through AMCAS, AACOMAS, and TMDSAS for the 2024-25 application cycle.
|State||Medical School||Available To||Program Notes||Type of Program|
|AL||University of Alabama School of Medicine||In-State Applicants||MD|
|AL||University of South Alabama College of Medicine||Residents of Alabama, Escambia and Santa Rosa counties in FL, and Jackson, Harrison, George, Stone, Perry and Greene counties in MS||MD|
|CA||California University of Science and Medicine – School of Medicine||All Applicants||MD|
|CA||Loma Linda University School of Medicine||All Applicants||Applicants accepted through the Early Decision Program must have demonstrated excellent performance in academics, MCAT, non-academics, and mission fit.||MD|
|CT||University of Connecticut School of Medicine||All Applicants||MD|
|DC||George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences||All Applicants||MD|
|FL||Florida International University Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine||All Applicants||Candidates must meet the following minimum academic criteria: Overall GPA 3.70, BCPM 3.50, MCAT 510.||MD|
|FL||Florida State University College of Medicine||All Applicants||MD|
|FL||University of Central Florida College of Medicine||In-State Applicants||MD|
|FL||USF Health Morsani College of Medicine||All Applicants||MD|
|GA||Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University||In-State Applicants||MD|
|GA||Mercer University School of Medicine||In-State Applicants||MD|
|GA||Morehouse School of Medicine||In-State Applicants||MD|
|HI||University of Hawaii, John A. Burns|
School of Medicine
|IL||Chicago Medical School at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine & Science||In-State Applicants||MD|
|IL||Northwestern University The Feinberg School of Medicine||All Applicants||Available for MD applicants only.||MD|
|IL||Rush Medical College of Rush University Medical Center||All Applicants||MD|
|IL||University of Illinois College of Medicine||All Applicants||MD|
|IN||Indiana University School of Medicine||In-State Applicants||MD|
|IN||Marian University COM (MU-COM)||All Applicants||Letter of intent stating MU-COM is first choice is required||DO|
|KS||University of Kansas School of Medicine||All Applicants||MD|
|KY||University of Kentucky College of Medicine||All Applicants||MD|
|KY||University of Louisville School of Medicine||All Applicants||MD|
|LA||Louisiana State University School of Medicine in New Orleans||All Applicants||MD|
|LA||Louisiana State University School of Medicine in Shreveport||All Applicants||MD|
|LA||Tulane University School of Medicine||All Applicants||MD|
|MA||Boston University School of Medicine||All Applicants||This binding program is typically reserved for candidates with extraordinarily strong academic records as well as some special or extenuating circumstance.||MD|
|MA||Tufts University School of Medicine||All Applicants||MD|
|MA||University of Massachusetts Medical School||All Applicants||MD|
|MD||University of Maryland School of Medicine||All Applicants||MD|
|MI||Central Michigan University College of Medicine||In-State Applicants||MD|
|MI||Wayne State University School of Medicine||All Applicants||The EDP requires a minimum Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) score at or above 508. A BCPM and overall grade point average of 3.60, as calculated by AMCAS is also required (as of 4/20/2023).||MD|
|MO||Saint Louis University School of Medicine||All Applicants||MD|
|MO||University of Missouri – Columbia School of Medicine||In-State Applicants||To apply for the early-decision program, candidates must have a cumulative undergraduate GPA of at least 3.75 and a MCAT of 508.||MD|
|MO||A.T. Still University Kirksville COM (ATSU-KCOM)||All Applicants||DO|
|MS||University of Mississippi School of Medicine||In-State Applicants||MD|
|NC||Wake Forest School of Medicine of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center||All Applicants||MD|
|NC||Campbell University Jerry M. Wallace SOM (CUSOM)||All Applicants||Students must submit a letter of intent to the CUSOM Office of Admissions for EDP by June 1st.||DO|
|NE||University of Nebraska College of Medicine||All Applicants||MD|
|NJ||Cooper Medical School of Rowan University||All Applicants||Minimum requirements: all EDP applicants must have a science GPA of 3.6 or higher and a total MCAT score of 507 or higher.||MD|
|NJ||Rutgers New Jersey Medical School||All Applicants||For those interested in applying Early Decision, a consultation with an Admissions dean is strongly recommended.||MD|
|NJ||Rutgers, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School||All Applicants||Early decision applicants will be reviewed prior to September and undergo the same review process as other applicants. Any applicant interested in early decision should contact us for counseling.||MD|
|NJ||Rowan-Virtua SOM (Rowan-Virtua SOM)||All Applicants||DO|
|NM||University of New Mexico School of Medicine||All Applicants||WICHE applicants MUST apply through the EDP to receive consideration.||MD|
|NV||University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine||All Applicants||MD|
|NY||Albert Einstein College of Medicine||All Applicants||MD|
|NY||Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell||All Applicants||MD|
|NY||Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University at Buffalo||All Applicants||EDP Candidates should only apply if their candidacy is highly competitive compared to other applicants.||MD|
|NY||New York Medical College||All Applicants||MD|
|NY||State University of New York Downstate Medical Center College of Medicine||All Applicants||MD|
|NY||State University of New York Upstate Medical University||In-State Applicants||MD|
|NY||Stony Brook University School of Medicine||All Applicants||MD|
|OH||Northeast Ohio Medical University||In-State Applicants||MD|
|OH||Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine||In-State Applicants||MD|
|OH||University of Cincinnati College of Medicine||All Applicants||MD|
|PA||Drexel University College of Medicine||All Applicants||MD|
|PA||Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine||All Applicants||MD|
|PA||Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University||All Applicants||MD|
|PA||Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine||All Applicants||MD|
|PA||Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania||All Applicants||Applicants must meet the mean GPA and MCATs of the entering class and be pre approved by the Committee on Admissions before submitting.||MD|
|PA||Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University||All Applicants||MD|
|PA||University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine||All Applicants||MD|
|SC||Medical University of South Carolina College of Medicine||In-State Applicants||South Carolina residents are encouraged to apply Early Decision if they have a minimum cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.50 and a minimum MCAT score of 506.||MD|
|SC||University of South Carolina School of Medicine||In-State Applicants||MD|
|SC||University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville||All Applicants||MD|
|TN||East Tennessee State University James H. Quillen College of Medicine||All Applicants||MD|
|TN||Meharry Medical College||All Applicants||MD|
|TX||Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Medicine||In-State Applicants||MD (TMDSAS)|
|TX||University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine||Texas Residents from the Rio Grande Valley (RGV)||MD (TMDSAS)|
|TX||University of North Texas Health Science Center/Texas COM (UNTHSC/TCOM)||All Applicants||DO (TMDSAS)|
|VA||Eastern Virginia Medical School||All Applicants||MD|
|VA||Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine||All Applicants||Applicants may consult with an admissions officer before applying.||MD|
|VA||Edward Via COM (VCOM)||All Applicants||Applicants can choose any VCOM campus, including in SC, AL, and LA||DO|
|VT||University of Vermont College of Medicine||In-State Applicants||A meeting with the Associate Dean for Admissions is required for preapproval to apply to our program to ensure applicants are aware of all considerations for this decision.||MD|
|WI||Medical College of Wisconsin||All Applicants||The EDP is available at all campuses but not dual-degree programs.||MD|
|WV||West Virginia University School of Medicine||All Applicants||MD|
Making the choice to apply for an early decision program warrants heavy consideration. You will be submitting your application against a pool of highly competitive applicants. It is important to be honest with yourself when you make this decision.
Before applying to an EDP, make sure you meet the all of the following criteria:
Our Physician Advisors can help you assess where you stand among other medical school applicants and give you tips to strengthen your application.
Let’s weigh the pros and cons of early decision for medical school to help you make an informed decision.
Early decision programs and early assurance programs allow students to apply to medical schools ahead of the typical timeline. The programs are different, however. EDPs require students to apply to just one school, whereas early assurance programs might not have this restriction.
The main difference lies in who the programs are for. Early assurance often targets undergraduate sophomores, while EDP is generally for students about to begin their senior year or post-baccalaureate students.
Here’s a breakdown of the differences between the two programs:
Early Decision Programs
Early Acceptance Programs
Not necessarily. EDPs are highly competitive and only accept a small number of applicants. There are more seats in the regular admission pool, and you’ll still have a chance at a spot that way.
If you’ve been released from your EDP application, you can begin applying to additional medical schools. To do so, edit the Program Type drop-down selection in your AMCAS application (on the AAMC website).
Follow the on-screen instructions to add more schools, and remember to go to the Change Notification Process section and press “Submit.”
You’ll be directed to a section to select the Early Decision Program release option. Click accept and recertify by clicking Resubmit Application.
Being waitlisted in a previous cycle and still waiting on a decision is a tricky situation. Because there is no official documentation from AMCASs, I recommend contacting the early decision school for clarification.
If you’re considering the early decision program or navigating the regular admissions cycle, expert guidance can make a significant difference. MedSchoolCoach can help you understand the nuances of the application process, from drafting the perfect personal statement to preparing for your medical school interview.
Stand out from other applicants and give yourself the best chance at your first-choice early decision medical school with MedSchoolCoach.
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