Applying to Medical School in Summer 2020 For Matriculation in Fall 2021

With the ever evolving situation with COVID-19 this page will host updates as they become available in regards to resources, events and other information related to the upcoming cycle.  You can also refer to our COVID-19 FAQ section, and encourage you to continue to pay attention to emails sent from our office. 

If you plan to apply to medical schools in summer 2020 for matriculation in fall 2021, please follow the instructions on this page.  Please bookmark this page now and refer to it throughout the application process; this should be your first source when you have questions.  If you are a reapplicant, follow the special instructions on the "Being a Reapplicant" page in the left sidebar instead.  There are also Application Resources at the bottom of this page, including the slides and resources from workshops. 

We strongly encourage applicants to attend the workshops outlined on this page to support their application process.  If you are unable to attend it is our expectation that you review all posted materials prior to your RMA appointment.

To Do Now If You Haven't

  • Starting November 14, 2019, Declare your Intent to Apply.  Complete the Qualtrics Form to be added to our applicant listserv and be eligible for a RMA appointment and Committee Letter.  The last day to declare your Intent to Apply is May 1, 2020.
  • Review any Application Curriculum Workshops (Kickoff, Assessing Candidacy, RMA Lab and School Selection) that have been offered that you missed. 
    • All materials posted in Application Resources below.
  • Begin to work on a draft of your RMA (Review My Application) form.  It allows you to list and describe the experiences that have been significant to you, answer short essay questions that help you develop your story, choose who will write Letters of Recommendation for you, and identify schools you may apply to.  It will take you time to write and to research schools, so plan to work on this over a period of weeks.

 RMA Form and Instructions for 2021M

  • RMA Calendars are now open!  RMAs will continue to be held, but will be moved to virtual meetings for now.  Each advisor will contact you with logistics and you can direct questions to your RMA advisor.  Schedule an RMA appointment with your pre-health advisor when you are ready.  Your advisor will give you suggestions for a strong application and can answer any questions you have.  Your RMA meeting also gives us preliminary information for your Committee Letter.  Because of the large number of applicants, we can offer only one RMA meeting per applicant each cycle and it may be difficult to reschedule an RMA meeting.  The deadline to schedule your RMA appointment (which are held through May) is May 1, 2020.  To schedule your RMA you will need to go to your prehealth advisor’s Calendly page and choose the RMA option.  Below are the prehealth advisors who will be conducting RMAs and links to their Calendly pages. 

If you have NOT met with your junior/senior/alumni prehealth advisor, you are encouraged to meet with Dr. Crawford or Mr. Jones for your RMA. However, if you have been working with a particular advisor and you would like to continue that relationship, we encourage you to do so.  We understand that some of you may have worked with a different advisor (or even multiple advisors) and sincerely appreciate your flexibility as we make changes to provide you with better access to advising and expand our resources and programming

If you experience any challenges scheduling your RMA please contact us with your availability and preferred advisor at

Important!  Please email your completed RMA form and a recent resume to your prehealth advisor at least 3 business days before your RMA meeting so your advisor has time to review them.  Failure to submit your form may result in not being able to have a RMA appointment.


  • Plan to attend any of the workshops you could not attend in Fall 2019.  If you are unable to attend a workshop for the application cycle please review all materials at your convenience prior to your RMA.  It is Duke HPA's expectation that you have attended or reviewed materials for all workshops before your RMA.
    • NEW! Tuesday, April 21st at 2:00 p.Navigating the 2021 AMCAS Application Cycle for Applicants, m. ET This 90-minute session will prepare applicants for the 2021 AMCAS application cycle. Attendees will receive a walkthrough of the AMCAS application, available AMCAS resources and more!  Register now here.

    • POSTPONED TIPS AND TOOLS FOR MCAT PREP: TIME MANAGEMENT AND STUDY STRATEGIES WORKSHOP,  Are you trying to figure out the best way to study for the MCAT or feeling overwhelmed about what resources to use?  Do you want some advice on figuring out a study plan and what resources would work best for you depending on how you learn?  Are you not sure how to go about setting aside time or how much time you should be spending on MCAT prep?  No matter where you are in your MCAT prep, the Academic Resource Center is here for you! Join Dr. Amanda Curtin Soydan, a STEM learning specialist at the ARC, for a workshop geared towards providing some insight into these questions and more! The workshop will be roughly an hour, with some time for questions.

    • POSTPONED PERSONAL STATEMENT WORKSHOP, MONDAY MARCH 16 at 5:30PM Location TBD. Join the Thompson Writing Studio for a personal statement workshop.

    • Research schools to which you may apply.
      • CANCELED ATTEND SCHOOL SELECTION AND EXPLORATION WEEK, As schools schedule virtual information sessions or are able to visit in the fall, information will be included in the weekly announcements.

        • CANCELED LUNCH WITH CHICAGO PRITZKER, Potential online session being explored; more information to follow.

        • CANCELED INFORMATION SESSION WITH WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY, Potential online session being explored; more information to follow.


        • CANCELED INFORMATION SESSION WITH U OF MICHIGAN,  Potential online session being explored; more information to follow.

        • CANCELED: INFORMATION SESSION WITH NYU, Potential online session being explored; more information to follow.

  • Begin working on your personal statement.
  • Ask for your letters of recommendation during this time.  We encourage you to finalize this list by April and you can send your writers our Instructions & Tips for Letter Writers.  


Looking Into the Future

MAY 2020

  • May 1, 2020 is the final day to schedule a RMA. 
  • Start Your Primary Applications in the application systems
    • The AMCAS application opens and you can begin to enter information May 4, 2020
    • Applying to Texas medical schools?  You may need to fill out the TMDSAS application form for these; some applications can be submitted in May.
    • Applying to Osteopathic medical schools?  You will need to fill out an AACOMAS application as well; some applications may be submitted in May.
  • Enter your letters of recommendation information into your primary.  Each application system has different guidelines for submission so please refer to the system and our Guide for what you then need to send to your writers.  
  • Send a final transcript to AMCAS with final spring grades once spring grades are posted.  Directions for Duke transcripts.
  • Finalize the list of schools to which you will apply.
  • Finalize your personal statement.
  • Questions about how to complete your applications? Please start by reading the Guide for Duke Students & Alumni Applying to Medical School.   Many FAQs are answered in that document.
  • Register for CASPer to take it in June or July
  • Submit your AMCAS application as soon as the application service opens for submission on May 28, 2020

JUNE 2020

  • Complete CASPer if required or recommended by any of the medical schools you have applied to.
  • The application service will then verify your application, i.e., will check and verify the listing of your courses and grades.  If you submit your application in the first week of June, verification may take a few days or a week.  If you submit your application in mid/late June or July, verification may take several weeks.  This delays the transmission of your application to medical schools.  If there are errors or inaccuracies during the verification process, you may submit an Academic Change Request to be reviewed by AMCAS.  After the review, the request can either be granted or denied.
  • Request your Committee Letter be uploaded after your application is verified by emailing a PDF of your verified application to the HPA Office to  This tells us that your application is complete and ready to send to medical schools.  We will then write and upload your Committee Letter to the application service within 10 business days of receiving all required information.
    • If you are applying to multiple systems you need to request each time you a verified by an application system.
    • For TMDSAS applications, please forward the email you receive from TMDSAS stating that your application has been transmitted to schools and attach a PDF of your application with that email and a copy of your AMCAS application (does not need to be verified)
    • For AACOMAS applications, you only need to send one school's application.
    • If you did not complete a RMA with one of us you must submit the RMA essay questions along with your verified application.
  • Follow AMCAS on Twitter for updates on what applications they are working on for verification.
  • AMCAS will begin releasing applications to medical schools on June 26, 2020.

JULY 2020

  • Submit secondary applications within two weeks of receipt.  Some schools send secondary applications to all applicants; some send applications only after reviewing the primary application and some do not use secondary applications at all.  Each school has their own specific questions and essays and most will require a secondary fee.  Plan to have internet access and time to write these essays.  Note that you are not considered fully complete until the secondary application and fee have been received and you will not be considered for an interview until you are fully complete.  

AUGUST 2020 – MARCH 2021

  • Interview (we will do a mock interview with you if you’d like; contact us when you have an interview date set).  
  • Receive acceptances or waitlist notices from October 15, 2020 to July 2021.
  • Update your application as appropriate.
  • Send letters of interest or intent as appropriate.

APRIL 2021-JUNE 2021

  • Continue to update your application as appropriate.
  • Send letters of interest or intent as appropriate.
  • Watch trafficking rules.  
    • Choose Your Medical School Tool becomes available in February
    • April 15, 2021, applicants with more than 3 acceptances must narrow their school choice to 3 and decline their seat at other medical schools.
    • April 30, 2021, applicants with more 2 or 3 acceptances must narrow their school choice to 1 and decline their seat at other medical schools.  You may stay on waitlists.
  • Accept admission offers; if you have decided NOT to attend a school to which you have been accepted, promptly withdraw your application from that school.  
  • Pay attention to the medical school you are choosing to attend’s acceptance policy.  Follow Commit to Enroll deadline outlined by your school.

 JULY 2021 – SEPTEMBER 2021

  • Matriculate to medical school!


Application Resources

Please attend or view all sessions.  These are meant to complement individual advising appointments not replace them, nor will individual appointments be able to provide all of this critical information.

If you are a Duke alum and need your NetID extended to view our materials please email from a non Duke email to request that extension.

  • Assessing Candidacy: these are the slides, audio/video, and self assessment form that help you review your own candidate profile and recognize your strengths. 
  •  Application Kickoff 2021M: these are the slides of our information session on how to apply; and process for applying.
  • RMA Lab : these are the slides and audio/video of our information session on how to create a quality RMA draft; if you didn't attend this session, please review the materials.  We have also created a RMA Lab Handout with additional tips & pitfalls that you can review here.
  • School Selection:here is the video and slides of our information session on how to create your school list; if you didn't attend this session, please review these materials.  We have also created a School Selection Document to help get you started with your organization that you can customize for your needs.
  • Coming soon! Personal Statement Workshop
  • Coming soon! Duke Student & Alumni Applicant Guide

External Resources