UW School of Medicine Admissions Response to COVID-19

Updated 6/14/2021

UWSOM Admissions continues to closely monitoring the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the admissions process for the Fall 2021 and Fall 2022 entering classes.

Any additional changes to UWSOM policies and procedures will be shared with applicants on our Admissions website and Facebook. We strongly encourage all applicants for the Fall 2022 application cycle to review the Admissions Team’s presentation on June 9, 2021.

Please be aware that the Medical Scientist Training Program (MD/PhD) has a separate admissions process. Details about the MSTP application and admissions process can be found on their website.

Online Courses and Pass/Fail Grading

Many colleges and universities have switched to online instruction. Our prerequisite policy has always accommodated online coursework and P/F courses. This means that:

  • Online coursework from regionally accredited institutions will be accepted towards fulfilling prerequisites.
  • Pass/Fail courses will also be accepted towards fulfilling prerequisites.

MCAT 2021

For the Fall 2022 application cycle, the MCAT exam will be optional for those who have not yet taken the exam. We will consider and accept applicants without MCAT scores. If an applicant already has a MCAT score, or has a pending MCAT score, it will be considered by the Admissions Committee. The current deadline to take the MCAT is September 30, 2021 for those choosing to take the MCAT in the 2022 application cycle.

The decision to take the MCAT will depend on individual circumstances. Applicants should seriously evaluate the benefit and risk of taking the exam for themselves and their immediate contacts such as family members and roommates. Additionally, consideration of test availability and accessibility may be important. Without an MCAT score, the Admissions Committee will rely more on grades and science GPA to evaluate an applicant’s academic preparation for medical school. Applicants with an inconsistent academic record, or a previous low MCAT score, should strongly consider taking the MCAT or delay application until they feel they can do so with less risk or delay. This will provide the Committee an additional metric to consider with their grades and/or previous MCAT score.

When the application has been received by the UWSOM, applicants without a score and test date will be asked to declare if they intend to take the MCAT within two weeks of receiving the request. Given the linear nature of the admissions process, applicants cannot change their mind once they have declared they are not taking the exam. If an applicant declares that they are not taking the MCAT but decide to register or take the exam, their application will be immediately withdrawn from consideration.

Secondary Application Fee Waiver

COVID-19 has financially impacted many applicants and their families due to loss of income and/or medical expenses. For the Fall 2021 and Fall 2022 applications cycle, the $35 secondary application fee will be automatically waived for all MD applicants.

Interviews for the Fall 2022 Application Cycle

The UWSOM will have a virtual interview season for the Fall 2022 application cycle. All applicants interviewing for the MD program can expect a video interview. The decision was made with the safety of our applicants in mind and to ensure consistency and equity in the interview process. Virtual opportunities will be made available during the season to learn more about our curriculum and the UWSOM community. In-person opportunities may be available depending on the site and their COVID-19 restrictions. In-person opportunities may be available depending on the site and their COVID-19 restrictions.

Additional Frequently Asked Questions

An applicant is more than their MCAT score – it is only one piece of many pieces in the broader applicant experience. The Admissions Committee uses holistic review to assess your candidacy based on the information shared in the application. Your score, or lack of score, will be considered in the context of other parts of your application including lived and acquired experiences, community service, and grades. For complete details about what the UWSOM looks for, please see our Admissions Resources page.  

The ability to take, or retake, the MCAT in light of the current obstacles created by the pandemic will not be held against the applicant.

The decision to change the MCAT policy was made with consideration that many applicants have already taken the MCAT and want to include their MCAT score to supplement their application.

We are trying to balance the needs of many during this difficult time, and recognize that applicants have different preferences and circumstances. Our admissions system is directly linked to AMCAS’s system, and does not have the flexibility to include or omit MCAT scores on an individual basis.

UWSOM does not require labs. If you want to take online labs, that is fine by us.

We recognize that the pandemic has significantly impacted folks’ clinical and volunteering opportunities in 2020 and 2021. The Admissions Committee has always valued the insight and reflection that applicants gain from their experiences rather than the number of hours.

Please know that the UWSOM does not require shadowing, but we do expect applicants to understand the roles, responsibilities, and challenges of being a physician. Virtual shadowing is an acceptable clinical experience as long as you learn from it and provide insight and reflection in your application. If you do not have any in-person clinical experience, we strongly encourage you to wait to apply.

This is fine. We do not have a preference for committee letters over individual letters and will continue to accept a minimum of 3 individual letters of recommendation and a maximum of 6 letters. Please see our letters of recommendation policy for more details: uwmedicine.org/admissions

For the Fall 2022 application cycle, we have added a secondary application essay that allows you to discuss how COVID-19 has affected you, your family, your community, and/or the patients you would like to serve.

The Admissions Committee is generally looking for patterns and trajectories when it comes to grades. Ultimately, how you perform in one class will not make or break your application. If you know that there is room for you to demonstrate improvement in your grades, it may be worth choosing to have the course graded so that the Committee can see evidence of your improvement. It’s important to make your decision based on your individual needs and responsibilities.

AAMC is working to expand Fee Assistance Program (FAP) to help applicants financially impacted by COVID-19. Please see the FAP webpage for more information about applying. FAP Applicants will also have their CASPer fee waived.

For the Fall 2021 and Fall 2022 application cycles, the UWSOM MD $35 secondary application fee will be automatically waived for all applicants.

There are still a number of ways you can stay active during this time:

  • Follow credible news sources.
    • Learn more about our health care system, patient delivery, and health related policies.
    • Read/watch interviews with health care providers on the front lines.
  • Find ways to serve in your community while staying safe and maintaining social distance. Including, but not limited to:
    • Pick up/drop off groceries for your elderly and/or vulnerable neighbors.
    • Volunteer at food banks or local schools to provide meals for individuals in need.
    • Provide childcare to essential workers who continue to work during the pandemic while schools are closed.