Application Tips

Application Services:

AMCAS - American Medical College Application Service (for M.D. applicants)

AACOMAS - American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine Application Service (for D.O. applicants)

TMDSAS - Texas Medical and Dental School application Service (for applicants to any Texas schools)


Important Dates:

April 1st - AMCAS resources for current cycle are available (AAMCAS guidebook, MSAR info, etc.)

May 1st - AMCAS and TMDSAS open (the first day you can begin filling out your application)

May 3rd - AACOMAS opens

June 1st - First date to submit AMCAS and AACOMAS (most years)


What you should be doing NOW (complete this prior to May 1st):

1) Schedule the MCAT.  The MCAT is scheduled online.  If you take the MCAT in the same year as your application, you should take it in early summer, preferably in May or early June.  It takes 30 days for you to get an MCAT score back, and schools will not process your primary applications until you have an MCAT score.  Taking the exam early ensures that schools will look at your application early. DO NOT wait for an MCAT score to submit your primary application, as the process of verifying your application (done by AAMC) can take 6 weeks.

2) Create the list of schools to which you will apply.  Our choosing schools page is devoted to helping you do this.

3) Prerequisite coursework.  Complete or plan to complete every required course for each school and plan to complete as many recommended courses as possible.

4) Letters of recommendation

a) Research each of your schools to determine the types of letter they require.  Some schools, like the U of U, don't accept the committee letter.  Other schools, including many D.O. schools, require additional letters on top of the committee letter.  Make sure you are able to meet the requirements for each school.

b) Ask for any additional letters you need.  Our of recommendation page has tips on asking for letters.

c) Plan how to get your letters to your schools.  For most MD schools, you will use the AMCAS Letter Service. TMDSAS schools require letters to be submitted to the application service.  For DO schools, you will either send each letter directly to every school or use interfolio to manage letters and send them to each school.  The committee letter will be uploaded to the appropriate place AFTER you give us your application service IDs. (NOTE: Don't panic if your committee letter isn't done when you submit your primary applications.  You don't need LORs until the secondary applications.  AACOMAS and AADSAS take time to verify your application before sending it on to your schools, who then take a little while longer to send you secondary applications.)

5) Transcripts

a) Verify that everything is correct on your official transcript.  You will eventually submit an official transcript from EVERY school you have attended.  Because of this, it is a good idea to order a copy of your transcript to review for accuracy.  This is done through the registrars office or online through Access/Banner.


After May 1st:

1) Fill out your applications.  Instruction manuals are available online for AMCAS, AACOMAS, and TMDSAS applications.

a) Polish your personal statement.  Because the committee letter quotes the statement you submitted to them, it would be wise to emphasize different experiences and lessons you learned in the primary application essay.  Obviously, if you had one experience that changed your outlook on life and medicine, you can tell the same story in both places, but change it up a little.  You should have AT LEAST five other people who know you well read your essay and comment on content, style, and grammar.  Spelling and grammar errors are great ways to get rejected. You can use the same essay for all of the applications, but you may need to alter it slightly to accommodate for character or word restrictions.

b) Polish your activities descriptions.  Enter all of your extracurricular activities into the applications with descriptions of what they were and what you learned from them.

c) Enter your completed and planned coursework.   This is perhaps the most tedious portion of the application.  You will need a copy of your official transcript to be able to adequately fill this out and you will need to have the your coursework for the next year of school planned out.

d) Enter at least one school to which you will apply.  With one school entered, you can submit the application for verification.  You can choose the rest of your schools during the process of verification and add them later.  Note: while most schools have rolling admissions, some do not.  Schools that do not have rolling admissions can be applied to later, after you have completed secondary applications for schools that do have rolling admission, without hurting your chances of acceptance to those programs.  

2) Submit the TMDSAS, if you are using it.


After June 1st:

1) Submit your primary applications.  This should be completed as soon as possible.  We have had several well qualified applicants from USU who have put off submitting their primary applications until July who were not accepted due to the lateness of their application.  Applying early lets you complete secondary applications early, ensuring that schools who would like to interview you have time to interview you.  DO NOT wait for an MCAT score to submit your primary application.  If you are concerned about applying to schools where you will have a competitive MCAT score, then only list one or two schools that you will apply to no matter what on your primary.  You can add the rest of the schools after you receive your score.

2) Wait for your application to be verified.  This can take up to two months, which is another reason to submit your application early.  If you wait to submit, you may not get secondary applications until the end of August, and students have traditionally struggled with balancing school, extracurricular activities, and secondary application essays.  

3) Submit your secondary applications.  Many schools evaluate the time that it takes for a candidate to complete the secondary application in deciding whether to continue to evaluate the application, so complete these quickly.  Depending on how many schools you applied to, you  may have 20-30 unique essays to complete, as each school's prompts are slightly different.

4) Interview.  D.O. programs typically interview earlier than M.D. programs in an attempt to snatch up quality students.

5) Get accepted.  Tell the advising office so we can celebrate with you.  Pay the fee to hold your seat at the university.  D.O. programs traditionally have very steep (about $1000) fees, while M.D. programs have fees ranging from $100-$300.