Most medical schools in the US utilize a common application, the American Medical College Application System (AMCAS). All of your personal information, coursework, transcripts, work history, and letters of recommendation are submitted to this one central service, from which it will be submitted to whichever medical schools you choose. All Texas public medical schools use a similar application service called the Texas Medical and Dental Schools Application Service. If you are unsure whether a particular medical school accepts applications through either of these common application services, you should check that particular school’s admissions website.
Whether you’re applying to medical school via the AMCAS or the TMDAS, many requirements are similar to those for any undergraduate or graduate school. You’ll need to fill out a detailed section on your background and demographic information, past coursework, and work and volunteer history. There are additional areas to separately submit college transcripts, resumes, and letters of recommendation. You’ll also need to submit current scores from the MCAT.
Applicants are also required to submit a “Personal Comments Essay.” This essay allows a maximum of only 5300 characters, which is about one page typed. This is where you must make the best case possible for yourself–why you want to go to medical school, what makes you a stronger candidate than the other 35,000-40,000 applicants, and what you will bring to the field of medicine. (Trust me, it’s really hard given so little space!).
After you submit your completed application, your information will be verified before it’s sent to your selected medical schools. If any errors are found on your application, be aware that AMCAS may return it to you for correction–for example, your coursework will be checked against your official transcripts and if any errors or omissions are found, AMCAS will request that you make the correction.
It is important to note that each medical school, even though they use the same application system, has its own deadlines for submission and you should make sure you know when your chosen schools close their application cycles. Deadlines are between August and December…individual programs’ deadlines can be found HERE. Some schools also participate in “Early Admission,” which is also completed through the AMCAS and is due August 1 for all medical schools.
Once your application is fully verified, then comes the most difficult step–it’s time to sit back and wait! If interested, many schools will contact you and request another essay or two (called “secondary essays,” or “secondaries”). They will then extend invitations for personal interviews. The process for most medical schools involves a few rounds of interviews with the admissions office, the dean’s office, and with current medical students. Then (finally!), the school will let you know if you have been accepted or not. The majority of acceptances (not including Early Acceptance) are sent in the spring, between February and May.