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Association of American Medical Colleges

Aspiring Docs Diaries

Harvard Medical School student Elorm F. Avakame with his parents

A blog about what it's like to be med student today

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How Do I... Apply to Medical School?


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How do I start the application process?
To apply to most medical schools in the United States, you’ll use the AAMC’s centralized application service, the American Medical College Application Service® (AMCAS®).

AMCAS collects, verifies, and delivers application information and MCAT® exam scores to each school you choose. AMCAS does not make admissions decisions; each participating school is responsible for making its own individual admissions decisions.

To apply to an M.D. program at a public medical school in Texas, you will use the Texas Medical and Dental Schools Application Service (TMDSAS) External Link.

What is a secondary application?
Schools often request additional information from applicants in the form of a supplemental, secondary application. This may include a request for letters of recommendation, an essay, and additional forms. A secondary application will likely have an associated application fee. Fees and required forms vary from school to school.

How much does it cost?
For the 2014 application cycle, the AMCAS processing fee was $160, which includes one medical school. Additional medical schools may be added at a cost of $35 each. AMCAS fees are subject to change.

Applicants with financial need may apply to the Fee Assistance Program (FAP) offered by the AAMC. FAP awardees receive a waiver for AMCAS fees (for up to 15 medical schools), reduced registration fees for the Medical College Admission Test® (MCAT®), and more. Visit the FAP Web site for application requirements and additional benefit information.

Will I need to interview?
Most medical schools require an interview, though the process varies by school. Interviews can take place on or off campus. They can be conducted by one admissions committee member, by multiple members of the committee, or by off-campus interviewers, such as practicing physicians. Generally, the interviewers complete evaluations that are added to the rest of your application materials.

For more information on interviewing, see MSAR: Getting Started.

What is the timeline for applying?
The AMCAS application typically opens during the first week of May each year for the following year’s medical school class. Since AMCAS submission doesn’t open until the first week of June, you’ll have about a month to begin working on your application before you can submit it. You’ll begin the application process in the spring in order to begin medical school in the fall of the following year.

For specific application dates and deadlines, visit the MSAR Online, the AMCAS Web site, and the Web sites of your potential medical schools.

How do I choose the right medical school for me?
U.S. medical schools offer a variety of excellent educational experiences in a variety of settings. Some schools are public and some are private, and they vary in size, curriculum, and character. To find out which schools might best meet your needs and goals, begin by consulting MSAR: Getting Started or MSAR Online.

Related Resources

Fact Sheet: How Do I... Apply to a M.D./Ph.D. Program?
Fact Sheet: How Do I... Decide Where to Apply?
Ask the Experts: Creating a Winning Application

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