The Med School Application Process

Here we review the steps of the application process.

  1. Primary Application - Most allopathic medical schools use the AMCAS (American Medical College Application Service) application, which is online. If you apply to a medical school which does not, you need to request that application from the medical school. All Schools of Osteopathy use the AACOM (American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine) application, which is also online. Get your application or applications submitted as close as possible to the beginning of the AMCAS application cycle, NO LATER THAN JUNE 1 AT THE END OF YOUR JUNIOR YEAR. (Those schools not participating in AMCAS may have different application start dates.) It is an advantage to have the MCAT completed when you submit the primary application, so that means that you should try to take the MCAT in April.
    1. Which application? Become familiar with the difference between allopathic medical schools which give the MD degree and medical schools of osteopathy which give the D.O. (Doctor or Osteopathy) degree.
      1. Allopathic: AMCAS (American Medical Colleges Application Service) and Individual Applications
      2. Osteopathic: AACOM (American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine)
    2. Which medical schools? Choose carefully. You want to be a good fit with the medical school you attend. Look at location, mission statement, how the mission statement is supported, curriculum and how it is delivered, student support, scheduling of courses, number of out-of-state students, ties to the community, hospital affiliations, and research orientation. Obtain latest AMCAS edition of Medical School Admissions Requirements. (We have a copy for you to look through at the Health Careers Information Center, Science 1 - 136, or in Dr. Frank s office, McL-159.)Establish a list of priorities from which medical schools will be considered. Think about which medical schools you would like to attend and which of those would consider you.
    3. Necessary Components:
      1. Transcripts Request these early.
      2. Personal Statement Where you sell yourself
      3. Extracurricular Activities - Medical Experiences, Community Service; Research Experiences
  2. Secondary Applications Get them in as soon as possible. Many medical school do not evaluate the primary application, but automatically send a secondary after a primary application is received. Evaluation of the primary application, MCAT scores, secondary application and letters of recommendation will determine whether or not an interview is granted.
    1. Most secondaries require more essays.
    2. Letters of Recommendation are sent at this time. It is recommended to have letters from two science faculty members and one non-science faculty member. One or two letters from clinical, community or research supervisors is also helpful. These letters should be on file with the premedical advisor before the primary application is submitted, assuming you are having the chief premedical advisor send your letters to the medical schools to which you are applying.
  3. The Interview The earlier the interview, the easier scheduling for your convenience will be. Also, you may be able to stay with a medical student and obtain "insider" information. Find out if the medical school where you are interviewing has an open file or closed file interview. If the interview is open file, be sure to review your application. For all interviews, know about the school and why it is a good fit for you. Have some questions ready.
  4. Credit Report Many medical schools are now requiring a credit report before granting loans. Check to be sure that our credit rating is good.
  5. Expenses: It had been estimated that a student spends $3000 to $8000+ on the medical school application process. This includes MCAT fees, fees for sending transcripts, fee for the application service, fees for the secondary applications, interview expenses such as clothes, travel, food and lodging. You may also choose to take an MCAT preparation course.

Helpful hints

  1. YOU are responsible for your applications to medical schools. Check at every step of the process.
  2. Provide all materials requested by medical schools in each step of the application process. Keep copies for your files.
  3. Keep track of all deadlines and make every attempt to meet your obligations well in advance of those deadlines.
  4. If you have questions, contact your advisor, AMCAS, AACOM, or the medical schools (keep records - date, time, and person).
  5. The application process usually takes from $3000 to $6000, depending on how many medical schools to which you are applying, on whether or not you take a commercially available review MCAT course, on how many interviews you have. Plan on this expense. (Remember, you will have a lot of debt after medical school, so this is really insignificant, but not planning for this expense could result in your failure to gain admission.)