Pre-Med Application Process
The majority of U.S. medical schools require students to apply through the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS).
This entails completing one standardized application, which is then processed by AMCAS and sent to the individual medical schools you have designated.
Plan on completing the AMCAS application during the summer of the year preceding admission. (Although most medical schools have a deadline of November 15th, it is advisable to get your application in before that date. You can mail it as early as June 1st). A few medical schools have individual applications that must be obtained directly from the schools. Those schools are indicated on the MCAT form; you need only call the schools to obtain their application form.
See FACTS: Applicants, Matriculants and Enrollment US Medical School Applicants Data for comprehensive data and statistics about U.S. medical school applicants.
Sections of the AACOMAS Application
The AMCAS application process is quite long and takes time. There will be Biographical, Family, and Personal Information sections that will require facts and details of your life. There is the Personal Statement section, which contains the essay for the application. Everyone is required to submit an essay. This essay should be done very carefully and proofread several times. There will also be Work Experience, Extracurricular, Volunteer, and Community Service sections that will allow each applicant to describe these sort of activities they have done since the start of college (do not include anything from high school). Next, there is a section where you can mention any Award, Honors, Scholarships achieved during college or after. Your MCAT, transcripts scores, and letters of recommendation will be added to your application profile. You can get forms off the application site to give to the Registrar for your grades and to the people writing your letters. Lastly, you will also have to complete a Colleges and Coursework section and pick the schools you want to submit your application to.
Use the AMCAS “Transcript Request Form”, available within the AMCAS application, when requesting from the registrar that official transcripts be sent to AMCAS. You must submit a college transcript from ALL colleges attended (including post secondary option courses, summer school classes, and even courses from which you withdrew).
Following completion of your initial application through AMCAS (or non-AMCAS schools), most medical schools will send secondary applications to the applicants they deem competitive. In general, the materials requested include: a “pre-medical committee letter”; essays that answer additional questions posed by the individual medical schools; and supportive letters from employers, friends, and/or people in the medical professions. You should plan to have all this information completed and returned by the November 15th deadline.
For example, the University of MN - Duluth Supplemental Application has asked the following:
- Given the goals of this school, please justify why you should be accepted for the next entering class.
- Describe your participation in any health care or social care activities.
- What do you feel are some of the more important responsibilities of a physician?
- Describe a crisis situation in your life. How did you deal with it and how did it affect you?
- Describe your experiences in a rural setting.
- Briefly describe your career plans in the event that you do not attend medical school.
If all goes well, you’ll have an opportunity to interview at some of your selected medical schools from October through March of your senior year. Plan on financing trips to these schools, as you are responsible for all costs of transportation and lodging. Because the interviews occur during the academic year, it will necessitate making arrangements with your professors regarding absence from class.
Get interview feedback from students interviewing at various Medical Schools through the Student Doctor Network.
Interview Stream is a great place to practice.
Notification of Acceptance
December to May is the typically timeline for notification.
*Special Note: for those who decide to apply following their senior year of college, their timeline will just be shifted accordingly. There is NO disadvantage to applying later than your junior or senior year… many of our current students in medical school have done just that. Sometimes it is advantageous to acquire more experience, and giving yourself an extra year(s) can often allow this to happen.
Updated 10/19/2012 JMV