Use AMCAS As Your Central Medical School Application Service

The American Medical College Application Service aka AMCAS will be the main application you use as a premed student who is applying to allopathic (M.D.) medical schools in the United States.

Other medical school application services are also available. Students applying to medical schools in Texas will use the Texas Medical and Dental School Application Service aka TMDSAS. While those applying to osteopathic medical schools will use the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine aka AACOMAS. But regardless of which application service you use there are a number of key requirements for medical school that you'll need to complete. I'll discuss them on this webpage using AMCAS as the primary example.

Applying to Medical School Basics

The golden rule to increase your chances of admission to medical school is to apply early. You want to be a position where you are ready to go with all of your materials in early June when AMCAS begins accepting applications each year.

To make sure you have a timely application you'll definitely want to review my medical school admission application outline that shows you what you need to do and when. Enabling you to have your best chances of being admitted to medical school.

Medical colleges use the American Medical Colleges Application Service because it streamlines the medical school admission process. Your AMCAS application is administered by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and since 2001 AAMC has used a web-based application: Begin your AMCAS application.

The work is not over once your application is submitted to the medical school application service of your choice.

You can now look forward to receiving secondary applications and prepare for medical school interviews because this is all apart of applying to medical school.

Getting Started With AMCAS

Completing your AMCAS application can be a hurdle in itself and you may have to ask first year medical students and your pre med advisors for help. There's no need to be shy about asking for assistance because your medical school future is on the line. Besides, even I got help with completing my AMCAS. 

There are about nine sections on the AMCAS application. They range from basic identifying information (name, birthdate, etc) to standardized test scores. 

Applying to medical school is not cheap and you will be charged $160 to apply to one medical school through AMCAS and $34 for each additional medical school. If you are facing a financial hardship you can apply directly to AMCAS for a fee waiver, although if you didn't get a waiver for the MCAT it may be difficult.

Don't let the application fee prevent you from beginning your medical school application. You can start working on your application even if you don't have the money for the application fee. You just won't be able to submit your application to the individual medical schools until you pay.

Try to come up with your money sooner than later because there are medical school application deadlines you don't want to miss.


Not submitting your official transcripts can delay the processing of your application. You can begin submitting as early as mid May of each year.

If you ever attended any college (including community) or university, no matter how short the time you must submit a transcript from that institution. This includes if it was just one course, you withdrew before receiving a grade or credits were transferred elsewhere.

AMCAS will then go through a process of transcript verification to compare all the grades from your official transcripts and academic record to those you supplied on your application. It will be noted if a grade correction was made, if credit was received, and a lot of other things. Basically, don't try to fool the system because you will get caught!

Work and Activities

Section five is your work/activities, which is pretty self-explanatory. This is your opportunity to provide details of how you spend your time outside of the classroom: For these activities you are going to:
  • state its nature
  • duration
  • time devoted to (weekly).
You also can write a short paragraph on each extracurricular activity sharing your experience and how you were affected.

Letter of Recommendation

Your letter of recommendation is a very important component of your application to medical school. My advice on obtaining letters of recommendation is very simple.

Ask for recommendations several months in-advance of the deadline and only from individuals who can write STRONG letters on your behalf.

Medical Schools

This may seem obvious, but here is where you will choose from a list of medical schools where you want to apply. You do not have to choose all of your medical schools at once. Do you need help in choosing medical schools?

I have the perfect solution if you're unsure about how to choose medical schools.

But always feel free to add additional schools as you see fit. 

You won't have to worry about applying to schools where the deadline has passed because AMCAS automatically removes medical schools from their drop down menu within the application once the deadline has passed.

Smart applicants will apply early and to a broad range of medical schools. 

This means applying to schools from all tiers. You don't want to put all your eggs in one basket because you never know what a particular medical school will be looking for in applicants.

Medical School Essay

Your personal statement is roughly a one-page, typewritten, single-spaced essay where you need to address two questions. You are writing to show medical school admissions officers what you know of medicine, your life experiences, and why you deserve to become a physician. Remember you write only one medical school essay and it goes out to all the medical schools you apply to so take this writing very seriously!

Other Medical School Application Services

Not everyone is going to use the AMCAS application when applying to medical school. If you want to attend a United States medical school that awards the M.D. degree after you complete four years of med school, then you only have two medical school application service options:

What's TMDSAS? It's the Texas Medical and Dental School Application Service (TMDSAS) which you will use to apply to professional schools located in Texas.

Canadian Medical Schools

If you are planning on attending one of the 17 accredited Canadian medical schools you must use the Ontario Medical School Application Service.

Osteopathic Medicine

Planning on attending an osteopathic medical school to receive your Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.) degree?

If yes, you will apply to osteopathic medical schools using the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine Application Service (AACOMAS).

More on Applying

There's a lot to take in when applying to medical school so please review the links below. They link to additional information which you may find useful during your application to medical school.

Advice for applying to medical school.

Preparing for medical school.


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