Transcripts and Verification for Medical School
Transcripts are very important to you as a premed student when you are applying to medical school. If the transcript verification process is not completed it will delay the processing of your medical school application.
Did you know?
You will need to request an official transcript (OT) from every post secondary institution you have ever attended while completing your medical school applications.
Even if you only took one course or did not earn a degree, including if you withdrew. Anywhere coursework was attempted since your high school graduation must be submitted to AMCAS for transcript verification.
Transcripts and their requests can significantly delay the processing of your AMCAS application. Therefore, the best advice is to request official transcripts (OT) very early in the application process. I suggest requesting on or before the official date when AMCAS begins accepting application materials (May).
Requesting Official Transcripts
Be sure to request your official transcripts in a timely manner when applying to medical school.
I typically recommend students contact each registrar's office in May of the year they plan on applying to medical school.
Also, when you request your Official Transcripts they will be sent directly to AMCAS and not to you. Therefore, it will be to your advantage to have an AAMC ID number at this point which most likely you should have obtained when registering for the MCAT.
This will allow you to obtain an AMCAS Pre-barcoded Transcript Request form so your Official Transcripts can be matched to your medical school application.
Please note that transcripts must be sent directly from the registrar's office to AMCAS:
AMCAS, attn: Transcripts, AAMC Medical School Application Services,
P.O. Box 57326
Washington, DC 20037
There is the option to have your school submit an eTranscript, however most schools with this ability are still not approved by AMCAS to send such electronic transcripts. Therefore, I would avoid utilizing this service and just have your school's registrar office send a paper copy of your Official Transcript.
While completing your AMCAS application you will find a request section where you can print an AMCAS Request form to provide to the registrar's office.
As a premed student I know you are constantly checking the status of your application and you can be assured that AMCAS does a great job of providing application updates. When logging into your AMCAS account you will know the status of your transcripts:
- Received or not
- Under initial review
- Verified etc.
This should alleviate some stress and if my memory is correct you will receive automatic email updates too.
You Need to Verify the Verification
Yes, you heard me correctly.
Although you will have your Official Transcript verified you actually need to make sure everything was verified correctly.
Be sure to request an unofficial copy of your transcripts from the registrar's office because there is going to be a lot of coursework that you are going to have to manually input into your medical school application.
I can't believe that in this day and age that you are going to request Official Transcripts yet at the same time you will have to manually enter all your classes along with their names, levels and grade earned as you can see below.
It is very important that the transcript verification is correct on your AMCAS application. Be sure that everything correlates in the following categories:
- OT Hours
- Sem Hours
- OT Grade
- AMCAS Grade
The OT Hours correspond to your Official Hours i.e. what is listed on the original transcript.
The Sem Hours correspond to the Semester Hours given by the institution attended for the particular course.
While OT Grade corresponds to the Official Transcript Grade i.e. what grade you received in the class.
AMCAS Grade is the grade which AMCAS has given for the course and ideally they should be the same.
Trimesters and Quarters
For students who attend schools operating on the trimester or quarter system you must pay attention in how you enter your courses.
I attended Northwestern University which is on the quarter system and after initially entering several courses realized they were done incorrectly and had to speak with my academic advising office on how to make the necessary corrections.
Since I had trouble the first time, here is an overview of what is expected in completing this section.
For the academic year 2018-2019 you would input the following:
- Fall Quarter: September 2018 to December 2019 (no change required)
- Winter Quarter: December 2018 (NOT January 2019) to March 2019
- Spring Quarter: March 2019 (no change required) to June 2019
Additionally, Summer Quarter follows a unique input as well. For instance if the 2018-2019 academic year was when you were a Junior any Summer Quarter course taken in 2019 would be designated as Senior Status on your AMCAS application.
A very important aspect of AMCAS is transferring what is on your academic record into your application. You will be asked to complete the following for each course attempted:
- School Name
- Status (Freshman, Sophmore, etc)
- Term (Semester, Quarter, etc)
- Course Class (PHYS, GOVT, ENGL, CHEM, etc)
- Course No. (Chem 101-1, Biol Sci 110-3, etc)
- Course Name (Organic Chem, College Physics, etc)
- Course Type (Pass/Fail, Aud, etc)
- OT Hours (1; 8; etc)
- Sem Hours (0; 2.7; etc)
- AMCAS Grade (A-, C+, etc)
- AMCAS Use (they designate: X; O; /; etc)
Discrepancies And What To Do
When reviewing the transcript verification aspect of your AMCAS Application it is very important that all the above mentioned categories have a value of either a letter grade or number.
If something seems incorrect or does not match you can email AMCAS or call to have them look into the matter on your behalf.
Additionally, if you already submitted your application for verification and see an error later, you have the right to submit an Academic Change Request.
You want to ensure everything is correct because this is your medical school future on the line and although this may be a tedious task it is worth the effort.
Please remember the values located in this section of the AMCAS application are generally entered into a computer before being seen by a human to automatically screen out applicants, therefore it is only in your best interest to be absolutely sure of what is verified.
If you are having difficulty with this section please speak with a premed advisor, contact AMCAS, or use a source who is familiar with the application process.
My AMCAS Verification Incident
MY transcript verification process did not go well.
I signed off on my AMCAS as being correct after having several premed advisors and medical school admissions representatives review my Official Applicant Copy.
If you looked at everything you would see that it was correct: OT Hours, OT Grade, AMCAS grade, the course name and institution were correct, etc.
I should reiterate my undergraduate institution (Northwestern University) operates on the Quarter System, while I completed my Biological Sciences requirements at Harvard University Summer School which operates on the Semester System.
To make a long story short, there were discrepancies in what went to the medical schools. AMCAS had admitted they made an error and gave me "zero semester hours for my Harvard courses," while they listed the full 8 OT Hours correctly on my AMCAS application.
Therefore, every medical school assumed I had not taken the required courses of Biology and Organic Chemistry and this derailed my candidacy for medical school because the error was caught after the fact.
Hence, take this section of the medical school application process seriously and if you have any doubts/questions ask for clarification/help.