by Lauren DiProspero, former admissions officer at Columbia University
In our previous medical school blog post, we talked about the two degree paths to becoming a physician. If you are about to begin your application to medical school, you may have noticed that there are three different common application platforms. The platform you use will be determined by the type of degree you are seeking—MD or DO—and whether or not you are applying to medical school in Texas.
Each common application platform asks much of the same information, including background, coursework, experiences, letters of evaluation, MCAT scores, essays, fee assistance (if applicable) and list of medical schools to which you are applying. But there are differences, some of which are highlighted below.
Regardless of which application platform you use to apply to medical school, it is important to start early. The applications will take time to fill out, all require several support documents, and the essay and experiences sections will require several drafts. Every application undergoes some version of a verification process that takes time and, in some cases, you will not receive your secondary applications from medical schools until that process is complete. Medical schools will evaluate applications as they are received and each school has a limited number of interview slots. By submitting your application early, you will be in a better position to be evaluated when there are more interview spots still available.
The AMCAS (American Medical College Application Service) is the common application for the majority of allopathic (MD) medical schools. The AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges) oversees the application process.
The AMCAS application opens May 1 and submission opens on May 30. Each application must be verified and it can take 4-6 weeks to process an application, so applicants are encouraged to submit early. There are also fee waivers available.
Click here to find out more about applying to medical school with AMCAS.
The AACOMAS (American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine Application Services) is the common application platform for all but one osteopathic (DO) medical schools. The AACOM (American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine) oversees the application process.
The AACOMAS application opens in early May and medical schools begin receiving and processing applications in mid-June. Similar to AMCAS, AACOMAS verifies each application and it takes, on average, two weeks to complete that verification. There are fee waivers available but they are limited in number and may be fully distributed before the end of the application cycle.
Click here to find out more about applying to medical school with AACOMAS.
The TMDAS (Texas Medical and Dental School Application Service) is the common application platform to all public allopathic and osteopathic, dental, and veterinary schools in Texas. There is some nuance within this so it is important to review the individual medical school admissions websites. One example of that nuance is that Baylor requires the TMDSAS for MD applicants but MD/PhD applicants are required to use the AMCAS application.
According to state law, medical and dental schools can only matriculate up to 10% non-Texas residents in their entering class. We recommend that you visit this website to understand your residency because it can affect your inclusion in the Texas Residents application pool. Additionally, TMDSAS has a Match program for Texas residents. Those who work for TMDSAS admit that this can be confusing for applicants, and advisors, so we encourage you to visit the TMDSAS Match website. There is a great video embedded in the website that will help you understand this process.
The TMDSAS has a flat fee to apply to all schools on their platform but there are no fee waivers. The application opens May 1 and closes on October 30. Each application can take 2-4 weeks to be processed and transmitted. Unlike AMCAS, the TMDSAS do not wait on supporting documents like test scores and transcripts to process your application.