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There are two main application services used for US medical schools. The AMCAS application is used to apply to most allopathic (MD) medical schools, with a few exceptions (see below), and the AACOMAS application is used for all osteopathic (DO) medical schools. Application to Podiatry schools is also centralized through the AACPMAS application.

All Caribbean medical schools and most international medical schools accept only individual applications, which can be found online at each school's website. So, you will need to visit their websites for application information. You can find information (and links) about all US and Caribbean medical schools as well as some additional international medical schools in the Medical School Statistics section.

Interestingly, most medical schools do not use the information submitted through the AMCAS or AACOMAS application to screen applicants. Instead, most of the applicants are sent secondary applications which have to be returned with another non-refundable application fee, ranging from $30 to $100 per medical school.

How many schools should you apply to?

Some statistic shows that, on average, you have to apply to 14 schools to gain successful admission to medical school. Having said that, I know some people who only applied to one medical school and got in. I also heard about one applicant who applied to 50 medical schools and received only one offer. Also note that some applicants apply and don't receive any offers. Often, it takes one or more re-application attempts over several years to finally gain admission to medical school.

Typically, if you are an average applicant, applying to around 12-15 medical schools is probably about right. If you are a very strong applicant, applying to 3-5 medical schools may be sufficient. If you are a weaker than average applicant, you may want to apply to 20 schools or more.

Error on the safe side. Apply to more schools than you need rather than not enough.
Sitting around for a year is no fun! You could be studying medicine! So, make sure you get in!

What schools to apply to

Read all about school considerations and decide what is most important to you, or what at which types of schools you may be competitive.

Allopathic (MD) and osteopathic (DO) school applications

The AMCAS application for allopathic (MD) and the AACOMAS application for osteopathic (DO) schools are quite lengthy and require some time and effort to complete. Don't think you can finish them in one day. But, you probably won't need weeks, either.

As already mentioned in the
Early early Application section, you should have your application ready for submission within a week or so after receiving your MCAT scores, if you took the April MCAT. If you took the August MCAT, you don't want to wait until you have your MCAT scores back. You need to submit your applications during the summer, before or after you take the August MCAT. Just realize that most schools will not even look at your application further until the MCAT scores are received. When you receive your scores, they are released to the medical schools you have applied to. The schools then complete your file and make decisions about extending interview invitations.

If you have not received your August MCAT scores by the time you apply, you obviously cannot easily determine how competitive your overall application will be fore sure. This makes it harder to decide which medical school to apply to.

Both (AMCAS and AACOMAS) applications ask you for the following information:

1. Personal, contact and biographical information
2. Education background including high school and all colleges/universities, degrees, etc.
3. All college courses ever completed by type, course number, name, grade earned
4. Any special tests completed with scores (MCAT, SAT, ACT and others if applicable)
5. Experiences, including work, extra-curricular activities (more about extra-curricular activities)
6. Personal Statement/Comment (more about the personal statement)
7. List of schools you wish to apply to (view a complete list of schools)

Note also that the MCAT scores are automatically released to AMCAS (for MD schools, but not to AACOMAS (for DO schools). You have to actually release your MCAT scores to AACOMAS on the MCAT Testing History System if you are applying to osteopathic (DO) schools. Also, you will need to have all of your transcripts from any college or university ever attended sent directly to AMCAS and AACOMAS for verification of your coursework.

If you fill out the AMCAS application (MD) first, then the AACOMAS application (DO) is easier to fill out since the latter requires shorter answers and explanations on everything, including the personal statement. So, I would recommend starting with the AMCAS application (print it out), then fill in the AACOMAS application if you plan to apply to both MD and DO schools.

Once last bit of advice about the applications:
Check everything for spelling, grammatical and other errors and mistakes, especially the personal statement, which is part of the application.

Here are links to the AMCAS application and the AACOMAS application.

Allopathic (MD) schools not participating with AMCAS

These schools include all the public Texas medical schools and a couple more, for a total or 8 medical schools. The Texas medical schools use their own centralized application, the Texas Medical and Dental School Application Service (TMDSAS). The other schools require direct submission of an application to the individual school.

The following allopathic medical schools are not participating with AMCAS:

1. University of Missouri - Kansas City School of Medicine
2. University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences
3. Texas A & M University System Health Science Center College of Medicine
4. Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Medicine
5. University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston
6. University of Texas Medical School at Houston
7. University of Texas Medical School at San Antonio
8. University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas Southwestern Medical School

Cost of Applications

Everything costs money. This is no different when you apply to medical school. AMCAS and AACOMAS both charge money per medical school you wish to have your application forwarded to. There is a base fee for the first school and then you are charged an additional amount for each additional school. It seems like applying to about 12 allopathic schools was around $500 - $600 or so in 2005. Fees for osteopathic schools were similar, but a little lower.

Both application services have "fee assistance programs" that you may be able to qualify for. Here are links to the AMCAS fee assistance program and the AACOMAS Fee Waiver. It may be worth a try, but you have to show that you meet some very specific conditions to qualify - and qualifying for these fee waivers is very hard.

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