Applying Twice and Other Quirks of the Med School Admissions Process

The medical school admissions process is, well, quirky.

It also has three stages.

Stage One

The first stage is the preliminary application. Applicants complete the preliminary application through the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS). While most schools use the AMCAS for their preliminary application, there are a few schools that use a different preliminary application.

For instance, some schools in the University of Texas system use the Texas Medical and Dental Schools Application Service (the TMDAS). The preliminary application includes your MCAT scores, GPA, letters of recommendation, personal statement, and list of extracurricular activities. Medical school admissions are first-come, first-served (rolling admissions), so it's best to submit the application early — some time in June or July (the earliest date to submit forms is June 1).

Stage Two

The second stage is when the medical school admissions process begins to look different than the familiar undergraduate admissions process. For one thing, there is a second stage — a secondary application. If an applicant makes it through the preliminary application for a medical school, then the school will usually send the student a secondary application which is unique to that school.

Secondary applications generally include more personal information and essay questions. The second stage is also when you send colleges your transcripts and letters of recommendation.

Stage Three

Even after completing two applications and filling out countless forms, there's more to the process. The third stage of the medical school admissions process is the interview (or interviews — schools may have two interviews with either faculty members or medical students. After an applicant has succeeded in their preliminary and secondary application, medical schools will invite them to the school for an interview. The interview is a way for both you and the school to see if you are a good match for the school.

After some waiting (what admissions process would be complete without a painful waiting period?), you'll get a letter or an email telling you whether you were accepted, rejected, or wait-listed. Once you've head back from all the colleges, you make your decision (easier said than done, we know), and commit to a school (and decline other offers). The deadline to decide is May 15.

Find the medical schools that are good match for you with Noodle's medical school recommendation engine.