Using AMCAS to apply to medical school – 2018

September 6, 2018

Article by Global Pre-Meds
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Introduction to AMCAS

AMCAS, or the American Medical College Application Service, is the AAMC’s centralized application processing service used by most US medical schools. You can register online to apply through AMCAS.

AMCAS admission requirements

To get into medical school, you must have exceptional grades. Here’s the average GPA scores from students admitted to medical school last year:

– Science – 3.64
– Non-science – 3.78
– Total – 3.70

Accepted students also achieved an average score of 508 in their MCAT. You can compare last year’s results with your own and find out if you’re in a good position to apply. Academic excellence is always expected, but you do have options if you have a below average GPA.
Having an undergraduate degree is also a requirement for medical school. It usually doesn’t matter which major you choose – pick the one which really interests you and shows off your strengths.

You need an outstanding academic record to get into medical school. Students are also expected to have strong personal qualities. AMCAS recommends you prepare by gaining clinical experience, attending career progression fairs and involving yourself in extracurricular activities.

The AMCAS deadline

There are 139 medical schools to choose from if you apply through AMCAS. Each has their own deadline – some as early as 15th October 2018. Make sure to check the deadline for your medical school of choice and get your application in on time. During their peak season (June-September), AMCAS can take up to six weeks to process your application. Your application will be returned if there are any mistakes. AMCAS will not make exceptions if you miss the deadline.

How much does applying through AMCAS cost?

The 2019 AMCAS application fee is $170. This is to apply to one medical school only. It’s an extra $39 per medical school if you apply to more than one.

Completing the AMCAS application form

There are nine sections to complete when applying through AMCAS:

Section One: Identifying Information
Include basic details about yourself, like your name and date of birth.

Section Two: Schools Attended
Provide information about the educational institutes you’ve attended.

Section Three: Biographic Information
Include your contact details, legal residency, ethnicity and race, citizenship, languages spoken, parents or legal guardians and any military service. If you have criminal convictions, felonies or misdemeanors, disclose these when applying through AMCAS.

Section Four: Coursework
Provide details of your grades and credits in chronological order. You need to submit at least one official transcript from each post-secondary institution you’ve attended, whether you earned credits or not. It’s strongly recommended you request personal copies of your transcripts in case AMCAS encounters any problems with your application. Issues with transcripts are the number one cause of delays and missed deadlines when applying through AMCAS.

Section Five: Work and Activities
Talk about your clinical experience, awards, honors, extracurricular activities or publications significant to medical schools.You can discuss up to 15 experiences. You also need to choose the most meaningful activity and will be given extra characters to explain why.

Section Six: Letters of Evaluation
Include details of who’ll write your letters of recommendation. You can submit a maximum of 10 letters of evaluation. The AMCAS Letter Service accepts three different styles: a committee letter, a letter packet or an individual letter. Each of these letter types are equal to one entry. The committee letter should be written by your pre-health advisor and will portray your institution’s evaluation of you. The letter packet is a set of letters also assembled by your institution, but does not include an evaluative letter from your pre-health committee. An individual letter is written by a single author. Don’t use an individual letter as a separate entry if you’ve already included this in your committee letter or letter packet.

Section Seven: Medical School Program Types
Enter the medical schools you’re applying to with the relevant program you wish to study. Some medical schools take part in the Early Decision Program. This means you can be offered guaranteed acceptance from one participating school, providing your application is fully completed by 1st August. You still have the opportunity to apply to other institutes alongside the Early Decision Program.

Section Eight: Essays
You must submit a personal statement when applying through AMCAS. You have 5,300 characters to write this. Don’t make reference to specific medical schools as your application will be viewed by all those you apply to. Use your personal statement to express why you want to work in medicine. Discuss unique challenges you’ve faced and how you’ve overcome them. You should also use this essay to explain any noteworthy fluctuations in your academic record. You can’t amend your personal statement once it’s submitted. Draft it first in text-only word processing software to avoid formatting problems. The AMCAS application form also has no spellcheck function so ensure to proofread before submitting.

Section Nine: Standardized Tests
Include your MCAT results. Most medical schools won’t accept MCAT scores which are more than three years old.

Once your AMCAS application is complete

When your form’s finished and fees are paid, your application will be processed.

Your transcripts and and coursework will be verified by AMCAS and sent to your designated medical schools. Your letters of evaluation will be delivered as soon as they’re received. MCAT scores will also be provided once they’re available.

Once your application status changes to ‘Complete,’ it means all the relevant information has been received. If you’re successful, you’ll be contacted by the school directly who usually request a secondary application then might invite you to an interview.

Schools Not Participating in AMCAS for Application to their MD Program

– Texas A&M University System Health Science Center College of Medicine
– Texas Tech University Health Science Center School of Medicine
– Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, El Paso, Paul L. Foster School of Medicine
– University of Texas Southwestern Medical School
– University of Texas Medical School at Galveston
– University of Texas School of Medicine at Houston
– University of Texas School of Medicine at San Antonio
– CUNY School of Medicine – The Sophie Davis Biomedical Education Program
Go to the Texas Medical and Dental Schools Application Service

You may be interested in what we do: Gap Medics provides opportunities for aspiring medical students to gain clinical shadowing experience. We offer placements both for pre-med university students and high school students aged 16 and over, in Europe and the Caribbean. Both programs are residential, and open to students from the United States and around the world. Check out the Gap Medics program here. Thank-you.