In an effort to ease the challenges of applying to medical school, several application services have been created to allow applicants to submit just one primary application, regardless of the number of medical schools to which they apply. The most widely used, the American Medical College Application Service® (AMCAS®), was created by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). Most Doctor of Medicine (MD) programs in the United States use AMCAS as the primary application method for entering classes. For students interested in osteopathic medical programs, the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) created the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine Application Service (AACOMAS). And for students interested in attending a public medical school in the state of Texas, the University of Texas System worked with the Texas Health Education Service to develop the Texas Medical and Dental Schools Application Service (TMDSAS).
Because all three application services deliver the required medical school application materials and information, all three are accepted by the American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine (AUC), which is an MD program located on the Caribbean island of St. Maarten.
The AMCAS Applicant Guide provides a thorough account of the entire AMCAS medical school application process, but we’ll go through some highlights here. Applying with AMCAS includes:
- Submitting an online AMCAS application
- Paying necessary fees
- AMCAS receives school transcripts
- Coursework is verified
- AMCAS GPA is calculated
- Applications are sent to designated medical schools
- Letters of evaluation are delivered as they are received
- Medical College Admission Test® (MCAT®) scores are delivered as they are received
Students should make sure that all information on their AMCAS application is complete and correct. After submission, only certain changes can be made. Each applicant should also monitor their AAMC med school application after it has been submitted. Even if all necessary information is included, the application process can take as long as eight weeks. Applicants should keep track of their AAMC application throughout the process.
Students should remember that AMCAS is not a free service. Applicants pay a flat fee for the AMCAS application and the first medical school designation. Applicants then pay a fee for each additional medical school to which they apply. The AAMC Fee Assistance Program (FAP) may help qualifying applicants with these costs.
Applying through AACOMAS is very similar to AMCAS, but it is geared toward osteopathic medical programs. Check out the AACOMAS Quick Start Guide for recommendations on when to get started, application fees and waivers, and help with such things as personal statements, official transcripts, letters of evaluation, and keeping track of your application after it is submitted. Students who are applying or have applied to osteopathic programs may also submit their AACOMAS application to the MD program at AUC.
TMDSAS is meant for public medical schools in the state of Texas, but the application process is basically the same as AMCAS and AACOMAS. The TMDSAS Application Handbook has all the details and more. Students applying to medical programs in Texas may also use TMDSAS to apply to AUC.
Students should note that application service deadlines are unique to each medical school. Usually, students can access their AMCAS, AACOMAS, or TMDSAS applications beginning the first week of May and then start submitting in June for the following year’s autumn medical school class. Because AUC has three start dates per year (January, May, and September), there are no application deadlines, but applicants must choose a preferred starting date.
Students should also note that AMCAS, AACOMAS, and TMDSAS are only primary applications. Secondary applications, or school-specific applications, accompany most primary applications. At AUC, students may apply through an application service, but it is not a requirement. Students may also apply directly through the AUC application.
Before beginning any medical school application, students should review AUC’s full list of medical school admission requirements. There is a lot to be done, so it’s best to start early. Students should do the research, put together the materials, and when they have it all together, start on the application. It may be the first step toward a medical career.