What are medical schools looking for?
When should I apply to medical school?
You should apply to medical school when you feel that your application is fully complete, and are confident in your academics, volunteering, and research. If you plan to attend medical school immediately after graduation, you would apply in June after your junior year in undergrad.
When should I submit my application?
APPLY AS EARLY AS POSSIBLE! Applications usually open around June 1st and that is the date that you should aim for. Being in the early application pool not only increases your chances of getting in, but is also less emotionally taxing.
Where can I get an application?
You can access the AMCAS application through the AAMC Website at http://www.aamc.org/students/amcas/start.htm and the AACOMAS application at https://aacom.org.
Do medical schools look down on people who don't go directly to medical school from undergrad?
Not at all! In fact, the average age of people starting medical school is 24. Taking time off not only gives you room to strengthen your medical application, but also to decide if medicine is for you. It allows many applicants to work on the areas of their applications that are weak and may also provide the chance to do interesting things, like research, teaching, travel or community service. All of C.O.D.E. Med’s founders are non-traditional applicants.
How does the application process work?
You want to submit your AMCAS application as early as possible, in June. In addition, you should have all your transcripts sent to AMCAS before submitting your application. Your application is not considered “complete” until you have your MCAT scores, transcripts, and recommendation letters in. Once you submit, your application will take anywhere from 2-6 weeks to get verified. Once verified, most schools will automatically send you a secondary application, which should be completed and sent back within 2 weeks. There are some schools however that filter out applications and only send secondaries to applicants who make it through an initial cut, determined by GPA and MCAT scores. Once schools have received your secondary application, MCAT scores, and recommendation letters, they will evaluate your application and decide whether to invite you for an interview. If granted an interview, they will decide to accept, reject, or put you on a wait list. The timeline of the entire process varies depending on when you decide to submit your initial application.
How much does it cost to apply?
Applying to medical school can be very expensive. AMCAS charges about $170 for the first school and $41 for each additional school that you apply to which is only for the primary application. Secondary applications from each individual school can cost anywhere from $30-$250. However, there is a Fee Assistance Program available which reduces many of these costs. Find out more about the fee assistance program, when to apply, and all that it has to offer here: https://students-residents.aamc.org/applying-medical-school/article/what-are-benefits-fee-assistance-program/
When should I take the MCAT?
Since it is encouraged that you apply as early as possible, you should aim to take the test no later than May of the year that you are applying. However, taking an earlier test may give you more opportunity to retake it, if you need to. You can register for the MCAT here: https://students-residents.aamc.org/applying-medical-school/taking-mcat-exam/register-mcat-exam/
When will I find out whether I got in?
The earliest date you can get an acceptance is October 15. The latest is the first day of classes.
What transcripts are required and when should they be sent?
You have to submit transcripts from ALL colleges and universities that you've attended, including those you attended in high school or during the summer if you attended a college or university other than the one you currently attend. If you studied abroad, you must also request a transcript from the American college that sponsored your program. Each institution may have a different process that they use to transmit your transcripts, so make sure that you research each. Your application is not considered complete until they have all your transcripts. Therefore, we at C.O.D.E. Med suggests that you start requesting them in April. However, if you are a current student, it is best to wait for your spring semester grades to be on your transcript before having it sent.
How should I choose schools to apply to?
Most students apply to about 15-20 schools. Deciding on which schools you choose should directly reflect your passions and preferences. For example, you may want to focus on research, live in an urban setting, or desire to be a part of a smaller medical school class. These factors will help drive your decision. You want to also apply to a mix of schools where you are likely to be a very strong candidate, schools where it may be somewhat of a reach, and some of your “dream” schools. An online tool called Medical School Admission Requirements publication (MSAR) from the AAMC, which costs $28 or is free with the Fee Assistance Program (FAP), has the most accurate information on each medical school in the U.S.. Using it to compare your values, reading about the description of each medical school, looking at the GPAs and MCAT scores of the most recent accepted class, are all tools that could help you create your list of schools. It is probably a good idea to apply to the schools in your home state, and shy away from schools in other states that accept few out-of-staters.
What are AMCAS and AACOMAS?
AMCAS is the application service that you will use to apply to almost all U.S. allopathic (M.D.) medical schools. Texas state schools have their own application process called TMDSAS. AACOMAS is a similar service that is used for most of the osteopathic (D.O.) medical schools.
What is the difference between Allopathic (M.D.) and Osteopathic (D.O.) Medicine?
Osteopathy is a branch of medicine focusing on healing the whole person, and using physical manipulation as a form to diagnose and treat patients. Most osteopathic physicians are in primary care, however, every medical specialty is available. Allopathic Medicine is the traditional route that most people think of when it comes to being a physician. Allopathic Medicine focuses on the treatment symptoms and diseases using drugs, radiation, or surgery.
Whom should I ask for letters of recommendation?
C.O.D.E. Med recommends obtaining at least 5 to 6 letters of recommendation. It is best to ask professors from courses that you've done very well in (B+ or higher). You would need at least 2 letters from science professors , at least one non-science letter, and if possible, letters from volunteering, shadowing, or research experiences. Letters should not come from family or friends. If you feel that a faculty member has any dissatisfaction with your work or behavior, you may not want to ask them for a letter. Recommendation letters are usually sent to the medical schools via a secure service provided by AAMC, TMDSAS, or AACOMAS. Another option is to use Interfolio.com, which allows you to keep recommendation letters even after your application is submitted.