Public university in the Midwest for 18 years running (U.S. News & World Report)
The application process, like being pre-med at Truman, is a journey. Care should be taken to plan your itinerary and identify the critical checkpoints and timelines. Many medical schools offer acceptance on a first-come, first-serve basis. Therefore, the sooner you complete and submit the application, the better your chances of being accepted. High quality applicants are often wait-listed because they did not complete the application process early enough in the application cycle.
It is absolutely essential that you identify and get to know your pre-med advisor, and that you keep up to date on deadlines and other information vital to completing the medical school application. Advisors often have insider information about specific medical schools and usually maintain helpful connections with area schools.
Both MD and DO programs have application services and they typically open in May of each year for matriculation the following year (apply June 2013 for Fall 2014 start date). Helpful instructional and guide books are available and you should definitely read through these before you begin the process:
Applications for American dental schools using the ADEA AADSAS site will begin on June 3, 2013.
You may wish to becomes ‘friends’ with AMCAS, Association of American Medical Colleges, and AACOM- The American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine on Facebook.
A sample of medical schools to which Truman students frequently apply or matriculate are shown below (however, Truman students are accepted overall to a wide variety of medical and osteopathic schools):
The Very First Thing to Do Is…
Read the Directions!! Regardless which type of medical education you seek, the application services (and schools which do not participate in the application services) have DIRECTIONS which must be followed to the letter. For example:
The earliest applicants often begin the application process after taking the MCAT during the spring semester of their junior year. Ideally, one should aim to have the online application(s) complete and ready to submit before June 1 of the year prior to desired matriculation into medical school. The most final drop-dead deadlines for most medical schools range from October 1 to December 15. However, given the rolling nature of most admissions programs, the sooner you submit the application, the sooner your application can be processed and decided. Some basic pre-med and application information from AAMC can be found here. A 2013 sample AMCAS application worksheet can be found here, however, at this time (March 2013), students should await and consult the newest application materials for the 2014 cycle.
Also, one must have completed all stated course requirements before applying to medical school. In general, you should complete all of the following before hitting the submit button on your AMCAS or AACOMAS application (some schools may have more course requirements, refer to the most recent MSAR):
Most schools require applicants to fill out an online application through either the AAMC website for allopathic schools or the AACOM website for osteopathic schools. For allopathic (MD) schools, the AMCAS application is used, while for osteopathic schools use the AACOMAS application. Other schools have their own application forms and websites.
Both AMCAS and AACOMAS serve to disseminate your information to schools that you specify. Schools interested in learning more about you will send out a secondary application after you complete either the AMCAS or AACOMAS. Thus, the sooner you complete the AMCAS or AACOMAS, the sooner you will be invited to complete the secondary applications and be accepted.
What should I include in my application?
The online portion of the application includes:
Note: MCAT scores are automatically released to AMCAS, but not to AACOMAS. You can release your scores to AACOMAS through the MCAT Testing History System. Most medical schools require that the MCAT be taken within the last 3 years.
How much does it cost?
Both application services charge on a per-school basis. There is a base charge for the first school plus an additional charge for each additional school. A discussion of fees can be found here for AMCAS. The fees for AACOMAS are similar, though slightly lower. In addition, there will be travel costs. Applicants should have access to a major credit card in order to make travel plans. Truman students have spent anywhere from $1000 to $5000 during the application process (about $1400 for 7 AMCAS schools).
How many schools should I consider?
With access to the Medical School Admission Requirements (MSAR®) at the AAMC website, students may research admission criteria and mission statements among many different medical schools. The range of academic credentials for entering students posted by each medical school should help direct you to apply to the most appropriate schools, given your academic history and professional interests. Many Truman students apply to 6-12 schools.
The personal statement is a great opportunity to distinguish yourself from the rest of the applicant pool. It is your chance to describe some of the events in your life that have shaped you and have given you the qualities that you possess. Although there are many ways to do this, many students relate their information through stories that illustrate their qualities and experiences. In other words, provide anecdotal evidence to paint a picture that allows the reader to draw conclusions about the type of person you are. Certainly tie in your motivations for becoming a physician and provide the evidence for why you think you are qualified. Most important, the personal statement should explain very clearly, succinctly, and uniquely, how you came to the conclusion that medical practice is the most logical and appropriate career path for you.
You may wish to purchase a book that contains personal statements from past medical school applicants in order to get a feel for what will be successful. This web link from AAMC addresses many concerns HERE.
The secondary application is sent out by schools after they have received your online AMCAS or AACOMAS application. One of the biggest pieces of advice that many students echo is to complete these secondary applications as quickly as possible. Your chances of getting an interview are much better if the ‘turn around time’ for returning the secondary application is minimal (within one week). Often, many of the questions are similar to what you might see on the initial application, with the addition of some specific questions about the school (e.g. what do you like about the school? Why do you want to attend that school?). A quick response will serve to emphasize your interest. Try to get them back in a few days or a week at the most.
This is the capstone of the application process. After receiving your secondary application, interested schools will notify you and usually allow you to choose from several interview dates. If possible, you should try to reserve the earliest spot when the school has not yet admitted many students (your chances of acceptance are better at this point). The purpose of the interview is for the admission panel to evaluate your character, personality, communication skills, and other attributes that may contribute to your success as a physician. Be yourself. Additional tips for success include:
Format of Interview Day
Much of this information can be credited to MedSchoolReady LLC, along with the AAMC and AACOM websites.
-J Lefler and C Cooper
"The atmosphere at Truman is warm. People here are friendly and are willing to help you whenever you need it. Also, there are plenty of organizations available to help international students to make new friends, understand new cultures, and enjoy life in America."
– Anh Duc Mai, Mathematics & Economics, Vietnam