Your application process should begin in the spring or early summer about a year before you plan to graduate, if you hope to graduate and continue directly into medical school. US medical schools admit students once a year, for fall; there are a few international programs that admit more often, or in January. Talk with your advisor about these programs if you're interested in a foreign medical school experience.
While each school's specific requirements vary, all US medical schools require the MCAT.
- The MCAT is administered in January, and April through September.
- Taking the exam by July will enable you to apply earlier. September is the last MCAT accepted by many schools for the following fall’s entering class.
- The MCAT is divided into four multiple choice sections:
- Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems
- Chemical and Physical Foundations of Living Systems
- Psychological, Social and Biological Foundations of Behavior
- Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills
- The exam may be repeated, but the best strategy is to take it once. Before re-taking, we strongly recommend you meet with an advisor.
- The PPA office tries to provide the latest information about the MCAT, as it becomes available to us, but you can also obtain the most updated information at AAMC MCAT Homepage.
Register for the MCAT Early! MCAT registration for January dates are usually available in October of the previous year. Registration for April-September dates are usually available in mid-February If you are trying to register for the MCAT on a published date and see no nearby seats, this will be because the seats have already been filled.
There are three possible centralized application services processing primary applications for US med schools. (There are a handful of private med schools which are not affiliated with any of these centralized services and require other applications. Information for those schools is available on each of their websites.)
- AMCAS Application
- AACOMAS Application
- TMDSAS Application for Texas state university affiliated programs
All the services “open” their online systems in early May to allow the building of applications. TMDSAS will allow you to submit your application right away. AMCAS and AACOMAS begin accepting submissions during the first week of June each year. Closing dates vary by service.
To help us advise future students as we have you, we ask that you please release your
information to the Health Professions Advisor when you fill out any of these applications.
This information will always be kept confidential.
Letters of Recommendation
Once any medical school receives your primary application through the application service, they will usually request supplementary material, including program-specific secondary applications and Letters of Recommendation, or LOR’s. Do not delay submitting your primary application while you wait for letters you have requested to arrive. Even though information is collected as part of the primary application, letters are part of the secondary processes. This leaves a small window of time for letters to arrive before your schools will look at them.
Application services do not “share” letters, so be sure to plan ahead regarding where your letters will need to go.
- Applicants who plan to apply only to AMCAS-affiliated MD med schools should take advantage of the AMCAS letter service, which is part of the AMCAS primary application online. This service allows up to 10 letters.
- Applicants planning to apply only to AACOMAS- affiliated DO med schools should take advantage of the AACOMAS Liaison system letter service, which is part of the online application. This service allows up to 6 letters.
- If you plan in advance to apply to more than one central application service (CAS) or to independent/ international medical programs, it is usually simplest to use Interfolio. Interfolio allows your letter writers to submit their letters online, and it then sends your letters to application services. For more information on how it works, click here.
No matter what med schools you plan to apply to, as a general rule we recommend students follow this list based on the UUSOM’s requirements, and at a minimum, plan to ask for a letter from the following selection of letter writers.
- 2 professors (at least one being a science professor, who has taught you in a traditional, lecture-based class, for a grade)
- A community service supervisor OR a patient care supervisor
- A research supervisor OR another additional supervisor, such as a job or a second community service /patient care supervisor, etc.