The Primary Application
To apply to most medical schools in the United States, the applicant initiates the process through the submission of one, centralized "primary" application that can be sent to multiple medical schools. The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) provides a centralized primary application called AMCAS that can be used to apply to allopathic (MD) schools. The American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) provides a primary application called AACOMAS that can be used to apply to osteopathic (DO) schools.
For the AMCAS and AACOMAS primary applications you will create a unique User Name and Password that will allow you to create your online application. You can log in, fill out part of the application, and save your changes before logging out. Most applicants spend several weeks working on the application, making sure that everything is accurate and complete. When you are satisfied with the application you submit it electronically and it is sent to AMCAS/AACOMAS for processing.
The AMCAS and AACOMAS online applications used to apply for the fall 2014 entering medical school class will be available at the following web addresses in early May 2013:
Before you start filling out the application, you will need to gather some documents. You will need copies of transcripts from all colleges and universities you have attended, even if you only took one course at the school. The application requires that you fill in complete information about every college course that you have taken, using the transcript of the original school where the credit was earned. If you already have a resume prepared, it will be helpful for filling out some parts of the application. Otherwise, you can just compile a list of your most significant activities.
Guides to completing the AMCAS application can be found on the AMCAS Resources page on the AMCAS website. The "AMCAS Instruction Book" provides detailed advice on filling out every section of the AMCAS application. Before starting, you may find it helpful to print out this Instruction Book and keep it in a file folder to use as a reference guide as you fill out the application. The application is complicated but most questions can be answered by referring to the appropriate sections listed in the table of contents in the Instruction Book.
A complete instruction book for the AACOMAS application is also available on the AACOMAS website.
In addition to completing the primary application, you need to order official transcripts from all colleges and universities you have attended to be sent to the application processing services (AMCAS/AACOMAS). The AMCAS and AACOMAS applications provide Transcript Request forms that you print off and submit to the registrar at each school you have attended in order to request that your transcripts be sent to the application processing service.
In addition, you will have to follow whatever procedures are required by the university from which you are ordering transcripts. Transcripts are processed by Student Central on Union at Indiana University Bloomington. Consult their website for information on ordering transcripts. If you attended another university in the past, go to that university's website for the registrar's office to find out their procedures for ordering transcripts.
After completing your primary application and submitting it you should periodically log on to the application website and monitor the status of your application to make sure that all transcripts are received and your application is processed.
The application processing services (AMCAS and AACOMAS) must receive all transcripts before they will process your application. They use the original transcript from each college you have attended to verify that you have entered all coursework accurately, so they will not process the application until all original transcripts are received. In essence, if you have not ordered your transcripts and have not checked to see if they have been received, then you have not completed your primary application.
For further information on how to fill out the various sections of the primary applications please consult the HPPLC publication A Guide for Applicants to Medical Schools and the instructions available on the primary application websites.
After you submit your primary application(s), you will need to complete "secondary" applications, which are the supplemental applications for individual medical schools.