- Medical college application articles and resources
Important tips for navigating the AMCAS app.
If you are passionate about medicine, you may have decided that a medical career is right for you. Whether you want to become a family doctor or pursue a more specialized specialty such as orthopedics or gynecology, the first step in your journey is to attend medical school.
That means application throughAmerican Medical College Application Service, also known as AMCAS. AMCAS is used to apply to all allopathic medical schools in the United States except for Texas medical schools.
Offered by the Association of American Medical Colleges, AMCAS is a centralized application service used by nearly all medical students in the United States. In that sense, it's like the general application used by undergraduate courses. In addition to grades and test scores, you can expect to use AMCAS to submit your recommendations, personal statements, and other information to target colleges.
While AMCAS makes it easy to use in many schools, using this system can be challenging. If you want to ensure that medical schools receive all of their application components as early as possible in the application cycle (a goal for any medical applicant), it's a good idea to familiarize yourself with the application system early on. Continue reading our guide to successfully submitting your AMCAS application.
Follow the steps below to ensure you know what to expect when completing your AMCAS application.
Create your AMCAS account
The first step to applying to colleges through AMCAS is to create an account on the site. Start by clicking the blue AMCAS login tab on the right side of the page.
The website will ask you to create an account and choose a registration cycle. For example, if you want to apply in 2023, click on the words "Start enrollment in 2023". You must submit basic information at this point, including legal name, citizenship and date of birth. At this time you will also receive an AMCAS ID, which will serve as a signature for communication with the admissions offices of the medical school.
On the main screen you will see a checklist for the different components of your app.
Completing your identification information, schools attended and biographical information is very easy. In this section you indicate your country of residence. If you have an institutional, felony, arrest, or misdemeanor complaint, you must also fill out these sections very carefully. In the Bio section, you also select your race/ethnicity and whether you consider yourself disadvantaged.
Entering AMCAS course information
After creating an account, one of the first steps in the AMCAS application process is to enter your major. You must enter all university courses you have already completed, including all dual courses at high school.
AMCAS requires students to enter each class individually and grade accordingly based on subject area. In addition, students are asked to indicate which academic year they attended the course, with summer courses counting toward the following academic year.
AMCAS course rating
Proper ranking is important because AMCAS separates science courses from non-science courses when calculating GPA. AMCAS provides schools with a BCPM GPA (biology/chemistry/physics/math courses) and an AO GPA (all other courses) along with the full GPA score.
BCPM courses are listed below, but you should also consult the AMCAS course assessment guide. If you are unsure about a course's placement, you can check with your registrar, but AMCAS advises you to use the "best match" when deciding on a course's placement, particularly for interdisciplinary courses. All course names can be found in theofficial AMCAS course evaluation guide.
If you list your course on your AMCAS application, you must list it exactly as it is printed on the transcript itself. This is very important for verification purposes.
You must also send AMCAS an official transcript of all colleges you attended or attempted/completed, including college courses taken during high school. Schools must submit official transcripts directly. Both paper and electronic options are allowed; However, it is important to remember that paper transcripts are processed more slowly.
Related: AMCAS Verification Plan
Adding your AMCAS activities
After adding your course to the AMCAS application, you will need to provide information about your extracurricular experiences and work history.
You write about up to 15 experiences and identify three of those 15 experiences as “most important”. You select an experience type for each entry, and for each entry, you indicate the hours you have completed, whether the activity has been repeated, and whether there are estimated hours. See the images below for clarification.
Next, add an organization name and contact information.
Finally, for each experience you are allowed 700 characters with spaces to write a description and for each more significant experience you have an additional 1325 characters with spaces for explanation.
After you have "saved" the letter writer information, you will be prompted to create a letter request form. The form allows you to adapt your cover letter to your application and is very important. It also includes instructions on how to mail your letter.
You can print it out at any time. You have the opportunity to submit 10 applications, which you can assign to specific medical schools at your convenience. Please note that you cannot edit or remove sent letters. The app system also allows you to select which schools you would like your letters to be sent to by scrolling through a drop down menu.
Provision of AMCAS letters of recommendation
It's no secret that letters of recommendation play a key role in the decision about admission to medical school. While AMCAS does not require students to type letters before submitting their applications, it is best to start collecting these recommendations as soon as possible.
When you are finished, be sure to create a single AMCAS record for each letter or recommendation; this includes a packet of letters, a committee letter or an individual letter. Cards are not stacked if you are a new contestant.
Adding medical schools
On the next page you can add medical schools you want to apply to. Remember that you can add medical schools after submitting your application. You also determine which letters you want to send to which medical schools.
Enter your personal certificate from the medical faculty
Medical school applicants are also required to enter their personal declarations into the American Medical College's application service. Please note that AMCAS refers to this section as personal comments.
It is important to know that students applying for an MD PhD program are required to submit two additional essays called the MD PhD Essay and the Significant Research Experience Essay. Make sure you spend plenty of time writing your essay or essays as they represent one of the best college opportunities to understand your personality and passion for medicine.
Entry of standardized test results
One of the final components to be included in AMCAS is standardized test results. It is important to note that the MCAT automatically releases any tests you have scored on to the AMCAS. Because most medical schools require MCAT scores, you must take the exam within three years of enrolling in the programs.
If you are completing the AMCAS before taking the MCAT, simply indicate the date you would like to take the test. This lets the admissions committees know your results are coming in. You can also enter GRE, LSAT, and GMAT scores in the standardized test section if you want, but medical school admissions committees probably don't know how to score them.
What happens after you submit your application
Medical school applicants should be aware that not all information submitted on the AMCAS can be edited. For example, if you want to correct the name of a school or course, you must subsequently submit an Academic Change Request. You can find this form in the Quick Links section of the AMCAS main menu. You can also check the status of your document on this page.
Students should be aware that they must pay an application fee to allow AMCAS to process and review their application. This cost includes only one medical school. Applicants should expect to pay a separate fee for each additional school on their list. The good news is that there is a fee assistance program to help students who need financial assistance. Applicants who receive support receive an exemption valid for up to 16 medical schools and reduced application fees.
Checking the status of your AMCAS application
You can always go to the AMCAS main menu to check the Document Status field (see above) as well as the Request field to check the status of your application, print Transcription Request Forms and Letter Request Forms, print your application and view application history.
MedEdits helps students get admitted to medical school and residency programs. Our consultants have years of experience on medical school admissions committees and as faculty members at the top medical schools in the country.
Do you need help with your medical school application?
Schedule a free 15-minute consultation with a MedEdits expert.
make your appointment
JESSICA FREEDMAN, MD, a former medical school admissions and residency officerIcahn School of Medicine am Berg Sinai, is the Founder and President of MedEdits Medical Admissions and the author of three best-selling books on the medical admissions process, which you can find atAmazonas.