Deciding where to apply for medical school involves different processes and results in different consequences. How do you sort through them all?
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[00:30] AMCAS vs. AACOMS, vs.TMDSAS
If you’re applying to MD schools, you have to apply to AMCAS. If you’re applying to public schools in Texas, you have to TMDSAS.
For DO schools, you have to apply to AACOMAS. If you’re applying to DO public schools in Texas, you have to apply to TMDSAS.'There are three different application services that medical students in the United States use to apply to medical schools.'Click To Tweet
In Canada, they have one application service called the Ontario Medical School Application Service. And all the other schools are “free for all.”
Here in the U.S., it’s much more organized even though it can get very expensive because there are three of them.
Understand the differences between these three to make sure you maximize your chances of getting into medical school.
TMDSAS opens up in May and you can submit as soon as you can in May.
AACOMAS (DO schools) used to have the same dates as AMCAS (MD schools), which open in May. You can start filling out the information and couldn’t submit until the first week of June.
This has recently changed with AACOMAS since you can already submit as soon as you’re done filling it out. But nothing really happens until May-June.
AMCAS is still the same. It opens up in May and you start filling out information. And they accept submissions by the first week of June.
[03:10] The Application Structure: The Nuts and Bolts
All three services have a similar structure – demographic information, personal statement, grades, extracurriculars, schools you want to apply to. Outside of these, there are a lot of key differences.
[03:30] Personal Statement
For AMCAS, the personal statement is limited to 5,300 characters; for TMDSAS, 5,000 characters; and for AACOMAS, 4,500 characters.
It’s actually a big swing. If you’re only applying to AMCAS and TMDSAS, you have a 300-character count difference. And if you’re applying to AMCAS and AACOMAS, you have an 800-character count difference.'There is a big difference so you have to figure out where you want to start cutting out.'Click To Tweet
[04:10] Extra Curriculars
The AMCAS allows 700 characters for the main description; AACOMAS has 600 characters, and the TMDSAS allows 300 characters.'It's really hard to write really good, engaging extracurricular descriptions in 300 characters.'Click To Tweet
Unlike AMCAS and AACOMAS where you select the categories for each extracurricular that you put in, in TMDSAS, the categories are different sections. Then you fill in as many extracurriculars in each of those categories as you can. They also recommend that you repeat them if there is some overlap.
If you have an extracurricular that could be both shadowing and clinical experience, write both of them.
You can have a huge list for your extracurriculars on the TMDSAS. For AMCAS, 15 and AACOMAS has 15 as well.
With AMCAS, you can mark three of them as most meaningful. So aside from the 700 character count allowed for the main description, you can get an extra 1,325 as a separate essay. Not 2,025 combined, but a separate essay.
If you don’t have that many extracurriculars, you don’t have to fill them all out. And up to three of them can be marked as most meaningful.
They require two essays – one required, the other is optional. One of them is all about learning, the learning environment, and how you’re going to add to the learning environment of your classmates.'Almost everything optional through this process, you should consider as required.'Click To Tweet
The third essay is an optional essay where you can talk about things like obstacles you had to overcome – anything else that the application readers need to be aware of that you haven’t written anywhere else in your application. This is a good opportunity to spell out some red flags or some obstacles you had to overcome.
It’s considered optional by the TMDSAS but I recommend you don’t treat it as optional.
[07:35] Application Fees
Outside of those mentioned above, most would be the same. You have to pay for everything. For TMDSAS, you’re paying one fee for public Texas schools. For AMCAS and AACOMAS, it’s going to be a per-school basis. There’s usually a flat application fee and every school you apply to is an extra cost.
After that, there are still some big differences with the Texas application with their pre-match and match system as they go through the process.
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