• Applying to medical school can be daunting. You can reduce your stress and increase your chance of being accepted by learning the steps of the application process and developing an effective strategy to complete all of them on, or ahead of, time.
  • Medical schools use rolling admission systems, in which applicants who submit their materials first get the earliest interviews. The schools then select candidates for admission from those interviewed, and this process continues until their incoming classes are full. Many individuals are admitted to medical school before other applicants are even interviewed. Therefore, it is to your advantage to submit your application early. Do not decrease your chances by waiting to submit your application until just before a school's official deadline. This is often too late.

Primary Application

  • Applications to medical schools in the United States are commonly handled by a centralized application service. You submit a single copy of your application to the service. This is known as the "primary application". The major sections of the primary application include general information, your academic record, and your personal statement. The centralized application service ensures the application is complete and correct, and then distributes the verified application to the medical schools that you designate.
  • The American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS) (www.aamc.org/amcas) is the centralized application service for allopathic medical schools. The on-line application becomes available in early May.
  • The American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine Application Service (AACOMAS) (https://aacomas.aacom.org) is the centralized application service for osteopathic medical schools. The on-line application becomes available in early May.
  • You should plan to submit your centralized application as early as possible!

Secondary Applications

  • After receiving the primary application from AMCAS or AACOMAS, individual medical schools may then request additional materials from you. These additional materials are known as the "secondary application".
  • Secondary applications can vary significantly in their content, some consisting of a simple form to fill out, and others requiring answers to one or more essays.
  • Do not procrastinate in submitting your secondary applications! Like the primary application, timing is critical! It should be your goal to return your secondary applications a few days after you receive them.


  • The interview is a very important component of the medical school application process. Interviews are by invitation only. If you are invited to interview, it generally means that you have passed the first screening and are academically qualified to be admitted. However, medical schools cannot accept all those who are qualified, so admissions committees use the interview to take a further look at you and to determine if you have the personal qualities that the school is looking for in its students.
  • The key to a successful interview is preparation!  Do not go to an interview unprepared!  The interview will be a two-way street.  It is both a chance for the interviewer to evaluate you, and a chance for you to learn more about the school.  Your interview should be a conversation, during which you both answer and ask questions. Be sure to do at least one practice interview at the Center for Career Development.