In the 2018-2019 application cycle, AMCAS opens May 2 for applicants to start entering information; submissions begin on May 31st. AMCAS will not transmit any applications to the medical schools until June 29th.
Before the application opens you will hopefully have written your personal statement and activity descriptions. For guidance please refer to my other blog posts on those aspects of the application. As you gear up for the application cycle, here’s a checklist of tasks to complete once you start your AMCAS application:
- When the application opens enter your biographical, school, and letter data immediately; this will allow you to generate a Transcript Request Form (TRF) and Letter Request Form (LRF).
- Send the TRF to the registrar’s office of all schools attended; transcript delays are the #1 processing problem for AMCAS applications. Ensure that you request your transcripts early, just in case problems arise, so you have time to sort them out.
- Give or send the LRF to those who will write letters on your behalf; if using the AMCAS Letter Writer Application, your letter writers will need the AAMC Letter ID on this form, in addition to your AAMC ID.
- Follow the guidelines provided by your undergraduate premed advising office in regard to the letter process (if you are still a college student or if you’re a nontraditional or post-bac student with access to institutional advising). For example, if your college/university provides a committee letter, you may only have to send one copy of the LRF to your premed advisor. Circumstances will vary according to applicants’ individual situations.
- Alternatively, you can use Interfolio to gather and disseminate your letters to AMCAS (this is for applicants who do not have a committee letter process in place at their school).
- Working directly from your college transcript/s, enter course information EXACTLY as it appears. Individuals at AMCAS will verify the course data you enter against the physical transcript for accuracy. The two should match. AMCAS will also convert the credits earned into a uniform system so that course credits can be compared at one institution vs. another; this makes it easy for medical schools to compare applicants’ course loads, apples to apples.
- Enter your activity descriptions into the AMCAS application. These are important and perused carefully by the medical schools. Take the time necessary to hone your descriptions. Remember to give both information and reflection, where appropriate.
- Enter your personal statement into the application. Put in the time necessary to write a statement that makes you shine. Seek out input/assistance from people who have experience reading statements. Remember: this is your chance to present yourself, your motivation for a career in medicine, and your future goals. Be convincing!
- Assemble a thoughtful and comprehensive list of medical schools to which you will apply. This is a tactical exercise: you should have a range of schools on your list.
- Submit early in the cycle. Please see my other blog post on the importance of submitting an early application.
- Early is good but don’t rush and make mistakes. Be careful in your preparation and proofread, proofread, proofread. A perfect application is better than a rushed application.
- Good luck!
Feel free to email me with questions about your particular situation at firstname.lastname@example.org.
–Liza Thompson, Expert Medical School Admissions Consulting