The AMCAS, AACOMAS, and TMDSAS are considered the “primary” applications in the medical school application process. Each of these is a centralized processing service for allopathic, osteopathic, and the Texas public medical schools, respectively. Applicants submit their information to these services, which then verify the applications and transmit them to the medical schools selected. Applicants often ask me about the secondary process so I have provided information below to help clarify and explain how it works.
- Once the primary application is submitted it will go through a review process during which personnel will confirm that coursework and grades entered in the application are accurate.
- Depending on the time of submission the verification process can take less than one day (if one submits very early in the cycle) to as much as eight weeks at the height of the season (usually mid-to-late summer).
- Once the application has been verified it will be transmitted to the designated medical schools; shortly thereafter secondary applications will begin to be released to applicants, unless a school screens prior to sending a secondary. Most schools do not screen.
- For TMDSAS, the secondary applications are available at the same time as the primary application and it is an applicant’s responsibility to find these applications (links to them are available on the TMDSAS site) and submit them in a timely fashion (as early as possible!)
- DO schools generally release secondary applications after the primary has been verified and transmitted. For some schools you may have to go to their website to find the secondary application.
Generally speaking, for the MD and DO schools if more than 3-4 weeks pass after the application has been transmitted to the medical schools and you haven’t received a secondary it’s advisable to contact the school—but this is only true for schools which do not screen prior to sending the secondary application. DO schools screen applications before sending a secondary at a much higher rate than MD schools; the time it takes to receive a secondary from the DO schools is much greater than for MD schools.
For advice on writing secondary essays please see my other blog post or feel free to contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
–Liza Thompson, Expert Medical School Admissions Consulting