Allopathic and Osteopathic Medicine - Applying

Where to Apply ~ When to Apply ~ How to Apply ~ Tips and Procedures ~ What Happens Next

Where to Apply


MSAR online:



When choosing where to apply, you should:

  • Do independent research - there are various publications with information on medical schools. The most comprehensive and up-to-date information will be found in the Medical School Admission Requirements (MSAR-online) and the Osteopathic Medical College Information Book (on-line versions available).
  • Make an appointment with Susie Fang to discuss your options.

Depending on your state of residence and qualifications, you should choose between 15-25 schools. Of these schools, a few could be your very top choices (whether or not you think that you can get in); the bulk of the schools should be those for which you are qualified and have a good chance of getting in; and a few should be somewhat less selective schools. Remember, all of these schools are accredited, and will give you a strong medical education regardless their selectivity. There is no such thing as a "safety" medical school, since all are competitive to get into and the admissions process is organized differently at each institution as well. Below are some criteria you might consider when choosing schools:

  • Eliminate state schools: unless you are a resident of that state or unless the state takes at least 25 percent of its residents from out-of-state. Also, eliminate schools serving specials populations unless you are a member of that population.
  • Assess your GPA/MCAT score: focus on schools for which you are clearly qualified and that you are within their acceptance range.
  • Geographical Location: Which areas of the country are you willing to live in? Would you prefer to live in an urban region of the country?
  • Emphasis: Clinical vs. research? Range of clinical training opportunities available, e.g. public vs. private hospitals, size of hospitals, etc.
  • Size: Do you want a small school or a large university?
  • Academic Environment: Does the school have a reputation as a teaching institution? Does it have a traditional or innovative curriculum? How is the grading system? Do the students tend to be competitive or cooperative? Does the school have Problem Based Learning?
  • Reputation: Is the school known for being good in the program you want to go into?
  • Cost: How much is this going to cost you? How much are tuition and its associated fees? How expensive is the city—it is going to cost a lot to live there? Is financial aid available?
  • Diversity: What is the proportion of women, minorities at the school?
  • Housing: Is housing available on campus or are you responsible for finding housing somewhere in the community? Would you prefer to live on-campus or in your own housing?
  • Student Life: What types of extracurricular/social opportunities are available for students? What is the general student satisfaction with these programs?
  • Philosophy: Is the school osteopathic or allopathic in nature
  • Be open: You will be so busy during your medical training that you should be open to location. Remember, your professional connections for your eventual medical career will be established based on the location of your residency (specialty training) rather than where you attend medical school.

When choosing schools, it is useful to construct a table so you can evaluate how they compare with regard to these criteria.

When to Apply

Applying to medical school is a year long process. Applications become available in May, and schools begin accepting them in early June. It is recommended that you apply as soon as possible for the best chances at admission and financial aid. If you are applying through a centralized application service (AMCAS for MD, AACOMAS for DO), keep in mind that it can take several weeks for your application to be processed before it is transmitted to your schools.

We recommend that you start your applications in May so that you are ready to submit them as soon as application season opens in June. If you cannot submit your applications right away, we recommend that you complete them by late June or early July so that you take advantage of the rolling admissions process and have the best chances at scholarship money and financial aid. Even if you will not take the MCAT until later, it is important to file your application early.

How to Apply

Allopathic: Most U.S. allopathic medical schools use the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS). You can access their application online through their website.
You will send all of your application materials to AMCAS. These include:

  • AMCAS Web Application
  • AMCAS Application Fee
  • Transcripts
  • MCAT scores
  • Letters of Evaluation (processed letter packet by the Pre-Health Office or individually sent by letter writers)

Schools that do not participate in AMCAS:
If you are applying schools that do not use AMCAS or TMDSAS (Texas Schools), you will need to request individual applications and send all your application materials directly to the schools.

Osteopathic: Most U.S. osteopathic medical schools use the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine Application Service (AACOMAS). You can access their application online through their website.
When you apply, materials you will send to AACOMAS are:

  • AACCOMAS Web Application
  • AACOMAS Application Fee
  • Transcripts
  • Standardized Test Scores

Materials you will send directly to the school(s) are:

  • Letters of Evaluation (processed letter packet by the Pre-Health Office or individually sent by letter writers)

Schools that do not participate in AACOMAS are:

Tips and Procedures

Coursework: Make sure to check the admissions requirements of the schools you are considering. Occasionally, schools have requirements beyond the regular premedical course work. You can plan to take these courses during the application year.

Letters of Evaluation: You should have a minimum of four letters of recommendation and can have up to six. We advise that you request:

  • Two to three "Inside Letters" from Claremont College faculty (ask science faculty, thesis advisors, faculty you conducted research with,  first and then supplement with non-science faculty if you would like).
  • One to two letters from individuals outside the Claremont Colleges. Outside letters might be written by a doctor for whom you interned or volunteered, a previous supervisor/employer, or a researcher with whom you worked, other volunteer/service supervisor.
  • Meet with Susie Fang to discuss your potential letters and determine whether you will process a "committee letter packet" or "letter packet".
  • On your AMCAS/TMDSAS/AACOMAS application, you will have to indicate how your letters are being sent. Indicate that you have a Committee Letter or Letter Packet and enter Susie Fang as the "Primary Author/Contact". (This assumes that you have met all of your deadlines and have qualified for a committee letter or letter packet...otherwise each letter writer will be listed as an individual entry and will submit their own letter directly to AMCAS/AACOMAS)

Work and Activities Section: On your application, you will have a "work and activities section" where you can list your work, extracurriculars, honors, awards, publications, etc. Brief descriptions of each of your activities will be required - they do not need to be lengthy but make sure they are well written! (A maximum of 15 activities may be entered.)

Personal Statements: You will be asked to provide a "Personal Comments Essay" (5300 characters max or approximately one page for the AMCAS application and slightly smaller for the AACOMAS application).

If you are applying to and MD/PHD program, you will be asked to provide two additional essays, an "MD/PHD Essay" (3000 characters max or approximately 3/4 of a page) and a "Significant Research Experience Essay" (10,000 characters max or approximately two pages).

Use these essays as a means to distinguish yourself from other applicants. Consider and write them carefully; many admissions committees place significant weight on this section of your application. For ideas about essays, visit our Personal Statements/Essays page

What Happens Next?

Most schools will ask you to complete a secondary application (usually with little screening of your primary application so expect to receive many). Generally, you should start to receive secondary applications about a month to six weeks after you submit your primary application.

Secondary applications are not done through AMCAS and they vary from school to school—some are comprehensive, some are short. You will also have to pay another application fee (usually $50-$100). Try to fill out and return your secondary applications as soon as possible.

After review of your file, a school may ask you for an interview. Most schools begin interviewing in September and continue to interview until all their spaces are filled. (By March 15, medical schools are required to have made as many offers as they have places for in their entering class.)

Please inform us if you are interviewed or accepted to a health professions program/school. We track all of this data to better inform future applicants of where our students have had success.

Click on our Interview page to read general information about preparing for health school interviews.