For most medical schools located in the United States and some in Canada, a primary application is required to begin the process of applying to medical school. Commonly referred to as the AMCAS (American Medical College Application Service) application for allopathic medical schools, AACOMAS (American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine Application Service) for osteopathic medical schools, and TMDSAS (Texas Medical & Dental Schools Application Service – Texas residents only) are an online application service whose function is to gather and package information on applicants and electronically forward to medical schools chosen by an applicant.
Primary Application (AMCAS or AACOMAS)
AMCAS applications are usually available online at the beginning of May every year. You will have the opportunity to begin completing your demographic information (place of birth, college attending, parent’s information, etc.) as well as typing in your personal statement. However, submission of your application cannot occur until typically the first week of June.
You will have the opportunity to indicate whether or not you identify yourself as a "disadvantaged" applicant. On your AMCAS application, you will be able to read their definition of "disadvantaged." If you feel that you have had to overcome adversity in your life due to economic, racial/ethnic, religious, gender, learning disability, immigrant, etc. issues in your life, you could consider checking this box. Should you identify yourself as a disadvantaged applicant, you will be provided the opportunity to explain why you are considering yourself disadvantaged.
Each medical school views a disadvantaged designation differently when evaluating your application but in general, it can provide a medical school with the context of your educational experiences.
Verifying an AMCAS application can take approximately 4-6 weeks and with most applicants submitting their application during the month of June, the process may take even longer. Because of this fact, it is imperative that as an applicant, you submit your primary application sooner than later (typically during the month of June). AMCAS begins processing your application once all materials are received.
Delays to the verification process can be a result of a number of different issues but usually, they seem to be limited to the fact that deadlines are missed, items such as transcripts are lost or missing or mistakes are made when completing the AMCAS application. With this in mind, be vigilant about double checking your application for any factual or grammatical mistakes before submission, confirm that you have compatible hardware/software and always respond immediately to any correspondence that you may receive from AMCAS.
Generally, it is a good idea to be in the United States during the application process so you can immediately attend to any problems that may occur. If you are travelling or are volunteering in a country where the internet connection or access to a phone is unreliable, you could be potentially placing yourself at a disadvantage in the admissions process.
(verification, deadlines, importance of applying early, etc.)