Each of the health professions has a Centralized Application Service (AMCAS, TMDSAS, etc.) used by most schools for the processing of preliminary applications. The most commonly utilized services for F&M students applying to health professions schools include:
U.S. Allopathic Medical Schools
Texas Medical and Dental Schools
U.S. Osteopathic Medical Schools
U.S. Veterinary Schools
U.S. Dental Schools
If you are applying for Fall 2015 you will complete the application marked “2015,” even though you are filling it out in 2014. The preliminary applications are dated according to intended year of matriculation.
The major goal of each “CAS” (AMCAS, etc) is to provide the participating schools with uniform, readable information on candidates. The largest sections of the application are Biographic Information, Activities/Work Experience, Personal Comments (often referred to as the “personal statement”), and Academic Record. The application guides on each website include very thorough instructions for these and all sections, so please read them. Traditionally, the first date for submitting AMCAS and most other U.S. applications has been June 1, although the date has been a few days later in recent years. The TMDSAS earliest submission date is usually at the beginning of May. The OMSAS submission date is mid-July. Check the CAS of interest to you to confirm the earliest possible date you can submit your preliminary application
The first sections of the CAS applications are straightforward. Answer the questions concisely and accurately. The two most commonly asked questions about these portions involve state residency and the activities/work experience:
Residency: As a full-time student you are generally considered a resident of the state where your parents reside. Your CAS will not consider you a resident of more than one state.
Activities/Work Experience: When you list your work experience, volunteer work, research, extracurricular activities, and honors on an online application, they will automatically fall into an order determined by the application service—usually chronological or reverse chronological order. Do not worry about this. When the schools download your application, they may select to have your experiences listed in some other manner, grouping your experiences as they see fit. This will mean that you have little control over what a school sees at the “top” of your application. Ultimately it is up to individual schools regarding the order and organization by which they will view your activities.
The Academic Record section is the most complicated part of the application. You are essentially transferring your academic work into standard application terminology. You will need a copy of your transcript(s) to complete this part. Follow the directions carefully. A few key points:
As you’re completing the application, one crucial step will be to fill out the request for your transcript to be mailed to the appropriate CAS. Be sure to use the Transcript Request Form (if AMCAS) or whatever official form your CAS has. If you are a junior or senior still enrolled, instruct the F&M Registrar to wait until spring semester courses are complete and those grades have been recorded. Be sure to contact any other schools where you have studied and have those transcripts sent as well—this includes pre-freshman college courses and programs. Allow plenty of time for transcripts to be sent.
Come to the “personal statement” info session for health professional school applicants that HPA will offer in April or May 2014. After preparing a draft or two, polish your personal statement and type it neatly within the space provided. Do not cut and paste it from Word, as some formatting may be lost—it really is easiest to type it a second time, after you’ve perfected it.
When you submit your application, be sure to designate the schools to which you plan to apply. You can add schools later, but be sure that the schools you list originally are ones in which you are really interested. After the centralized application service processes your application, they will make it available for your designated schools to download. When the schools receive your application, most will send you supplementary materials requesting recommendations and a fee.
A hard copy or emailed (.pdf or .cfm) version of your verified AMCAS, TMDSAS, AACOMAS, OMSAS, VMCAS, or AASDSAS 2014 must be submitted to our office by the end of the first week of July 2014. Your committee letter will not be finished and sent off until we have received this complete, verified copy. The CAS applications need to be done in full, including all of the academic record section and your list of designated schools. For AMCAS applicants: you will know that your application has been verified when you have been notified by AMCAS and also see a “Processed Date” listed in the upper right hand corner of your application. See your 2015 Applicant Checklist for a complete list of deadlines.
The charges for the various application services for processing application in the last cycle were as follows:
For first school: $160
For each additional school: $33
For first school: $75
For each additional school: $10
For first school: $175
For each additional school: $32
For first school: $150 for up to 18
For each additional school: $60
For each school: $238 for up to 15
For each additional school: $80
Fees may rise slightly from year to year. Fee waiver programs are available. Information about fee waivers are included in the CAS applications. If you are granted a fee waiver by a CAS, most of the participating schools will waive their own application fee as well.
Most schools have a “supplementary” or “secondary” application with additional essays and further questions. A few schools do a preliminary screening before sending you supplementary materials. Details of individual schools' procedures can be found in the admission requirements book for the health professional schools or sometimes on the schools’ websites. Secondary application essay questions are typically designed for schools to get a sense of you in ways not evident on the generic CAS application. Typical secondary questions include (but are not limited to), Why are you interested in our school? How do you feel you are a good fit for our school? What makes you unique? Do you have any unusual academic or non-academic experiences you’d like us to know about? How do you envision your life ten years from now? Inevitably, in answering these questions on secondaries, you will repeat some information that you already provided on the CAS application; however, try hard to offer new material, and consider well how and why a particular school made it onto your list.
For a complete overview of steps to remember in the application process, make sure you have a copy of our Applicant Checklist for 2015 handy.
Complete your centralized application service application and submit it online as close to the first possible date as you’re able. Submit the CAS application in June even if you are taking an MCAT, DAT, or GRE exam in June or July; waiting for your standardized test score is not recommended at this late hour, since it will delay your applications. You will receive email verification of its receipt at the CAS. Send HPA a copy of your CAS application by July 5.
Secondary applications can be very time-consuming to fill out, so allow enough time to return them promptly. We recommend returning secondaries within two weeks. They should be submitted well before any official deadline that the school has posted.