Applying to Medical School

10 Things to Know Before Applying to Texas Medical Schools

Applying to medical schools is attractive because tuition is cheaper, especially for Texas state residents, and you can potentially find out much earlier if you have been accepted or not. With that being said, here are 10 things to know before apply to Texas medical schools.

1. Must apply through TMDSAS

There are 10 Texas medical schools that you can apply for through the Texas Medical and Dental Schools Application Service (TMDSAS). In order to go to these schools, you have to apply through TMDSAS; you will not see these schools on AMCAS. The only Texas school that is on AMCAS is Baylor (which you cannot apply to through TMDSAS)

2. Earlier submission date

The earliest you can submit your AMCAS application is early June. However, the TMDSAS traditionally opens on May 1st. That means you need to get your application started early. It’s OK if you don’t turn it in on your first day because the TMDSAS requires you to enter your spring semester grades prior to submitting. The transcript that you submit must have your spring semester grades or else they will not accept it. So realistically, unless you already graduated from school, you are going to submit closer to mid or end of May.

3. Less than 10% of matriculants are from out-of-state

Out of the total TMDSAS applicant pool, 25% of applicants are not from Texas. However, only 5-10% of matriculants are from out-of-state This is not only because Texas medical schools favor Texas residents. Non-Texas residents generally apply through AMCAS and TMDSAS and matriculate at whatever school they feel is the strongest. Essentially this means that if you’re not from Texas, you better have a good reason why you’re applying to Texas schools to make the extra hassle worth it.

4. 300 characters for extracurricular activities

The works and activities section of the AMCAS allows for 700 characters for each entry and 1325 additional characters for your most significant activities. The TMDSAS in contrast only allows for 300 characters.

5. There are two additional essays (one is “optional”)

In addition to your personal statement, the TMDSAS requires two additional essay. One is the personal characteristics essay (2500 characters, including spaces) and one is the optional essay (2500 characters, including spaces). It is strongly recommended to do the optional essay.

6. There is a match process for Texas residents

Texas residents and non-joint degree applicants participate in a match with all the schools they interviewed at. During the pre-match period (November-December) offers of acceptance can be made to Texas. Applicants may hold multiple offers but then must rank their preferences by mid to late January. Then match results are announced early February. After the match results are announced, acceptances will offered as they occur.  The following rules apply to the TMDSAS match process:

  1. Applicants must rank all schools where they interviewed.
  2. If an applicant holds multiple offers prior to the match, after the match process that applicant will have only one offer.

By May 15 (April 15th for schools which begin prior to July 30th) applicants in the TMDSAS process must have made a decision about where to enroll otherwise an admission offer may be rescinded.

7. MCAT scores can be up to five years old

In AMCAS, MCAT scores can only be up to three years old.

8. You must release your MCAT scores to TMDSAS

In AMCAS the scores are automatically uploaded to the application.

9. Flat fee of $140

It doesn’t matter if you apply to one school or ten schools, the TMDSAS has a flat fee of $140 to apply.

10. Strict letter of recommendation rules

In AMCAS, you can submit many letters of recommendations (although it is not recommended to send more than 5). Through TMDSAS, you can submit three individual letters of evaluation or one Health Professions Committee Letter/Packet. You have the option to submit 1 extra letter on top of that.


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