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Medical School Application

To apply to medical school, you must determine if you plan to seek the Doctor of Allopathic (MD) or Doctor of Osteopathic (DO) medicine degree. See UC Merced Pre-health advising page for more information on MD vs. DO.

The Application Process

Preparing the application (4-6 months prior to submission).

  1. Research and have your school list ready (see AAMC guides on our Resources page).
  2. Research the application deadlines, application fees, what those who will be writing letters for you will need to know, testing requirements, etc.  
  3. Request your official transcripts from ALL colleges and universities attended - even for summer and online courses.  
  4. Begin to contact potential evaluators to request or confirm their participation.  
  5. Begin drafting your personal statement.
  6. Create an account through the AMCAS and/or the AACOMAS application portals.   
Primary Applications 

This is the initial application submitted through the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine Application Service (AACOMAS) and/or American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS). It consists of your personal information, schools attended, course work, transcripts, test scores, reference letters, school selected, statements and extracurriculars.  

Upon completion, the applicant may submit their application and wait as the verification process begins.  

Verification is the process that ensures all of your coursework is entered correctly and consistently. Additionally, during this process your GPAs are calculated and degrees are confirmed as awarded. If there are a significant number of mistakes, your applications will be returned to you for corrections. This process takes approximately 2 weeks to complete for the AACOMAS application, and 4-6 weeks for the AMCAS application.  

Secondary Applications 

Once your application in verified, it will be sent to the medical schools you are applying to, where the admissions committees will begin to review them. Some schools will send all of their applicants a secondary application. Other schools go through an initial screening process and screen based on GPA and MCAT scores to determine which applicants will be invited to submit a secondary application.  It is important to review the deadline given by the schools and submit within 1-2 weeks of receiving the secondary application.  

Secondary applications are focused on the interests of the school you are applying to.  It will consist of a variety of essays on topics such as: What are you interested in?;  Why are you interested in our medical school specifically?  What is a challenging situation you’ve had to overcome?;  What is a non-medical activity that has had a significant impact on you? You will find a good resource from Kaplan.

It is recommended to search for secondary applications essays from previous applicants from the school where you are applying. This gives you a sense of what the schools will ask. Most schools have fees to submit a secondary application. This can range from $30 to $250, depending on the school, so this can add up. Therefore, it is important to determine in advance if is this is a school of interest.


Successful applicants will be invited for interviews which begin around September and continue until February (occasionally March). Depending on the school there are different types of interviews that can be conducted:  

Traditional Interviews  

This is typically a one-on-one interview that can last 30-40 minutes. You can be interviewed by a faculty member, current student, or practicing physician. It can be open or closed, meaning the interviewer has already seen your application or has not seen it and knows nothing about you.    

Mini Multiple Interviews (MMI)  

MMI’s are new and unique amongst the types of medical school interviews. Interviewees undergo 6-10 interview stations that consist of different questions or scenarios. This is a very unique process and it is recommended that you learn more about it and prepare in advance .

Group Interviews  

Group interviews can be similar to traditional interviews, with similar questions asked by the interviewer. However, in this setting there are two or more other candidates present that will be asked questions at the same time.  

Virtual Interviews  

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, most medical schools began to conduct virtual interviews. However, this is not always a first option. Virtual interviews may differ from in-person, and it is advised to prepare for them.  

To learn more about interview styles, tips, and advice visit these links:  

How to Ace Medical School Interviews 

AAMC Medical School Interviews 

Tips for Virtual Interviewers

UC Merced Center for Career & Professional Advancement