Skip to content

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the qualifications to apply to medical school and how do I apply?

Click here to view the qualifications to apply to medical school. 

What do medical schools look for in applicants?

Medical Schools are looking for unique individuals that align with their mission statement and, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), exhibit the 15 Core Competencies for Entering Medical Students. It is recommended to create a school list and review the mission statements of each school you plan to apply to.

Since this is a competitive process, how can an applicant stand out when applying to medical school?

AAMC has a section on their website with detailed answers to that question -  Ask the Experts: Create a Winning Application. We suggest that you review this page with particular attention to the first question: When applying to medical school, what are the first few things that catch the admissions committee's eyes and help me stand out?

Sunny Gibson and Brenda Lee, from two university affiliates of the AAMC, were asked to address this question. See their responses below:

Sunny Gibson

Medical schools vary in the characteristics and experiences they are looking for in students. Many of these aspects are driven by the mission of the institution, which you can usually find on their Web site or brochure. What stands out is slightly different at each school.

Keep in mind that applicants generally have some flavor of the following in their applications: community service, research experience and/or publications, leadership experiences, medical exposure (shadowing or work-related), and extracurricular activities. Most applicants have a strong academic profile as well, which also varies by school as well in terms of what they require, with significant coursework in the sciences (regardless of major).

So if you want to stand out, think about what is in your application that isn't likely to be in anyone else's application. If your entire application is focused on the aforementioned experiences and doesn't include anything that is unique to you, it is less likely to stand out.

For example, I worked with a non-traditional woman student who played professional women's basketball in Denmark for four years. Less global, but also interesting and unique was a student who had volunteered for two years on a political action committee to elect a senator. Of course, these experiences came with insight and reflection that gave them depth and helped them stand out further.

Brenda Lee

Over and above academic credentials that bode well for success at a given institution, admissions committees look with enthusiasm at candidates who bring a unique perspective to the school. The unique perspective can be related to achievement against significant odds, distinguished achievement or service, outstanding talents (athletic, artistic, research, etc), and a well-articulated vision and history of making a difference in the lives of marginalized and/or underserved populations.


When am I ready to apply to medical school?

This strongly depends on the individual; you should apply when you feel academically and mentally ready. The medical school application process is daunting and costly. You should not apply without a plan and preparation. Factors to consider if you are ready are: academics, test scores, finances, mental state, and support system.  Evaluating these factors will help you make  a decision. You should speak with your academic advisor and/or mentor to help with this process. 

How soon should I begin to prepare for the application process?

Preparing to submit an application has two components: 1) The activities and coursework during the undergraduate years and 2) completing the application. If you are planning to enter medical school directly after completing your undergraduate degree click here

When should I start the medical school application?

You should begin the application in the spring in order to start medical school in the fall of the following year. For example, if you plan to start medical school in the fall of 2023, you should apply in spring of 2022. AMCAS accepts applications from May through September. You should plan to submit your application as early as possible.

**If you plan to apply to a public medical school in Texas, there is a different process. Of the twelve allopathic and osteopathic schools in Texas only Baylor College of Medicine requires the AMCAS application. Please consult to learn more about the application process. A list of schools which require TMDAS can be found at

You should be aware that Texas public medical schools typically only accept 10% of out-of-state applicants. 


How do I know my application is ready for submission?

You should review your application, especially essays and your personal statement, with your pre-health advisor, mentor or someone who is familiar with the process. 

According to the AAMC, you can submit as soon as you have completed all sections of the AMCAS application and you have carefully reviewed your information for errors. To meet an application deadline, your application must be submitted (not processed or verified) by 11:59 p.m. eastern time on the date specified.

What Medical Schools should I apply to?

It is recommended that future applicants make a list of schools that they are interested in and review the school's website. Upon reviewing the mission statements, locations, requirements, and other factors that pertain to you, a decision can be reached about which schools you should apply to. Click here for AAMC's suggestions about deciding on a school.