9 Things to Do Before Applying to Medical School

Think about including these steps in your path to medical school:
1. Work or volunteer in the medical field. Working or volunteering in a health care-related environment or organization will not only enhance your medical school application, it will benefit you. It’s a chance to see if you enjoy working in the health or medical field, network with like-minded peers, take on increased responsibility and leadership roles, and build your resume.
Consider internships and research opportunities at health care facilities or research institutions in your local community. Shadowing a doctor or health professional is another good way to find out if a career in medicine is right for you. Research and leadership positions on campus are also a great way to build your application and test out this career path.
Get Medical Experience
2. Meet with a pre-health advisor. The pre-health advisor at your school can be a valuable resource and strategic partner during your application process.
Advisors can help you plan your course schedule to make sure you complete required pre-medical coursework and other degree requirements, and help identify the best time for you to take the MCAT® exam.
Advisors can help you create an application timeline strategy, whether it’s for immediately after undergraduate graduation or during one or more gap years. Remember, if you’ve graduated, reach out to the advisor at your alma matter—they can help you even if you’re not a current student. If you don’t have a pre-health advisor, visit to find one in your area.
Advisors are often integral to the letters of evaluation process, especially if your school sends committee letters in support of your application. Introduce yourself to the advisor at your school, and build a relationship with that person.
Partnering with your Pre-health Advisor
3. See if you are eligible for the Fee Assistance Program. Applying to medical school—the exams, preparation materials, application fees, and travel—can be expensive. The AAMC Fee Assistance Program assists those who, without financial assistance, would be unable to take the MCAT exam or apply to medical schools that use the AMCAS application.
Fee Assistance Program Eligibility
If you are not eligible for the Fee Assistance Program, check out the AAMC’s Financial Information, Resources, Services, and Tools (FIRST) program for financial planning guidance.
Financial Aid Survival Kit for Applicants
4. Familiarize yourself with the applications. Most MD programs use the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS®) which is hosted by the AAMC. AMCAS is a centralized application service that allows you to submit one application and send it to as many participating schools as you wish.
More about the AMCAS Application
If you want to apply to a public, MD program in Texas, you’ll use the Texas Medical and Dental Schools Application Service (TMDSAS®).
More about the TMDSAS Application
5. Take the MCAT exam. Register for the MCAT exam when you’ve completed the coursework covered by the exam and feel prepared. While there is no one way to prepare for the MCAT exam, making sure you give yourself adequate time to prepare is critical. The AAMC’s free or low-cost preparation materials can help you be better prepared and do well on the exam.
Prepare for the MCAT Exam
6. Do your research: compare medial schools and programs. The Medical School Admissions Requirements website is a powerful online database that allows you to easily browse, search, sort, and compare data on U.S. and Canadian medical schools and BS/MD programs. You can view the curricula, program offerings, statistics about entering classes, mission statements, and more about each medical school.
Preview the Medical School Admissions Requirements
7. Pick the schools where you will apply. There’s a saying, “If you’ve seen one medical school, you’ve seen one medical school,” which means all medical schools are unique. Deciding which medical schools to apply to is a very personal decision, and should be based on your professional goals and interests.
How to Decide Where to Apply
8. Practice for the medical school interview. Practice makes perfect, especially in a situation that can be intimidating. Before interviewing, thoroughly research the school and program, conduct mock interviews with an advisor or peer, and prepare a list of good questions to ask. The interview is your chance to demonstrate important qualities such as empathy, self-awareness, communication and interpersonal skills.
Tips for the Medical School Interview
9. Get excited! Applying to medical school is a long, but worthwhile process. The AAMC is here to help you during every step with tools, information, and resources.

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