**NOTE:  Below is a brief description of the AMCAS application process.  You should consult the instructional manual provided by AMCAS.


It will take several hours to complete the online application form.  It is best to complete it over time.  It can be started usually as soon as April.


1.      Identifying Information

a.     Fill in all identifying information exactly as it would appear on any official document.  Do not use your nickname/preferred name but your legal name.

2.     Schools attended

a.     List all Schools attended for undergraduate education even if you did not receive a degree from those schools. 

NOTE: In this section you can choose to allow your pre-med advisor to see your scores and application information.  It is completely your choice but it is often very helpful for your advisor to see your information.  Your information is held in very strict confidence.

3.     Biographic Information (address, citizenship, state of residence, parents, etc)

a.     Fill in all information exactly as it would appear on any official document

4.     Course Work

a.     Fill in ALL course work past, present and future.  Any coursework that you received undergraduate credit for must be listed.  For future classes, leave credit amount blank and grade blank.  It is understood that you may change your course schedule but you should still list classes you are planning to take.  You absolutely must insure that the course work list does include all medical school pre-requisites and that you do take these classes your final year.

b.     For Honors Courses, choose the Course Class that best fits the course.  For example, you could classify History and Philosophy of Science as “Philosophy (PHIL) or Science, Power and Diversity as “Behavioral and Social Science (BESS)”.   You can then list the Course Type as “Honors (H)”

5.     Work/activities (see screen print below)

You have 15 slots.  You should choose a variety of experience types that well represent who you are and how you have prepared yourself for medical school. It is best if you have ALREADY chosen the schools that you are going to apply to so that you can match your activities with their selection factors.  The selection factors can be found in the MSAR – a publication by the AAMC and also at the website for each individual school.  Put in the average hours per week and then in your experience description include the information about how many weeks you participated in that experience.  You have 700 characters for each activity.  You are allowed to mark up to three experiences as the most memorable.  You will then be given approx 1300 characters to describe these activities.  


In your explanations you should describe:

            1.  The nature of your involvement (intern, nurse’s aid, office aid, etc.)

            2.  Your duties/activities (washed glassware, took vital signs, filed charts, etc.)

            3.  Meaningful accomplishments and concepts you learned


It is expected that you will have more to say about your three most meaningful experiences but even for your other activities you should try to say a bit more about those experiences than just your activities.  For research experiences I suggest that you briefly state the hypothesis and give a brief description of methods, results and conclusion.


You should take as much care composing these short essays as you would your personal statement.  You should use concise sentences and follow all rules of grammar.



6.     Letters of Evaluation

a.     You need to speak to potential letter writers no later than about April of the application year.  Ask your letter writers if they would be willing to write a letter of evaluation for you in behalf of your application to medical school.  If they are willing to write such a letter, you MUST provide them with additional information about yourself so that they are prepared to write the best letter of recommendation. You need to look at the schools you are going to apply to and see what kind of letters you need and then approach potential writer.  When you have someone agree to write a letter, you should provide the information below in the form of a packet.

1.     The nature of the letter

·         In what capacity you want the letter to be written in.  Schools such as the University of Utah want letters from different individuals for example, they require a letter from your research mentor.  Let’s say that your research mentor is someone you have also taken a class from.  Make sure that this individual knows that you need them to address research in their letter as well as any other attribute they see fitting including your performance in class.  If they inadvertently left out the research element, University of Utah would mark that they are missing a letter, your file would be marked as incomplete and you would be rejected.

2.     A reminder of significant interactions between you and the letter writer.

·         If you took several classes from a faculty member, remind them of the classes that you took and the grade you received.  If that faculty member also made some remark on a class activity or a paper, you might also remind them that one of the most memorable experiences that you had in their class was when you did exceptionally well on X and they commented Y.  This is especially important if you took a class from that individual more than one year prior.  You could remind a M.D. that you shadowed that you spent several days with them for example and maybe they had commented on your professionalism. 

3.     A copy of your personal statement – even in rough draft form.

·         Letter writers can learn even more about your character sometimes from your personal statement or it may remind them about a particular characteristic that they would also like to highlight in their letter.

4.     A list of schools that you are applying to and a brief summary of the mission of the school and the selection criteria

·         Some schools are looking for very specific attributes.  If a letter writer can comment on an important attribute then that does help show that you are a good fit for that school.  This list could also help you and your letter writer have a meaningful conversation about if they are able to write a strong letter of evaluation.  If the letter writer cannot comment on any of the important attributes then it may be better to find another writer.  An example of how you might prepare such information for your writers is shown below.



academic readiness, relevant life experiences, personal qualities


Loma Linda

strong academics, foundation in human behavior, preference for 7th day Adventists and those with strong Christian principles, service oriented



Diversity in background, academic interest, goals. Admit students with ability to make significant contributions to medicine and demonstrated leadership



academic achievement, character, maturity and motivation



demonstrated motivation and strong character as demonstrated in statements and letters, academic strength, most likely to serve in underserved communities


U of Miami

Preparedness for study as evidenced by GPA and MCAT, diversity of life experiences, meaningful direct patient exposure, quality letters



Diverse student will become humane and competent physicians in community and world.  Must have high scholarship and leadership, strong motivation, experience in clinic



Interest in primary care and motivation to serve the underserved people of color and rural populations.  Consider many factors in application


U of Illinois

Selected applicants have best combination of academic, extracurricular achievement, maturity, integrity and motivation.


Rosalind Frankland Chicago

selected on various criteria and demonstrate ability to practice medicine



Evidence of academic excellence, mature motivation for medicine, altruism and character.  Premium placed on breadth and depth of academic and life experiences as well as clinical and research exposure.  Prefer applicants that go beyond the conventional premedical courses



evidence that student can handle academic demands, strong emphasis on humanistic concerns, unique experiences and demonstrated motivation for career including healthcare experience



b.     On the AMCAS form you will first be asked to choose between Committee Letter, Letter Packet or Individual Letter.  It is only in unique circumstances that you would choose a committee letter.  Since it must be written by your pre-professional health advisor, you MUST consult them if a school specifically requests a committee letter.  Since not all faculty have their letters ready at the same time, I would not choose Letter Packet.  The Westminster Career Center will put together the packet if you desire but it cannot be uploaded to AMCAS until all letter writers have given their letter to the center.  It is easiest to choose Individual Letter.  When the letter writer completes the letter, it can be immediately uploaded to AMCAS.  My suggestion is to set up a file with the career center.  You will then tell your letter writers to submit their letter to the career center.  You should provide writers not affiliated with Westminster with a stamped envelope with the address of the career center on the front.  You will then give the letter writer information to the career center.  This is a form letter that you print off from AMCAS after you have entered the letter writer information.


c.     Insert names of the faculty THAT YOU HAVE ALREADY ASKED to write letters for you.  You can have different faculty for different schools. 

NOTE:  IF you have very tech savvy or experienced letter writers, you can give them their letter writer form which will allow them to upload their letter themselves rather than go through the career center.  You could talk to your writers and ask them which would be more convenient for them either send their letter to the career center or upload the letter themselves.


7.     Medical Schools

a.     List all Medical Schools that you wish to apply to.  You should carefully choose the schools based on in-state/out of state percentages, average MCAT average GRE and selection criteria.


NOTE:  To choose these schools, you should consult your pre-med advisor AND also review details from the internet, the MSAR book that can be purchased from AAMCAS or from Baron’s Guide to Medical School that can be purchased from various other places.  It is impossible for the pre-med advisors to know everything about every school. 


8.     Personal Comments (5300 characters ~ 1 full page)

a.     See Personal Statement Document

9.     Standardized Tests (MCAT and other relevant exam like GRE)




Link to the Johns Hopkins University Office of Pre-professional Advising: Lots of good answers to FAQs