Part 1: Introduction
We understand that applying to Texas medical schools can seem like an overwhelming process. However, by understanding more about the application systems, you will realize that applying successfully is not as difficult as it seems. The majority of medical schools in Texas participate in TMDSAS (Texas Medical and Dental Schools Application Service) which is the common medical school application for all state funded medical schools in Texas. However, if you plan on applying to medical schools in Texas, it is likely that you will also apply through at least one other medical school application system depending on how many medical schools you plan on applying to. One Texas allopathic medical school and one Texas osteopathic medical school participates in AMCAS (American Medical College Application Service) and one Texas osteopathic medical school participates in AACOMAS (American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine Application Service). The focus of this article will be on TMDSAS. Note that there were some changes to the TMDSAS 2019/2020 application that are in red.
Which medical school participate in TMDSAS? Below are medical schools listed by type (allopathic or osteopathic) and the application service in which the schools participate.
Part 2: Allopathic Medical Schools in Texas that participate in TMDSAS
- McGovern Medical School (Houston)
- Texas A&M University College of Medicine
- Foster School of Medicine Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
- Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Medicine
- Long Medical School (San Antonio)
- University of Texas at Austin Dell Medical School
- University of Texas Medical Branch School of Medicine at Galveston
- University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine
- University of Texas Southwestern Medical School
Medical Schools in Texas
Part 3: Osteopathic Medical School in Texas that participates in TMDSAS
Part 4: Allopathic Medical Schools in Texas that participate in AMCAS
Part 5: Osteopathic Medical School in Texas that participates in AACOMAS
Part 6: Applying to Medical Schools in Texas through TMDSAS
The cost to apply to all Texas medical schools through TMDSAS is a flat rate of $185. Eight of ten TMDSAS medical schools require a secondary application with costs varying from $0-$60.
Part 7: TMDSAS Application Components
To complete the TMDSAS application, you will need to compose a personal statement, employment and activities entries, as well as two additional essays. In 2018, 5,800 applicants applied via TMDSAS and 28.4% of those applicants matriculated to TMDSAS medical schools. Only 8% of those matriculants were from out of state. It is important to keep in mind, however, that some applicants accepted to Texas medical schools using TMDSAS ultimately choose to attend AMCAS medical schools.
What are the written components of the TMDSAS application?
- Personal statement (5000 characters with spaces)
- One additional essay (2500 characters with spaces)
- One “optional” essay (2500 characters with spaces)
- Employment and activities entries (300 characters with spaces)
- Three top meaningful activities entries (New for 2019/2020, 500 characters with spaces each)
TMDSAS Personal Statement
The TMDSAS personal statement is one of the most important pieces of your medical school application.
The TMDSAS personal statement prompt is as follows:
Explain your motivation to seek a career in medicine. Be sure to include the value of your experiences that prepare you to be a physician.
This TMDSAS prompt is very similar to the AMCAS personal statement prompt. You are allowed 5000 characters with spaces to write your TMDSAS personal statement whereas the limit for AMCAS is 5300 characters with space. Most students use the same essay (with very minor modifications, if necessary) for both application systems.
Part 8: TMDSAS Essays
In addition, Texas has two additional essays one of which is required and the other which is optional, but, applicants are encouraged to complete.
TMDSAS Personal Characteristics Essay
Essay Prompt: Learning from others is enhanced in educational settings that include individuals from diverse backgrounds and experiences. Please describe your personal characteristics (background, talents, skills, etc.) or experiences that would add to the educational experience of others.
The personal characteristics essay is a required essay and limited to 2500 characters, including spaces.
When writing this essay have an open mind about what defines diversity. You might have a distinctive interest, background, path, or viewpoint. Try to think outside the box when writing this essay.
TMDSAS Optional Essay
Essay Prompt: Briefly discuss any unique circumstances or life experiences that are relevant to your application which have not previously been presented. This is not an area to continue your essay or reiterate what you have previously stated; this area is provided for you to address any issues that have not previously been addressed.
The optional essay and limited to 2500 characters, including spaces.
Again, we encourage all applicants to complete this optional TMDSAS essay. Like the personal characteristics essay, think outside the box when writing this essay trying to highlight experiences or circumstances that have been influential to you.
Part 9: TMDSAS Employment and Activities Entries
The final part of the TMDSAS application is the employment and activities section. Here you will write about all of your experiences, from between high school to August of the application year. New for 2019/2020: “Healthcare and employment activities may be listed in each category if the experience was a paid position; otherwise, do not list experiences in more than one section.” For example, a scribing job would be listed in both Healthcare Activities and Employment.
For each experience entry you are only allowed 300 characters with spaces. The TMDSAS system list your activities in chronological order automatically. Additionally, and new for this year, TMDSAS asks you to identify three top meaningful activities for which you are allowed 500 characters each.
The Employment and Activities categories are as follows:
- Academic Recognition
- Non-Academic Recognition
- Research Activities
- Healthcare Activities
- Community Service
- Extracurricular & Leisure Activities
- Planned Activities
- Identifying Top Meaningful Activities
If applying to Baylor or TCU and UNTHSC, you will complete the AMCAS application (cost for AMCAS is $160 for one school and $38 for each additional school. Secondary applications range from $0-$150).
For University of Incarnate osteopathic medical school, you will complete the AACOMAS application. (the cost for AACOMAS is $195 for one school and $40 for each additional school. Secondary applications are extra and in the same range as AMCAS).
Part 10: TMDSAS Medical Schools that Require a Secondary Application
Texas Medical Schools with Secondary Applications:
- UT Southwestern Medical Center
- Dell Medical School
- UT Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine
- McGovern Medical School
- Sam Houston State University
- Texas A&M University College of Medicine
- Texas Tech University HSC School of Medicine
- The University of North Texas HSC – Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine
- Texas Tech University HSC El Paso Paul L. Foster SOM
Part 11: TMDSAS Medical School Application Timeline
- May 1st: TMDSAS opens for submission
- Mid-July: Interviews begin
- August 1st: Early decision deadline
- September 15th: Early decision results released
- October 1st: Application deadline
- October 15th: Acceptances for out of state residents can be extended
- November 15th – December 31st: Prematch offers can be extended to Texas residents
- January 18th: Match preference submission deadline
- February 1st: Match results released and rolling admissions begins
Ideally applicants should submit the TMDSAS application as early as possible. TMDSAS application processing takes two to four weeks, and, even though the application system opens May 1st, the majority of applications are submitted in June (33% of applicants last year).
Part 12: How does the Texas Medical School Match Work?
Only Texas residents are eligible for the Texas medical school match.
Between November 15th and December 31st of the application year, medical schools can extend prematch offers to Texas residents. If a student receives multiple offers, he or she can hold those multiple acceptances. Even if a student receives a prematch offer, she must still participate in the Texas match and can match at a higher ranked medical school.
By January 18th, each applicant ranks all of the medical schools at which he or she interviewed. The medical schools then rank the applicants according to preference.
On February 1st, match results are released. If a student is accepted to a lower ranked school, that student will still remain active at any higher ranked school and can gain admission to those higher ranked medical schools during the rolling admissions process. However, the student will not remain active at any medical school ranked lower than the one to which he matched. This is indeed confusing and TMDSAS has a published video that clarifies the process: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UeoLLjkKvng
Part 13: TMDSAS Letters of Recommendation
TMDSAS applicants are required to submit either three individual letters of evaluation or a health professions committee letter packet. A letter packet can have more than three letters of evaluation so, if you have more than three letters to send, ideally you should send a letter packet. For individual letters, TMDSAS recommends the following: “It is recommended that your evaluators be current/former professors that can speak to your academic ability in the sciences.”
TMDSAS will also allow you to submit one additional letter of evaluation which you can indicate on the application.
Some Texas medical schools will also allow you to send additional letters directly to the medical schools.
Part 14: TMDSAS MCAT
MCAT scores, which must be sent directly to TMDSAS, can be up to five years old!
Part 15: Are you Competitive for Medical School Admissions in Texas?
When applying to Texas medical schools, it is important to determine if your application is competitive. While researching medical schools, pay attention to the average MCAT scores and GPAs of accepted students, and acceptance rates. If you are considering medical schools in Texas as an out-of-state applicant, it is imperative that you also research what percentage of each entering class is comprised of in-state students. Most medical schools in Texas prioritize in-state applicants, which can make it especially competitive for out-of-state applicants..
So, how difficult is it to get accepted to a Texas medical school? To determine your competitiveness you must consider the average metrics for matriculated students.
- The average MCAT score for all TMDSAS matriculants was 509.9.
- The average overall GPA for TMDSAS matriculants was 3.77.
- The average BCPM GPA for TMDSAS matriculants was 3.69.
As mentioned earlier in this article, only 8% of TMDSAS matriculants were from outside the state. However, when reviewing this data please keep in mind that many students who apply to Texas medical schools opt to attend medical school out of the state.
See the article Medical Schools in Texas for the average MCAT scores and GPAs, interview rates for in state and out of state applicants, acceptance rates, percent of entering class that is in state, and tuition for all medical schools in Texas.
If you want help figuring out how to distinguish yourself, contact MedEdits. We have been working with medical school applicants for more than ten years. This year, our students enjoyed a 93% medical school acceptance rate!