Too Early to Start Working on Your 2019 Medical School Application? – When to Start Your First Draft

This doesn't mean that you must complete your final documents early.

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Too Early To Start Working On Your Med School Application? Are you applying to medical school in the coming cycle?

If so:

I encourage all applicants who are applying in 2018 to start working on their personal statement and application entries as soon as possible.


This doesn’t mean that you must complete your final drafts now.

So think about this…

Applicants should also start thinking about their AMCAS most meaningful experiences and the themes in their background.

RELATED: How To Master The Medical School Personal Statement

Ideally, Applicants should have first drafts of all documents completed by the end of January.

And that’s not all, 

Applicants should continue working on these documents throughout the winter and spring. I’m often asked, “where should I start?” When composing your application keep the following tips in mind.


Create written materials that demonstrate insight, introspection, and lessons learned.

The adcoms want you to give them lots of reasons to invite you to become an MS1, first year medical student.


Make sure your materials provide evidence that you have the qualities and characteristics medical schools are looking for.


Keep in mind that unlike for your college application, you don’t want to try to stand out by writing about your artistic or athletic accomplishments in your personal statement.

That’s not all,

You also don’t want to be overly creative.

So remember:

While medical schools respect and consider unique approaches and significant accomplishments, you must dig deeper. The “hook” that got you into college won’t necessarily help you gain admission to medical school unless that “hook” was medically or scientifically related.


Content is more important than writing skill.

Substance is key:

Medical school admissions committees are not looking for the next literary prize winner and will not examine your written work with a fine-tooth comb.

So understand the following:

While you should take pains to avoid obvious errors, submitting an essay fit for publication could even seem suspect unless you have a writing background.

The “hook” that got you into college won’t necessarily help you gain admission to medical school unless that “hook” was medically or scientifically related.

Medical School Advising Session

So what are adcom’s looking for?

Medical school admissions committees are most concerned with your overall message and meaning.

So don’t fall into the “over-edited trap.”

Submitting materials that are over-edited or beyond your verbal abilities might do more harm than good because your actual abilities could become evident during interviews.

Allow Time for Multiple Revisions

Allow time for multiple revisions.

Do not rush your work.

Adcom members can tell if you crammed to put essays together at the last minute.

You can’t do good work when you rush.

So remember:

Start with the basics:

  • Check your spelling and grammar, and be sure the document has no typos!
  • Copy and paste your documents from a text editor to the application itself to avoid formatting errors.
  • Proofread your entire application before submitting.
  • Finally, After submitting, check the status of your application often.
Applying through multiple systems be sure to watch the amcas and aacomas personal statement character limit

Applying through multiple systems: AMCAS, AACOMAS, & TMDSAS

  • AMCAS® – American Medical College Application Service®

  • AACOMAS – American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine Application Service

  • TMDSAS – Texas Medical & Dental Schools Application Service


Another logistical concern is which system you’ll be using to submit your application.

So consider this:


If you are also submitting an application via AMCAS and TMDSAS®, I suggest first writing the AMCAS® personal statement and then cutting characters (if necessary) to meet the 5,000 character limit imposed by TMDSAS®.

And remember:

Since activity descriptions for TMDSAS® are brief (fewer than 300 characters), these entries should be matter of fact without embellishment or anecdote.

AACOMAS vs AMCAS: Be sure to pay attention to the AMCAS and AACOMAS personal statement character limit.

If you are applying for AACOMAS® in addition to AMCAS®, I suggest writing a new personal statement although you can likely use portions of the AMCAS® personal statement.

Keep in mind:

Since the character limit for AACOMAS® is only 4,500 characters and you must also explain your specific interest in osteopathic medicine, using your AMCAS® personal statement would not be wise.


AMCAS® experience entries have character limits of 700, so these write-ups can also be used for AACOMAS®.

And of course, we’ve got you covered: 

If you are interested in receiving help for the upcoming application season, consider a FREE 15 minute consultation, or simply, contact MedEdits soon.

MedEdits Medical School Admissions Application Comparison Table

AMCAS Application Timeline Highlight:

AACOMAS Application Timeline Highlight:

  • AACOMAS opens for submissions at the beginning of May, 2019.  Keep an eye on this page as the season progresses. 

TMDSAS Application Timeline Highlight:

  • TMDSAS opens for submissions at the beginning of May, 2019. Keep an eye on this page as the season progresses.


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