more confusion ...

This is more of a general request to Mary Renard or anyone who might be willing to help.
Would it be possible to put in the FAQ forum a general outline about applying through AMCAS? The whole process is just way too complicated to grasp by reading most of the posts. I understand the problems people are encountering with secondaries and LORs but I’m lost about the basics. Here are some of my questions:
1) When people say they submitted their AMCAS app and it takes 4-6 weeks to verify, does that mean all their transcripts have already been rec’d by AMCAS? Once you send your requests out to the schools (assuming you have set up an AMCAS account) when you log on to AMCAS will it tell you if they have been received? Which comes first- AMCAS receiving the transcripts or you submitting the application?
2)Deadlines: I have read Mary Renard’s advice about getting in your materials early so as to catch any mistakes in time to rectify them. If a school’s deadline is November 15th, does this mean that the application has to be “submitted” to amcas by November 15th or this is when the secondaries have to be in? This is related to my first question because I’m not sure whether this deadline applys to getting the transcripts in as well or not.
Also seeing as many schools have rolling admissions and a lot of people here are getting interviews is the November deadline just a formality? Is it realistically possible to get accepted to a med school if you submit your completed application in October? ( assuming there are no administrative glitches)
I’m asking all this because I’m still in the process of preparing my amcas application-the transcripts are in transit. Since it seems like everybody is so far along I wonder if I’m just wasting my time and should wait until next year.
Regarding my request, just a general outline of the application process as far as how amcas works would help clear up a lot of this for me and I’d suspect for some other folks as well. Thanks

About the application, once it is complete (ie, submitted online, and all documentation from you and/or your school) then it will be verified and sent out to the individual schools. I can’t tell you about the deadline in regard to whether it applies to the schools or the application service. People are encouraged to get their applications in as quickly as possible, thats why August MCAT takers often are considered to be at a disadvantage. I can’t tell you whether to continue or wait until next year, though, with it being September almost, that is quite late. People are likely about to, or possible interviewing already. I don’t know where you are in school, a junior ugrad, post grad, or something else. That might determine your course of action. I would also ask the admission offic at the schools you are most interested in what they think. Good luck in whatever you decide.


I’m asking all this because I’m still in the process of preparing my amcas application-the transcripts are in transit. Since it seems like everybody is so far along I wonder if I’m just wasting my time and should wait until next year.

My two cents: if your qualifications are strong (high MCAT, GPA, etc) go ahead and finish the app process. Work especially hard to get it in by Mid-Sept instead of early Oct (which allows for the 6wk verification process).
If you submit and the timing doesn’t work out, you’ve essentially paid money to learn the process and you end up starting Med school in 2006 (the time you would matriculate if don’t finish this app cycle).
But if the timing DOES work and you get an interview & acceptance, then you matriculate in 2005 (late intvs/accpts have been known to happen).
If your qualifications aren’t strong, you might want to wait out this cycle and use the next year to strengthen your app.
This is only my opinion. I’m going to begin the app process this fall for a 2006 matriculation.


Once you send your requests out to the schools (assuming you have set up an AMCAS account) when you log on to AMCAS will it tell you if they have been received? Which comes first- AMCAS receiving the transcripts or you submitting the application?

I have received an e-mail (sometimes two or three) from AMCAS when each of my transcripts has arrived. I have not yet submitted my application, but I know that, in theory, once it has been submitted, they will already have the transcripts and begin the verification process.

In a very small nutshell (the best bet is for you to go to and there is a huge pdf file with everything you need to know about amcas). Before amcas even LOOKS at your application that you submit online they must have all transcripts period. This transcript received by amcas ordeal can be quick or not, they tend to lose stuff and schools also tend to NOT send things in a timely manner. Once amcas has your transcripts you will be notified via e-mail, also when you long on to amcas online it will say on the home page if anything is missing, if it is they will NOT start processing your application. Once they have all transcripts and if you have finished filling out the online amcas and paid then they will start the process of verification. This can take up to six weeks this is what takes the longest…not all the time but most of the time. But remember before they start verification they have to have your transcripts, and getting the transcripts can take weeks as well. This is why you must submit transcripts ASAP early in the cycle so then once you are ready to submit amcas already has your stuff. Many folks do not realize that once you get your amcas login ID they have a file for you regardless if you have hit the complete button on amcas or not. This ensures that as transcripts arrive they get placed in the correct file, this is also why you must submit with your transcript the transcript request form available on amcas that has your amcas id. Guys you have to make this your application learn everything about it, know the deadlines, or else…it will become a waste of money. All this info is available at the under amcas. Schools do have deadlines so beware I think but not sure that the deadlines are for receipt of the VERIFIED AMCAS not just you hitting the submit button on that date…submitting and getting verified are NOT the same thing.

While I appreciate the faith placed in me, I am by no means the best person to consult for advice on this topic, as my advice is based on my own now five-year-old experience. Between the age of my experience and my lack of time to respond, I won’t even attempt to try and answer these questions in detail but I know that some of the more recent application veterans can provide good insights.

(edited: I thought I had a more detailed post somewhere else on the forums about the timeline, and I said I would post a link to it, but I can’t find it.)

And meantime, I’ll heartily endorse efex’s advice to know the amcas guidelines inside and out. Yes, it’s complicated and sometimes even contradictory, and frustrating when it doesn’t exactly match your experiences. But you MUST play by their rules and do things according to their specifications.

And I’ll also reiterate that the sooner you do things in general, the more breathing room you buy yourself. You do NOT want to be finding out late in the game that a transcript never arrived, an LOR was never sent, etc. etc. The sooner the better. My advice is to put those “deadlines” out of your head because you do not want to be aiming for the last possible date. Rather, aim for the most practical FIRST date you can get stuff in.

My .02, worth the same as always…


Thanks for all your help folks.
Even though it is late, I’m going to apply to a few schools because I think I did ok on the MCAT, and my grades are good. I’m not going to apply to several though because its too much money to spend when I’m already at a disadvantage. My colleges have been pretty good about sending out transcripts so I hope they will come through. Thanks

Hi there,
Even a year before you apply, you can request un-official transcripts from all of your schools. At this time, you can guage any problems with obtaining the transcripts and if the transcripts are correct. For example, you finished that incomplete but it still appears on your transcript etc.
By the time you take MCAT, you are generally getting pretty late to request transcripts. You can get your personal statement done long before you begin to fill out the AMCAS form. You can have a CV written long before you fill out the AMCAS form. In short, many of the headache things can be done years in advance of filling out the AMCAS form.
As Mary RR has said, the application process is something of a headache but “it’s their game and their rules”. The more you know now, the better you can deal with these things. I had tons of hours and several undergraduate institutions to deal with but the process went smoothly because I took my time and had things prepared early. I had requested transcripts a year before I actually filled out the AMCAS form so I knew what I had to get onto that form. Couple that with the fact that it was back in 1977 when the ACMAS computer form was riddled with errors and problems.
Keep meticulous records; keep a folder for each school and keep copies of all correspondence in that folder. Write deadlines on the front of the folder both for financial aid and academics.
Request unofficial transcripts for yourself as early as possible. You want to have plenty of time to get things organized so you can fill out that application.
Do a resume or CV as early as possible and keep plenty of copies around so that you have a good document to assist you in filling out that AMCAS form.
Any classs that you took after you received your originial bachelor’s degree is going to be post-bacc work. If you were not in a formal graduate school program (i.e. leading to a graduate degree), even if the class is at graduate level, you are still going to have to list it as post-bacc.
Check and re-check your information. If you have left yourself plenty of time, you can get this done efficiently.
The early deadline is meaningless if you have made mistakes. Make sure that your information is correct. It is your responsibility to do this.
Request letters of recommendation very early. You have to stay on top of this one. The more schools that you apply to, the more difficult this task becomes. If you have a pre-med committee, meet all of their deadline early too. You can’t afford to have one letter writer holding up your application.
When you first decide that you are interested in applying to medical school, is not to early to start requesting letters and getting materials together.
Think early, apply early.

I can give you an outline of what I did last year:
Late winter/early spring: lined up letter writers (ie knew who they were)
Spring: Requested unofficial transcripts for myself and finalized personal statement.
April 26th: MCAT!!
May (the second spring grades were posted, and AMCAS opened): Created Amcas account, logged in to my application and printed off transcript request forms for each school I went to. MAILED them.
June 3rd: Submitted Completed application (minus MCAT score)
June 24th: Received MCAT score.
Early July: Aplication verified.
End of July-August: 12 schools were transmitted (at various days, it wasn’t all on the same day)
I basically logged into my application every other day to make sure when things were happening and like efex said, I OWNED it!
I wanted to be early, but this timeline could work for you now. My transcripts were received and I was verified quicker than you will be, but it will still work for you.
Good luck!!

thanks for you addt’l advice Natalie amd Amy.
I hope you don’t get the wrong idea that I am a lazy procrastinator who just procrastinated until the last minute. I did not seriously decide to apply to med school until early summer of 2003. I took Physics 1 in the Fall, Physics II/Orgo I in the spring, and Orgo II this past summer,(3 As 1 A-) took the MCAT 2 weeks after that ended.
Needless to say it was a true test of my will and stamina to do all this while working full time at a demanding job, trying to stay active with my music (my cello is my better half) and trying to have a slight semblance of a social life a 25-26 yr old should have.
Between the classes/mcat/job/life I had no time to fill out that application. I have copies of all my transcripts so I know they are accurate.
It just seemed futile to wait for a whole extra year just for the sake of being “early”. Sure I can take even more classes since my job pays for them, and I can do some shadowing (even though I’m a healthcare worker now). But I know if I had waited an additional year when it wasn’t absolutely necessary I would have spent it wondering "what if…?"
This way I’m well aware of my handicap, and don’t have high expectations, but I didn’t get this far by always taking the safest, most secure route. And when the rejections come in I will simply say “at least I tried, and now I can get started again next year”
didn’t mean to rant to you all, and thanks again for your help. this site is a blessing

Troy - I know I certainly didn’t think anything of the sort. There are many reasons people have not yet submitted their AMCAS - some legit, and some not.
For me, I haven’t been in a big hurry to get it submitted, as I took the MCAT for the first time in August. I also went straight from a 20 hour spring quarter, to taking the entire year of organic chemistry in eight weeks, to the MCAT. Now, I will admit that I haven’t kicked myself in the butt to get it finished and submitted like I should. I DO have all of my transcript requests in. I need to finish my personal statement and my activities, and then I think I’m ready to submit. My goal is to have it submitted by the end of this month.
A question for those in the know - I’m a bit unclear on the verification process. Do they need to have your MCAT score before verification? I thought I read somewhere that they verify it and send it to the schools, but the schools kind of set it aside in their “no MCAT yet” pile. Do the schools automatically receive the scores then, or am I responsible for sending them to the ones I apply to?

Yet another question - I took “Anatomy and Physiology for Paramedics” at a community college. The course is classified as a “Fire Science Technology” course. I have listed it on AMCAS as a “Health Sciences” course, but I’m wondering if it could rightfully be listed as a “Biology” course.
What do you all think?

If it were me I wouldn’t push it on the medic class. I think health sciences is fine. Biology seems like a stretch. Whether or not I’m right, you don’t want AMCAS holding up your application for a contested class unless this becomes really important to moving your GPA up and so becomes worth the gamble.

AMCAS will verify sans the MCAT because one has nothing to do with the other. Verifying means checking that your transcript matches what you typed in the online AMCAS. Obviously they cannot start verifying until AMCAS has ALL of your transcripts. Once your MCAT score comes in the score will automatically go to AMCAS and then AMCAS submits the scores to each school that you applied to via AMCAS. Although most schools will not invite for interview until they get your score from AMCAS, they will let you fill out their secondary application without them knowing your score. This will save tons of time you do NOT want to wait to submit AMCAS until you know your score. This will delay your stuff tremendously because remember, it can take up to six weeks for verification.