Application Guide

The minimum entrance requirement for allopathic or osteopathic medical schools is 4 years of college and specific science and non-science courses. Applicants are required to complete the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) as a prerequisite for admission. Note that MSU courses required for medical schools and MSU courses recommended for preparation for the MCAT may differ.

Competitive applicants will also have substantial health related and non-health related experiences and will have developed the core competencies that medical schools are looking for. The Applying to Medical & Dental School page provides a two-year timeline to help students plan and prepare for their application year to either medical or dental school.

Applicants seeking admission to a medical school should contact the schools that interest them for detailed information on specific prerequisites and admission requirements.

Application Information - Primary

Centralized Application Service:

  • MD Programs: American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS)
  • DO programs: American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine Application Service (AACOMAS)
  • State of Texas programs: Texas Medical and Dental School Application Service (TMDSAS)


  • MD Programs (AMCAS) - $160 for the first program you apply to. Additional programs will cost $38 each.
  • DO Programs (AACOMAS) - $195 for the first program you apply to. Additional programs will cost $45 each.
  • Texas Programs (TMDSAS) - $150 flat rate

When to apply: Students are encouraged to apply a year in advance of when they wish to matriculate. The application becomes available in early May and can be submitted starting in early June.


Coursrwork and Transcripts: The courses you have taken will need to be self-reported and you will also need to have official transcripts sent to the application service.

Most centralized applications will have a form to print off that will need to be attached to your transcript. You will be asked to enter information, grades and credits for every course that you have enrolled in at any U.S., U.S. Territorial, or Canadian post-secondary institution. Transcripts should be sent from the registrar’s office of all US and/or Canadian Schools attended.

You may order a transcript from the MSU registrar’s office from the registrar’s web site, There is no charge for sending transcripts. If you are taking courses during the spring semester, it is advised you wait until your spring semester grades are posted to your record as professional schools will want to see those grades.

Application Information - Secondary

The majority of AMCAS and AACOMAS schools will require a secondary application, which are sent directly to the student by the individual school and are focused on the interests of that specific school.  Secondary applications may arrive anywhere from a few days to up to 6 weeks after submission of the primary application – the timeline varies from school to school. Secondary applications should be submitted 2-4 weeks upon receipt.

Entrance Exam

Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)

Length: 7 hours and 30 minutes

Sections: Four sections - Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems, Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems, Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior, and Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills. Explore individual section information by visiting our MCAT page.

Cost: $310 - includes cost of exam and distribution of scores.

Scores: Scores range from 472 to 528. Mean and median score is 500.

MSU Pre-Health advisors do not endorse any specific test prep resource, but we encourage you to explore each of the different options to determine which will best fit your needs.  

Personal Statement

The personal statement is a very limited in length essay that is used as a device to get a better understanding of the applicant.It is a very important element that should be prepared well in advance to the application and should be edited thoroughly by many different people, such as but not limited to, the writing center, friends and family.

Length: 5,300 character limit for AMCAS participating schools. 4,500 character limit for AACOMAS


  • AMCAS - "Use the space provided to explain why you want to go to medical school"
  • AACOMAS - " In the space provided write a brief statement expressing your motivation or desire to become a DO"

What to include:

  • Why you selected this field of health care
  • What motivates you to learn more about health care
  • Pertinent information about you not included elsewhere in the application
  • Special hardships or experiences that have influenced your educational pursuits
  • Commentary on significant fluctuations in your academic record not explained in the application.



This section gives applicants an opportunity to expand on their experiences. All of your work in leadership, clinical experiences, community service, research, publications, awards and honors are detailed in a single section. Pay close attention to character limits when writing your description of each experience.

Work and activities are typically categorized into the following types:

  • Community Service/Volunteer - Medical and Not Medical
  • Conferences Attended
  • Extracurricular Activities: Sports, clubs, and other activities offered through a college or university
  • Hobbies
  • Honors/Awards/Recognition
  • Military Service
  • Paid Employment - Medical and non-medical
  • Physician/Clinical Shadowing: Observation hours under the supervision of a physician
  • Presentations/Posters
  • Publications
  • Research/Lab: Research projects completed outside of the classroom
  • Volunteer: Volunteer work completed outside of healthcare
  • Teaching/Tutoring/Teaching Assistant

Up to three experiences can be marked as "most meaningful." This will prompt an additional essay box to summarize why you felt this was a most meaningful or significant experience.

Recommendation Letters

Medical schools typically require 3-4 recommendation letters.

While you must pay careful attention to the guidelines of each school that requests your letters, we suggest you identify the following people to request letters of evaluation from:

  • Two science faculty who taught you in a class
  • One non-science faculty
  • One individual working in the profession you wish to pursue (example: an osteopathic physician, dentist, physical therapist, pharmacist, etc)
  • One or two additional individuals who know you well from a work, volunteer or research experience



After submitting the primary application, and secondary applications if required, students may receive an offer to interview. Medical schools that offer an interview have indicated an interest in selecting you, and the interview is a critical part of the application process. Remember, you are not only preparing to answer their questions, you are preparing to ask your own. While they determine whether you are the right fit for the program, you need to determine if the program is the right fit for you.

Schools use personal interviews with applicants to assess qualities such as maturity, interpersonal skills, and ability to articulate strengths and weaknesses. Be prepared to discuss why you wish to pursue a career in dentistry and the experiences that have motivated you.