When you're applying to medical schools, using application services can help you make the most of your time and money. Each program covers a group of participating institutions, giving you one place to send your test scores and college transcripts for those schools. Plus, they can significantly trim your application costs when you're applying to several schools under the same service. Use the MSAR or a medical school's Web site to see in which application service a school is participating.
One of the largest of these services is the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS). This service is part of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), the same group that publishes the MSAR. AMCAS has an application fee of $160 to your first designated school, plus $31 for each additional school.
Other application services offer further discounts based on where you're from. The Texas Medical and Dental Schools Application Service (TMDSAS) has an application fee of only $75 to the first school if you're a Texas resident, and $120 for non-residents. Canadian residents can apply to up to three schools using the Ontario Medical School Application Service (OMSAS) for $115 Canadian (about $111 in the United States). As in AMCAS, these services let you apply to each additional school in the service at a deeply discounted rate ($10 each for TMDSAS and $38 Canadian each for OMSAS).
For each application service, you'll also need to submit your college transcripts and test scores. If you're taking the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), given by the AAMC, any school participating in AMCAS will be able to access your score without any action on your part. Check the MCAT Web site for information on how to release your scores to a different application service, or how to send your scores to a school that does not use an application service.
Even if a school is using an application service, it still sets its own deadlines and requirements. Be sure to know everything you'll need to have submitted to each school by its application deadline.