Applying to Texas Medical Schools: The TMDSAS Application


You know what they say: everything is bigger in Texas. While I won’t comment on the validity of this statement, we can all be sure about one thing: when it comes to the medical school application, things are different in Texas. Let’s break down what exactly that means.


What is TMDSAS?

While almost all MD and DO medical schools use AMCAS and AACOMAS respectively, Texas state-affiliated medical schools use a different application system called TMDSAS (Texas Medical and Dental Schools Application Service). The application itself is not terribly different from the standard medical school application, but does have some nuances which are good to know about. Let’s cover them here.


Which Schools Use TMDSAS?

There are 10 medical schools in Texas which use TMDSAS, all state-affiliated institutions:

1| University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (Dallas, Texas)

2| Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine (Bryan, Texas)

3| University of Texas Medical Branch (Galveston, Texas)

4| Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Medicine (Lubbock, Texas)

5| McGovern Medical School (Houston, Texas)

6| Long School of Medicine – University of Texas Health (San Antonio, Texas)

7| University of North Texas HSC – Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine (Fort Worth, Texas)

8| University of Texas at Austin, Dell Medical School (Austin, Texas)

9| Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center – Paul L. Foster School of Medicine (El Paso, Texas)

10| University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine (Edinburg, Texas)

The only major Texas medical school which uses AMCAS is Baylor College of Medicine (Houston, Texas).


Submission Date

The TMDSAS application opens earlier than AMCAS and AACOMAS, at the beginning of May rather than the beginning of June. This may require you to start the application somewhat earlier than for other schools throughout the country. Keep in mind that you may need to wait until late May or June to submit academic transcripts if you need to include your spring semester or quarter grades.


How does the application differ from AMCAS or AACOMAS?

There are a few key differences between TMDSAS and AMCAS/AACOMAS:

1| Extracurricular activities require shorter responses

On the recent version of TMDSAS, extracurricular responses allowed only 300 characters versus 700 and 1325 on AMCAS for the regular and extended responses respectively.

2| More essays

There are 3 total essays in the TMDSAS primary application:

Medical Personal Statement: 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. (max 5000 characters)”

Personal Characteristics Essay: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. (max 2500 characters)”

Optional Essay: “The optional essay is an opportunity to provide the admissions committee(s) with a broader picture of who you are as an applicant.  This essay is optional; however, you are strongly encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity.

Briefly state any unique circumstances or life experiences that are relevant to your application.   This is not an area to continue your essay or reiterate what you have previously stated – this area is provided to address any issues which have not previously been addressed. (2500 characters max)”

Please note that the “optional essay” should not be regarded as optional! Essentially everyone writes this essay, so take this as an opportunity to elaborate on another aspect of your character or your strength as a candidate. Do not skip it!

If at any point you require assistance in writing or editing, consider our personal statement editing services which will polish your essays into a great product.

3| Letters of recommendation

In AMCAS you have the freedom to submit many letters of rec, though most people submit no more than 5. In TMDSAS you must submit 3 individual letters or one Health Professions Committee Packet, and can submit only 1 additional letter on top of either of those.

4| Secondary applications

Some schools will send a secondary application after initial review of the primary application, as occurs with AMCAS. Other schools will require the secondary application to be submitted upfront with the primary in order for the application to be reviewed at all. MSI’s outstanding secondary application editing services can assist with any and all portions of these secondary essays.

5| Cost

TMDSAS has a flat fee of $140 regardless of the number of schools you apply to, in contrast to AMCAS and AACOMAS which have a fee for each additional school.


What is the Match System?

This is a slightly complicated system which is a hybrid of the conventional medical school acceptance system and the residency match system. The match system only applies to Texas residents and those not applying for joint degrees (MD/PhD, MD/MBA, etc.). Of note, non-Texas residents and joint degree applicants (those not participating in the match) begin receiving pre-match acceptances on October 15th. After this, the Match process occurs. Here are the steps:

1| Between November 15th and December 31st, pre-match acceptances are sent out. Applicants can accept more than one offer during this time.

2| Applicants must then rank all the schools at which they interviewed, regardless of whether or not they were accepted. Match rank preferences must be submitted by January 19th.

3| On February 1st, match results are released. If students had more than one acceptance before the match, they will only have one acceptance after it (the highest ranked school on their match list at which they were accepted).

4| After February 1st, acceptances can be offered on a rolling basis.


What are my chances of acceptance as an out-of-state applicant?

About 25% of applicants to Texas medical schools are non-Texas residents, but generally less than 10% of matriculating students are from out of state. This can be explained by preferential selection of in-state applicants, so it can be tough to gain acceptance from outside of Texas. With that said, students do get accepted from out of state. This info should not discourage anyone who wants to apply from out of state, but it is good to keep realistic numbers in mind!


Keeping these key points in mind will help you prepare for the TMDSAS application. For any further assistance you require, consider the MSI application review services to ensure an engaging, substantive and well-polished application. With these tools, you will have a great chance for success on your Texas medical school applications!


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