You may be considering applying to medical schools in Texas for a variety of reasons. Many Texas medical schools have excellent reputations, tuition is generally lower, and the cost of living in Texas is also lower than in other parts of the country. But before you begin the application process, it’s important to note that most Texas medical schools use their own application service called TMDSAS, the Texas Medical and Dental School Application Service.
This means you need to go through a slightly different service than the standard American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS) used by most other MD schools. The application process is much the same, but there are key differences you need to be aware of.
Use our TMDSAS medical school application guide for key insight into the primary application process. We’ll outline an ideal application timeline, what you need to include in your application, mistakes to avoid, and frequently asked questions.
What Makes Texas Medical Schools Different?
The state of Texas only accepts a maximum of 10% of medical students from out-of-state. Unfortunately, this means if you’re hoping to attend a Texas medical school, but you aren’t from and don’t live in Texas, you’re at an immediate and significant disadvantage. You may want to reconsider applying to medical schools in Texas altogether.
If you are from Texas and want to attend medical school, attending a Texas medical school likely makes the most sense since the vast majority of the applicants you’re competing against are fellow Texans as opposed to competing with applicants from across the country. Plus, if you’re a state resident, you’ll get a break on tuition. Many of the most affordable public medical schools are based in Texas.
With all of that in mind, if you do choose to apply to a Texas medical school, you will most likely need to apply through TMDSAS.
TMDSAS: The Texas Medical and Dental School Application Service
TMDSAS is the primary application service for most medical schools located in Texas, including dental and veterinary schools. Since the vast majority of medical school applicants come from Texas, the state has its own centralized medical school application service.
Just like AMCAS and AACOMAS, you only have to submit one set of medical school application materials to TMDSAS, which they will process and transmit to your selected Texas schools. If you choose to also apply to medical schools outside of Texas or DO schools, you will need to submit another similar but slightly different application through AMCAS and AACOMAS.
For more information about the differences between the three application types, read our AMCAS vs. AACOMAS vs. TMDSAS Med School Application Guide.
Which Medical Schools Use TMDSAS?
Texas has a total of 15 medical schools, and 13 of those use TMDSAS.
- Baylor College of Medicine
- Long School of Medicine at UT Health San Antonio
- McGovern Medical School at UT Health Houston
- Sam Houston State University College of Osteopathic Medicine
- Texas A&M College of Medicine
- Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center Paul L. Foster School of Medicine at El Paso
- Texas Tech University Health Science Center School of Medicine at Lubbock
- University of Houston College of Medicine
- University of North Texas Health Science Center Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine
- The University of Texas at Austin Dell Medical School
- The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston
- The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine
- The University of Texas Southwestern Medical School
View a complete list of every medical, dental, and veterinary school that uses TMDSAS.
How to Prove Texas Residency
If you’re from Texas and want to apply to a Texas medical school, you need to be able to prove that you live in Texas. You must have graduated from a Texas high school and must establish domicile for yourself or your parents.
Texas High School Graduation:
- Graduated from a Texas high school or received a GED in Texas; and
- Lived in Texas for the 36 months immediately before high school graduation; and
- Lived in Texas continuously for the 12 months immediately preceding the application deadline.
To establish domicile, you or your parent(s) must meet the following criteria:
- Live in Texas for 12 consecutive months by the application deadline; and
- Establish and maintain domicile for 12 consecutive months prior to the application deadline by doing one of the following:
- Be gainfully employed in Texas.
- Sole or joint marital ownership of residential real property in Texas.
- Own and operate a business in Texas.
- Be married for one year to a person who has established domicile in Texas.
TMDSAS Medical School Application Timeline
The TMDSAS application becomes available at the beginning of May each year. Aim to submit your application soon after submissions open for your best chance of success.
Your chances of getting into medical school decrease the later you submit your application due to rolling admissions. This means it’s critical to stay on top of deadlines—and we don’t mean the last possible deadline for submissions. Plan to complete your primary application and secondaries long before the actual deadline for submission.
Follow our timeline, which includes possible and ideal schedules.
The Anatomy of TMDSAS: Texas Medical School Application Requirements
1. GPA and MCAT Score
GPA and MCAT score averages vary from year to year, but in general, TMDSAS and AMCAS require similar scores. Ensure you research averages for the specific schools you hope to apply to as expectations are different from school to school.
The following are score averages of matriculants to Texas schools for GPA averages and MCAT scores. Remember that these are only averages. You should aim to score higher in order to be a competitive candidate.
Average GPA and MCAT score for TMDSAS Matriculants:
TMDSAS Overall GPA Average: 3.79
TMDSAS MCAT Score Average: 510.80
Average GPA and MCAT score for AMCAS Matriculants:
AMCAS Overall GPA Average: 3.74
AMCAS MCAT Score Average: 511.90
2. Personal Statements
Why do you want to become a doctor?
A personal statement is your chance to showcase your personality and personal story to admissions committees. It’s an opportunity to let them know who you are beyond your grades and MCAT score. What moments in your life shaped your desire to devote your life to medicine? What makes you unique? What strengths do you want the admissions committee to know you have? The committee wants to know you have the passion, drive, and ability to succeed in medical school.
Your personal statement is one of the most crucial aspects of your application. Start early so that you have plenty of time to edit, revise, and refine.
The key difference between the TMDSAS and AMCAS personal statement is that you only have 5000 characters versus 5300 characters. This may sound like a lot, but you’ll be surprised just how fast those 5000 characters go once you start telling your story.
Learn more about what makes TMDSAS personal statements different in our TMDSAS Personal Statement Guide.
If you plan to apply to schools in Texas and outside of Texas, make sure your personal statement is 5000 characters or less so that you can use the same personal statement for both application types.
Read our 11 step guide on How to Write a Personal Statement for tips on getting started, what to include, and common mistakes to avoid.
2. Letters of Recommendation
Letters of recommendation let admissions committees know what respected professionals think of you. They play a critical role in your application since they provide an objective perspective into the kind of person and student you are.
Work on building relationships with professors and mentors as soon as possible to ensure you receive strong letters of recommendation. Even a neutral letter can hurt your application and weaken your chances of getting into your desired medical school.
Don’t worry about obtaining as many letters as you can. It’s better to focus on quality versus quantity. While we recommend you aim for 4-5 letters in total for the AMCAS application, TMDSAS only allows you to submit 3-4 letters.
TMDSAS Letters of Recommendation
- Three individual letters of evaluation or One Health Professions Committee Packet
- (Optional) One additional letter.
Read our TMDSAS Letters of Recommendation Guide for critical information on who to ask, how to ask, what to provide, and common mistakes to avoid.
3. Activities, Meaningful Experiences, and Mini-Essays
The TMDSAS application has a section dedicated to Activities as well as a Most Meaningful Experiences section. You can choose a maximum of three experiences that were the most meaningful for an additional 500 characters each. You have the option to outline “Future Activities” for any activity you’re planning to take part in after your application deadline. There are mini-essays and two additional 2500 character essays.
TMDSAS Application Questions and Mini-Essays
- Activities (Chronology of Activities, which includes everything between high school graduation and the summer of your application.)
- 300 characters each
- Categories: Academic Recognition, Non-Academic Recognition, Leadership, Employment, Research Activities, Healthcare Activities, Community Service, Extracurricular Activities
- Most Meaningful Experience
- Which of your previously listed activities were most meaningful and why?
- 3 maximum
- 500 characters each (in addition to 300 each in Activities)
- Planned Activities
- 300 characters each
- Indicate future activities you plan on participating in between the application deadline and August 2022.
- This can include any future employment, future research, healthcare, community service, or extracurricular activities
- Mini-Essays (Found in the Personal Information section)
- 600 – 1000 characters
- Describe how your military experience prepared you for a career as a healthcare provider. (1000 characters)
- Have ever been arrested or charged with any violation of the law regardless of outcome? (600 characters to provide details.)
- If you indicate that you consider yourself a non-traditional applicant, the following essay prompt will appear: “Describe the factors that have defined you as a non-traditional candidate and how they impact your application.” (1000 characters)
- Personal Characteristics
- 2500 characters
- 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.
- Optional Essay
- 2500 characters
- The optional essay is an opportunity to provide the admissions committee(s) with a broader picture of who you are as an applicant. The essay is optional; however, you are strongly encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity.
Learn more about the TMDSAS Activities Section, including what admissions committees are looking for and how to prepare.
Common Mistakes Made on TMDSAS Applications
- Not checking the specific application requirements for each school you apply to.
- Applying to unrealistic medical schools that don’t match your credentials.
- Failing to submit your application soon after TMDSAS opens.
- Pushing your submission dates and not paying close attention to recommended deadlines.
- Failing to establish a cohesive narrative throughout your application.
- Spelling or grammar mistakes.
- Writing a bland personal statement that lists your accomplishments or rehashes your CV.
- Not taking advantage of the optional 2500 character essay.
- Waiting too long to submit your secondary applications.
- Naming the wrong medical school on a secondary application.
- Failing to ask for help from advisors who have served on medical school admissions committees.
TMDSAS Application FAQ
What Happens After Your Primary Application?
After your primary application is submitted, you will receive requests for secondary applications. You should aim to complete all of your secondary applications within 1-2 weeks of receiving them. Get to them as soon as possible while still leaving yourself enough time to complete them effectively.
Learn what to expect from your secondary application, including common questions and how to prepare.
How Does TMDSAS Differ From AMCAS?
TMDSAS is the application service for Texas schools, and AMCAS is the application service for MD schools. The process for submitting your application is very similar, with a few important differences.
- The TMDSAS personal statement has a maximum of 5000 characters vs. 5300 characters.
- Through TMDSAS, you can only submit one Health Professions Committee Packet or three individual letters of evaluation plus one additional letter for a maximum of 4.
- TMDSAS has two additional 2500 character essays.
- You only get an additional 500 characters for each of the three Most Meaningful Experiences versus the 1325 characters available with AMCAS.
- On the TMDSAS application, you are able to outline planned activities that will take place after you submit your application.
Can I Apply to Texas Schools as well as Medical Schools in Other States?
Yes. You can apply to Texas medical schools and medical schools in other states, but you’ll need to complete a separate application through AMCAS. Much of the application process is the same, but there are small differences. It will take additional work on your part to apply through multiple services, on top of an already tedious process.
Ensure your application is tailored to the application service you are applying through. For example, your personal statement can’t be more than 5000 characters for TMDSAS versus 5300 for AMCAS, and TMDSAS has two additional 2500 character essays you’ll need to complete.
Do I Need to Live in Texas to Apply to Texas Medical Schools?
No, you do not need to live in Texas to apply to a Texas medical school, but your odds of acceptance dramatically increase if you are from Texas.
Is it Easier to Get Into Texas Medical Schools?
The application process for Texas medical schools is just as rigorous as it is for AMCAS and AACOMAS. If you are from Texas, your chances of acceptance are much higher since only 10% of accepted applicants are from outside of Texas.
What MCAT Scores Do I Need to Get Into Texas Medical Schools?
The MCAT scores for acceptance at Texas medical schools are generally very similar to averages for other MD schools. Remember that average scores vary depending on the specific schools you apply to.
TMDSAS MCAT Score Average: 510.80 vs. AMCAS MCAT Score Average: 511.90.
Make Your TMDSAS Application Stand Out
Med School Insiders will help you create a stand out TMDSAS application that’s tailored to the schools of your choosing. Our team is made up of doctors who have years of experience serving on Texas medical school admissions committees, so you’ll receive key insights into the selection process.