The Texas Medical & Dental Schools Application Service (TMDSAS) is an integrated clearinghouse for the state of Texas that acts as a conduit to all Texas public medical, dental and veterinary schools. It enables students to complete one standardized application that is sent out to multiple schools (much like the Common Application for undergrad), saving both parties a lot of work. In this post, we will introduce the TMDSAS and break down each individual section of the TMDSAS and what information needs to go in each section. As this blog focuses on topics related to medical school and medical training, we will not specifically focus on details related to applying to medical school and not dental or veterinary schools.
There are ten Texas medical schools you can apply to through the TMDSAS. These include:
- The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
- The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston
- McGovern Medical School
- Long School of Medicine
- Texas A&M University College of Medicine
- Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Medicine in Lubbock
- University of North Texas—Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine
- Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Paul L. Foster School of Medicine in El Paso
- The University of Texas at Austin, Dell Medical School
- The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine
To start the application, visit the TMDSAS website and click the “Medical” link. This will take you to another page where you can click “Start Your Application.” The application fee is $185 and nonrefundable. An abbreviated version of the application timeline is as follows:
- May 1: Application opens
- Aug 1: Early Decision program application deadline
- Oct 1: Medical school application deadline
- Oct 15: Medical schools begin sending acceptance notifications
- Jan 17: Match preference submission deadline
- Feb 3: Match results announced
Select Schools and Application History
In this section, you select which schools you want to apply to, whether you want to apply to any special programs, and whether you have applied to TMDSAS schools in previous years. Specifically:
- Select schools to which you want to apply
- Special Assured programs like the Joint Admission Medical Program (JAMP) or the Texas A&M Com Partnership in Primary Care
- Early Decision Programs, which have specific deadlines
- Dual Degree Programs (e.g., DO/PhD, MD/MBA, MD/JD). You must indicate that you are applying to MD/PhD programs through AMCAS
- Indicate if you are applying
- In Application History, you must select Yes if you have applied in previous years. You must indicate which schools, the entry year you applied for, if you were accepted and are currently enrolled, etc.
In this section, you must list your:
- Legal name
- Other names
- Mailing Address
- Permanent Address
In this section, you must list your:
- Birth Information
- City of Birth
- Country of Birth
- State/Possession/Canadian Province where you were born
- County where you were born
- Hometown (i.e., where you grew up)
- State/Possession/Canadian Province
- Approximate population
- Describe the area (rural, urban, inner-city, suburban, military installation)
- The primary language that is spoken at home
- Hispanic/Latino or Not
- American Indian, Asian, Black/African-American, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, White/Caucasian)
In this section, you have to answer the following questions:
- Whether you are the first in your family to go to college and/or grad school?
- Do you have kids or are a legal guardian?
- What’s your primary language?
- Are you bilingual or multilingual?
Military service (optional)
If you served in the military, this section offers you an opportunity to expand on that. Specifically, you will have 1,000 words to describe how being in the military prepared you for a career as a healthcare professional.
In this section, you need to enter information about your father, mother, and siblings. If any of your parents are a physician, you must also list that.
Here, you answer whether someone other than your biological parent(s) were important in your life.
In this section, you must detail your funding situation. You have to detail the percentages (up to 100%) of college expenses paid for by your family, spouse, academic scholarships, financial need-based scholarships, loans, employment or other sources. You also need to list if you received a Pell grant and, if you have graduated college, how you have been supporting yourself since (again, detailing what percentage of your living expenses comes from where, which must add up to 100%).
Felonies and Misdemeanors
In this section, you must disclose whether you have any felonies or misdemeanors.
Your Education History
In this section, you will list out your education history. Specifically,
- Indicate how you completed high school (high school, GED, or homeschooling)
- SAT and/or ACT results
- Indicate which colleges you attended (all institutions, foreign colleges, future coursework)
- You must also answer the four following questions related to colleges
- If you have been enrolled in undergrad as part of the Academic Fresh Start provision
- Your primary undergraduate
- Your primary graduate (if any)
- Whether you are ok with releasing your information to the Health Professions Advisors at schools
- You must also submit sealed transcripts with a TMDSAS Transcript Request Form from any college you have attended
- You must also tabulate any terms you have spent enrolled at an educational institution
In this section, you must tabulate all of the coursework you completed in college. Make sure to get an official copy of your transcript for yourself to help aid you in this process. Enter courses in the same order that they are listed on your transcript, making sure to include any college-level courses taken in high school or courses taken at other colleges that were not your primary college. You must also include any future or planned coursework (e.g., if you are a senior in college applying through the TMDSAS and have not yet completed your senior year coursework, list out the courses you are enrolled in and plan to take). Make sure to indicate that these courses are not yet reported. You must refer to the Course Listing pages on the TMDSAS website to enter the codes for your schools correctly.
In this section, you must indicate whether you plan to enroll in any future coursework between the time of application and the summer of the following year when you will be matriculating (i.e., if applying in the 2019 application cycle, you will matriculate in the summer of 2020).
Education and Training History
In this section, you need to answer three questions
- If you identify as a non-traditional applicant, you need to describe how these factors have defined you and how they have impacted your application (1,000 characters)
- If you have ever had any interruptions to your education or vocation
- If you have ever faced disciplinary actions
In this section, you will talk about your life. You will do so by developing and building your Chronology of Activities. This chronology must account for all the time between high school graduation and August at the conclusion of your application year (e.g., if applying in the 2019 application cycle, that means August 2020). Your Chronology of Activities will be automatically built from the activities you list in this section; however, the TMDSAS will import only the first 50 characters of each entry, so you will have to edit in some cases.
Each description of individual activities is limited to 300 characters. You will have to choose what type of activity it is (e.g., Extracurricular vs. Leadership vs. Community Service) and you are only able to classify a specific activity as a single type. Do not worry too much about how you classify each activity, as the admissions committee won’t get too hung up on each classification. They are mainly looking to see that you have kept yourself busy outside of the classroom. Also, make sure to only list activities that you have been involved in since college. The admissions committees are not necessarily interested in what you did during high school.
Below we break down each of the Activities sections:
- Academic Recognitions
- List any academic honors or awards received
- Non-Academic Recognitions
- List any non-academic honors or awards received
- Describe any leadership roles you have had
- List any jobs or paid work experiences you have had, including military service
- Research Activities
- List any significant research you have done (either paid or volunteer). Make sure to include abstracts, publications, or posters that you are on.
- Healthcare Activities
- Detail any healthcare activities you have been involved in. This includes shadowing, scribing, clinical research, patient care tech, nurse, direct observation, or just generally participating in patient care
- Community Service
- List any non-healthcare volunteering or community service you have done
- Extracurricular and Leisure Activities
- This section is your chance to talk about your hobbies or sports, things that you enjoy
- Identify Top Meaningful Activities
- In this section, you have the chance to expand upon up to three of the aforementioned activities that are most meaningful to you and why. You will have 500 characters per entry to do this. I would recommend focusing on the activities that are actually most meaningful to you, and not just the ones you think that the admissions committee weighs most heavily. For instance, just because you volunteered in a hospital for a few months does not mean you should list it if it was less meaningful to you than the research you spent four years doing. List the activities that mean the most to you, as your passion for that activity will shine more brightly than some forced statement about something you did not actually enjoy.
- Planned Activities
- In this section, you can include any future activities in which you plan to participate. This could include anything from the categories listed above (employment, research, healthcare, community service, etc.).
- Academic Recognitions
In this section, you will need to write 2-3 essays: a required personal statement explaining why you want to be a doctor, a required personal characteristics essay that tells the committee about yourself, and an optional essay. Additionally, if you are applying for a dual degree MD/PhD or DO/PhD, you need to write two additional essays for these programs.
For your personal statement, you will have 5,000 characters with spaces to talk about why you want to go into medicine and what experiences have informed that decision. This is a very important part of your application. Make sure to familiarize yourself with how to write a great personal statement and read plenty of examples of stellar personal statements. If you are having trouble with this task, check out our Personal Statement editing services.
For your personal characteristics essay, you will have 2,500 characters with spaces to talk about your background, talents, skills, or experiences that would add to the education experience of others. This is essentially a diversity essay, so you will have to talk about how you will enhance the diversity of the school you attend.
For your optional essay, you will have 2,500 characters with spaces to “discuss any unique circumstances or life experiences that are relevant to your application which have not previously been presented.” Basically, this is your chance to talk about whatever you want to enhance or complement your other essays and application information. The goal here is to give the admissions committee a broader, more detailed portrait of you as a person.
For the MD/PhD or DO/PhD essays, you will have 5,000 characters with spaces for each essay. In the first essay, you need to talk about why you want to do MD/PhD or DO/PhD, with particular focus on your research interests and career goals (i.e., why are you doing this dual program and where do you see yourself going with such specialized training). In the second essay, you need to describe any significant research experiences including the name and title of your principal investigators and your contributions to projects and any resulting publications from your work.
Proof of Residency
In this section, you need to answer questions about your citizenship and state of legal residence. The goal of this section is to determine whether you will be classified as a Texas resident or a non-resident, which will affect your chances of getting accepted as you will have a higher likelihood of attaining an acceptance if you are in-state.
You need to upload a number of supporting documents, including a photo of yourself, your official transcripts, and your MCAT test scores.
Letters of Evaluation
Medical school applicants need to submit three individual letters of recommendation or one health professions committee letter/packet. You can submit one additional fourth letter and it is highly recommended that you do.
The TMDSAS is a vital task for any pre-med student to complete if they want to attend one of the ten medical schools that are serviced by the TMDSAS. This guide broke down the major parts of the TMDSAS and described the information in each section. Make sure to complete each of these sections carefully. If you want more detailed information about the TMDSAS, check out the official TMDSAS Application Handbook. Good luck!