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Medical School Application Process. presented by: Shannon Hinsa and Steve Sieck Prepared with help from: Michelle Sears. Grinnell College Support. We support applications to a variety of health professional graduate programs including: MD DO Dentistry Veterinary School OT, PT, etc.

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medical school application process

Medical School Application Process

presented by:

Shannon Hinsa and Steve Sieck

Prepared with help from:

Michelle Sears

grinnell college support
Grinnell College Support
  • We support applications to a variety of health professional graduate programs including:
      • MD
      • DO
      • Dentistry
      • Veterinary School
      • OT, PT, etc.
  • The application process can be quite similar among these, and we will focus upon MD and DO as those tend to be the majority of students.
  • What do Medical Schools want?
  • Understanding the Medical School Admissions Process
  • About AMCAS and AACOMAS
  • The 2014 AMCAS and AACOMAS Applications
  • Requirements of Grinnell’s HPAC for Committee Letter Writing
  • Questions / Comments from SHOT
what are medical schools looking for
What are Medical Schools Looking For?
  • Completion of required courses and good grades
  • Good MCAT scores
  • Personal characteristics that will make you a caring physician
  • Demonstration of interest in bettering the human condition
  • Some human health experience
  • Research experience
  • Off campus study
recent grinnell data
Recent Grinnell Data

95% of Grinnell Graduates with an MCAT of 30 or higher & a GPA of 3.6 or higher were accepted

92% of Grinnell Graduates with a GPA of 3.6 or higher were accepted

87% of Grinnell Graduates with an MCAT of 30 or higher were accepted

75% of all Grinnell Graduates

were accepted

Data is for 2002 thru 2013 Grinnell Graduates that applied to MD/DO programs within 5 years of graduation.

about amcas and aacomas
  • Services of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM)
  • Non-profit, centralized application services
    • Collect applicant information
    • Collect one set of transcripts
    • Verifies academic records
    • Provides standardized grading information to participating schools
    • They collect and average your grades across institutions, grouping by science and non science
    • Do not screen applications or make admissions decisions
understanding the process
Understanding the Process
  • Applying is a two-step process
    • 1. Primary Application: AMCAS and/or AACOMAS
    • 2. Secondary Applications: Medical Schools





Medical School

Primary Application

AMCAS/AACOMAS processes the primary application.

Once this processing is complete, AMCAS/AACOMAS sends the primary application to the medical schools selected by the applicant.

At this point, the medical school takes over the application.

Secondary Application


Complete online application

Send college transcripts

Identify Committee Letter of Recommendation

Pay application fee

Upon invitation from the medical school:

Submit letters of recommendation

Submit additional writing samples

Send updated transcripts if necessary

Pay additional application fee if required

Schedule interview date upon invitation from the medical school

mcat exam
  • April - July
    • 22 different testing dates throughout the year
    • Your MCAT scores are valid for a three year period.
complete hpac form 1
Complete HPAC Form 1
  • Request to gather information needed to prepare committee letter; Electronic form available on the HPAC website.
  • Provide state of residence
  • Identify key recommenders (Profs. & others)
  • Extracurriculars
  • Essay
  • Deadline 10 PM on Wed. April 2
  • Form 1

55% of Grinnell students that matriculate to medical school

attend a school in their legal state of residence.

Medical Schools

Grinnell Graduates


amcas aacomas primary application
AMCAS/AACOMAS Primary Application
  • Complete online at or in June/July, the earlier the better
  • Request transcripts from Registrar. (Include in special instructions: "Biology Genetics Letter.“)
  • Indicate that Committee Letter will be sent from Grinnell.
  • Send Letter Request Form pdf file to [searsmic].
  • AMCAS InstructionsAACOMAS instructions
secondary application
Secondary Application
  • Summer/Fall
  • If a medical school is interested, a secondary application will be sent to you.
  • Submit additional writing samples
  • Pay additional fee, if required.
complete hpac form 2
Complete HPAC Form 2
  • Authorization to send committee letter of recommendation; Electronic form available on the HPAC website.
  • Submit to us only after you’ve been sent secondary applications by medical schools or you need a letter sent to a school.
  • Form 2
points of difference
Points of Difference
  • Not all medical schools use the AMCAS application process
  • Most non-MD and non-DO programs require individual applications
  • In these cases we can still do committee letters, but the application process that you will use may be different.
writing of letter by hpac
Writing of Letter by HPAC
  • Summer/Fall
    • Faculty complete HPAC recommendation forms
    • Recommendations/Ratings are compiled by committee
    • Member of committee is primary writer of letter; letter goes through several revisions
    • Another member is secondary reader, more revisions
    • HPAC co-chair reads and edits final letter
    • Letter is sent within 4 weeks of receipt of Form 2.
cls services
CLS Services


  • Facilitate shadowing at GRMC (limit of 12/hrs per year)
  • Alumni Externship Program (job shadow program during spring break)

* 2014 Program is on hold, but will hopefully continue soon!


  • Extensive summer internship resources
  • GRINNELLINK Program: Reserved/funded internships (some in health-related fields)


  • Review of application essays
  • Conduct mock interviews targeted at medicine and other health professions
  • Facilitate web-based MCAT prep course through Kaplan
  • HPAC website
  • Center for Careers, Life, and Service (CLS)
  • Contacts – Michelle Sears in Science Division Office
  • Co-Chairs of HPAC: Shannon Hinsa, Steve Sieck.

Medical Schools Grinnell Graduates attend.

New York Med 

North Carolina 


Ohio State

Sanford SOM of the U of SD


Texas-San Antonio 



U Illinois 

U Michigan 

University Buffalo 


Wright State 





University  Calif-Davis 

Drexel University 








Med Col of Georgia 


Missouri Columbia 

New Mexico