TMDSAS is the Texas Medical and Dental Schools Application Service. This unique medical school application service is used by medical schools in Texas and other professional programs. TMDSAS programs are not easily accessible to out-of-state and international students, even though some of them are the easiest medical schools to get into. In this blog, you will learn absolutely everything you need to know about TMDSAS, including its application components and timeline, how to fill out your employment and activities history, how to write stellar TMDSAS essays, and how to proceed with your TMDSAS secondaries!

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Article Contents
19 min read

TMDSAS Participating Schools What is TMDSAS? TMDSAS Application Requirements and Timeline TMDSAS Essays TMDSAS Residency Status TMDSAS Secondary Applications Conclusion FAQs

TMDSAS Participating Allopathic Medical Schools

TMDSAS Osteopathic Schools

TMDSAS Dental Schools

TMDSAS Veterinary Schools

What is TMDSAS?

The Texas Medical and Dental Schools Application Service (TMDSAS) application is somewhat similar to AMCAS. There are components highly reminiscent of the AMCAS Work and Activities section as well as the AMCAS personal statement. However, TMDSAS is distinct in many ways and has its own set of deadlines, components, and expectations for applicants to medical schools in Texas.

Many medical, dental, and some of the best vet schools in Texas utilize TMDSAS, and it is up to the student to know which institutions do and do not use this unique application system. Students should still review the full application handbook for specific dates for each cycle, and other key information about this multifaceted application service.

TMDSAS Application Requirements and Timeline

Aside from standard personal information, demographic information, education history, information about financial status, and the like, the TMDSAS requests all information on your educational history, employment, professional affiliations, and extracurriculars for medical school. In addition, letters of evaluation (sometimes referred to as medical school recommendation letters), and information about any standardized tests may be required for your chosen discipline.

Please refer to the following medical school application timelines to coordinate your TMDSAS application:

Now, we’ll take a closer look at the many components of the TMDSAS application!

1. Applicant History and Personal Information

The first step in completing your TMDSAS application is, of course, to fill in all your personal and background information. This includes:

  • A photo of yourself (smaller than 100kb. Must be jpg, png, bmp or gif)
  • Contact information, including legal name, phone, email and mailing address
  • Demographic information
  • Socioeconomic information and language fluency
  • Military service
  • Family information here you can list if you have a parent who is a physician or dental applicants can list any practicing dentists in their close family. You may also list up to 6 people who had a significant impact on your life
  • Financial information
  • Felonies and misdemeanors

If you are a previous TMDSAS applicant, as in you have previously completed and applied through TMDSAS, you will be classified as a reapplicant. Your previous application materials will NOT roll over, and you’ll need to complete a new application package. This includes resubmitting your letters of evaluation and transcripts. You will not need to resubmit your MCAT score or DAT score if you previously released it to TMDSAS. If your application was never submitted or was withdrawn during processing, you are not considered a reapplicant.

Here's a quick recap of the most important elements of the TMDSAS application process:

2. Education History and Coursework

This section of the TMDSAS application includes information on:

  • Your high school education (including GED or homeschooled applicants)
  • College education and all colleges attended, including transcripts
  • SAT/ACT scores
  • MCAT or DAT score, if required by the program
  • Any interruptions to your education or disciplinary action taken
  • Self-identification as a non-traditional applicant*

*If you identify as a non-traditional applicant, you will be asked to write a short essay on this prompt: “Describe the factors that have defined you as a non-traditional candidate and how they impact your application.” (1,000 character limit)

Transcripts can be arranged by the applicant, so long as they arrive in an official, sealed envelope from the school’s Registrar and are less than 1 year old. TMDSAS also has a Transcript Request Form, where you can submit an official request for transcripts to your educational institution(s) through the application system. You need to submit transcripts from all colleges/universities you've attended in the U.S., U.S. Territories, and Canada. Note that the TMDSAS website recommends applicants use this Transcript Request Form to expedite processing of your transcripts, and to ensure there are no errors that could delay your application. Do not send in your transcripts until TMDSAS sends you a request for your transcripts as they will not be kept on file.

Along with transcripts, TMDSAS also requests you include information on all institutions attended, coursework, marks as indicated in your transcript, and credit hours, as part of the application process. This also includes a space to enter planned enrollment and coursework yet to be taken, as well as for information on any disciplinary action, violation of conduct, or similar institutional punitive action that may be present in your permanent/academic record.

Each TMDSAS school may have specific minimum thresholds for applicant’s GPA and MCAT scores. The average GPA of TMDSAS matriculants is 3.68, and the average MCAT score of matriculants is 505. If you are applying to specific medical schools in Texas, you can use MSAR to determine where you meet the minimum admission requirements.

Did you know that 29% of all TMDSAS medical school matriculants had a GPA between 3.9 and 4.0?

3. TMDSAS Employment and Activities

In filling out your activities and descriptions of those activities, there are different regulations depending on the program to which you are applying – Medical, Dental, or Veterinary. Much of the application process up to this point is universal across programs, so you must be very careful to ensure you’re following the instructions specific to your desired program as you move forward. We’ll highlight those aspects specific to medical school applicants, to help you focus your efforts as you put together your application. 

Medical school applicants

Medical school applicants can list employment and activities they have been engaged in or awards received since graduating high school. Veterinary applicants can list activities and employment from the beginning of high school.

There is no limit to the number of entries you can include, but take note that some entries have a character limit of 300 and others have a character limit of 500.

There are multiple categories for your employment experiences and activities. Medical school applicants can include activities in the following:

  1. Academic Recognition – academic awards, honors and other recognitions received (300 character limit).
  2. Non-Academic Recognition – non-academic awards, honors and other recognitions (300 character limit).
  3. Leadership – 500 character limit
  4. Employment – 300 character limit
  5. Research – 500 character limit
  6. Healthcare (human healthcare related activities only) – 500 character limit
  7. Community Service – 500 character limit
  8. Extracurricular and Leisure/Hobbies – 500 character limit
  9. Top Meaningful Activities – Similar to the AMCAS most meaningful experiences section, you will be asked to choose 3 of your most meaningful experiences from previous entries. 500-character limit per entry.
  10. Planned Activities – i.e., activities to be done after applying but before beginning the program to which you are applying. 500 character limit.

Many students struggle to determine which hobbies and leisure activities to include in their application. If you need help with this section, check out some AMCAS hobbies examples to get some ideas. While entering your Employment and Activities items, you should include all relevant activities from the time of your high school graduation to the present, minus any gaps longer than 3 months.

Each activity must be categorized, and must include the full details of the activity, including your role or title, relevant start and end dates, location information, hours (if applicable), and a brief description of the entry (300 characters, including spaces). You must ensure you have full and accurate information for each and every entry. Ideally, you will keep a record of all such information as you complete each activity, or you will begin compiling such a list as soon as possible. It is advisable to begin such a list in your first year of university, if you are planning to apply to med school in the future. Having a clear and thorough record, including dates, hours, contact information for supervisors or verifiers, and the like, can save a lot of headaches later.

300 characters for each entry is precious little space - just 2-3 sentences. So, you'll really want to craft a clear and specific role or title for yourself that highlights your key function, in that section of the entry. That is to say, you won't just want to refer to yourself as a "Lead Volunteer", but rather, "Lead Hospice Volunteer, Patient Companion and Team Manager"; not simply a "Flautist", but rather, "Flautist, First-Chair, Wind Ensemble"; and so on. Then, use precise action verbs and concise language to summarize the most impactful and pertinent aspects of your experience.

Also take a look at this TMDSAS activity section example:

Dental school applicants

Dental school applicants have two additional categories where they can list experiences specifically related to the practice of dentistry.

  • Dental Experience – Includes all experiences where over 50% of your time was spent under the supervision of a dentist. You can include all paid, voluntary or academic experiences, such as dental clinical experience or shadowing. These should be different than any experiences listed under healthcare experience. There is a 300 character limit per entry.
  • Manual Dexterity List any extracurricular, leisure activities, or hobbies you have participated in since graduating from high school involving the development and attunement of manual dexterity. There is a 500 character limit.

Veterinary school applicants

Vet school applicants can list activities from the beginning of high school. The same rules and formatting apply for activity entries, although there are two additional categories for vet school applicants:

  • Veterinary supervised experience – includes veterinary clinical experiences, agribusiness, or health science experiences that you have had with veterinarians. Includes voluntary, paid, or academic experiences. There is a 300 character limit.
  • Animal experience – Includes pet ownership (over 100 hours), farm and ranch experiences, 4-H membership, animal training, working in a boarding kennel or other similar activities. Only list here if experience was NOT supervised by a veterinarian. There is a 300 character limit per entry.

4. Chronology of Activities

In composing each entry for your employment and activities, it's worth noting that the TMDSAS application system will automatically generate a "Chronology of Activities" as you enter this information. The Chronology of Activities is a summary document that is included with the information sent to schools. Only the first 50 characters (including spaces) of your activity description carry over to this auto-generated document. So, it's important to think strategically about how you structure the information you provide, ensuring you highlight key aspects of your activity description in the first 50 characters.

Schools will be able to access the full description of each activity in your application, but this summary acts as an eye-catching cover sheet of sorts, so you want to entice them as a way of encouraging a detailed review of your activities. You also want to think strategically about which information you give priority in each entry, so that this overview gives a well-rounded impression of your list of activities, employment, and other experiences. 

Remember that you can edit your Chronology of Activities by deleting or editing entries until you are happy with the outline. Once the information from your activities has been imported to the Chronology of Activities, you will be able to view a calendar displaying your timeline. Here you can make note of any gaps in your chronology and add items to fill those gaps. Any gap larger than 3 months should be addressed.

5. Letters of Evaluation

The type of acceptable medical school recommendation letters are determined by the program to which you are applying, as noted below. In general, however, such letters are written by evaluators (sometimes called “referees”) who know you well and who have the capacity to evaluate you academically and personally. Most evaluators will be professors who can speak to your specific competencies in the discipline, your academic achievements and strengths, your general collegiality, and so on. Each letter of evaluation should be completed on official letterhead, must include the contact information of the evaluator (phone number and/or email address), the signature of the evaluator, the applicant’s name and the date. If any of these criteria are not met, the letter will not be accepted as part of your application. 

Letters of evaluation and Health Professions Committee packets can be sent virtually to TMDSAS through Virtual Evals or Interfolio. Applicants can also choose to mail their letters to TMDSAS or upload them directly through the application system. Note that individual letters will be uploaded through the TMDSAS Evaluator Portal, and letter packets need to be uploaded through the TMDSAS Advisor Portal.

Veterinary applicants will input their evaluators’ contact information during their application. Applicants need to let their evaluators know that TMDSAS will send them an email with instructions on accessing the Evaluator Portal, where they will be able to complete the Veterinary Medicine Application Evaluation Form online.

Reapplicants for TMDSAS can reuse both individual letters and letter packets, provided they were written after May 1, 2021. Reapplicants must reupload all their letters through the TMDSAS system or resend them electronically.

6. Test Scores


All of the medical school programs in Texas require you to take the MCAT. Your MCAT score must be from within 5 years to be valid. The exception is if you are applying to the Baylor College of Medicine, which has a 3-year cut-off for MCAT scores. Test scores from within the year of enrollment will NOT be accepted, so plan carefully when to take the MCAT so you can ensure your scores are valid. Check the latest MCAT test and release dates to help you in your planning. Applicants should request to release their scores to TMDSAS as soon as they become available.


The following Texas schools require the CASPer test:

  • Long School of Medicine, UT Health San Antonio
  • Sam Houston State University College of Osteopathic Medicine – Altus Suite (Snapshot and Duet also required)
  • Texas A&M University College of Medicine – Duet also required
  • Texas Tech University HSC School of Medicine
  • Texas Tech University HSC, Paul L. Foster School of Medicine
  • The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston
  • UT Southwestern Medical School


The DAT is required for admission to dental schools in Texas. Your DAT score must be no older than 5 years. It is recommended that you take your DAT in the spring or summer prior to applying, to avoid delays in processing your scores, since dental schools begin offers of acceptance in December.


Vet school applicants are not required to take the Graduate Record Exam (GRE), but may choose to submit their scores in this section. Your GRE scores can be released to TMDSAS through the online portal, similar to the MCAT. Scores for your GRE are only considered valid if they are within 5 years.


The TMDSAS application includes a number of different admission essays you will need to complete. We’ll go through each one of these, and some TMDSAS essay examples so you get a better idea of what to expect:

#1: TMDSAS Personal Statement (5,000 characters, including spaces)

TMDSAS Personal Statement Example

Your personal statement is the most challenging component of your medical school application and therefore it must be your best. Excellent personal essays explain who you are and why do you want to be a doctor, outline your values and motivations, and demonstrate what makes you the perfect candidate for medical school. Remember, it is crucial to show, rather than tell, what experiences prepared you for medical training and practice. Before you sit down to write your personal statement you might want to read some TMDSAS personal statement examples to get an idea of what’s expected. You can also read medical school personal statement examples and AACOMAS personal statement examples for DO school applicants, to see the quality of thought and writing that’s required of any medical school applicant.

Your personal essay should be a coherent story of how and why you are motivated to pursue medicine. Much like an academic essay, your personal statement will be composed of an introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion. 

Here’s some more tips for writing your TMDSAS personal statement and admission essays!

  1. Revise your essay carefully. Let 2 to 3 qualified people read and comment on your statement, i.e. your former teacher, professor, or a TA. Make sure your statement has good structure, flow, and no grammatical errors. It's important that you don't have too many people review your personal statement as too many differing ideas and thoughts can result in your statement becoming disjointed and confusing. It's always a good idea to have your statement reviewed by a professional who can objectively review your statement and give you personalized feedback.
  2. Avoid using the passive voice in your statement. Instead of writing “I was taught by my parents to…”, write “My parents taught me to…”
  3. Make sure to avoid clichés and unsubstantiated statements.
  4. Be concise and avoid any “fillers”. You do not need to fill the entire character count, so choose quality over quantity.
  5. Be genuine about your journey, but don’t turn your personal statement into an autobiography.
  6. You will need to type your essay directly into the provided field on your online TMDSAS application. Don’t copy and paste, and remember to save frequently to preserve your works

#2: Personal Characteristics Essay (2,500 characters, including spaces)

Prompt: 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. (all applicants)

TMDSAS Personal Characteristics Essay Sample

This prompt for your TMDSAS personal characteristics essay is meant to investigate whether you would be a valuable addition to your medical school cohort. This is your opportunity to describe some personal attributes that would enrich the educational experience of your med school classmates. This can include personal background and family history, talents, and skills, as well as experiences that shaped you into the person you are today. This essay is meant to specifically address diverse backgrounds, abilities, and experiences, so you can think of it as a diversity essay for medical school prompt.

For this type of essay, you could discuss your sex, race, ethnicity, and sexual orientation and their impact on your life and decision to become a physician. You can write about your family’s socio-economic struggles or successes and how they shaped your work ethic and determination to be a medical professional. Reflect on your unique experiences like military service or immigration, as these are cataclysmic events that alter the course of people’s lives. Additionally, you can discuss challenges of bilingualism, integration (whether post-military or cultural), alienation, and other aspects of your background. Perhaps you will want to address your disadvantaged status and how it affects your career- and life-choices, including your choice to become a doctor. 

The TMDSAS personal characteristics essay is your chance to reflect on your journey and circumstances that make you a unique candidate for medical school specifically. Do not simply tell your story without linking it back to your decision to become a doctor. It provides an additional perspective of your candidacy to the medical school admission committees. Your essay should demonstrate what others can learn from you and what personal experiences can broaden your classmates’ horizons.

#3: TMDSAS Optional Essay (2,500 characters, including spaces)

Prompt: Briefly discuss any unique circumstances or life experiences that are relevant to your application which have not previously been presented. (All applicants)

TMDSAS Optional Essay Sample

The TMDSAS optional essay is available to all applicants but is not considered to be a requirement of the TMDSAS application. You do not need to fill in the entire character count, what's most important is that your essay is well structured, in-depth and tells whatever story you wish to tell eloquently. Be sure to focus on quality over quantity, so do not feel that you have to use all the character space. Try reading a TMDSAS optional essay example for some inspiration in writing your own.

Traditionally, the optional essay was not offered to veterinary applicants, but now this type of essay is available to students applying to any of the three programs participating in TMDSAS (medicine, dentistry, and veterinary). It is important to know that the optional essay is not truly optional. Your choice to dismiss this portion of the application may be used against you in the weeding out process. The optional essay is your chance to provide the admissions committee with a deeper understanding of who you are as an applicant and who you are as a person. Many students do not know how to approach this essay, as the prompt is very open-ended and lacks a specific question which the applicants must answer. The beauty and difficulty of the optional essay is that the topic can be anything. This is your time to be creative and impress your admissions committee.

Your optional essay cannot be just a continuation of your personal statement or other application essays. Do not reiterate what you have written previously. This is a chance for you to address any topics or themes that have not been previously covered. Your personal statement and personal characteristics essay have already covered a large portion of your journey to becoming a doctor. You might be wondering what kind of skills and experiences you can bring up in your optional essay. Let’s examine what kind of content your optional essay could include.

Let's recap what you can cover in your TMDSAS Optional Essay:

#4: Dual Degree Essays (5000 characters, including spaces)

If you are applying to DDS-PhD, DO-PhD or MD-PhD programs, you will need to submit an essay detailing your motivation to pursue the combined degree. The content of your essay will outline your research experience, interests, and career goals in relation to your desired program.

If you’re applying to DDS-PhD, your essay should speak to your abilities, experiences, and suitability to pursue dental research. You can check out some dental school personal statement examples to see how your statement should outline your journey to dental school. Your DDS-PhD essay, on the other hand, should demonstrate how your research experiences and patient interactions have led you to apply to the DDS-PhD program.

If you’re applying to the DO-PhD or MD-PhD programs, your essay should answer the question of why you wouldn’t be satisfied with a career that doesn’t involve both medical research and clinical practice. Your essay must explain why you didn’t choose to pursue only an MD or only a PhD. Make sure you do not come off as indecisive and unable to choose between the two. You must show that you understand and appreciate the intricate relationship between medicine and science and that you are willing to dedicate the next 7 to 8 years of your life to medical research. While your personal statement typically focuses on why you want to be a doctor, your MD PhD essay should demonstrate your experiences and interests that combine scientific research and medical practice. Ideally, you will include 2 to 3 premed research opportunities that can be connected to clinical practice. This does not mean that research experiences you include in the essay have to do with medicine, rather, reflect on what the research experiences taught you that can be used in your future career as a physician-scientist. Just make sure that the experiences you include are meaningful and valuable to your growth as a researcher interested in medicine.

Remember, MD-PhD essays must demonstrate a balance between your research and clinical experiences even though the combined degree does focus on research. You cannot ignore the clinical aspect of the program so make sure to address your suitability for both components of the program in the essay. Remember to review the pros and cons of MD PhD vs MD. It is important to understand the differences and nuances of each program before you apply. 

Check out our tips for writing the best MD-PhD essays:

TMDSAS Residency Status

The state legislature of Texas limits the number of non-residents who can go to each medical school in Texas to 10%. So, at the time of your application, you will be categorized as either a “resident” or “non-resident” of Texas and placed into an applicant pool accordingly.

Percentage of non-resident matriculants allowed at Texas medical schools

Note that not all schools/programs that use TMDSAS will consider international applicants; some will only review and consider applicants who are U.S. citizens or legal Permanent Residents. As well, whether or not you are a resident of the state of Texas will impact your application's consideration and the medical school tuition you will pay, if accepted.

List of schools that accept ONLY US citizens and permanent residents


  • UT School of Dentistry at Houston
  • UT Dental School at San Antonio
  • Texas Tech University Woody L. Hunt School of Dentistry


  • Baylor College of Medicine
  • John Sealy School of Medicine at UTMB
  • Long School of Medicine, UT Health San Antonio
  • McGovern Medical School, UT Health at Houston
  • Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Medicine
  • Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center - Paul L. Foster School of
  • Medicine at El Paso
  • Tilman J. Fertitta Family College of Medicine
  • University of North Texas - Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine
  • UT Austin Dell Medical School
  • UT Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine
  • UT Southwestern Medical School 

State residency is determined by one of two processes:

  1. Residency through High School Graduation
  2. Residency by Establishing Domicile

If you have not lived in Texas for long (or have not lived there at all, or have lived there previously, but not recently), you must carefully review the standards for establishing and proving residency. Residency determinations are made at the time of application, and if there is a change in your residency after applying, you are responsible for notifying all schools of such a change. This may result in reclassification of your application, based on each school’s individual regulations and discretion.

Note that, if you are still collecting some supporting documents – specifically, standardized test scores, transcripts, and letters of evaluation/recommendation – you can still submit your application for processing to begin. TMDSAS will begin processing and forwarding your application to schools, and you can submit these documents at a later date, as they become available.

Want our help with your TMDSAS application? Listen to what students have to say about our services:

TMDSAS Secondary Applications

After submitting your primary TMDSAS, you must submit your medical school secondary essays to each school separately. The fees, supplementary documents, and any other components of the secondary application must be sent directly to the schools, not through TMDSAS. Any questions you have about a specific secondary must be directed to the respective school. Each medical school participating in TMDSAS will have its own procedure for secondary applications. It is important to remember that you are responsible for your secondaries. Some schools will send out emails to invite you to complete the secondary application, while others will give no notification. To submit your secondary application for some of these schools, you will be personally responsible to create your own login account. In this case, do not wait for email invites from schools to submit!

Check out examples of TMDSAS secondaries in our video:

TMDSAS Medical Schools Without Secondary Essays

The following schools do not require students to submit secondary applications:

  • Long School of Medicine, UT Health San Antonio
  • Texas Tech University Woody L. Hunt School of Dental Medicine
  • The University of Texas Health School of Dentistry Houston
  • The University of Texas Health San Antonio School of Dentistry
  • Texas Tech University School of Veterinary Medicine

The following list includes medical schools that require secondary applications after you send in the primary TMDSAS application. We’ve also included each school’s prompts from the medical schools secondary essays prompt list.

Dell Medical School

Applicants will receive an email invitation to complete their secondary application after the initial review of their TMDSAS application. What's unique about Dell Medical School is that if selected, you'll receive an email invitation with details on how to prepare and submit your video answers through a free online portal. The secondary application consists of questions that address specific aspects of the school's mission. In a two-minute response to each question, you should address how your experiences will help you contribute to Dell’s medical program and the medical field in general. You may request to have a written secondary application if you feel that you represent yourselves better in writing. There is no fee for the video secondary application. If you chose the written version of the application, please confirm if there’s a fee.

McGovern Medical School

You will receive an email invitation from the school containing a link and instructions to complete secondary application after McGovern Medical School has received your complete application from TMDSAS. McGovern’s secondary application fee is $50.

Sam Houston State University, College of Osteopathic Medicine

You will receive an email invitation from the school to complete the secondary application after your completed primary application has been received from TMDSAS. There is a non-refundable fee of $75 for the secondary application. The secondary application and fee are required to be considered for admission.

University of Texas Southwestern Medical School

You may submit your secondary application after the school receives the primary application from TMDSAS. You will get an email prompting you to create an account to access the secondary application once your primary application is transmitted. There is no fee.

  • Describe a group project or activity that you are most proud of. Consider the following in your response: What aspect makes you most proud? How was it accomplished? How did you deal with disagreement or conflict in the group? How did you get fellow group members to embrace a position or view your perspective? (2500 characters)
  • Describe a time that you have witnessed someone acting unethically or dishonestly, or an experienced behavior of harassment or discrimination. Consider the following in your response: What did you do? What made the situation difficult for you personally? Describe your reaction and what you might do differently now in retrospect. (2500 characters)
  • Describe an interaction or experience that has made you more sensitive or appreciative of cultural differences, and/or how you have committed yourself to understanding and aiding in the pursuit of equity and inclusion in your academic, professional or personal life. (2500 characters)
  • (Optional) Have you engaged in any public service activities for a duration of one year or greater in length (examples: Military, Peace Corps, Teach for America, etc.). Yes or No? If so, please describe the experience and impact on your personal and professional development. (2500 characters)
  • (Optional) Please explain any academic discrepancies or extenuating circumstances that you feel the Admissions Committee should know. (2500 characters)
University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine

You will receive an email invitation from the school to complete your secondary application after the initial review of the TMDSAS application. Once the secondary application is completed and returned, your application will be randomly assigned to an admissions committee member for review and consideration for interview. The secondary application fee is $45.

  • The UTRGV SOM educates future physicians with the following values in mind: Patient Advocacy, Community-Focus, Cultural Awareness, Collaborative Leadership Style, Lifelong Problem Solving. Choose TWO (2) of these values and explain their importance to you and how they integrate with each other. Please explain how this integration will impact your medical school education. (300 words)
  • Describe how you decide if a person or source is trustworthy. (300 words or less)
  • Describe a time when the awareness of your own limitations resulted in a favorable outcome for you or someone close to you. (350 words or less)
  • In the event you are accepted to two or more medical schools, what factors would be most important in determining which school would be the "best fit" for you. (150 words max; bullet points are acceptable)
  • Briefly describe the community you anticipate practicing medicine in post-residency: (100 words or less)

Part 2: Essays (Optional)

  • Is there any personal characteristic, capability, or experience that you believe would be important for us to know in order to assess your potential as a medical student and practicing physician? Note: This must be something you have not covered elsewhere in the primary or secondary application. (optional,150 words or less).
  • Do you have any suggestions for improving medical care and access in the community of the Rio Grande Valley? How can the School of Medicine help to improve the situation? (optional, 300 words or less)

Part 2: Video Response (Required)

Submit a 2-minute video that answers one of the two questions below:

  • The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine has commitments to diversity, inclusion, and health equity. What do these terms mean to you? What is their importance to medical education and practice, as well as to the health of our society in general?
  • The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine's Honor Code requires that medical students live honestly, advance on individual merit, and demonstrate respect for others. UTRGV SOM subscribes to the highest Code of Professional Conduct. Our aim is professional behavior beyond reproach. Briefly explain the relevance of a school of medicine’s honor code to your anticipated development as a future practitioner of medicine.
Texas A&M University College of Medicine

This medical school does not send email invitations to complete the secondary application. You must create your own account in the school’s Application Processing Portal to receive the secondary application. There is a non-refundable application fee of $60. The secondary application and fee are required to be considered for admission.

  • Describe briefly any experiences and/or skills that have made you more sensitive or appreciative of other cultures or the human condition. (3500 characters)
  • The Texas A&M College of Medicine embraces the Aggie Core Values of Respect, Excellence, Leadership, Loyalty, Integrity and Selfless Service. Briefly discuss what activities demonstrate best that you would be a good custodian of these core values. (3500 characters)
  • Describe any circumstances indicative of some hardship, such as, but not limited to, financial difficulties, personal or family illness, a medical condition, a death in the immediate family or educational disadvantage not mentioned in your primary application essays; OR describe any key academic, personal, or financial barriers that COVID-19 may have posed on you or your immediate family. (3500 characters)
  • (Optional) List the area (or areas) of medicine that appeals to you and briefly explain. (Limit your explanation to 50 words or 250 characters for each area of interest you list.) Do not leave blank. If not applicable, please so indicate (250 characters)
Texas Tech University HSC School of Medicine

After the school receives completed TMDSAS applications, they will send out email invites to eligible candidates. Secondary application prompts are generally broken down into two main sections: areas of interest and supplemental information. The application fee is $60.

Areas of Interest

Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center is responsible for providing primary health care to 108 counties of West Texas. We are interested in hearing about the areas of medicine that interest you.

Please indicate the area(s) of medicine you are interested in and briefly describe your significant activities for each respective interest in the available text box (if checked, a box will appear with a 100 word limit)

  • Practicing in an underserved area
  • Rural health
  • Medical Research
  • Medical Academics
  • Primary Care
  • Border Health
  • Public Health
  • Other (Please describe below)


The only prompts that are REQUIRED are 2. and 7.

  1. Have you experienced any road bumps in your academic career? (Low academic performance, dropping, retaking, or failing courses, etc.) (yes or no)
  2. If so, please explain your circumstance. (250 words or less)
  3. Please share any lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic that you would like the admissions committee to consider – either regarding yourself or your community – about any or all of the topics below? (300 words or less)
  4. Disruptions in your academic, volunteer, work, community and or personal life.
  5. Creative ways in which you were able to serve your community during the crisis.
  6. Hardships you may have faced as a result of isolation, quarantine or illness
  7. If you are applying to a dual degree program, please briefly describe your motivation to pursue this program and any other pertinent information. (e.g. research interests, steps taken to prepare yourself) (Note that if you select more than one program in this section you will be required to rank them in order of importance. 200 words or less)(note that you get 200 words for each program if you choose more than one) (MD/MBA, MD/MPH, MD/PHD, MD/JD, or NONE)
  8. Are you applying to our MD & E program? (yes or no)
  9. Describe your motivation to pursue this program, be sure to include how you expect to benefit from the program. (200 words or less)
  10. How do you anticipate this program making you a more efficient caregiver? (200 words or less)
  11. Please list the highest-level math/chemistry/physics course you have taken or are currently taking. (200 words or less)
  12. What projects have you been involved in that require programming and/or machine languages? What languages do you prefer? ( 200 words or less)
  13. Are you applying FMAT? (yes or no)
  14. What motivates you to participate in the FMAT program (200 words or less)?
  15. What experiences have you had that would prepare you for this intensive program (200 words or less)?
  16. What, in your opinion, distinguishes Family Medicine from other medical specialties (200 words or less)?
  17. Have you experienced any hardship or adversity, personally or professionally? (yes or no)
  18. If so, please share your experience with us. (200 words or less)
  19. Please tell us about your favorite recreational/leisure activities (200 words or less)
  20. Do you consider yourself from West Texas or as having West Texas ties? (yes or no)
  21. If yes, what town or county did you reside in, or what other factors would you cite? (100 words or less)
  22. Have you participated in any special programs offered by a medical school to help prepare yourself for medical school and a career in medicine? (yes or no)
  23. If yes, what was the name of the program and where was this program hosted (sponsoring school)? (100 words or less)
The University of North Texas HSC - Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine

This school does not send out email invites to complete secondary applications. You must access secondary application through the admissions portal. Information that you provide in this application will be used in conjunction with your TMDSAS application during the review process. There is no fee for the secondary application.

Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso Paul L. Foster School of Medicine

You will receive an email invite from the school to complete their secondary application after the school receives your completed TMDSAS application. The secondary application fee is $60 and is non-refundable.

  • The mission of the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso Paul L. Foster School of Medicine is to provide an outstanding education and development opportunities for a diverse group of students, residents, faculty, and staff; advance knowledge through innovation and research; and serve the needs of our socially and culturally diverse communities and region.” Recognizing the components of this mission and that PLFSOM is located on the US/Mexico border, please describe why you are interested in applying to our school. (300 words or less)
  • The Foster SOM student honor code states “In my capacity as a Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso School of Medicine medical student, I will uphold the dignity of the medical profession. I will, to the best of my ability, avoid actions which might result in harm to my patients. I will protect the dignity of my patients and the deceased and will protect their confidential information in accordance with the prevailing standards of medical practice. I will not lie, cheat, or steal. I will enter into professional relationships with my colleagues, teachers, and other health care professionals in a manner that is respectful and reflective of the high standards and expectations of my profession. I will not tolerate violations of this Code by others and will report such violations to the appropriate authorities.” Please describe past experiences or personal attributes that reflect your affinity with this honor code. (300 words or less)
  • Please describe any unique personal experiences or disadvantage (educational, financial or otherwise) and their significance to you in your pursuit of a medical degree. (300 words or less)
University of Houston College of Medicine

You will receive an email invitation to submit a secondary application via email. The email will contain a link to the submission portal along with instructions and additional information. There is no fee for the secondary application.

University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (UTMB)

You will receive an email invitation from UTMB with instructions on how to complete the secondary application once the TMDSAS application has been processed. No applicant will be invited for an interview without the submission of a completed secondary application. The secondary application fee is $70.

Choose 3 of the 7 prompts to respond to (300 word maximum for each)

  1. Describe a situation where you have sought to enrich and/or improve the life of another individual.
  2. Describe a time you navigated a challenging circumstance. How will this experience help you succeed in medical school or as a physician?
  3. John Sealy School of Medicine values inclusion and advocacy. Describe a time when you advocated for someone whose social identity (e.g., race, gender, sex, sexual orientation, religion, socioeconomic status, ability status, etc.) differed from yours. Explain the situation and why advocacy was necessary.
  4. Describe a time you were wrong. Why were you wrong? How did you respond 
  5. How do you define curiosity? Provide an example in which curiosity helped solve or expand your knowledge and experience outside of the academic environment.
  6. What attributes do you look for in your physician(s)? Which of these attributes do you need to develop? How will you develop them?
  7. John Sealy School of Medicine at the University of Texas Medical Branch serves patients throughout Texas, focusing on Galveston County and the Gulf Coast Region. Are there particular characteristics of our school and/or the Galveston area in terms of location, history, or other attributes which make you especially interested in matriculating here?
Texas A&M University College of Dentistry

This school requires the submission of secondaries in addition to the primary application. The secondary application is available for electronic submission on the Texas A&M Health Science Center Application Processing Portal. You can register to log in when you visit the portal.

Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine

This school does not send out email invites to complete secondary applications. You must access secondary application through the admissions portal. Application fee is $75.


As should be evident, the TMDSAS application process is long, trenchant, and nuanced. As such, you absolutely MUST start early! Not only is the application itself time-consuming, many schools begin interviewing in July and August of the year prior to anticipated admission, so early applications have a better chance of consideration. The application itself is also multifaceted, and if you’re applying to schools through both AMCAS and TMDSAS (or, possibly even AACOMAS), the components will not carry over or be identical for each application (even if only because of all the varying character limits, as well as the additional essay options for TMDSAS), so attention to detail is key. This is not something that can be done in a couple of days – or even a couple of weeks! – prior to the application deadline. Rather, a strong application can take months to craft.


1. Why do I need to use TMDSAS instead of AMCAS or AACOMAS to apply to medical schools in Texas?

The main reason most schools in Texas do not use AMCAS or AACOMAS is the Texas State Legislature, which limits the number of out-of-state and international students that can attend public medical, dental, and veterinary schools in Texas. The TMDSAS controls the number of out-of-state and international students who apply and are admitted. Only up to 10% of non-Texan residents can be admitted to public schools’ programs. This is done to ensure that Texas residents’ medical education is prioritized.

2. Are there Texas medical schools that do not use the TMDSAS application?

Yes, there are. These include the Texas Christian University the University of North Texas Health Science Center (TCU UNTHSC), which you can apply to through AMCAS, and the University of the Incarnate Word School of Osteopathic Medicine (UIWSOM), which uses the DO school application system AACOMAS. You can apply to them through AMCAS and AACOMAS respectively.

3. Is the TMDSAS application easier than AMCAS or AACOMAS?

No, it is not easier because all three application systems ask for similar components. Additionally, TMDSAS applications ask for two additional essays, the personal characteristics essay and optional essay, which is not really optional. You will still need to submit your work history and extracurriculars for medical school to TMDSAS, as well as your personal statement, medical school recommendation letters, and standardized test scores.

4. Is it more difficult to get into TMDSAS participating schools if I’m not a Texas resident?

Unfortunately, yes, as medical schools in Texas are not the most out of state friendly medical schools. It will be more difficult to get in if you’re an out-of-state applicant. Priority will be given to residents of Texas. Plus, out-of-state students pay higher tuition fees. You may qualify as a Texas resident if you graduated from a Texas high school or received a General Education Development (GED) there. Living in Texas continuously for 12 months right before you apply to med school can also make you eligible. Check with the program of your choice to see how you can qualify as a Texas resident. To prove your residency, you will need to provide supporting documents such as significant gainful employment documents, property ownership, ownership of a business entity, or a marriage certificate showing that you’re married to a Texas resident.

5. What should my personal characteristics essay and optional essay include?

Your personal characteristics essay must demonstrate what personal skills and experiences will contribute to the learning experience of your medical school cohort. You can view it as a diversity secondary essay prompt. Include the experiences that make you unique. Remember to always link your essays to your aspiration to become a healthcare professional.

Your optional essay is another chance to impress the admissions committees. The prompt is very open-ended, so it allows you to write about anything you want. This is your opportunity to cover a topic that you haven’t had the chance to discuss in other parts of the application. You can address your special talents and achievements, personal and family history, and discrepancies in other application components. Check out the optional essay section in this blog to learn more.

6. I am interested in the MD-PhD program. How much research experience should I have to be a competitive applicant?

What matters is the quality of your research experience, rather than quantity. You can be a great addition to the program even if you have one meaningful research experience. In your essay, you can detail your progress in and commitment to a research project. Include the highlights of the experience and significant lessons and skills you learned. Focus on your accomplishments and successes, but do not be afraid to talk about what you learned from mistakes and setbacks. 

7. How long can I take to write my TMDSAS secondary essays?

If the school does not send you any deadline specifications, ideally you will want to submit your medical school secondary essays within two weeks of receiving it. Do not rush and submit subpar essays; always focus on quality over speed. But remember, these schools have rolling admissions, so the earlier you submit your secondary essay the faster you may receive an invitation to an interview. Remember, you will not use TMDSAS to submit the secondary essays but send them directly to the school.

8. Will I have to take the CASPer test?

As I mention above, some Texas medical schools require their applicants to submit CASPer test scores. Check the list of medical schools that require CASPer. To take the test, you must go to the official CASPer website to sign up for the School of Medicine test (CSP-10111 – U.S. Medicine) and reserve a test using your TMDSAS ID and a piece of government-issued photo ID. Choose your testing date and time. 

9. What GPA and MCAT score will I need to have to be a competitive applicant for medical schools in Texas?

According to the latest data, the average GPA of TMDSAS matriculants is 3.68, and the average MCAT score of matriculants is 505. Also, 29% of all TMDSAS medical school matriculants had a GPA between 3.91.

10. How long does it take to process my TMDSAS primary application?

It normally takes 2-4 weeks for application to be processed. You will receive an email when your application has been processed and transmitted to the schools to which you applied. TMDSAS does not wait on transcripts, letters or test scores to process applications. It is your responsibility to ensure that TMDSAS has received all supporting documents by the deadline. If review of your application has found errors or inconsistencies, your application will be placed in the problem section?

11. What causes an application to be placed in the problem section?

An application may be placed in the problem section for a variety of reasons, which will delay the processing. You will be notified immediately via email. It is crucial that you are able to receive TMDSAS emails and that you answer promptly.

12. I forgot to include something in my TMDSAS applications! Can I go back and add it after I have submitted it?

Once you have submitted your application, you can only make edits or changes to the following sections: Contact Info, College Attended, College Coursework, Terms Attended, Planned Enrollment, My Account, and Test Scores.

13. The recommender I listed in my application is not longer able to write my reference, so I had to find new people to write my recommendation letters. What should I do?

You must update TMDSAS of this change immediately. Once you have secured a different writer, please notify TMDSAS of the new referee by sending a message through the internal message system in the application. Include the name of the recommender that needs to be removed and provide the following information for the recommender that should be added:

·      Salutation (i.e. Dr, Prof, Mr., Mrs., etc.)

·      First and last name of the Recommender

·      Suffix (i.e. MD, PhD, etc.)

·      Relationship to you (Academic Advisor, HP Advisor, Professor, Business Associate, Work/Volunteer Supervisor, Other)

·      Letter delivery method (upload directly to TMDSAS, Interfolio or regular mail)

·      Email address of evaluator if he/she will upload directly to TMDSAS

14. Will I have to go to a medical school interview if I apply through TMDSAS?

Yes, you will but they will not be set up through the TMDSAS application system. You will be notified by individual schools if they invite you to interview. Practice with common medical school interview questions and MMI questions to get ready.

15. Do graduates of Texas medical schools go through the same residency application process as everyone else?

Yes, if you want to apply to American residency programs you will use the ERAS application system just like all the other candidates applying to match to American residencies.

To your success,

Your friends at BeMo

BeMo Academic Consulting

Image credit: Ted Eytan, via the Creative Commons License: 

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Ken Chong

Hello, I am interested in the Silver plan for the US medical school application review consulting in the coming week. For the TMDSAS option, does this only cover the personal statement essay review or does it include the personal characteristic essay review and optional essay review?


BeMo Academic Consulting

Hello Ken! Thanks for your message! Please feel free to reach out to us for a free strategy call to discuss how we can help you with your TMDSAS application and what kind of assistance you will get with our consultants!