There is a lot you can learn from a TMDSAS optional essay example. TMDSAS (short for the Texas Medical and Dental Schools Applications Services) is the central organization through which participating Medical Schools in Texas have come together to help with the success of aspiring physicians, podiatrists, dentists, and veterinarians. We will have a look at how you can apply to join these fields in detail and with optional essay examples to help with the process.

If you’re applying to medical schools in the United States, you are probably already familiar with the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS) – which is a centralized online application processing service for applying to most medical schools in the country.

But, if you plan to apply to medical, dental, or veterinary schools in the state of Texas, you should know that the state uses its own application service – the Texas Medical & Dental Schools Application Service (TMDSAS).

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Article Contents
7 min read

Should I take the TMDSAS or AMCAS path? The TMDSAS application process What are the Participating Universities? What is this Optional Essay? TMDSAS Optional Essay Examples Care to take when writing the TMDSAS Optional Essay Conclusion FAQ

Should I take the TMDSAS or AMCAS path?

If you are applying to join the 20 or so medical, dentistry or veterinary school in Texas (listed below), then you have to go the TMDSAS way. These schools strictly accept students through TMDSAS which means, that is your only option.

The TMDSAS application process

The TMDSAS application process has its own rules and regulations. Many, but not all, medical, dental, and veterinary schools in Texas use TMDSAS, and we will have a look at the participating schools next, but it is up you to know which institutions do and do not use this application system.

What are the Participating Universities?

The participating medical schools are:

What is the application fee?

As for the information regarding the payment information, the application fee is a non-refundable, flat fee of $200.00. They only accept credit card payments and warn that TMDSAS does not grant application fee waivers.

Looking for more help with your application? Check out these tips for your TMDSAS personal statement:

What is this Optional Essay?

The TMDSAS essays guide website has all the information you may need regarding all essays that need to be submitted.

There is one optional essay that applies to all participants, regardless of the school they are applying to. This essay offers you an opportunity to provide the admissions committee with a broader picture of who you are as an applicant. The essay is optional; however, you are strongly advised to take advantage of this opportunity.

Optional Essay Promptbriefly discuss any unique circumstances or life experiences that are relevant to your application, which have not previously been presented. Optional Essay is limited to 2500 characters, including spaces.

Instructions for Applicants

There are 4 things to remember about essays:

TMDSAS Optional Essay Examples

TMDSAS Optional Essay Example 1:

I arrived here as a refugee from Guatemala carrying the dream of becoming a doctor with me.

I grew up in a neighborhood where gang warfare is rife. A day would start with us kids kicking a ball around, skipping rope, and just running about. Without warning, we would be running for our homes screaming and terrified as guns blared and bullets were sprayed.

One day, in the mid of a gang firefight, I saw my friend get shot by a stray bullet. As I came running out to help him I noticed no one was coming to help us. I held him and although he was unresponsive, I knew he was passing away.

I never forgot that day and my friend stayed in my heart and mind to this day.

When we realized there was going to be no reprieve from the daily shootouts we decided to leave the country and head to America.

Once the decision was made, it wasn’t long before we slipped out into the night, got into a truck that we were sharing with two other families, and headed to the border. It would be a difficult journey from then on. There were jungles, rivers, and deserts to cross. We would be hungry, and thirsty, and some people would die on that voyage. I can still remember it all.

Three months later, we had crossed into Texas and had started life in Houston living as illegal immigrants in a one-bedroom apartment.

I graduated from high school with a full 4.0 GPA and went on to study Biology and also graduated with a full 4.0 GPA.

But, all this time, I never forgot my friend who died in my arms and how helpless I felt.

I have been asked what inspired me to work hard in high school and continue to do so through college. The answer was simple: I promised to never feel so helpless again in case of an emergency – whether or not it was someone I knew– needed medical attention. I wanted to become a doctor.

And even at a young age, I knew that it would be tough to become a doctor and made it my one goal in life to study as hard as I could until I achieved my dream.

I didn’t let anything get in my way. The fact that we were called DACA kids didn’t make me feel any less of a student. The fact that I had to work two shifts all through college didn’t deter me from squeezing every single minute of the remaining time to study hard. I found strength in aiming for that one target: a medical degree.

That day, when my friend was shot, gave birth to my dreams of saving lives. And that dream - it crossed borders, it grew up with me, and it led me to this very application. (2450 characters)

TMDSAS Optional Essay Example 2:

I have never dreamt I would pursue a career in medicine. As a child, whenever I was asked what I wanted to become when I grew up, my career of choice depended on the last movie I had seen or one that involved action figures – becoming a fireman, a police officer, or a soldier.

Growing up, and being on the skinny side, I realized I didn’t want to become one of those professions. The reason was mainly that I was too lazy to even think of bulking up or undergoing physical training and maintaining the fitness they needed. I also realized that jobs came with plenty of risks and even death.

Well, especially, death – neither mine nor that of another human’s.

Thoughts like this made me realize that I wouldn’t be able to help people in dangerous and explosive situations. But, I did realize that I could save people through medicine.

This realization made me work hard in school. I knew if I wanted to become a doctor, I needed to know more than just what was needed to pass my exams.

And yet, what sealed my belief in my wanting to become a doctor was what happened one night when my younger brother, who had a bad cold suddenly woke up coughing and gasping for breath. We shared a bedroom and his panicked gasps and writhing while he sat in bed staring big-eyed was something that will remain with me forever.

Although he was 10 and I was only 3 years older than him, I didn’t panic. It just felt like I knew what I was supposed to do.

I got out of bed, went behind him, and without hesitating, simply performed the Heimlich maneuver. It wasn’t something I had ever done before. I had seen it in first aid class in school, in a movie or two, and books.

After two or three heaves, the phlegm cleared from his throat and he slumped with relief against me as the air rushed back into his lungs.

That shared experience (our parents didn’t hear about it until years later), apart from bringing my brother and I closer, made me realize there was no greater joy than being able to help someone in need.

I joined every first aid class, started watching documentaries about biology, and just immersed myself in learning what it takes to become a doctor.

Today, I know that I am a doctor at heart. I just need the education to become one in real life. (2233 characters)

Check out this video for more tips about your TMDSAS optional essay:

Care to take when writing the TMDSAS Optional Essay

Here are some points to consider when it comes to writing your TMDSAS optional essay example:

1.   Although it is optional, don’t opt out

Don’t be fooled by the “optional” part of the essay. The US medical school acceptance rates are an indication that it isn’t easy to get a medical degree.

The optional essay is one of the tools that help you get a foot in the door. It is a way for the admissions committee to see whether you are a good fit for the medical profession as well as the schools you are applying to.

2.   Take your time – but start early

Although it might seem like a small project, writing an essay of any type – be it a TMDSAS Personal Statement or an optional essay – you need to give it your full attention and write it with care.

Also, don’t wait until the last minute before you complete the essay. You need to take time to read, and re-read it a few times before you decide it is the final draft.

If you find it a challenge, you will also have the time to work with a medical school admissions consultant to get help, not just with your essays, but the entire application process.

3.   Read the prompt – write for the prompt

Be careful with the prompt, always read it and make sure the essay addresses the question or request. Keep modifying it as needed to ensure it covers the topic fully.

4.   Spell check and grammar check

Although the gist of your essay matters a lot, it isn’t the only thing you should focus on. An important thing to do is make sure you have spell-checked your essay and that the grammar is correct.

Even when English isn’t your first language, you can use various tools. There are various AI tools you can use to make it as perfect as can be.

5.   Stick to the Instructions

The TMDSAS optional essay asks that you shouldn’t exceed 2,500 characters (with space). Of course, you can write an essay with a lower number of characters, but as a rule of thumb, do not cross the 10% margin (about 2,250 characters).


The TDMSAS optional essay example we have seen will help give you an idea about what you need to do when you apply to any of the participating medical schools in Texas. The main point to take from this article is that you shouldn’t skip it, you need to answer the prompt, and follow the instructions to the letter (or space).


1. What college majors are accepted by medical schools?

The medical school acceptance rates by major hovers at around 47%. Physical Sciences majors have a higher chance of being accepted than Biological Science and Social Sciences.

2. What topics can I write about in the TMDSAS optional essay?

The prompt asks what personal journey led you to apply for medical school. It is your chance to explain what your journey was like, what made you decide medicine was for you, and any obstacles you had to overcome to get to where you are today.

Open up about your dreams, your aspirations, and your passions. Avoid controversial topics and dramatic stories. You want to reach out to the admissions officers, not turn them off of your application.

You can touch on your special skill sets, personal achievements, and educational or professional milestones.

3. How many applications can I submit through TMDSAS?

You can only submit one application per cycle, and select as many schools as you would like to apply to with one application. You cannot submit multiple applications.

4. If I am applying again, do I have to register again?

If you had applied the previous year, then you do not need to create a new account. The account that you had is still available for you to use again. Although most of the information you had previously uploaded will be available and usable, you will also need to update some of it. For example, you will need to update your photo, essays, Photo, letters of evaluation, proof of residency, and more. More information can be found on the TMDSAS applicant history page.

5. Can I apply through TMDSAS without being a permanent resident?

Not all schools or 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.

6. Why do I need to apply via TMDSAS to get a seat in a medical school in Texas?

There are over 20 Texas medical schools that will only accept applicants through TMDSAS. These schools do not see them on AMCAS – except for Baylor – and this means this is your only chance of getting in. Therefore, if you’re looking to join one of these schools, you will need to go through TMDSAS.

7. Should I skip the optional essay?

Although the essay is “optional” you really shouldn’t consider skipping it. This essay allows you to address any issues that have not previously been able to include in your application so far. Therefore, use the unique opportunity to provide the review committee with a more complete picture of who you are and what you can bring to the medical program of your choice.

8. What is the TMDSAS Match Day?

TMDSAS administers a matching process for facilitating the acceptance of medical applicants who are Texas residents. The TMDSAS Match is done to confirm the pre-match offers that some applicants may be holding and fill the remaining open slots for the medical schools. The TMDSAS matching process takes place on March 4th at 8 a.m. CST. Essentially, the TMDSAS Match is conducted to confirm the pre-match offers that some applicants may be holding and fill the remaining open slots for the medical schools.

To your success,

Your friends at BeMo

BeMo Academic Consulting

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