As you’re applying for Medical, Dental, or Veterinary School through the Texas Medical & Dental Schools Application Services (TMDSAS) system, you’ve probably been working on your personal statement, sought out letters of recommendation, and taken the MCAT or DAT (the GRE is no longer required for veterinary applicants). Alas, the application isn’t open yet, so what can you do? Here’s a list of 5 things that you can do to streamline your application and put you at the top of the queue!
1. Read the TMDSAS Application Guide
The TMDSAS application guide comes out a few months before the application opens in early May. The guide goes into detail about what appears in each section. When I was preparing my application, I used the guide to determine all the information the application would require, including documents that I hadn’t considered and would take some time to acquire. Even if the guide for your application year hasn’t been published, taking a look at the guide from the previous application year can go a long way in helping you gather the material you’ll need. Reading the guide cover to cover puts you leagues ahead and prepares you to submit a high-quality application.
2. Compile a spreadsheet with all your information
When I was planning to complete the TMDSAS application, my mantra was cut and paste! I wanted to do as little thinking as possible without being in a rush. So, when the application guide came out, I made a spreadsheet with all the requirements that the application required. This included things like Date of Birth, any address I’d live lived at, etc. The most time-consuming section was the education history, as I needed to write out my transcript in detail. The same is true for your activities - it’s the most extensive resume you’ll ever compile, and it may be daunting to do it all on the TMDSAS site. Therefore, taking it piece by piece on a spreadsheet before the application even opens can ensure you don’t forget any activity and have time to tweak descriptions. Completing these parts of the application in the spreadsheet saved me so much time. When it came to application day, all I had to do was cut and paste and the process was a breeze!
3. Gather necessary documentation
TMDSAS may ask for documentation to support claims of residency. Read through the Residency Section in the Application Guide to see who they ask for documentation and what documents are accepted. Have copies of your transcripts on hand to fill out the application. There’s a lot of detail TMDSAS requires concerning coursework, and a copy of your transcript comes in handy. It doesn’t need to be an official copy, as this is simply for your personal use.
4. Schedule and complete the CASPER test
Texas schools have varying ways in which they utilize CASPER. Some may not look at your application until they have the score, others won’t offer an interview without it. It’s a bit of work to juggle how each school uses CASPER. I recommend completing CASPER around the time you’re submitting your application. It’s one less thing to worry about.
5. Don’t send your transcripts to TMDSAS until prompted to do so
This is actually something you shouldn’t do, but it’s important as it’ll save you time and money. Unlike AMCAS (the medical school application form for non-Texas Schools), TMDSAS doesn’t want your transcripts immediately. TMDSAS will request your transcripts later in the application season, usually after you’ve received an interview invite. Be prepared to have your official transcripts sent out by all institutions you’ve attended.
Disclaimer: if you are an applicant with foreign coursework transcripts or previously enrolled in the following programs, you can and should submit your transcripts prior to the request from TMDSAS: Academic Fresh Start, Early Decision Program, and JAMP.