The application process for AMCAS (almost all U.S. programs except for Texas schools other than Baylor) and TMDSAS (Texas schools only) have different timelines and specifics, but the overall process is the same. You will start with by submitting a primary application. Both AMCAS and TMDSAS primary applications require a personal statement, MCAT score, detailed list of college coursework and grades, work/extracurricular activities, letters of recommendation (also called letters of evaluation), and biographical/personal information.
AMCAS opens for submission on June 1st, 2017, but you can start contributing to your online application on May 2nd, 2017. TMDSAS opens May 1st, 2017 at 8:00am CT (note: you cannot add to your online application until May 1st. Once it is completed, you can submit it as soon as possible.). Submit your primary applications as early as possible. Prepare materials ahead of time and plan time to complete your applications by the time applications open for submission for AMCAS and by the end of the first week of May for TMDSAS.
Aside from coursework and MCAT score, start working on your personal statement and letters of recommendation first. Start thinking about ideas for your personal statement in the fall and winter before you apply. Try to write your personal statement before applications open, so you can switch focus to the other sections. Identify potential writers for letters of recommendation in the fall and winter before applying. Ask your writers in March or April if they are willing to write you a letter.
Once you have submitted your primary application, you will have between three and eight weeks before you hear back from schools for secondary applications. The later you submit your primary application, the longer it will take to hear about secondary applications (June submissions typically wait three to four weeks, July submissions typically wait closer to six to eight weeks).
Just like the primary application, you must submit your secondary applications as quickly as possible. A good rule of thumb is to return secondary applications within two to three days to be competitive and one month at the very latest.
Once you have submitted your secondary, you can expect to hear back from schools for interviews between the end of July and February. Most interviews take place between October and December, but some programs continue interviews through February. If you have not heard from any schools by March, it is time to start preparing to reapply. If you have interviewed at a program, you will hear back by March 15th at the latest. Do not be discouraged if you are waitlisted. Medical schools accept quite a few students from their wait list each year.
Good luck with your applications and let us know if you have any questions. Cheers!