The Texas Medical and Dental Schools Application Service (TMDSAS) has its own application process. You can begin filling out their electronic application by May 1 and the deadline to submit their application is October 1. The timeline is similar to the AMCAS application, but a little earlier. On the TMDSAS application there are two required essays and one optional essay.
1. Medical Personal Statement: Explain your motivation to seek a career in medicine. Be sure to include the value of your experiences that prepare you to be a physician. (max 5000 characters)
The length of this essay equals roughly one page. If you have already written a personal statement for the AMCAS application, you can adapt that essay to this purpose. If not, I recommend creating a timeline of your life that includes all the important events that have occurred that have encouraged you to become a doctor. You can begin with your childhood, if relevant. This may be the only place that you can discuss your activities or volunteer work from middle and/or high school. Make sure you cover the most important details of your preparation for a career in medicine.
2. Personal Characteristics Essay. 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. (max 2500 characters)
For this essay, I recommend selecting three characteristics that best describe you in your interactions with others. I would create a paragraph for each characteristic, providing an activity or experience in which you demonstrated that characteristic consistently. The best essays will also reveal the outcomes of each activity. Since this essay is only a half a page in length, be strategic in selecting your characteristics– the best examples will show how well you work with others. Be honest! Have fun this one.
3. Optional Essay
The optional essay is an opportunity to provide the admissions committee(s) with a broader picture of who you are as an applicant. This essay is optional; however, you are strongly encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity.
Briefly state any unique circumstances or life experiences that are relevant to your application. This is not an area to continue your essay or reiterate what you have previously stated – this area is provided to address any issues which have not previously been addressed. (2500 characters max)
Even though this is an “optional” essay, it’s not really optional. It will hurt your application, if you do not complete it. Looking through what you have already covered in your other essays, are there any challenges or unique circumstances that you have overcome? If you struggled academically or with the MCAT, this section would be the most appropriate place to address any concerns that the selection committee may have about your application. Do you speak other languages? Have you completed a medical mission in another country? Or do you have a unique approach to leadership that you would like to discuss in more detail? This section will allow you to go into detail about anything that you feel it would be important for the selection committee to know about you.
For more assistance, you are welcome to contact me or one of my colleagues at Accepted. If you get stuck on any of these essays, it can be helpful to have the guidance of an expert. I recommend that you start your essays early to avoid the stress of an impending deadline. Most students do their best work when they are not under the pressure of a deadline.
Alicia McNease Nimonkar is an Accepted advisor and editor specializing in healthcare admissions. Prior to joining Accepted, Alicia worked for five years as Student Advisor at UC Davis’ postbac program where she both evaluated applications and advised students applying successfully to med school and related programs.