Regardless of the number of medical schools to which you apply, you submit just one online application to AMCAS (for MD programs) and one online application to AACOMAS (for DO programs). Neither AMCAS nor AACOMAS make any admission decisions in regard to your candidacy. Note however, that in addition to AMCAS and AACOMAS, you may need to utilize other application services--such as TMDSAS for schools in the state of Texas or OMSAS for schools in Ontario, Canada--depending on the geographical region you are targeting.
When you submit your primary application (AMCAS and/or AACOMAS), you will need to know to which schools you wish to apply. Due to the competitiveness of the process, you are encouraged to submit your primary application in a timely fashion, ideally some time in June or early July. The primary application service will process your application along with official copies of your college transcripts and forward it to the schools of your choice. AMCAS will also handle letters of recommendation for schools participating in its Letter of Evaluation Service.
Generally, the more schools you choose, the higher the fee for the application service. Choosing schools wisely will help maximize your chances for interviews and acceptance. If you have financial concerns about embarking in this process, check the AAMC’s fee assistance program (FAP) for allopathic medical schools. See fee waivers information for osteopathic medical schools.
Once your primary application is verified by the appropriate application service, it will be sent to your designated schools. AMCAS usually does not start releasing verified applications to medical schools until approximately mid June. Depending on the school, supplemental application materials (including letters of reference, one or multiple essays, legal residency info and other school-specific forms, a fee, etc.) may be requested from all or some applicants. If you submit your primary application in June, you may expect to work on your secondaries approximately from July through September.
As secondary/supplemental applications are completed, schools will contact select applicants for an interview. Interviews usually do not start until late August/early September and will continue until mid March and occasionally beyond. After an interview, interviewers' evaluations are correlated with all other application materials and presented to the admission committee. The committee, acting as a whole, usually makes final decisions about admission.
Committee decisions may range from acceptance to placing of the candidate on a waitlist, to rejection. With the exception of early decision programs' admissions, allopathic medical schools do not start extending admission offers until October 15. Osteopathic schools will start extending offers much earlier, usually in early September, right after the first interviews. With admissions offers, also requests for deposits to hold a seat in a class start coming in, which can be quite hefty for osteopathic schools--be sure to plan accordingly.
In January/February, you want to start working on your financial aid materials and complete a FAFSA application.
You will be able to hold onto multiple acceptance offers from allopathic medical schools (if applicable) until early May. After May 15, however, you will only be able to hold onto one admission offer from an allopathic medical school at the time. Osteopathic medical schools do not follow a specific timeline for having applicants rescind their multiple offers. However, their (hefty) deposit policies often force applicants to make those decisions earlier in the process. Medical schools will draw from their waitlist well into the summer, although the greatest movement from the waitlists nationally usually occurs in late May through June and beyond.