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Be Our Guest: How to use MSAR® (mostly for free) before, during and after you apply

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A significant amount of information from the MSAR is available for free to all users. We’ve compiled a list of the data and features anyone can access free-of-charge, to help you make insightful, strategic decisions about where to apply.

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Each spring, the AAMC releases a new online edition of the Medical School Admission Requirements™ (MSAR®) guide, with updated data, deadlines, policies, and information for each MD-granting U.S. and Canadian medical school. Reviewing school profiles can help you determine your medical school list based on criteria such as special programs, teaching style, mission statement, and current student data.

Although many applicants choose to subscribe soon after the new edition is released, one of MSAR’s benefits is that every current subscriber automatically receives the updated content and features as soon as they’re posted. But you don’t have to subscribe right away: A significant amount of information is available for free to all users. We’ve compiled a list of the data and features that anyone can access free-of-charge, to help you make insightful, strategic decisions about where to apply.

As college student or 3-4 years prior to when you want to begin medical school, begin reviewing:

  • Combined degrees and special programs
  • Application deadlines
  • Enrollment data
  • Campus type
  • Mission statements
  • Where schools accept applicants from

These features can give you an idea of the medical school’s atmosphere, values, culture, and mission focus, as well as information about the types of combined degree programs available. Consider if you’d prefer attending school in a rural setting or an urban location, one that focuses on primary care or one connected to a level-one trauma center, or one with more of a research focus. 

It’s also essential to review applicant acceptance policies early on to determine your eligibility before you pay to apply. Each school has its own requirements for premedical coursework as well as its own policies on accepting out-of-state or international students, among other requirements.

As college student or 1-2 years prior to when you want to begin medical school, consider reviewing:

  • Matriculant demographics
  • Primary application information
  • Letter of evaluation information
  • Research information and opportunities

As you’re working toward starting your application, you’ll want to consider who to ask for letters of evaluation. Some schools have requirements or preferences for committee letters or a packet of letters distributed by your school's career center. MSAR asks schools to provide this information in their profiles, so it is available as you plan.  

If you’re looking for a school with a research focus or one where research opportunities are available to you, be sure to review information about research opportunities and the amount of federal research grants and contracts available at schools you’re interested in. 

Critical data and information: Exclusive information available with a paid subscription

3-6 months before you apply, spend time reviewing:

  • Application deadlines
  • Application policies
  • Selection factors
  • Required and recommended premedical coursework
  • MCAT/GPA data
  • Matriculation data
  • Education and research section
  • Campus life

During application season:

  • Application timeline
  • Acceptance information
  • Secondary application information
  • Interview format and information about interview day
  • Deposit information
  • Waitlist information
  • Tuition and fees

Surveying each school’s deadlines, policies, and requirements is much easier with the MSAR guide. It can be an invaluable reference as you complete your secondary applications and prepare for interviews, too. While MSAR subscribers have access to additional features such as being able to view more school-specific data, save favorites, input MCAT® scores, GPAs, and coursework information, and compare schools side by side, a substantial information is available anyone visiting the site with or without a paid subscription. Start reviewing medical school profiles today at www.aamc.org/msar.

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