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Navigate Your Application Preparation With the MSAR® Database

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The latest MSAR edition includes two new sections: guidance on preferred letter writers and policies on pass/fail coursework.

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Applying to medical school is a rigorous process. Whether you decided to become a doctor at age 5 or 35, it quickly becomes clear that the process and preparation requires resilience, determination, and significant attention to academic and extracurricular experiences. You have likely spent countless hours preparing to apply to schools and consulting with advisors, mentors, and peers. You may have reached out to current medical students and physicians; sought out or participated in clinical, research and volunteer experiences; or reviewed resources about applying, such as the AAMC’s Student Hub and the Official Guide to Medical School Admissions. You meticulously planned … but then the COVID-19 pandemic struck.

To accommodate various needs, protocols, and safety precautions, medical schools have had to adjust admissions policies, procedures, deadlines, and requirements. Because it can be difficult to keep track of changes, the AAMC created the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resource Hub to centralize current information. 

In response to the needs of applicants, prehealth advisors, and admissions departments, the Medical School Admission Requirements™ (MSAR®) Reports for Applicants and Advisors (22 reports that were previously only accessible by members of the National Association of Advisors for the Health Professions) were made publicly available for all users last March. Additionally, the “Application Policies and Information” section was expanded to allow medical schools to update their COVID-19-related policies or deadlines in one consistent place for applicants.

In the new edition of the MSAR website, along with source information and dates throughout each MSAR profile, two new items have been added to help applicants prepare for the upcoming 2021-2022 application cycle:

  • Guidance on preferred letter writers: Medical schools have been asked to provide additional details to help applicants identify specific types of letter writers who will provide letters of evaluation on their behalf. 
  • Pass/fail coursework: With the move to virtual learning, many undergraduate colleges either transitioned to pass/fail grades or allowed students to decide between a pass/fail or letter grade for courses. This newly added column in the Premedical Coursework table is now available for medical schools to communicate their policies. 

The MSAR is the most comprehensive database of medical school profiles that includes all 172 MD-granting, LCME®-accredited medical schools in the United States and Canada. Annually updated, it includes data directly from the ΜСΑТ® exam and AMCAS® application, as well as information and data provided directly by medical school admissions offices. 
For questions or information on how to purchase an MSAR subscription, please consult this FAQ or email

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