Applying to Medical or Dental School – FAQs

AMCAS Application FAQs

The 2017 AMCAS application will be available starting on May 3, 2017. Submission will be starting on June 7, 2017.

For further information, detail, or clarification on the questions and answers provided in this FAQ page, please contact an AMCAS representative at (202) 828-0600. Representatives are available M-F, 9-7pm ET. Questions can also be sent to

A full list of FAQ’s can be found on the AAMC website located here.

General Questions
Coursework, Grading System & GPA
Study Abroad
Letters of Recommendation

General Questions

Do I fill out the AMCAS form for MD-PhD application or is there a separate form?+ Use the regular AMCAS application. When you select the schools you are applying to, you will be asked to specify the program type and you will select MDPhD. In addition, on the AMCAS application, you will be required to fill out two additional essays for MD-PhD programs
Can I change the schools I want to apply to after I submit my application?+ Yes, these can be updated at any time.
Why should I choose to allow my Bates Medical Studies advisors to see my application?+ Bates advisors can serve as a resource to help you complete your application. Even if you are not going through the Medical Studies Committee for a Committee letter we can assist by uploading your letters to the AMCAS server, where they may be accessed by the medical schools. By providing us access to your application we are able to see what stage of the process you are currently working on. We can see when you have started your application and when you have submitted it. This helps us to determine when your letters need to be uploaded so we can plan ahead.
What can delay my application verification process?+ The peak application submission times are during the months of July and August. If you submit your application in June there is a higher chance that your application will be verified faster than if you submit it in July or August. The longer you wait to submit your application the longer the verification process may take. The AMCAS Verification process starts when your application has been submitted and your official transcripts have arrived at AMCAS. Make sure you request your transcripts in a timely manner and verify that they have been sent by Bates and received by AMCAS. Courses listed out of order can slow down the verification process significantly, be sure to list your courses chronologically. Be sure your courses are classified correctly; incorrect course classifications will delay transcript verification. Lastly, be sure credits and grades are listed as they appear on your official transcript, if they are not this will also slow down the verification process.
When should I complete my secondary applications?+ Secondary applications should be completed as soon as possible. Most of the schools will send you secondaries. Once they receive your secondary application, your letters of recommendation, and MCAT scores your application will be moved forward to the next phase, in which you will be considered for an interview.


Does AMCAS require an official copy of my transcript from Bates?+ Yes, the Med Studies Committee is not able to send them an official copy. You will need to request one from the registrar.
How can I have my transcripts provided to AMCAS?+ Bates is an approved e-sender for AMCAS. In order to request your Bates transcript for your AMCAS application you will need to: Submit a request online (Available for current students and alumni from classes of 2000 forward): Log into Garnet Gateway. (If you have forgotten your Bates ID or pin please contact the Bates HelpDesk at 207-786-8222). Click on Student Records. Click on Request Official Transcript. Select AMCAS and enter your AMCAS ID (8 digits) and AMCAS Transcript ID (7 digits) (both numbers can be found on your transcript request form. The transcript request form can be printed from your AMCAS application.) Complete the rest of the submission form and click “Next.” Verify the information is complete and click “Submit Request.” You do not need to send the transcript request form to Bates. <br>Submit a request by Mail or Fax: You may order an official transcript(s) by mailing or faxing your signed AMCAS transcript request form. It is very important that the request form is signed. We are unable to release any transcripts without your signature. Send by mail: Office of the Registrar and Academic Systems, Attn: Transcript Requests, 44 Mountain Avenue, Lewiston, ME 04240. Or by fax: 207-786-8350.</br>
When answering questions in the Transcript Identification section, how should I designate Bates' semester pattern?+ Bates’ semester description is 4-4-1. (4 months in the fall, 4 months in winter, and 1 month in the spring)
How do I know that my transcript was received by AMCAS?+ You will receive an email from AMCAS once they have received your transcript.

Coursework, Grading & GPA

Do I need to convert Bates credits to semester hours or will AMCAS do this for me?+ Your AMCAS application will automatically convert most undergraduate credit hours (also known as units, hours, etc.) to either semester hours or supplemental hours based on conversions provided by undergraduate institutions. Indicate your credit hours or units exactly as they appear on your transcript. Do not attempt to enter conversions based on the Grade Conversion Guide or any other conversion method.
How does AMCAS calculate GPA? Do they include graduate course GPA with the undergraduate GPA?+ The AMCAS application provides a GPA for a freshman, sophomore, junior and senior years and a cumulative GPA for all four of them. The graduate GPA is separate. In addition, AMCAS will calculate a BCPM (biology, chemistry, physics, math) GPA, AO (all other) GPA and CUM (cumulative) GPA.
What courses are included in the BCPM (biology, chemistry, physics, math) GPA that is calculated by AMCAS?+
Each health profession has its own online common application service which has its own method of classifying courses for the science GPA. Usually, application services count courses listed in biology, chemistry, physics, and mathematics toward the science GPA. Application services will often include neuroscience courses under biology, but they do not include courses in psychology, cognitive science, geology, or computer science (engineering is usually a separate classification). Mathematics generally includes courses in applied math as well as statistics courses in the social sciences (e.g., sociology and psychology). For more information on which courses count toward the science GPA, consult the instructions provided by the application service you use when applying for admission.

Should I enter the classes I intend to take next year, or only the classes I have already completed the coursework section of the application?+ List courses in which you are currently enrolled and the classes you expect to enroll in prior to entering medical school. Indicate “Current/Future” as the course type. Do not request a transcript exception if the future classes will be at Bates. Only request a transcript exception if the future class will be taken at a different institution that you have not attended in the past.
What course classification is this course?+
Each course must be assigned a course classification based strictly on the primary content of the course. You are responsible for selecting the correct course classification. Use the AMCAS Course Classification Guide for assistance. AMCAS reserves the right to change classifications if the assigned classification clearly does not apply. In the event that you are unable to classify a course, refer to the description of the course on Bates website or consult with your Pre-health Advisor to choose the most appropriate classification.

Study Aboard

How do I note study abroad credit on the AMCAS application?+ Under the “Colleges Attended” category on the AMCAS application list, the institution attended while studying abroad. In addition, list the classes you took at that institution and request a transcript exception. Do not list your study abroad classes under the Bates Course Work. AMCAS will automatically include your study abroad credits when calculating your total number of credits earned.
Do I need my study abroad transcript?+ AMCAS only wants your Official transcript from schools within the United States. You do not need to submit a transcript from the study abroad institution.
What should I do if I am uncertain of how to list a particular course taken at Bates?+ Review the list of options AMCAS provides and talk with faculty or members of the course department. AMCAS will accept the course classification you select as long as your official transcript doesn’t classify the course differently.


Can I submit the AMCAS application without having a MCAT score?+ Yes, applicants can submit the AMCAS application without having an MCAT score but will need to indicate when he/she expects to take the MCAT. The AMCAS application will be processed without the MCAT score and shared with schools. Once your new MCAT score is available it will be automatically posted on your AMCAS application online. Individual schools will make decisions on a case-by-case basis on whether they will wait for the new MCAT score before reviewing your application or extending an interview offer.
How many MCAT scores will AMCAS show on my application?+ All MCAT scores received in 2003 or later will automatically be released to AMCAS if you did not void your scores at the time of the exam.


Should I enter my experiences in a bulleted format or a paragraph?+ When completed, the application is sent to medical schools in plain text. It’s best if you type the information in a paragraph format or use dashes instead of bullets. If you plan to cut and paste your experience description into the application, draft it in plain text, preferably in text-only word processing software, such as Microsoft Notepad or Mac TextEdit. Copying formatted text into the application may result in formatting issues that cannot be edited once your application is submitted.
What activities should I include on the Post-Secondary Experience portion of the application? How much information should I provide?+ Only list activities that you were actively involved in. You do not have to fill each of the 15 slots for activities on the AMCAS application. If the title of the activity or organization alone does not explain the activity, provide a very brief statement explaining the activity or organization and include specifics describing your role (position held, etc.). To stay within the character limit (1325 or fewer characters) it is recommended that descriptions be written in paragraph resume style. Please review the resume writing tips provided in the online resume writing workshop or resume tip sheet. In some instances to allow space for more than 15 activities, awards, jobs, etc., you may want to combine your activities in one entry. Specific examples include research projects that resulted in publications or organizational leadership for which you were awarded an honor.

Letters of Recommendation

Which type of letter of evaluation should I choose?+ Each of the following letter types is considered one letter entry in the AMCAS application.                                                                                                                                                  Committee Letter: Includes a committee letter and all of your letters submitted in one packet. Select this if you interviewed with the committee and you wish to have all of your letters including your committee letter be sent to all of your schools you are applying to.           Letter Packet: A Letter Packet includes a cover sheet and all of your letters. This packet does not include a committee letter. Select this if you would like us to submit your letters but you did not interview with the committee.                                                                         Individual Letter: An Individual Letter entry would only need to be completed if you wish to send a specific letter to a specific school, meaning you do not wish to send all letters to all schools. If this applies, please reach out to Karina Lemay to be sure you are completing this properly in the system.
Who should I list as the Letter writer? + If you have a committee letter use the following information: Lee Abrahamsen, Medical Studies Chair, Bates College, Carnegie Science Hall, Room 313, Lewiston, Maine 04240. If you do not have a committee letter use one of your author’s information.
When should my letters of recommendation be submitted to AMCAS? Are they part of the primary application?+ Letters of recommendation do not need to be submitted as part of your primary application. They do however; need to be submitted as part of your secondary application. As soon as you receive your secondary application please let the Bates Pre-Health program specialist know so that your letters can be uploaded to AMCAS for processing. Secondaries are typically received beginning in July.
How do I check the status of my letters? How do I know my letters were received by the medical schools? + AMCAS will begin accepting letters of evaluation on the same day that the AMCAS application opens. You will receive an email when your letters are uploaded. Make sure your application is processed, as letters will not be sent until your application completes processing. Check the Letters of Evaluation or Medical School Summary screen in your AMCAS application and make sure the letters were added to that specific school. Finally, if it has been over a week since your application was processed and your letters were uploaded and submitted to the medical school, contact the medical school directly.
Can I change the list of letter writers after I submit my application?+ You may add a new letter after your application has been submitted, but you cannot delete or change existing letter entries. However, your letter writer can update the actual letter document linked to a letter entry by uploading a new version of the letter using the same Letter ID number as the original entry. Medical schools will be able to review the most recent version of the letter. These updates may be necessary if your letter writer needs to make a change to your letter, or if the original letter was not signed or on official letterhead. Do not make a new letter entry in your application for an updated letter.

AACOMAS Application FAQs

The 2017 AACOMAS application will be available starting in early May 2017.

For further information, detail, or clarification on the questions and answers provided on this FAQ page, please contact an AACOM representative at 617-612-2889. Questions can also be sent to

A full list of FAQ’s can be found on the AACOM website located here.
AACOMAS has a new centralized application system. For details visit this webpage.

Does AACOMAS require an official copy of my transcript from Bates?

Yes, the Med Studies Committee is not able to send them an official copy. You will need to request one from the registrars.

How can I have my transcripts provided to AACOMAS?

Detailed instructions on how to request your transcript be sent to AACOMAS can be found on the Bates Registrars’ website. Click here to review the process.

Transcripts should be sent to AACOMAS’ new address: AACOMAS, PO Box 9137, Watertown, MA 02472

Do I need to convert Bates Credits to semester hours or will AACOMAS do this for me?

Your AACOMAS application will not automatically convert your undergraduate credit hours (also known as units, hours, etc.) to either semester hours or supplemental hours. For the exact conversion rate view the back of an official Bates transcript. 1 Bates Credit = 4 Semester Hours

AADSAS Application FAQs

The 2017 AADSAS application will be available starting on June 1, 2017.

For further information, detail, or clarification on the questions and answers provided on this FAQ page, please contact an ADEA representative at (617) 612-2045. Representatives are available M-F, 9-5pm ET. Questions can also be sent to

A full list of FAQ’s can be found on the ADEA website located here.

Can my letters be submitted electronically?

Yes. ADEA AADSAS offers evaluators the option of submitting Letters of Evaluation (LOE’s) as either an online electronic document or as a paper letter that is mailed to ADEA AADSAS.

To use the electronic LOE process:

  • Log-in to your ADEA AADSAS application,
  • next select Evaluators (LOE Matching Form),
  • then select “Add New Entry”,
  • next select the “Electronic” reference type,
  • fill out sections accordingly,
  • check the box to indicate a Committee Letter/Report, then
  • then enter in the evaluator’s information as: Lee Abrahamsen, Bates College,,
  • lastly, click Save