University of California, Riverside

Health Professions Advising Center

Frequently Asked Questions About Applying


  • The AMCAS website has an FAQ section which can be found here.
  • Please read the 2016 AMCAS instruction book available here in pdf format.

Please keep in mind that it may take 4-6 weeks for your application to be verified with your transcripts and processed so that it can be forwarded to the medical schools that you have indicated. In some cases, the medical schools may receive your unverified application information from AMCAS and may begin to invite you to submit a secondary application.

You do NOT need to wait for your letters of recommendation to be submitted in order to submit the AMCAS application.

If you  do not know whom you will ask to submit a recommendation on your behalf, you can still submit the application and return to it at a later time to enter the names and information of your recommenders.

You do NOT need to wait for your MCAT scores to be reported in order to submit the AMCAS application.

You do NOT need to wait to submit the primary AMCAS if you are taking the MCAT a second time.

Frequently Asked Questions:

When should you apply?

When YOU are ready to commit to this extensive process.  Much time, effort, cost, and personal investment is required.  Sometimes it is very difficult to do so while you have responsibilities with coursework, research, work, etc.  Many students across the country are not successful in gaining acceptance to medical school.  Generally, the majority of applicants have good grades and good MCAT scores.  The average GPA for accepted students from our campus is about a 3.6.  However, it is critical to honestly evaluate if your extracurricular activities, service, leadership, research, and other endeavors are strong components of your application and beyond cursory participation.  The HPAC staff is available to help with assessment of your application.  Students are eligible to apply at the end of their junior year for matriculation after the end of the senior year but students should not confuse eligibility with qualification.

Back to the Top

What is the minimum information and materials required to SUBMIT the AMCAS application?

The primary AMCAS application and your transcripts are the only two items required at the time of submission. Letters of Recommendation and MCAT scores do NOT need to be received at that time. It is best to submit the application as early as possible.  You can return to the AMCAS application and provide updated information about the letters of recommendation including the names.

Back to the Top

When can/should I submit my application?

The application was made available in May of each year and the earliest to submit is in the first week of June each year. The latest date to submit varies but a common deadline for most medical schools is in October. Applicants are advised NOT to wait until these deadlines to submit the application. As the word deadline implies, these are just the “drop dead” dates when you can submit and still be considered but earlier is better.  The month with the highest number of applications received by the AAMC is June, followed by July.  On average, 50% of the entire pool of 40,000+ applications nationwide are submitted in the first two months.

Back to the Top

It is STRONGLY encouraged that applications for most medical schools be submitted earlier in the cycle, in the months of June and July.

Most schools have a rolling admissions process and consideration in the later months might result in less availability for interview positions.  Many schools review applications on a first come first served basis and primary AMCAS applications received in the Fall months such as October and November are generally considered very late in the process for most medical schools.

Back to the Top

When should you request for your transcripts to be sent to AMCAS?

As soon as possible. This information is used by AMCAS personnel to process and verify your application. You can wait until after your most recent grades are posted in order to have a more updated transcript (typically Spring Quarter) sent but it is not required. If you are accepted to medical school, then you will be required to submit transcripts that include all of your final coursework. You can/ should have your transcripts (from ALL institutions including community college) sent to AMCAS even before you submit the AMCAS application.  You only need to have created an AMCAS account and have an AAMC ID# in order to have materials sent to AMCAS.  You will need to submit a "Transcript Request Form" to the UCR Registrar which will be sent to AMCAS.

Back to the Top

Does UCR have a Pre-Med/ Pre-Health Committee Evaluation or Letter?

No. It is appropriate for you to indicate that UCR does not have such a letter available. Please be aware that most colleges and universities do not offer such a committee letter so an applicant need not feel disadvantaged by this. Medical Schools also understand that not all Health Profession offices such as HPAC offer this opportunity to students.

Back to the Top

In the AMCAS application letter of evaluation section, should I select the Individual Letter, Letter Packet, or Committee Letter option?

Both the individual and letter packet options are available if you use the Interfolio service.  If using Interfolio, you can have all letters sent directly to AMCAS using their service or you can have letters sent directly to AMCAS using their (AMCAS) service.  The Committee Letter option is not appropriate for UCR students. 



Back to the Top

How do you complete the Letters of Evaluation section on AMCAS?

There are two general options for how to complete this section.

One option is to use the Interfolio service similar to what the UCR Career Center service previously provided.  For more details on how Interfolio works, please visit this section on their website.  This option still requires completion of information on the Letter of Evaluation section of the AMCAS.  You can select any of the three options on the AMCAS which include: Individual Letter; Letter Packet; and Committee Letter.  Please remember that the Committee Letter option is not an option for UCR students as our campus no longer offers a Committee Letter.  In most cases, it will be easiest to use the Individual Letter option.

Once you have received all of your expected recommendations into the Interfolio database, you can request that they be electronically updated to the AMCAS database.

The other option is to use the AMCAS Letter of Evaluation service exclusively which is very similar to the Interfolio service.  The main difference is that the recommender will need to submit their letter to AMCAS instead of Interfolio.  Use of Interfolio allows the student to have a little more proprietary control for letters that can possible be used for other programs.  Also, not all medical schools use the AMCAS letter service so you will need to have the recommender send an additional set of letters to those schools.  



If you have any questions that you suggest we include on this site, please send them to

The Medical and Health Careers Program Staff is here to provide support and advising for all health professional students.

In the coming months we will have additional information shared by some of our current and past UCR students about their experiences as applicants and afterwards.  This is available on the HPAC website home page under the Blogs section.

Back to the Top

When are letters of recommendation required to be submitted?

Different health professions programs have different requirements as to when supplemental documents are due. It is important to provide your letter writers with enough time to write your letter, so try and ask at least two weeks in advance of when you plan to submit them. 

Either access the websites of the schools you are applying to or contact their admissions departments directly to ensure you have the correct deadlines, and submit all documentation as soon as possible. 

Back to the Top

More Information 

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

Department Information

Health Professions Advising Center
Rivera Library B03

Tel: (951) 827-6233

Related Links