The Secondary Application

After AMCAS sends your Primary Application to your designated medical schools, most medical schools generally request supplemental information. This constitutes the Secondary Application. Check the medical schools to which you are applying to identify their Secondary Application practices. As the Secondary Application gets underway, each medical school will have a distinctive process, but generally it involves three deliverables by you.

  1. Application fee
  2. School specific questions and essays
  3. Request to transmit your letters of recommendation

General Procedures

  • Some schools send invitations to all students applying to their school, other schools only send invitations after reviewing the primary application (4 to 6 weeks after submission) and some schools do not use a secondary application.
  • There is usually an additional application fee for the secondary application. If there is one, and you received a fee waiver from AMCAS, you may be granted a waiver for your secondary application; ask.
  • The secondary application will require you to complete a set of additional questions and several shorter essays specific to their school; be prepared to spend a significant amount of time on your secondary applications.
  • When you receive a request in the secondary application to transmit your letters, contact HPA and ask us to transmit your letter packet.
  • It is essential to keep your contact information with AMCAS current and to be available (especially via email) throughout the application process.

Application Fee

  • Most schools require an application fee when completing the secondary application.
  • If requested, some schools will waive this fee.
  • For students who received a fee waiver for the centralized application (AMCAS, etc), schools may waive the secondary application fee as well.
  • Please plan carefully; the application process can be very expensive depending on the number of schools to which you are applying. Costs include primary application, secondary application, travel for interviews (transportation, lodging), etc.

School Specific Questions and Essays

Each medical school will have a unique set of personal essay questions for you to write and submit. The types of questions you might expect may be general, for example, "What medical specialty do you intend to pursue?" Or specific, like "Why are you interested in applying to our school?" Focus on writing effective, concise essays and check carefully your grammar and spelling. Pay attention to deadlines.

Request to Transmit Letters

Follow the steps below to initiate the process of transmitting your letters of evaluation.

Submit the following items along with your request to transmit your Letter Packet to the Office of Health Professions Advising:

  1. Verified (processed) primary application (as a PDF) 
  2. Application Identification Number(s) (AMCAS/AACOMAS/TMDSAS/AADSAS/VMCAS/etc.)
  3. AMCAS Letter ID Number
  4. List of AACOMAS schools (if applicable)

Do not request that your letters be transmitted unless all your letters have been received by our office. You can easily check the status of your letters on your myHPA.

Once we have received your request, we will upload your letter packet to Virtual Evals (or the AMCAS Letter Service) and make it available to all schools currently listed on your application. Once your letter packet has been transmitted, you will receive an email confirmation from VE (or AMCAS if using the AMCAS Letters Service) with a list of schools that received your packet. If a school on your list does not use Virtual Evals, we will send your letter packet via the AMCAS Letter Service or postal mail*.

*UCSF will not accept evaluation letter packets until specifically requested. If you have applied to UCSF but have not yet received a request for a secondary application, please let us know (if we send your letter packet before it is requested, UCSF will not retain your letters).

Please remember, if you add schools to your application after requesting to have your letters transmitted, you must send us an email at  with a listing of any additional schools. If you do not notify us, we will not know to add any schools to your Virtual Evals account and any additional schools will not receive your letter packet.

Only one letter packet will be sent to all schools. If after requesting to have your letters sent you decide to include an additional evaluation letter(s), any new letter(s) will need to be sent by the evaluator directly to the medical schools.