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Paul L. Foster School of MedicineOffice of Admissions

Frequently Asked Questions

When should I start applying to medical schools?
Most applicants apply to medical school during the summer before their senior year in college. Some applicants have already graduated. The rule to remember is that applicants must apply one year before expected matriculation. Application season begins May 1.
What is the application timeline?
Annually between May 1 and October 1. The earlier you can submit your application within that time frame, the better.
What is TMDSAS?
The Texas Medical and Dental Schools Application Service (TMDSAS) is the main application processing service for all medical schools in Texas with the exception of Baylor College of Medicine. You must visit this web site and fill out their application in order to be considered for an interview at Paul L. Foster School of Medicine in El Paso. Their web address is
What else is important besides good grades?
Although there is no set formula for medical school admission success, in addition to good grades, a competitive MCAT score and health care exposures/experiences are among other factors considered to be beneficial.
My GPA/MCAT is not so competitive, do I have a chance?
YES! Grades are important when applying to medical school, but they are not everything. If your grades are not as competitive as applicant averages (GPA: 3.6; SGPA: 3.6; MCAT:28), it is beneficial to have strong healthcare exposure, solid letters of evaluation, and an upward grade trend to name a few other factors. There is no single factor that will result in an invitation to interview or exclusion thereof.
When is the interviewing season?
Interviews for the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine begin in early August and end in mid January.
Who should write letters of evaluation on my behalf?
Letters from a physician or faculty professor at your educational institutions are preferred. Other health care professionals can be used, as long as your desire for medicine can be described by those individuals. It is important to make sure that the individuals or committee submitting letters on your behalf know you and your desire for pursuing medicine. Visit the TMDSAS (main application) web site at to find out more.
To whom do I submit my letters of evaluation?
Letters of evaluation are submitted through TMDSAS. You must let the service know who will be submitting your formal letters of evaluation. They will come from either a Health Professions Advisory Committee at your school or from two independent sources from the faculty or community.
Where do I send my transcripts?
When applying, have your college or university submit transcripts to TMDSAS on your behalf when you initially apply, and every time there is an update with your courses and/or GPA. 
If you are accepted to Paul L. Foster Medical School (PLFSOM), a final version of your transcripts must be submitted to the TTUHSC Office of the Registrar before your first class day.
I'm an "older" student, can I still go to medical school?
There is no age limitation for applying to medical school. Many people attending medical school have already had a prior career.
Is a research background required or preferred for applicants to the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine?
Research is not required for medical school nor is research considered as healthcare exposure in any way.  If you do have research experience, it is important that you are familiar with every detail of your project, including its protocol. Interview questions often arise from listed research experience.
Should I call about my alternate list status?
No. It can do nothing to improve your chances of being selected from the alternate list by calling to ask about your placement on the list or reminding admissions officers about your qualifications. If you are placed on the alternate list, you will be promptly notified. If you are selected from the alternate list, you will also be promptly notified.
Who do I contact concerning my immunization records after notice of acceptance?
Please contact the Office of Student Affairs:
Phone: 915-215-4370
Fax: (915) 783-5147
Address: 5001 El Paso Drive
El Paso, TX 79905
What if I don't get accepted the first time I apply?
For applicants not accepted it is important to remain active during the time between applications and improve those areas of your application that may be weak. Although all applicants are different, some people choose to take post-baccalaureate courses, and/or re-take the MCAT. Applicants are encouraged to contact admissions officers at the various medical schools to discover the areas that need improvement immediately after the admissions season ends in January. Reapplication to medical school is not held against applicants to Paul L. Foster School of Medicine, however the new application should demonstrate improvement in any areas of weakness.
When should I take the MCAT?
Applicants to Paul L. Foster School of Medicine are encouraged to take the MCAT by the June administration in the year they apply. Please refer to the AAMC MCAT exam website for more information on scheduling and release dates.
Do I need a degree to be accepted to the medical school?
The answer is essentially yes. Although all of the documentation concerning admissions will indicate that only 90 hours of coursework is required, such applicants would have to be extremely exceptional students. An example would be a student with virtually perfect exam scores and grades and an unparalleled healthcare exposure. This is a very, very rare occurrence.
I'm not a science major, is that OK?
Yes. Most people applying to medical school are biology, biochemistry, microbiology or chemistry majors, but being a science major is definitely not a requirement. If an applicant is a non-science major, then extra upper-division science courses are recommended.
Does the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine accept AP credit?
How many people will the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine interview?
We anticipate to interview upwards of 600 applicants.
How many people apply to the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine?
There were 3,695 applicants for the class matriculating in July 2015.
Is ethnicity used in the application process?
A goal of the institution is to recruit a diverse medical class exhibiting the personal experiences and the qualities promising academic success, and to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse population.
How long has a medical school been in El Paso?
The Texas Tech School of Medicine was established in 1969 for the West Texas region and El Paso has hosted a regional campus since 1973. The El Paso campus has provided clinical training for a large portion of Texas Tech's School of Medicine since 1973. The Paul L. Foster School of Medicine at El Paso matriculated its first freshman class in July 2009.
What is the address to the medical school's admissions office?
Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
Paul L. Foster School of Medicine
5001 El Paso Drive, Ste. 3314
El Paso, Texas 79905
What is the educational program like?
The Paul L. Foster School of Medicine is committed to excellence in medical education founded on modern scientific principles, strong ethical values and sensitivity to our community needs. Our integrated curriculum, which received a commendation from the LCME for its clinical orientation, teaches the basic sciences with relevance to clinical presentations assigned to organ-system based units. Clinical presentations are the ways in which a patient presents to a physician. Students learn the anatomy, biochemistry, physiology and other basic sciences concepts and content needed to understand specific clinical presentations. Guided instruction by discipline experts through lecture, small group and laboratory exercises is utilized to establish this relevance. This approach has been shown to enhance knowledge comprehension, improve retention and promote the development of diagnostic reasoning skills like those used by experienced physicians. The first two years of the curriculum consists of four major courses; Scientific Principles of Medicine (organ-system units), Medical Skills, Masters' Colloquium, and Society, Community and the Individual (SCI). The grading system is pass/fail. Preparation for the USMLE exams include cumulative unit exams and periodic use of the Comprehensive Basic Sciences Exam. In an effort to support our medical students along the way, each class is divided into learning communities called colleges, where College Masters monitor student performance on a weekly basis. All students engage in a language immersion course in conversational and medical Spanish. Application of skills and knowledge learned is applied early, as students are exposed to patient care within a month of arriving on campus. The third and fourth year of the curriculum provide richly diverse and varied patient care experiences in major specialties and subspecialties.
What is the Joint Admission Medical Program (JAMP)?
The Joint Admission Medical Program is a pipeline to medical school for disadvantaged students involving a partnership between 9 medical schools and 65 public and private undergraduate institutions in Texas. This program allows for students to receive special mentoring by JAMP Faculty Directors. The Paul L. Foster School of Medicine has matriculated JAMP students since 2012. For further information contact
Will a graduate degree enhance my chances of admission?
In general, emphasis is placed on undergraduate performance in science courses rather than graduate courses. Rejected applicants are not encouraged to obtain a graduate degree for the purpose of enhancing their chances of admission unless the program leads toward an alternative career goal.
What will I be asked in my interviews?
Each interviewer has his/her own distinctive interview style. However, most will be interested in determining your maturity, motivation for the study of medicine, problem-solving skills, ability to relate to people, and ability to express your ideas in an organized manner. Most interviewers also expect you to know something about current social, economic, and ethical issues in medicine, specifically as they relate to Texas.
What influence will my financial status have on my chances of admission?
Financial status by itself is not a consideration in selecting students. In conjunction with other factors on the TMDSAS application it may help determine a level of disadvantaged status which may be considered in the admissions process.
Is there a required ratio of out-of-state to in-state students accepted?
Yes, the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine is a state institution and is required to admit an entering class of 90% Texas residents.
I am an international student, can I be considered for admission to the medical school?
PLFSOM will only review and consider for admission applicants who are U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents of the U. S.
Do you accept transfer students?
Applicants for advanced standing to the third year must be Texas Residents who are enrolled in an LCME accredited school. Applicants are considered on an individual and space available basis, must be in good standing and must have passed USMLE STEP 1 with the passing score reported to our school prior to the day of matriculation. Guidelines and an application form to apply for advanced standing can be found in the admissions section of our web page. Our school does not consider applications for transfer to the second year.
Do you have an early acceptance program?
Do you require a secondary application?
As of May 1, 2015 PLFSOM requires a Secondary Application. There is a $50.00 nonrefundable fee.
When do students get exposure to patients?
Medical students begin their experiences with patients in their first semester of their first year at the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine.
Do you offer scholarships?
Yes. The Paul L. Foster School of Medicine offers a number of competitive academic scholarships. The scholarships are based on merit as determined by the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine Scholarship Committee. Many scholarships do not require an application and are awarded prior to matriculation. These scholarships are renewable for up to four years contingent on successful advancement to the next year of medical studies. Numbers of scholarships and award amounts may vary. Please refer to our Student Affairs web page for more information on other types of avaliable scholarships and financial aid.