Professional schools generally expect that, during the four years of undergraduate training, pre-health students will:
- Complete all prerequisite courses
- Maintain an acceptable GPA in science and nonscience courses
- Perform satisfactorily on the appropriate admissions test (e.g. MCAT, PCAT)
- Gain exposure to the health professions through volunteering, shadowing and/or work
- Develop the personal aptitudes, dispositions and character traits expected for a future healthcare professional
The following timetable outlines a recommended sequence for completing many of these requirements and successfully applying to professional school:
GPA is calculated from your first day of class as an undergraduate. Keep your academic record competitive! GPA is the first critical factor in determining your applications success. Become a successful student and keep it up!
- Begin or continue to work, either paid or as a volunteer, in a health office, hospital or other location where you can gain clinical exposure and interact with patients.
- Make progress completing your prerequisites! Remember the standard professional school course prerequisites are usually one year of Biology, one year of Inorganic Chemistry, one year of Organic Chemistry and one year of Physics, all with lab, with other courses recommended by your pre-health advisor.
- Begin review for professional exams (MCAT, DAT, PCAT, OAT, GRE).
- Continue to work or volunteer in a healthcare setting.
- Determine who your writers of recommendation letters are going to be. You will need at least three. Try to think in terms of who will write an effective letter on your behalf. People who know you, your skills and abilities, your disposition and aptitudes, your desire and commitment to becoming a healthcare professional are best. Faculty, healthcare professionals and others who have supervised your activities and experiences are suggested.
- Open up a professional school file with your pre-health advisor (October). Obtain an application for a pre-health committee interview.
- Set up an appointment with your pre-health advisor to discuss your plans for applying to professional schools (November).
December - January
- Fill out the application for a pre-health committee interview and submit it to the secretary of the committee on recommendations for premedical and predental students (pre-health secretary). Please note that applications for interviews submitted after January 20 can not be guaranteed a committee interview during the spring semester.
- Request that letters of recommendation be sent to the committee on recommendations for premedical and predental students.
- Set up an appointment with your pre-health advisor to discuss your application (January).
January - February
- Make sure your application for a pre-health interview is submitted by Jan. 20 (Applications submitted after Jan. 20 cannot be guaranteed a committee interview during the spring semester).
- Review the registration procedures for the professional exam and pay attention to the deadline dates. Register early!
- Continue to review for the professional exam.
- Make sure that recommendation letters are being mailed to the committee. At least three recommendation letters must be received by Feb. 4. If three recommendation letters are not received by Feb. 4, an interview with the committee during the spring semester cannot be guaranteed.
February - March
- Make sure you have registered for the professional exam and your seat is reserved.
- Interview with the pre-health committee.
- Begin to consider schools that you are going to apply to; consult your pre-health advisor.
- Develop a priority list for completing the professional school application and get program and application information.
- Continue to review for the professional exam. Remember, exam scores are a critical factor in determining the success of your applications.
May - June
- Take the professional exam.
- Begin the professional school application for AMCAS, AACOMAS, ADSAS , PHARMCAS, VMCAS, CASPA, etc (check to see if you are eligible for a fee waiver).
- Draft your personal statement.
- Inform the pre-health advisor of the date you intend to submit your application.
June - July
- Review and critique professional exam results with your pre-health advisor.
- Finalize your personal statement.
- Request that the committee letter be written.
- Submit your professional school application.
- Make sure that the committee letter has been written and submitted.
- Make sure that your professional school application has been processed.
- Submit supplemental applications and any other ancillary application materials.
August - September
- Be sure all recommendation letters are in. Call to confirm.
- Be sure your application is complete. Call to confirm.
September - October
- Be patient, interviews will come.
- Begin to think of alternatives (just in case).
- Update your application to the schools as you accomplish more in your senior year.
- Send thank you letters to interviewers and letter writers.
- Try to schedule interviews during winter break for convenience.
- Fill out GAPSFAS form for financial aid. Send updated transcripts if requested by schools..
- If you have no responses by mid-February, speak with your pre-health advisor. He/she may be able to call on your behalf.
- If wait-listed, send letter expressing continued interest.
- Acceptance letters are still sent out during this time, so stay calm. Make sure professional schools can reach you or a family member by telephone at all times.