Applying to a health professional school begins approximately one year prior to matriculation (this varies by profession). Many schools use rolling admissions, which means applications are reviewed as they are received vs. after the deadline. So it is vital to apply early. 

Signs that you may not be ready to apply this cycle:

  • have not taken the standardized test requirement or need to re-take
  • do not have enough letters of evalutation/recommendation
  • may need to take additional coursework to improve GPA

Please review the list below to ensure you are ready to apply this cycle!

Steps to Applying to a Health Professional School

1. Standardized Test RequirementDetermine what classes you need to take to prepare for the exam as well as develop a study plan timeline - will you self-study or take a prep class? Devote at least three months to prepare for your exam and be sure to take multiple practice exams. Finally, decide when you will take the exam and give yourself plenty of leeway so you can retake the exam if necessary.

2. Letters of Evaluation/RecommendationDuring your application year, identify who you will ask to write your letters. Typically, you will need between 3-6 letters for any health professional school. Ask at least three months in advance (or earlier) to give your letter writers time. This will also give you time to find another letter writer if one is unable to submit a letter.

3. Personal Essay: Every health professional school requires a personal essay. It is typically around 1 - 1 1/2 pages, but be sure to check with your respective health profession for the specific character count. This is an opportunity for admissions' committees to hear your personal narrative. What's your story and what is motivating you to choose this profession? A succinct, sincere, and anecdotal essay with specific examples can set you apart from other applicants.

4. Application: Every health profession has a cenetralized application service which usually opens approximately one year prior to matriculation. Depending on the health profession, the schools may use a rolling admissions process where applicants are reviewed as they apply, or they may review applicants after the deadline. Oftentimes, there is a secondary application (or second set of questions), which come directly from the schools themselves.

5. InterviewingIf you are invited to an interview, you have successfully made it past multiple screens! Interviewing is an opportunity for each applicant to meet face-to-face with faculty and current medical students. It is a time for each candidate to show how they would be the right fit for a particular school. Be sure to research the school, faculty, and curriculum.

6. Gap Year:  Taking a gap year has become more and more common. If you are taking a gap year, be prepared to discuss what your plans are during this time. Will you work, continue research, volunteer, or do a post-bac or master's program?

7. Paying for School: It can take 2-4 years or more of education to pursue your health profession and it can be costly. Understand the costs and your financial aid options. Private and out-of-state schools will significantly increase the tuition.