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!

Standardized Test Requirement

Test Prep Tips and Strategies

Exam Length 7.5 hr 5 hr 4 hr 4 hr 4 hr 4 hr 4 hr 5 hr 4 hr 7.5 hr
Score Range 472-528 1-30 200-600 242 130-170;
200-400 130-170;


Letters of Evaluation/Recommendation

  • Ask in-person after you’ve spent some time with this professor. Bring your resume, transcripts, and personal statement (if written), and ask if they would be willing to write you a strong letter of support
  • Ask them to write you a letter after the class so they remember who you are
  • If they write their letter months or even a year prior to your application, have them submit to
  • Collect Letters

Personal Essay

Most health professional schools are interested in what your motivation is for pursuing the health professions.

Questions to consider when writing your personal statement:

  • What experiences have you had that are motivating you to pursue your health specialty?
  • Why one particular health specialty over another?
  • What sets YOU apart as an applicant?
  • What is your narrative? Explain your story, what happened that compelled you to pursue this profession?

Write your Personal Statement pdf For help with writing, schedule an appointment with the Writing and Critical Expression Hub


Every health professional school has a centralized application service and it opens ~one year prior to matriculation. For example, if you apply to a health professional school in June 2018, you will matriculate in August 2019.

Primary Application

Primary application checklist:

  • Academic transcripts
  • Standardized test scores
  • Letters of Evaluation/Recommendation
  • Personal Essay
  • Pay Fee (usually larger fee for the first school and smaller fee for each additional school)
  • Should submit as early as possible as most schools have rolling admissions (fill the spots ASAP)

Secondary/Supplemental Application

  • Questions vary - may ask specific questions on your personal history, why you want to attend their institution, examples of a strong service orientation, what your plans are for your gap year, etc.
  • Submit ASAP (within two weeks)
  • Letters of Evaluation/Recommendation must be available at this time!
  • Pay Fee (this can be more than the primary application fee)


Getting to the interview stage means that you have successfully passed multiple screens and you are truly a viable applicant! The interview can make or break you so be sure to prepare adequately.

Types of Interviews:

  • Multi-Mini Interview (MMI)
    • Many health professional schools are adopting this style of interviewing
    • It involves ~8-10 interview stations. You will have 2 minutes to read the prompt and 7-8 minutes to answer the question
    • Questions can vary - from ethical, situational, and behavioral questions to a role play with a standardized patient (actor).
  • Traditional Interview
    • 1:1 interview, small panel, or student and faculty interview
  • Hybrid Interview
    • Combination of traditional and MMI

Interview Tips

Sample Questions:

  • Tell me about yourself
  • What experiences have you had that are compelling you to pursue medicine?
  • How do you feel about medically-assisted suicide?
  • How have you overcome adversity or demonstrated resilience?
  • How do you manage stress?
  • What characteristics do you possess that would make you a successful doctor
  • What are some of the hot topics in healthcare today?

For a more comprehensive list, visit Princeton Review's 50 Common Medical School Interview Questions

Gap Year

Taking a GAP year? Explore Options

Gap Year vs. No Gap Year Comparison

4 years of your academic progress 3 years of your academic progress (only one year of upper division coursework on your application)
more time to develop relationships with faculty will not have the opportunity to submit letters from faculty during your senior year
more time to gain clinical, service, research, and leadership experience need to start getting experience ASAP (first year)
more prep time to take the standardized test that is required  less time to prepare for the standardized test
interviews will take place during your gap year when you have more free time interviews can take place during fall, winter, and early spring quarter of your senior year

Benefits of a Gap Year

Most health professional schools can be another 4+ years of education and training. Additionally, many schools may require a residency component, which can be another few years. Given this lengthy commitment, it would be wise to consider taking a break and recalibrating so you can be prepared for the academic and mental rigor of a health professional school. 

Paying for School