Take the Standardized Test
Every health professional school requires a standardized test to assess your problem solving and critical thinking skills as well as test your knowledge of scientific principles. Prior to taking the exam, we recommend completing all of the pre-requisites and giving yourself 3 months of prep time. You can self-study or take a test prep such as Kaplan or Princeton Review.
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Collect Letters of Evaluation/Recommendation
Letters of evaluation/recommendation are essential for strengthening your application. You will need between 3-6 letters depending on which health professional school you are applying to. Please check with the respective schools for any particulars they may have with regards to who writes these letters. For example, some schools may want two letters from science professors and one letter from a non-science professor. Other schools will expect letters from your PI if you do research or may want letters from a doctor, PA, nurse, dentist, or from any professional from your area of interest.
Getting STRONG letters of evaluation will set your application apart. In orders to get these letters, make sure you give your letter writers something to write about. Take initiative, lead a project, be professional, responsible and reliable. A strong letter will be one that evaluates and assesses you in some way (i.e. this student was in the top 10% of my class, one of the best research assistants I've had in my 30 years of teaching, etc.)
- 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 www.interfolio.com
- Collect Letters
Write Your Personal Essay
Most health professional schools are interested in what your motivation is for pursuing the health professions. This is an opportunity for you to share your personal narrative and for for admissions' committees to hear your voice. Be anecdotal and provide evidence that demonstrates your commitment to healthcare. Use specific examples and show a trend in service towards others.
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?
For help with writing, schedule an appointment with the Writing and Critical Expression Hub.
Submit Your Application
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 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)
- 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)
Prepare for the Interview
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
- Dress professionally
- Be comfortable
- Make eye contact
- Smile and be friendly with everyone you meet
- Make sure to answer the question asked (be careful not to go off on tangents)
- Do not memorize your answers
- Have several stories or examples prepared that address the 15 Core Competencies of Entering Medical Students
- Prepare and Practice for Interviews
- Practice with a virtual interviewing tool - Big Interview
- Tell me about yourself
- What experiences have you had that are compelling you to pursue medicine, dentistry, vet, pharmacy, PT/OT, nursing, etc.?
- 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 (fill in the blank)
- 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