When Should I Apply?

There is no expectation for you to go directly from completing your undergraduate degree into a health professional school. Your readiness to apply is the most important factor as you decide when to apply. Admission committees want to see prepared applicants, not those who think they should apply because it is supposed to happen in a particular year.

Have you taken an inventory of your preparation? Beyond completing the required prerequisite coursework, are you able to demonstate that you have a strong understanding of the profession?  How many observation hours have you completed? Do you have clinical experience? Based on your self-evaluation, you determine when you are ready to apply.

How Do I Study and Prepare For Admission Tests?

There is no "best" way to study for a standardized test. Some students choose to study on their own while others use a test preparation company. Either way, take as many timed practice tests as possible. This will help you review content and understand how the questions are structured. On the websites for admissions tests, there are sample questions, practice tests, or content outlines. Take advantage of these free resources as you prepare for your exam.

Is a Gap Year Okay?

YES! It is more common than you likely realize. Taking time after you have completed your bachelor's degree to become a more competitive candidate can be very advantageous. You may need to improve your GPA or complete prerequisite coursework. Or maybe you need more experience or patient contact. A health professions advisor can talk you through how to effectively use a gap year. 

What Kind of Interview Will I Encounter?

Depending upon the program, an interview may be part of the admissions process. Each school will have a different interview process. Be familiar with the type of interview you may encounter:

  • One-on-one: you are interviewed by one individual at a time.
  • Panel: you are interviewed by several individuals at the same time. You may be interviewed alone, or with other applicants as well.
  • Blind: interviewer has had no access to your application materials.
  • Partial Blind: interviewer has reviewed some of your application, usually personal statement and secondary application, however does not know GPA or test scores in many cases.
  • Open: interviewer has access to your entire application. You may want to think about sharing information that has not been included in your application materials.
  • Behavior Based: questions revolve around real-world situations or you may be asked to share an experience that provides an example. 
  • Standardized Patient: you will meet with an actor who plays the role of a patient. You will be provided the "patient's" medical history. You are expected to interact with the patient as if you are already a healthcare professional. These types of interviews often present ethical or moral dilemmas, and evaluate skills such as communication, decision making, empathy, and professionalism.
  • Multiple Mini Interview: Applicants move through multiple interview stations. At each station, you will be presented with different scenarios that focus on issues such as communication, ethics, critical thinking, teamwork and opinions on health care issues.

How Do I Prepare for My Interview?

While the thought of an interview might be intimidating, the interview is an additional opportunity to share your motivation, knowledge, and experience. Additionally, it is the perfect time to learn more about the department, campus, and location of the program to determine if it will be a good fit for you.

To prepare:

  • Research the program; be sure to look at the mission and vision of the program when researching
  • Prepare answers to common interview questions

Related Services

I Have Applied. Now What?

The application process to health professional schools often includes a difficult waiting period. You have completed all of the materials, but you have not heard anything (positive or negative) from the programs. Below are some common ways to advocate for yourself during this time. Be careful with how often you reach out to a program. While you want to make sure the school does not forget about you, you do not want them to remember you as an impatient applicant.

Academic Update. If the application service for your health profession offers an Academic Update period, it is a good idea to utilize it. This is a useful tool for you to share additional academic information during the application process.

Letter of Update. If it has been several months since you have heard from a school, you may consider writing a letter of update. A letter of update includes your application ID number(s), and provides significant information that was not previously shared with the school. Often, it is good to send this type of letter at the end of a semester so you can include an unofficial transcript.

Letter of Intent. This letter is used to notify a school where you may have been wait listed or on hold, that they are your first choice. While it may be tempting to send out a letter to every school, this type of letter should ONLY be sent to your TOP choice.

Can I Re-Apply To Health Professional Schools?

Absolutely! Reapplying may be necessary to reach your professional goals. The steps you take to improve your application over the next year, or years, will make the difference in future applications.

Should I Reapply?

Before rushing into the next application cycle, take a few steps back.

Self-Reflection. Try to determine the gaps in your preparation or application. If you are unsure, you can contact admission departments from the schools you applied to or speak to a health professions advisor.

Improve. Take the advice offered to you by admission representatives and health professions advisor. For example, if you had a 3.8 GPA, but did not have much exposure to healthcare, do not do a post-bacc program. Focus on getting more exposure in the healthcare field. Take the time to build your experience through volunteering, work, or internships. Fix the weakest area of your application to make the largest impact.

Determine when to apply again. Be honest with yourself about how much time it will take to become a more competitive applicant. It might take you more than a couple of months to improve your GPA or get valuable experience. While this might not be ideal, it is nothing when compared to your whole professional career. Health profession programs want to see a significant change on your application. What have you done differently to make yourself more competitive?

Make sure your new application reflects the improved “you”. Your personal statement, activities sections, and various essays need to be updated to reflect what you have done differently to prepare for this new application cycle.

Should I Choose A New Path If I Am Denied Admission?

Before making any decisions, give yourself time to reflect. Speak to family and friends, admission representatives, and your health professions advisor first. Make your decision from facts, not disappointment. If you determine that you no longer have the drive to pursue your original goal, it is okay to choose a new path. Your health professions advisor or career counselor can help you plan to pursue alternative career paths.

What Is Rolling Admissions?

Health professional schools that use a “rolling admission” process review applications as they "roll" in. They do not wait until the deadline to review applications. If you are applying to a program with rolling admissions, do NOT wait until the deadline. Many other applicants will have moved forward in the admissions process by the deadline. They may have already received supplemental applications, interview offers, or even offers of admission before you have applied.