For many health professions programs, the application process starts 18 months before matriculation. The specific timeline provided below is tailored for medical and dental school applicants since these applications invole a committee letter provided by the Health Professions Advising Committee. For health professions that operate on a different calendar, adjust accordingly.
Inform the Health Professions Advising office if you intend to apply in the coming academic year.
Consider the strength of your application carefully and apply when you are able to submit a strong, competitive application. The application process is long and arduous; it is also expensive. It is much better to defer an application in order to gain additional experience or work on grades than to apply too early and need to re-apply later. Note: a re-application needs to be significantly stronger than the original application, so continue to gain experience during your application year.
Fall Semester (18 months prior to matriculation)
- If you plan to apply in the coming year (or two), attend the Applicant Meeting Part 1 (in October).
- Schedule a pre-application advising appointment with the HPA office. Complete this appointment in the fall to discuss your individual timeline, qualifications, and plan for applying.
- Map out a timeline for taking the entrance exam (MCAT, DAT, etc.) including time for preparation. Visit the Admission Tests page to learn more about entrance exams.
- Start itemizing the experiences/activities that you will list on your application. While the applications don't "go live" until spring for most programs, you can access an older version of the application to preview the format and required information. Some Admissions officers suggest working on this section before the personal statement.
- Start preparation for your personal statement or statement of purpose: Attend a personal statement workshop, identify specific narratives (stories) you could include to illustrate your preparation and motivation for the professional health program you're pursuing. The Applicant Reflection Questions document provides prompts for reflective writing as an initial brainstorm exercise.
- Consider potential letter writers for recommendations and reach out to determine their availability to provide a recommendation. See the information below on Letters of Recommendation for suggestions and (for medical & dental school applicants only) an introduction to the letter collection service, veCollect.
- Start investigating specific programs.
- Attend the Applicant Meeting Part 2 (second week of spring semester)
- Sign up for an HPA mock interview (interviews are scheduled in February and March). A mock interview is required for any medical or dental school applicant who seeks a Committee Letter (a letter provided by HPA which provides added context about you as an applicant). Applicants to other types of health professions programs can benefit from a mock interview and are invited to participate in the experience. (See the section below for further information about mock interviews.)
Spring Semester (15 months prior to matriculation)
- Fill out the Pre-Mock Interview form which contains questions about your background, activities, interest and experience in your chosen profession. This should be submitted at least one week in advance of your mock interview.
- Request letters to support your application. The deadline for letters is May 31st. See the section on Letters of Recommendation for further guidance.
- Medical & Dental applicants: Submit a Committee Letter Request by April 1st.
- Many applicants take the entrance exam from January-May of their application year.
- Draft the activities/experience descriptions.
- Work on your personal statement or statement of purpose.
May - June
- Go to the respective centralized application service website to begin completing the primary application (this can take a few weeks to complete) for the program(s) in which you intend to apply.
- Request official transcripts from all U.S. schools attended to be sent to the application service.
- Medical & Dental School Applicants: All recommendation letters should be submitted to veCollect by May 31st.
- Decide upon list of schools to which you will be applying. Do your homework (see the Program Selection section below).
June - July
- Complete your application and submit online.
- Medical & Dental applicants: Provide Applicant ID Numbers to Health Professions Advising for your respective centralized application service (AMCAS, AADSAS, ACCOMAS and/or TMDSAS).
July - August
- The HPA Office composes and sends committee letters to application services for medical and dental applicants (AMCAS, AADSAS, ACCOMAS and/or TMDSAS) along with individual recommendation letters.
For applicants with a Committee Letter (medical & dental applicants only):
We recommend 5-6 recommendation letters from faculty (both science and non-science) and other writers representing other facets of your experience (coaches, employers/supervisors, clinicians and volunteer coordinators).
Request letters from people who know you well. For those who agree to write letters, provide them with:
- a resume or CV
- an explanation of your reasons for applying to these programs (why do you want to be a physician, dentist, etc.?)
- the HPA information packet on letters of recommendation which provides suggestions on information to include in a letter
- the letter deadline--all letters need to be submitted by May 31st
Sign up for the letter collection service, veCollect (email HealthProfessions@pugetsound.edu for instructions). These letters need to be confidential to be included with the Committee Letter, so be sure to waive your rights.
Committee Letter Eligibility Guidelines
Medical school and dental school applicants* are eligible to request a Committee Letter from the Health Professions Advising Committee (HPAC) if all of the following criteria are met during the calendar year in which an application is submitted:
1. Completion of a mock interview with HPAC;
2. Attendance at both Applicant Meeting Part 1 and Part 2, hosted by the Health Professions Advising Office (HPA);
3. Attendance at both Personal Statement Workshop Part 1 and Part 2, hosted by the CWL;
4. Advisor access granted for all centralized application services to which an applicant is submitting a primary application (AMCAS, AACOMAS, AADSAS, and/or TMDSAS);
5. "Request for Committee Letter" form submitted to HPA by April 1;
6. Undergraduate cumulative GPA of 3.0+ and undergraduate science/math GPA of 3.0+**; and
7. MCAT composite score of 500+ or DAT composite score of 18+**.
*All other professional health programs do not accept committee letters.
**Applicants with one or both GPAs below 3.0, and/or applicants with MCAT/DAT scores below the listed minimum, are eligible for other support services provided by HPA.
For Applicants Not Requesting a Committee Letter
Other health professions programs do not utilize committee letters. For these types of programs, individual letters will be submitted directly to the application service. Note the limit on the number of letters accepted and letter requirements (letter from a professor, clinical supervisor, etc.)
HPA offers mock interviews for pre-health students and alumni. We use a panel format to provide multiple perspectives and maximum feedback. Mock interviews are required for anyone requesting a committee letter, but are also useful practice and feedback for applicants to other types of health professions programs.
- Contact the HPA Office to sign-up for a mock interview (offered in February and March)
- Submit the HPA Pre-Mock Interview Form and all other mock interview materials a minimum of 1-week prior to your interview date.
In deciding on the number of programs to list on your application, consider expenses for primary and secondary application fees as well as the time it will take to complete secondary applications. The ideal number of programs varies by type of health professions. For example: Medical school applications are especially competitive and we suggest applying to 15-20+ programs. While you should include your "dream school", do not focus on ultra-selective programs; applicants who take this strategy often find that they are left with no interviews or acceptances. There is no "guaranteed" admission to any program, but be sure to include a number of schools where you have a greater likelihood of acceptance.
- Which factors are important to you? Geographic location? Program features? Curricular approach (problem-based learning, a block system, pass-fail grading, etc.)? Mission of the school?
- Consider your overall GPA and calculate your math/science GPA with all classes in Biology, Chemistry, Physics & Math.
- Keep your GPA, math/science GPA, and entrance exam scores in mind when selecting potential schools - include a range of programs.
- Check websites for programs of interest for required/recommended courses in addition to GPA & test stats - how competitive are you?