Are You Ready to Apply?
Applying to a health professions program can be challenging, and it is much easier to go through the process with a guide. HPAC can aid you in making the tough choices about careers and schools, and help you navigate the sometimes complicated application and admissions process.
Are You Applying to Medical, Dental, or Pharmacy School or other health professions program this year?
- Our advisors can review your application and personal statements after attending our Application and Personal Statement Workshops.
- Call to schedule an appointment to meet with a staff member prior to submitting your application.
The standardized admission test for the health profession of your choice is something you begin preparing for the moment that you enter college. HPAC can assist you in identifying information and resources for these exams.
Health professions admissions test requires a significant amount of time and effort for adequate preparation. To get a score that accurately reflects your best efforts can take anywhere from 3-5 months of study. Most students prepare for and then take the appropriate standardized exam as they begin the 12-14 month application process.>
Some students choose to participate in a preparatory review course such as Kaplan, Princeton or Examkrackers, geared toward different learning styles and levels of comfort with the material. These courses can be expensive although test preparation organizations do have some discounted fees for which one may apply. Others forgo formal review courses and purchase their own review materials and study on their own or in small study groups. Whatever direction you choose, HPAC can help you find the way that works best for you and identify resources to help you with the process.
- Dental Admissions Test (DAT)
- Graduate Record Exam (GRE)
- Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)
- Optometry Admission Test (OAT)
- Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT)
- Situational Judgement Test: CASPer
Centralized Application Services
Most, but not all, health professions programs use a centralized application service which means you have to submit only one application which will be received by the schools/programs you designate in a specific health profession. Becoming familiar with these centralized application services can help simplify the process and improve your chances of admission. Individual graduate program and centralized application websites will have detailed information on specific requirements. Links to the common Centralized Application Services appear below:
Allopathic Medicine (MD) - AMCAS American Association of Medical Colleges Application Services
- AMCAS Applicant Guide
- AMCAS Application Overview (video)
- AMCAS Fee Assistance Program (FAP) (video)
- AAMC Course Classification Guide
- AAMC Medical School Admissions Requirements (MSAR)
The Office Guide to Medical School Admissions in FREE to download for the first time ever!
This is an excellent guide to learn about the medical school application process and how to develop a goal-plan and timeline that works best for you.
Please note: This guide does not replace meeting with an HPAC advisor. This is a different resource than the AAMC-MSAR
Osteopathic Medicine (DO) - AACOMAS American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine Application Services
Dental Medicine - AADSAS American Dental Schools Application Service
- AADSAS Instruction Manual
- Tips for the AADSAS Application (video)
- 2018 ADEA AADSAS Coursework entry (video)
- 2018 ADEA AADSAS Fee Assistance Program (video)
Occupational Therapy - OTCAS Occupational Therapy Centralized Application
Optometry - OPTOMCAS Optometry Centralized Application Service
Pharmacy - PharmCas Pharmacy School Application Service
Physician Assistant - CASPA Principle Application Service for Physician Assistants
Podiatric Medicine - AACPMAS American Association of Podiatric Medicine Application Service
Public Health - SOPHAS Schools of Public Health Application Service
Physical Therapy - PTCAS Physical Therapy Centralized Application Service
Veterinary Medicine - VMCAS
Most applications to health professions programs require a personal statement. First and foremost, a personal statement is personal. There is no one way to write a personal statement, but you should address the development of your interest in your chosen health profession and your path to applying to the program. Important experiences and what you learned from them, especially in terms of your personal growth, any particular strengths you will bring to the profession, and your educational and career goals should be considered when writing your personal statement. Also, consider discussing adversity you might have overcome and also how you will contribute to the diversity (in the broadest sense) of the class. The personal statement should not be a re-hash of your activities list or resume. HPAC staff can review and work with you on this important part of the application.
As important as the statement is, an outstanding narrative is only as strong as the applicant's track record in service, leadership, and scholarly work. In other words, an outstanding statement cannot overcompensate for a weak record.
HPAC offers a 90 minute, interactive workshop multiple times throughout the year for students who are interested in beginning or revising their personal statements!
Our advisors will also assist students who they have met with previously on their personal statements once the student attends this workshop. For more information on the Personal Statement Writing Workshop as well as a full list of other HPAC workshops, please visit our Events page.
Letters of Recommendation
Letters of recommendation are a particularly critical component of the application because they verify the level of contribution, innovation, and independence that would be otherwise merely listed on the application. Admissions committees are very interested in your academic achievement and they are just as interested in your character, experience, and motivation for a career in the health professions.
For more information on Letters of Recommendation and guidelines you can provide your letter writers, please refer to the AAMC Letter of Recommendation Guidelines HERE.
Preparing for the Interview
Admission committee interviews are yet another critical component of the selection process for nearly all health professions programs. Learning as much as you can about the type of interview, who will be involved, and preparing well thought out questions for the interviewer(s) will help demonstrate your interest in the program.
HPAC offers a 90 minute, interactive workshop multiple times during Fall and Winter quarters to assist students in understanding the different types of interview formats and strategies for preparation.
For more information on the Interview Workshop as well as a full list of other HPAC workshops, please visit our Events page.
For more information on how to prepare for interviews, please refer to the following resources from the AAMC:
How I Prepared for the MCAT Exam
Read study tips and approaches used by UCR students who performed well on the MCAT exam. Featured students share study schedules, strategies, and do's and don'ts that helped them prepare and perform well on the exam. Additional AAMC MCAT prep tips from successful test-takers can be found here!
MCAT Blog - Valeriya Ragozina
MCAT Blog - Ethan Tanchoco
MCAT Blog - Oghenewoma Oghenesume
MCAT Blog - Nick Alegre
MCAT Blog - Sommer Rowell
Did you Know?
- Submitting your application late can be disadvantageous as many schools have a rolling admissions process.
- Applicants do not always begin their professional degree programs immediately after completing their undergraduate degree.
- The cost of applying to medical schools can vary from $2,000 to over $5,000, though in certain circumstances those unable to pay the fee may apply for a waiver of some fees. For example: Regular registration for MCAT - $300; AMCAS fee for 1 school - $160, each additional school is $37. If an average applicant applies to 15 schools then the AMCAS fee will be $678. The application fee for a secondary application ranges from $50 - $100. At an average rate of $75 for 15 schools will total $1125. The cost for travel for interviewing at each school will vary greatly depending on the number and locations. Additionally, many students complete test prep courses which can average in cost between $1500 - $2000.
COVID-19 Resources for Applicants
Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) Covid-19 and the MCAT Exam
Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) Virtual Interview Tips for Applicants
Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) Video Interview Tool for Admissions (VITA)
Joint Statement from the Admissions Deans of California Medical Schools on Covid-19
American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) Choose DO
American Dental Education Association (ADEA) Go Dental COVID-19 Webinar
American Association of Colleges of Nursing COVID-19 Update
Optometry Centralized Application Service (OptomCAS)
Pharmacy College Application (PharmCAS)
Physical Therapy Centralized Application Service (PTCAS)
Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA)
Note: Review section ‘Student/Admissions’
Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC)