Application Basics

Application Process 

The application process for health professions schools can be lengthy and intensive. Applicants formally begin the process during the summer one year prior to when they plan to matriculate to health professional school. This means that an applicant hoping to matriculate to medical or dental school in the fall of 2024 will apply during summer 2023.

We strongly encourage you to visit our webpage and resources to guide you in deciding when to apply.

To initiate the application process with the help of the Pre-Medical & Pre-Dental Advising Office, applicants should contact our office at the start of their application year. To learn more about our process and support available to applicants, visit our website here.

Rolling Admissions

Nearly all health professions programs take part in a rolling admissions process meaning that they evaluate applications as they are received, rather than waiting until a hard application deadline has passed to evaluate all applications. Schools will continue to review applications until all spots in their respective program have been filled.

Most applications will not be reviewed until all four of the main application components (see below) have been received. Each component will need to be submitted as a part of one’s application before an admissions committee will evaluate that application.

If an applicant wants to be as competitive as possible during the application cycle, they should intend to be on the early end of the rolling admissions process. Specific dates and timelines will vary depending on the kind of professional school one is applying to. Generally, applications will open in early May or June. Applicants are encouraged to have submitted all of their application materials by July or early August.

To learn more about when primary applications open for various programs, visit our website here.

Holistic Admissions Review

Health professional schools use a holistic review process to ensure that all aspects of an applicant’s background and preparation for professional school—including academic metrics, experiential components, and core competencies—are taken into account. This process is designed to help schools consider a broad range of factors such as academic readiness, contribution to the incoming class, and potential for success in their program and as a future professional. 

See below the official definitions from the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and the American Dental Education Association (ADEA) and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN):

  • “Holistic review is an admissions process that considers each applicant individually by balancing their academic metrics with experiences and attributes.” (Holistic Review in Medical School Admissions, AAMC)
  • “Holistic review—a flexible, individualized applicant assessment tool—provides admissions committees a balanced means of considering candidates’ personal experiences, attributes and academic credentials, along with qualities and characteristics that would prove valuable in both dental school and the oral health profession.” (Holistic Review, ADEA)
  • “Holistic review is a university admissions strategy that assesses an applicant’s unique experiences alongside traditional measures of academic achievement such as grades and test scores.” (Holistic Admissions, AACN)

To further understand this process, visit the AAMC’s site to learn about core principles of the process and the weight given to various factors, and the ADEA to learn about the interplay of experiences, attributes and metrics. Also follow the hyperlinks above.

Main Application Components

A complete application to health professional school is typically composed of four main components:

  1. Primary application (i.e., the “common application” for the particular type of school to which you are applying–AMCAS, AACOMAS, AADSAS, etc.)
  2. Secondary application (i.e., a school-specific “supplemental application”–not all schools require a secondary)
  3. Standardized testing scores (MCAT, DAT, OAT, etc.)
  4. Letters of recommendation

All of these components, with the exception of the secondary application being dependent upon submission of a primary application, are independent of one another. An admissions committee will typically not review you as an applicant until they have received all of the above components, even if one or two of them were received earlier than the others. See more about the individual application components on the Application Components section of our website.