Primary Application

The majority of health professions schools will require a primary application that is completed through one of the centralized application services listed below. The primary application asks applicants to detail basic information including biographical data, coursework, extracurriculars, and a list of schools to which individuals plan to apply. It will also ask for submission of one's personal statement, a critical element of the application process.

Most schools admit applicants on a rolling basis; therefore, it is important to complete and submit the primary application as quickly as possible, once available. (Services typically open in May or June; review the applicable application services, listed below, for specific dates). Our office recommends aiming to have the primary application submitted by the end of June. Once submitted, the primary applications will go through a verification process that takes a couple of weeks. Verified applications are then sent to specific schools, at which point applicants will start receiving secondary applications.

The Health Professions Applicant Portfolio requested by our office is designed specifically to be preparation for the primary and secondary application questions. Some of the questions mirror exactly what applicants will be asked—as such, we strongly encourage students to think through their responses as they will be useful throughout the process.

For information about the various centralized application services for the 2022 Application Cycle—including opening dates, fees, applicant guides and program search tools—please explore the menus below. See as well the section at the bottom of this page for personal statements.

Allopathic Medicine Programs (MD)

AMCAS: American Medical College Application Service

AMCAS Applicant Guide

Dates

  • Application opens: 5/3/2021
  • Application submission available: 5/27/2021
  • Verified applications sent to schools starting: 6/25/2021

Fees

AMCAS requires an initial application fee of $170, which covers the cost of applying to one school. There is an added fee of $41 for each additional school to which an individual applies. The average applicant to medical school applies to around 17 programs.

For financial assistance, please see the AAMC Fee Assistance Program.

(Note: these are the fees from the 2021 cycle and are subject to change)

Program Selection

For comprehensive information about MD programs in the United States and Canada, individuals should consider a subscription to the Medical School Admission Requirements (MSAR) tool. One-year and two-year subscriptions are offered.

Osteopathic Medicine Programs (DO)

AACOMAS: American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine Application Service

AACOMAS Applicant Help Center

Dates

  • Application opens: 5/4/2021
  • Application submission available: any time after application opens
  • Verified applications sent to schools starting: 6/15/2021

Fees

AACOMAS requires an initial application fee of $196, which covers the cost of applying to one school. There is an added fee of $46 for each additional school to which an individual applies.

For financial assistance, please see the AACOMAS Fee Waiver Program.

(Note: these are the fees from the 2021 cycle and are subject to change)

Program Selection

The AACOM offers a free, searchable database of all osteopathic programs in the United States known as the Choose DO Explorer. In addition, they also offer the Student Guide to Osteopathic Medical Colleges.

Dental Medicine Programs (DMD/DDS)

AADSAS: Associated American Dental Schools Application Service

AADSAS Applicant Help Center

Dates

  • Application opens: 5/11/2021
  • Application submission available: 6/1/2021

Fees

AADSAS requires an initial application fee of $259, which covers the cost of applying to one school. There is an added fee of $112 for each additional school to which an individual applies.

For financial assistance, please see the AADSAS Fee Assistance Program.

(Note: these are the fees from the 2021 cycle and are subject to change)

Program Selection

The ADEA offers the Dental School Explorer as well as the Official Guide to Dental Schools. Prospective applicants can purchase either of these services, or a bundle of the two.

Texas Medical and Dental Programs

TMDSAS: Texas Medical and Dental Schools Application Service

TMDSAS Application Handbook

Dates

  • Application opens: 5/1/2021
  • Application submission available: any time after application opens
  • Verified applications sent to schools starting: 6/1/2021

Fees

TMDSAS requires one flat application fee of $185; individuals do not have to pay additional fees to apply to more schools.

(Note: these are the fees from the 2021 cycle and are subject to change)

Physician Assistant Programs (PA)

CASPA: Central Application Service for Physician Assistance

CASPA Applicant Help Center

Dates

  • Application opens: 4/29/2021

Fees

CASPA requires an initial application fee of $179, which covers the cost of applying to one school. There is an added fee of $55 for each additional school to which an individual applies.

For financial assistance, please see the CASPA Fee Assistance Program.

(Note: these are the fees from the 2021 cycle and are subject to change)

Program Selection

The PAEA offers a free, searchable database of all of the Physician Assistant programs in the country, called the PAEA Program Directory.

Optometry Programs (OD)

OPTOMCAS: Optometry Centralized Application Service

OPTOMCAS Applicant Help Center

Dates

  • Application opened last cycle: 6/3/2020

(Note: this date is from the 2021 cycle and is subject to change)

Fees

OPTOMCAS requires an initial application fee of $180, which covers the cost of applying to one school. There is an added fee of $70 for each additional school to which an individual applies.

(Note: these are the fees from the 2021 cycle and are subject to change)

Program Selection

The ASCO offers a comprehensive list of participating programs in the United States and Puerto Rico through the Directory of Schools and Colleges. To search programs based on their criteria, explore the Optometry Programs Admissions Directory.

Podiatry Programs (DPM)

AACMPAS: American Association of Colleges of Podiatric Medicine Application Service

Dates

  • Application opened last cycle: 7/30/2020

(Note: this date is from the 2021 cycle and is subject to change)

Fees

AACMPAS requires an initial application fee of $185, which covers the cost of applying to one school. There is an added fee of $50 for each additional school to which an individual applies.

(Note: these are the fees from the 2021 cycle and are subject to change)

Program Selection

The AACPM hosts a list of Accredited U.S. Podiatric Medical Schools for individuals to explore. The CPME also offers a free, searchable List of Podiatric Medical Colleges.

Personal Statement

A compelling personal statement, also called a personal comments essay, is a key part of the primary application. This statement is crucial for telling an admissions committee who you are, explaining why you are a unique candidate, and illustrating why you are pursuing a career in the health professions. Communicating your journey to medicine and why you're a strong candidate will help you personalize yourself in the eyes of the committee.

To view a workshop on personal statements led by our office, please visit our website here. To view the presentation slides, click here.

Key points to discuss

  • Personal qualities—key strengths in the core competencies
  • Preparation—what experiences have you learned from along the way
  • Motivation—preparation and desire for pursuing medicine
  • Vision—impact you wish to make in the field and your goals

Questions you might answer in your personal statement

  • Why did you choose medicine as a career?
  • What was the turning point in your life, or the collection of key experiences, that let you know that medicine was your career of choice?
  • Give an example of a big challenge you've faced and how you resolved it.
  • What people most influenced your life and why?
  • What are your future goals and why?

Organization

  • Background information
  • Your values
  • Your interest in medicine
  • Any personal events
  • Other work experiences
  • Any influential incidents that have shaped your life
  • Any challenges you have overcome

"Do"s

  • Start early and revise often: this process will take time and a number of revisions along the way—give yourself enough time to edit without feeling overwhelmed
  • Use first-person voice ("I", "my", "me")
  • Keep it simple: use only vivid details and the strongest, most appropriate stories
  • Show, don't tell: display to the committee that you possess a certain quality or strength; show what's happening with gripping verbs and images
  • Include thoughts and feelings: stand out to the committee by being interesting and engaging in your writing as you make the personal connection between you and medicine
  • Develop a strong idea or element of your story and weave it throughout: try to make a theme to tie your experiences together and unify your story
  • Seek as much feedback as you can: have multiple people review your personal statement, including people who know you well, individuals who know the health professions field, and others who may be able to provide external, objective feedback

"Don't"s

  • Use cliches: avoid generalities such as a "desire to help people" or a "fascination with science"
  • Re-list activities: the committee has seen your work and activities already; use this opportunity to focus on noteworthy and specific aspects of your involvement
  • Focus too heavily on high school experiences: while these can shape your interests, committees will want to understand your mature decisions for pursuing a health career
  • Be too self-congratulatory or self-deprecating: acknowledge you successes as well as your failures, but do not dwell on them
  • Get caught up in the style at first: you will go through many drafts of your statement, so start with getting thoughts down on paper and go back later to refine the style

Resources

The process of reflecting on your experiences, drafting different versions of your story, and refining your statement to tell your story in the most compelling way takes time and effort. You will go through many iterations, and we strongly encourage you to take advantage of on-campus resources to review and workshop your statement with you.

Review the UConn Center for Career Development's advice on personal statement writing and schedule an appointment with a career coach for one-on-one guidance.

Utilize as well the UConn Writing Center's information on personal statement writing and schedule an appointment with a writing center tutor for personal help.

Additional Resources:

AAMC Advisor Corner: Crafting Your Personal Statement

AACOM Personal Statement

ADEA Personal Statement

The Princeton Review: 15 Tips for Your Medical School Personal Statement

University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine: Sample Personal Statements

U.S. News: Two Medical School Admissions Essays That Admissions Officers Loved

Aspiring Doc Diaries: A Personal Plea to Pre-Meds