Students may begin the application process as early as their junior year; however, the majority of students will take one or more gap years before matriculating to health professions school. Students should wait to apply until they are the most competitive applicant they can be, as an application heavily lacking in some aspects can be viewed in a negative light. If your application is not ready, it is much better to wait and use the time to strengthen your profile.
The Application Process
While there is no checklist for a competitive application, strong applicants tend to have high science and overall GPAs, competitive standardized test scores, significant exposure to the field, a demonstrated history of service to others, and interests outside of the medical field. In addition, competitive applicants should be able to demonstrate the skills, knowledge, and abilities outlined in the Core Competencies for Entering Medical Students.
All students must take a standardized test as part of their application to health professions school. Each test differs somewhat, but all test reading comprehension, critical thinking skills, problem-solving ability, and some subject area knowledge.
Most health professions schools utilize a central application service. Applications open at different times, depending on the program. Most programs review applications on a rolling basis, so we recommend you apply as close as you can to the open submission dates.
NursingCAS (Nursing – not St. Olaf)
OTCAS (Occupational Therapy)
SOPHAS (Public Health)
TMDSAS (Texas Medical, Dental, and Veterinary Schools)
The personal statement is your primary opportunity to allow Admissions Committees to gain a sense of who you are, your values, interests, motivation, and goals. Your statement should breathe life into your application, as well as to give admissions committees an understanding of your communication skills.
After reviewing your application, schools that think you may be a good fit will invite you for an interview. Your interview day will usually also include a tour, meals, and a chance to talk to current students. Interviews vary from school to school and can be more traditional interviews or Multiple Mini Interviews (MMIs), where you will participate in 8-10 shorter activities, both individually and in small groups. To prepare, students and alumni may schedule mock interviews with Dana Rechtzigel in the Piper Center.
CAS Application Workshop
Navigating Application Expenses for Health Professions School
Medical School Admission Requirements (MSAR)
Dental School Explorer
Osteopathic School Explorer
Veterinary Medical School Admissions Requirements (VMSAR)
Postbaccalaureate Program Information
Funding and Fee Assistance Programs by Profession
For International Students: While the process of preparing for and applying to U.S. health professional schools is the same whether or not you are a U.S. citizen, many health professional schools will not consider international students, and finance options are extremely limited. If you are an international student interested in applying to a health professions school, please see Dana Rechtzigel and Kevin Crisp early in college to discuss your options.
For DACA Students: