Applying to Schools

Applying to Schools

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All medical and dental schools require a Committee Letter if an applicant's undergraduate institution has a PreHealth Advising Office. A Committee Letter is a letter of evaluation that describes the candidate in relation to the other applicants from that institution in a given application cycle. A good committee letter is the result of the student (1) being a competitive applicant and (2) having a a working relationship with the PreHealth Advising Office. Students should speak with a pre-health advisor as soon as they determine they will apply to medical school, dental school, or any other graduate program in a health profession. Before deciding when to apply, candidates should meet with an advisor in the PreMed/PreHealth Office to evaluate whether they have demonstrated (1) a strong academic background, particularly in the sciences, (2) continuous dedication to understanding the field, and (3) meaningful and sustained commitment to service. They should apply when they have strong applications, adjusting their timelines as needed. An informational meeting for applicants is held in the fall semester of every academic year.

The Application Process

Most health professions graduate programs have rolling admissions, which means that the odds of admission decrease the longer a candidate waits to submit the application. As such, the Pre-Health Advising Office recommends that candidates submit their applications as soon as possible. For medical and dental school, this means submitting in early June with the plan of matriculating to graduate school 14 months later.

Before submitting an application, candidates should have all of their application materials prepared—letters of recommendation, the appropriate standardized test score, a personal statement, etc. As such, applicants begin the process long before they plan to matriculate. For medical, dental and some other health professions, a committee letter written by the UMass Amherst Pre-Med/Pre-Health Advisors will also be a critical piece of the application.

Most medical, osteopathic, dental, podiatry, PA, and optometry schools each belong to a unique, central online application service and initially require only one application, which is received and processed electronically and forwarded to indicated schools.

Application Timeline

This year-long application timeline charts important to-dos for the application process, including everything needed to apply and when.

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Preparing a Personal Statement

Medical and Dental School Application Checklist

Required Forms

  • Waiver form: Fill out this Pre-health Advising Waiver Form. The decision to waive access to letters of recommendation is optional and voluntary; however, most medical/dental schools expect it.
  • Self-Assessment: Complete the Pre-Med/Pre-Health Advising Self-Assessment Form. This form is due before the end of April in the year that you plan to apply.
  • Science GPA Calculator: Use the Science GPA Calculator  for your Self-Assessment and actual application.
  • veCollect: Register for VE Collect to manage letters of recommendation. Please note that veCollect does not submit your letters, the Pre-health Advisors will download your letters and combine them with the advisor letter. After that, they are submitted to the appropriate portal by your advisor. Letters of recommendation must be received on VECollect by the end of May in the year that you are applying.
  • Registration on the PreMed/PreHealth Applicant Support Moodle page. (Enrollment Key: PreMed2019-2020) 
  • Interview Progress Report: Fill out the Health Schools Interview Information Form to indicate which schools have requested interviews (survey will be sent to applicants in December of the application year).
  • The AAMC offers the MSAR database, which lists the requirements for application and admission to all US (and many Canadian) allopathic medical schools. This is a helpful tool that can assist you in choosing the schools that you will apply to -- after you have received your MCAT score. The MSAR database requires a small fee for a one-year subscription. You can find the MSAR by clicking here.   

Standardized Tests

ADMISSION TEST DATES FOR GRADUATE AND PROFESSIONAL SCHOOLS

TEST TEST DATE
DENTAL ADMISSION TEST (DAT) Computerized tests are available year-round
GRADUATE RECORD EXAM (GRE) Computerized tests are available year-round
MEDICAL COLLEGE ADMISSION TEST (MCAT) Computerized tests are available January-September
OPTOMETRY ADMISSION TEST (OAT) Computerized tests are available year-round

Application Services