Applying to Schools

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The Application Process

Most medical, osteopathic, dental, podiatry, and optometry schools belong to a central online application service and initially require only one application, which is received and processed electronically and forwarded to indicated schools. The pre-med/pre-health advisors sponsor application workshops in November and February.

Application Services

Application Timeline

This year-long application timeline charts important to-dos for the application process.

When to Apply?

June 1- August 1: All applications should be sent via electronic transmission to the appropriate agency. While medical and dental schools have deadlines later than September 1, past experience causes us to recommend that students get all the applications completed and sent before they get involved in classes, exams and jobs. Once those are sent off, all they need to do is wait until August 1 of the following year to hear about interviews and/or acceptances.

NOTE: Students interested in applying to any medical school via the early decision plan (EDP) must consult with the pre-med/pre-health advisors before submitting an application. Typically only students with superior academic records and outstanding MCAT scores (36 or higher) are encouraged to apply through EDP. Deadline for EDP is August 1 and applicants must have taken the MCAT no later than June.

Our Recommendations

Invaluable Resources

The books listed below include a summary of admission requirements of each allopathic and osteopathic medical and dental school in the United States and Canada. In addition to admission requirements, they have valuable information regarding state residency preferences, foreign medical schools, and financial aid, as well as profiles of accepted applicants from the previous year such as GPA, MCAT, and DAT scores. WE RECOMMEND THAT ALL STUDENTS ORDER OR DOWNLOAD THE APPROPRIATE BOOK THE SPRING PRIOR TO SUBMITTING THEIR APPLICATIONS.

Medical schools

The print and e-book versions of "The Official Guide to Medical School Admissions" (including the United States and Canada) can be purchased from the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). A free preview of the book is also available.

Osteopathic medical schools

A print version of the "Osteopathic Medical College Information Book" is available for purchase from the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM). The PDF version is free to download.

Dental schools

Print and e-book versions of "The ADEA Official Guide to Dental Schools" can be purchased from the American Dental Education Association (ADEA).

Letters of Recommendation

A letter of recommendation for every student's application to medical, dental, and some other health professions is written by the UMass Amherst pre-med/pre-health advisors and is a critical piece of the application. In the letter, the advisors present a holistic view of the student as well as an assessment of the student's academic performance at the university and, when appropriate, his or her performance relative to that of other students applying.

The advisor or committee letter addresses the applicant's general background, clinical experience, laboratory research, and extra-curricular and community service-related activities. This letter also presents an assessment of the student's overall personal qualities such as motivation, communication, writing skills, and evidence of their commitment to a career in the medical, dental, or health professions.

Committee Letter Deadlines

In order to have a committee letter written for you for the current application cycle, you must meet the following three deadlines (consult with a Pre-Med/Pre-Health Advisor for exact dates):

  • Mid April Self-assessment and waiver must be submitted.
  • Late May All letters of recommendation must be on file with VE Collect (see below).
  • Mid August The AMCAS application must be submitted no later than this date (and Pre-Med/Pre-Health Advising must have a copy of your letter request form).

Students who do not meet all three deadlines will need to wait for the next application cycle or apply without a committee letter.

Required forms

Waiver form

While you must fill out this Pre-health Adivising Waiver Form, the decision to waive access to letters of recommendation is optional and voluntary. Keep in mind that, although confidentiality is not required, most medical schools expect it.

Self Assessment

Follow this link to complete the Pre-Med/Pre-Health Advising Self Assessment Form.

Science GPA Calculator

Download this handy Science GPA Calculator (you'll need this for your self assessment and your actual application).

VE Collect

The Pre-Med/Pre-Health Advising office now requires that students register for VE Collect to manage their letters of recommendation. VE Collect is a fee-based service that collects, stores, and packages a student’s letters of recommendation. Once you log in, fill in the simple form. After you receive the invoice, you will be allowed to pay by credit card or check. Your account will be activated after payment is processed; this is where letter-writers submit their letters.

Interview Progress Report

Fill out this Health Schools Interview Information Form to indicate which schools have requested interviews.


Standardized Tests


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