Pre-Health Applying to Health Graduate Programs
Application Information General Applications
Medical School Applications
Allopathic Medical School Applications
Osteopathic Medical School Applications
Dental, Veterinary, Podiatry, Physician's Assistants, Doctor of Physical Therapy
TipsTips for Personal Statements
Topics to Consider for Personal Statements
Letters of Evaluation or RecommendationInstructions
American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS)General Information
AMCAS Application Letters
For Both the Letter Packet and Additional Authors
Changing a Letter Status with AMCAS
Other application services, Letters of Evaluation/Recommendation
Committee for Health Professions (CHP)
Each type of professional school association has a “centralized/computer” Application System (i.e. CAS or SAS). After entering all information as noted in that CAS/SAS set of directions, students will choose the participating schools where their applications should be sent and pay the respective fees. Not all schools participate, so you will need to check the CAS/SAS list of participating schools. If you are interested in applying to non-participating schools for any category of professional school, you will need to check the website for that school and apply via their stated process for 2010.
Following application, most schools send or host a secondary or supplemental application process. In addition to the initial fee that you pay with the CAS/SAS application, you will also pay additional amounts for the secondary/supplemental application ranging from $50 to $200 and higher.
The application process itself is expensive. Please be aware of this so that you can effectively research and apply to the most relevant schools matching your career interests, qualifications and potentially residency status. There is no right number of schools to which you should consider submitting applications. Provided that you bring the grade point average, a minimum of the average testing scores, clinical and/or volunteer/service experiences along with research efforts, you may prove to be a competitive applicant with the thousands of other applicants in any given year. Dickinson students and alumni who meet these criteria tend to present an effective record of matriculation into professional schools. However, it is important that students know the qualities sought by the various schools as noted in the appropriate professional school admissions book that will be found on the association website. While the Career Center maintains the most recent copies for review in the Career Center Library, it is suggested that applicants consider purchasing the appropriate book for their professional school type in their application year.
TYPES OF FIELDS THAT YOUR APPLICATION MIGHT INCLUDE:
Identifying information - (name, alternate names, social security number, etc.)
Schools attended and dates - (including high school and other certificate programs). Please note that you will need to request transcripts from all schools attended with the exception of high school but including those for summer courses and potentially study abroad programs. (Read each association’s Schools attended (continued) directions carefully on this point and consult the Pre-Health Advisor in the Career Center with further questions.)
Institutional action - (i.e. violations of college community standards and notation of corresponding learning sanctions) There is often enough space to explain what you learned from the incident as well as to describe how you handled life following the situation differently than prior to the situation.
Advisor Release – Please check yes. The Pre-Health Advisor will know that you have officially applied and assist as possible with updates throughout your application year.
Biographic Information - (i.e. parent or guardian info as well as their education/career, citizenship, legal residence, ethnicity and race, languages, disadvantaged status, dependents, siblings, felony conviction, misdemeanor conviction – and this does include speeding tickets in some states, military discharge, etc.). Within disadvantaged status, there is opportunity to discuss your situation and describe why you should be considered. Also, within the felony conviction and misdemeanor subsections, you can describe the situation as well as a brief mention about what you changed and learned from the situation.
Transcript ** - and your entry of all courses studied. Most sites require you to enter all course names, numbers, classifications, dates, credit hours and transcript grades into their sites. This information is then verified by association staff and confirmed with a grade point average that will look slightly different than your Dickinson grade point average. This might also be broken into “BCPM” (biology, chemistry, physics, math), “AO” (all others) or other designations for that particular professional association. In this area of the application, you will find a “transcript matching form” or “transcript request form” button. Print out the corresponding matching/request sheet and send this to the Registrar’s Office at Dickinson along with the Dickinson transcript request form. The Dickinson form can be found on-line at the Registrar’s website. Both forms must be included and sent to the Dickinson Registrar in order for your transcript to be matched with your application. On the Dickinson transcript request form, you should check the box that indicates to wait until the current semester grades are sent (if requesting in spring).
**If you have taken courses at other institutions over summer or before transferring to Dickinson, you would also need to request a transcript from the Registrar’s office at that institution.
Work Experience - including experience type, employer’s name, dates, contact name/title, average hours per week along with an experience description such as task descriptions from your resume or the job description. This is a limited character description for some applications and might limit your listing to a certain number of activities. While some applications only want work in this section, sometimes this includes work as well as other activities including military, community service, research, teaching, conferences attended, presentations, extracurricular, hobbies, athletics, etc. Complete the section with a brief description of involvement (i.e. Varsity Football player, 4 years - Earned division honors in second year as Division III All American football player OR Carlisle Regional Medical Center, Volunteer, 4 years – Interviewed patients arriving in Emergency Department).
Activities - are sometimes included as a choice under work while for other professional associations’ applications they have a separate section within the application.
Letters of Evaluation/Recommendation - typically include the committee letter/packet. Even if the system to which you apply wants individual recommendations, one of these can typically be the committee letter. See your specific professional school type later in the packet for more information.
Schools – you will typically click or begin to enter names of schools that should receive your application. Please submit a corresponding list to the Career Center Pre-Health Advisor and Barb Redding. This list should also include street addresses and cities so that we can be certain of selecting the correct campus in the system we use to upload letters. Typically, as you click on schools, you will see the corresponding application fees increase incrementally according to that association’s 2010 rates. Most systems allow/require credit card payment for the application.
Personal Comments/Essay/Statement - In this section, you will enter your well-developed personal statement that includes your story of why pursuing this professional school is important to you. This should be an engaging piece incorporating your experiences and goals. More information will be included later in this piece. There are some AAMC resources in the Career Center Library for review. These booklets can be signed out on Friday afternoons and returned on Monday mornings. Plan to discuss and review this application section with the Pre-Health Advisor in the Career Center as well as your Pre-Health Advisor.
Standardized tests – Either your scores will show up in this section, you will see how to submit your scores to this section or you will be able to enter the date(s) when you have or will be taking the test. For some types of professional schools, you may need to request that the testing organization send the scores to the site/organization. If so, this notation will be made in the score section of the application.
Summary – After each page you complete, most association screens will allow you to see a summary of your responses. There are typically tabs or buttons where you can return to correct items if you notice discrepancies in your information. There is typically also a final summary sheet at the end of the application section on most sites. Verify and re-verify your information prior to sending.
REVIEW BEFORE SUBMISSION - Review your application thoroughly before submitting. You may also find it helpful to have your Pre-Health Advisors assist you with wording reviews in activities and work sections but especially the personal statement. The Pre-Health Advisor in the Career Center reviews statements throughout the summer prior to application submissions.
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Medical School Applications
Application note for prospective medical school students: For students/alumni interested in applying to medical school, please consider applying to both allopathic (MD) and osteopathic (DO) medical schools. The education is very similar as is the scope of practice following medical school. There are even research roles for osteopathic physicians and there is also graduate medical education following residences just as there are for allopathic programs.
Due to the extremely competitive nature of both application processes, it’s best to give yourself the option that is most relevant for you. Research schools with similar interests and programs. Using the AAMC’s Medical School Admissions Requirements (MSAR) as well as the AACOM College Information Book (CIB), you will be able to quickly compare program standards, tuition and outcomes. While these are both available in the Career Center Library for review, you can also purchase them from the organization websites. There is also a helpful video on the AACOM website to learn more about the DO education as well as career opportunities.
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Allopathic Medical School (MD) Applications– AMCAS Application site: http://www.aamc.org/students/amcas/amcas2010.htm
The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) is the host for this process. You will need to register (annually, if this is your second time to apply) and receive an applicant number/ID in order to apply. You will then complete the application according to the AMCAS 2011 instructions on the site, submit/pay when complete and wait for certification. At all times, it is your responsibility to know and verify the status of the application.
The site opens approximately May 1-5, 2011 for writing the application. The actual admissions submissions begin around June 1-5, 2011 for entry into the 2012 class. As the Career Center Pre-Health Advisor receives updates, those students and alumni who have notified us of their application status will receive updates.
If your application is submitted within the first few weeks, you have the best opportunity to receive “secondaries” early and complete them by the end of the summer. While this is not always the case, depending on the schools’ admissions offices, it certainly does help to have the bulk of them written before classes begin again in the late summer or early in your new job.
THOROUGHLY read the directions on the AMCAS 2012 Instructions to avoid errors and additional time for review by AMCAS staff followed by changes and updates by you. Your application must be complete and certified by them to be considered complete. There is also additional information on the AMCAS site that will be helpful in writing your application.
Personal statement note: Last year the personal statement requirement was 5300 characters. It should not be cut and pasted into the text box. The site will update you on the number of characters utilized. This number could be different for this year; however, choosing words wisely is important! You should begin by writing the piece in Microsoft Word (or notepad) prior to the time that the site goes live if you want to submit in a timely fashion. See note later in packet for more information on writing your personal statement.
Fees: 2011 application - $160 for the first school and $31 for each additional school (2010 application cost, 2011 to be announced in spring) / 2012 - TBA
There is an AAMC Fee Assistance program that can be accessed from the AMCAS site. You must meet 300% of the federal poverty guidelines to qualify.
While there are fall and winter deadlines posted on the site, it is to your advantage to apply early due to rolling admissions practiced by many medical schools. Admissions teams will begin reviewing applications even on the first submission day. Those in the pool first will have the first reviews and invitations to interview. It is appropriate to either submit early with notation of dates to take the MCAT or to wait to submit the application if you have a date scheduled in early summer for the MCAT.
Standardized tests: Medical schools will see the MCAT results as a part of your application. If you have not yet taken the MCAT when you submit, your application will still be received and you can indicate the date that you will be taking the test. You will also have score access and to submit through the MCAS THx system.
Hopefully you began studying months ago; however, if you still need to prepare to take the test, you can purchase mock tests as well as the Official Guide to the MCAT through the AAMC at http://www.aamc.org/students/mcat/preparing/start.htm. Find a location similar to the test area where you can take mock tests at least one time per week over a 6-8 hour time frame.
One free full previous/mock test will be available on the site as well as the opportunity to purchase additional tests for $35
The Official Guide to the MCAT book can be found at www.aamc.org/publications
While we hope that you begin studying at least 9 months prior to the MCAT test date that you schedule, if you still need to prepare, successful alumni suggest studying 6 hours per week and reviewing materials from companies like Kaplan.com, Examkrackers.com or PrincetonReview.com. While these can be “pricey” they can also be useful tools in the preparation, particularly in learning test taking tips. Our alumni also suggest taking at least one mock test per week and figuring out why the incorrect answers were wrong. Alums indicate that this will help you to do better on the actual exam.
It is not necessarily to your advantage to retake the MCAT quickly if you do not receive the score that you hoped for prior to the testing. Please consult with your Pre-Health Advisor before making spontaneous decisions. If you have taken the Kaplan review course, you should also talk with their offices before rescheduling.
Letters of Evaluation/Recommendation – See additional information sent from Dickinson regarding specifics of this program within AMCAS.
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Osteopathic Medical School (DO) Applications– American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine –www.aacom.org – click on applicants section to reach AACOMAS for the osteopathic application service hosted by the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM).
You will need to register and receive an applicant number/ID in order to apply. If you applied before, you will utilize the same password and access ID previously created. You will then complete the application according to the detailed instructions on the AACOMAS application site, submit/pay when complete and wait for certification. At all times, it is your responsibility to know and verify the status of the application.
The site opens approximately May 1-5 for writing the application. The actual date is subject to change. The actual admissions submissions begin on or around June 1-5, 2011 for entry into the 2012 class. As the Career Center Pre-Health Advisor receives updates, those students and alumni who have notified us of their application status will receive updates.
If your application is submitted within the first few weeks, you have the best opportunity to receive secondary applications (“secondaries” ) early and complete them by the end of the summer. While this is not always the case, it certainly does help to have the bulk of them written before classes begin again in the late summer.
Thoroughly review the AACOMAS application instructions as you apply. Your application must be complete and certified by the association service to be considered complete. There is also detailed information on the AACOMAS site that will be helpful in writing your application. For those applying to both medical school services, there are many differences. Read carefully!
Personal statement note: Last year the personal statement requirement was 4600 characters. This number could be different for this year; however, choosing words wisely is important! See additional information later in the packet on writing the personal statement.
Fees: 2010 fees - First application cost is $155.00 while the 2nd is $190 and then add $30 for each additional 3-10. 10 applications - $430. Add $25 per med school over 10. 2012 fees will be provided in Spring 2011.
While there are deadlines posted on the site, it is to your advantage to apply early due to rolling admissions practiced by many medical schools. Admissions teams will begin reviewing applications even on the first submission day. Those in the pool first will have the first reviews and invitations to interview. It is appropriate to either submit early with notation of dates to take the MCAT or to wait to submit the application if you have a date scheduled in early summer for the MCAT.
Standardized tests: You will need to submit MCAT results as a part of your application via the MCAT THx system.
If your test date is still scheduled, you will need to note the scheduled testing date followed by an update with the scores.
While we hope that you have already been studying for months, if you still need to take the test, you can purchase mock tests as well as the Official Guide to the MCAT through the AAMC at http://www.aamc.org/students/mcat/preparing/start.htm . One free full previous/mock test will be available on the site as well as the opportunity to purchase additional tests for $35. The Official Guide to the MCAT book is new and can be found at www.aamc.org/publications .
Letters of Evaluation/Recommendation: Dickinson College Career Center’s Pre-Health staff will send these letters on your behalf. They can include the committee letter, when awarded, along with other letters from relevant employers and also from physicians. There is a space limit; however, we can definitely send 4-5 letters. These will be sent to all or specific schools as noted. You should provide a list of schools including official names and mailing addresses. Please notify us when this list is official and being sent through AACOMAS.
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Dental, Veterinary, Podiatry, Physician's Assistants, and Doctor of Physical Therapy
Please contact the Career Center for detailed information on your specific process and it will be sent separately.
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TipsConsider and write your personal comments carefully. No changes are permitted after submission within the application system and the systems do not typically include a spell or grammar check. Admissions committees place significant weight on this piece in addition to your committee letter and other letters of reference/evaluation. PROOFREAD carefully and have other people help you with the proofreading. Debi Swarner, Pre-Health Advisor, is available to assist you with your efforts to proofread the documents. Your faculty Pre-Health Advisor will likely also be available to assist you; however, many are traveling on summer research and may need to assist via email.
AMCAS specifically suggests to type directly into the software/application instead of cutting and pasting, so you may need to re-type after developing and reviewing your statement. You may also write it in Microsoft Notepad and then copy it over; however, be aware that formatting issues can result. However, this is not necessarily the same process for other professional systems. Review the information carefully or see the specific instructions on your hand-out.
Enter the wording as you would like the schools to see it. Avoid using all caps or lower case as medical schools prefer to receive evidence of your writing capabilities. Because they are extremely conscious of developing professionals despite technology challenges, they prefer to read evidence of your normal writing practices as for your best college papers.
- Plagiarism or misrepresentations will prompt an investigation.
- It is not necessary to repeat information that is included at other places in your application.
- The applications vary in characters. AMCAS limit is approximately 5300 characters. Numbers may change slightly on the new applications. In some systems, if you go over, you will receive a message and need to edit. This is not true of all systems; in some cases, committees will not see words over the limit.
- Resources for writing personal statements are available in the Career Center Library, Biddle House. They are also available for purchase under the Publications sections of the AAMC or AACOMAS.
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Topics to consider
•Why have you selected the field of medicine or healthcare? (Hint: This may be an interview question!)
•What motivates you to learn more about your field of medicine or healthcare?
•Was there someone whose example inspired you to consider medicine or healthcare?
•Were you considering another field, but experienced a situation that led you to the field of medicine?
•What do you want professional schools to know about you that have not been disclosed in another section of the application?
•You may want to include information about special hardships, challenges or obstacles that may have influenced your educational pursuits. Commentary on significant fluctuations in your academic record that are not explained elsewhere in the application might be included in this piece as well.
In discussions with several medical school admissions directors/staff members, they prefer to read an engaging, story-like personal statement describing your rationale for pursuing the field of medicine. You might consider including clinical experiences. If you use shadowing stories, they definitely want to hear the more “hands-on” situations instead of how you observed doctors.
Holistic Review in Admissions- Some medical schools and many other health-related schools including veterinary and dentistry have begun the move to considering applicants’ experiences on a more equal footing with the grade point average (gpa) and MCAT score. More schools are moving in this direction, and the MCAT itself is currently under a review to assess more of the interpersonal, communications and leadership qualities sought within the holistic admissions process. Writing an effective personal statement will support your application within the admissions process.
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DICKINSON LETTER SERVICES
- We need a complete and final list of med schools andtheir complete mailing addresseson your application before we will send any letters.
- We also need a list of all letters of recommendation/evaluation that will be included with the packet before sending on your behalf. This includes letters from outside authors such as physicians or research primary supervisors.
- All letters sent to the Career Center/AMCAS should be on organization letterhead with an original signature of the author.
- These letters should be sent via US Mail to the Career Center, attn: Barb Redding, PO Box 1773, Carlisle, PA 17013 or email via .pdf to firstname.lastname@example.org . We will send the letter packet including all of the letters for you using the most appropriate source. If the letters are sent via .pdf, we request that the writer also submit the original via US mail for inclusion in your file.
Please keep us updated on your choice of schools either by emailing Barb Redding or Debi Swarner (or both).
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American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS)
For 2011, 109 schools plan to participate in the letters program within AMCAS. See the AMCAS website for the few schools that will not participate and follow the process for AACOMAS unless their websites stipulate otherwise (i.e. with the secondary). 2012 process will be clarified in Spring 2011.
All letters included with the committee letter count as one letter packet. Applicants can send up to 10 letters, but no medical school admissions director wants to receive that number. Choose wisely! Remember, letters included within the AMCAS system outside of the committee letter should be directed to one school (i.e. You worked with Dr. Duke who attended Duke University School of Medicine and he/she would like to write a letter on your behalf to attend Duke University School of Medicine).
Committee Letter: If awarded a committee letter from Dickinson, please identify the sender/writer as Debi Swarner, Pre-Health Advisor even if the letter is written by your faculty Pre-Health Advisor. This entry can include letters from physicians or primary supervisors/physicians on research internships. This will allow the AMCAS verifiers to be in more immediate contact with one source.
AMCAS Application Letters/additional authors directed to one school **: IF you want one letter to be sent to an individual school, add another author in your AMCAS application. For instance, it appears that Dr. X from Harvard knows you from a research project, and you’re applying to Harvard Medical School. Request the letter from Dr. X and provide him with the matching form via .pdf/email or by hard copy. Provide that author’s contact information within your application and note that it is not a committee/school letter. When received by AMCAS via one of the noted methods, that letter will be matched with your application.
** You must verify that the medical school you wish to send the letter participates with AMCAS within the application.
NOTE: IF the medical school does not participate with the AMCAS Letters program, please ask the writer to send the letter to the Career Center. We will then forward with the best method to the non-participating medical school.
For Both the Letter Packet and Additional Authors: Print the “letter ID” form from the AMCAS site and provide that to the individual writers. This can be sent via email if attached as a .pdf document.
Writers will need both your AMCAS ID # as well as their specific letter matching ID# and form. Authors will need to include the AMCAS ID# on their letter and send it with the matching ID# form.
Changing a Letter Status with AMCAS: In the letters system, if you identify a writer initially and they fail to write or submit a letter (and you can not contact them), you will return to the application to remove the letter by clicking on the appropriate link. This will allow medical schools to avoid delay in waiting for the letter and slowing your process.
Other application services, Letters of Evaluation/Recommendation:
For other systems, there are typically two ways to send the letter services. 1) Some systems will note on their application how letters should be sent to their application service. 2) Other systems will provide an email to forward to your writer. If awarded, the committee letter can be sent to most types of schools via either method. However, if it appears that the school will not receive a committee letter, please communicate with Debi Swarner, Pre-Health Advisor. Sometimes various schools will accept the committee letter even if it looks like they will only accept individual authors. Your task can be clarified by the Pre-Health Advisor after consultation with the association.
The Career Center Pre-Health staff members will send out your letters to any school or service using either the best method possible or the required method by the association service or individual school not utilizing the application service. If you have any questions at any point, please contact the Pre-Health Advisor in the Career Center or Barb Redding.
Additionally, sometimes schools mention that they must receive a committee letter as part of the secondary process. Typically, this letter or another letter has already been sent as part of the letter packet. Contact the Pre-Health Advisor in the Career Center to verify the status of this letter. Sometimes the advisor will also check with the school on the status of the letter to verify the status before communicating updates to you.
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Committee for the Health Professions (CHP)
•Mike Holden, Chairperson Associate Professor of Chemistry
•Terri Barber, Pre-Health AdvisorAssociate Professor of Psychology
•Jeff Forrester, Pre-Health Advisor
Assistant Professor of Mathematics
(717) 245-1410 | email@example.com
•Catrina Hamilton-Drager, Pre-Health AdvisorAssociate Professor of Physics & Astronomy
•Tony Pires, Pre-Health AdvisorAssociate Professor of Biology
•Chuck Zwemer, Pre-Health Advisor,
Associate Professor & Chair of Biology
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The Career Center is here to support you and to provide you with the updates from the various associations as your pursue your application to professional school. Our office is open during the summer from 8Am-4Pm, Monday-Friday with the exception of vacation days. During this time, we do attempt to respond as possible.
Barb Redding, Pre-Health Program Assistant (Letters, Evaluations from faculty)Sr. Administrative Assistant in Career Center
Debi Swarner, Pre-Health Advisor (Application information and assistance including personal statements)Associate Director, Career Center
*Resources utilized from the notes and conversations through NEAAHP/NAAHP meetings with the AAMC, AACOM and other professional associations.
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