Are you ready to apply to your professional health program?
As you prepare yourself for applying to professional health programs, use this Self-Assessment Tool to determine your next steps. Apply when you are really ready for the process – it’s a lengthy one!
Stand out as an applicant
Application reviewers are looking for various qualities in the review process. Your ability to address the following elements are key to standing out and finding the best fit as an applicant.
- You understand the profession (ex: medicine, dentistry) to which you’re applying.
- You have an interest in and ability to do the work in the profession.
- Your goals match their program’s mission. Learn how to use medical school mission statements to streamline your application process and determine which schools are the best fit for you using the AAMC’s article on Medical Mission Statements.
- Your values match what their program is able to provide.
Use the links within this section to learn detailed information and access resources for applying to specific health professional programs. This list is not exhaustive; if there is a professional health program you’re interested in that’s not listed here, contact the Natural Science & Pre-Health Professional Pathways Advisor.
Application resources in general
- Visit the Coursework page for a list of general prerequisites for each program. Ensure that you have completed appropriate prerequisites for the program(s) to which you are applying.
- Some programs will count all grades – even in repeated courses. Enter all courses in your application.
Programs will require official transcripts from all colleges & universities you attended. Visit the website for each of your colleges/universities and request that official transcripts be sent to the appropriate address.
Whether you are submitting a resume or activities log, include anything pertinent to your strengths and interests. You can include work, volunteerism, research, leadership on campus or off, caregiving responsibilities at home or beyond. Reflect on how these experiences have contributed to your development as a healthcare provider.
Almost every graduate program you apply to will require a personal statement or a series of short essays. Not only does this serve as a writing sample but it is also an opportunity to convince the admissions committee that they want to meet with you in person. It is an opportunity to showcase your strengths, personal stories, and your passion and commitment to your chosen field. Because it is such an important aspect of your application, you must devote the appropriate amount of time and thought to your statement.
Here are some tips for a successful personal statement:
- Your personal statement could take a full month to write so give yourself enough time. Create a schedule for yourself that includes several drafts and edits.
- Utilize your resources! At UWB there are many people on campus that can help you shape your personal statement. The Writing and Communication Center, the office of Merit Scholarships, Career Services, the Natural Science & Pre Health Professional Pathways Advisor, and some of your faculty will be willing to read your essay and give you suggestions for improvement.
- The first draft is the “down draft,” which means, just get everything down on paper. Try not to overthink it – just write. Once you have something on paper, then you can start to shape it into the personal statement that you will ultimately submit.
- Do your research! Look at the institution’s website, read the school’s mission statement, and get to know the program you are applying to.
- The reader needs to feel enthusiastic about you as an applicant. Reflect on the ways in which you will bring value to this program and this field. Getting admitted into your program of choice needs to be mutually beneficial to you and the program admitting you.
- Think about showing versus telling. Anyone can say that they want to be a health professional, but your essay needs to show the reader your alignment with the field.
Every school will require letters of recommendation. Make lasting connections with your faculty members, advisors, supervisors in professional settings, health care professionals that you’ve worked with, etc. Everyone has had to ask for a letter of recommendation at some point and most people are happy to provide good recommendations if approached the right way. Approach individuals who can speak to your interest in and capacity for the program to which you are applying.
Here are some things to consider to ensure that your letters are effective:
- Every program will have slightly different requirements, so be sure to do your research. Not only will it vary in the quantity required, but they might be very specific about who they want the letters from.
- Start thinking about who you will approach to write your letters of recommendation. It is important that you’ve made connections with faculty on your campus and have good relationships with professionals in your chosen field, especially those that you’ve shadowed. These relationships will serve you well when it’s time to ask for letters of recommendation. Also, make sure that you are identifying people that really know you and can speak to who you are as a student, a person, and a future healthcare professional.
- Once you’ve identified who you want to ask, be sure to ask them with enough lead time. Do not make any last minute requests! You will normally gather letters of recommendation during your third year in order to meet application deadlines early in your fourth/final year. It is okay to identify these people even earlier in the process, even if you’re 2-3 years away from applying.
- Try to set up meetings with the people that you are asking to write letters for you. Treat it like a job interview and bring a cover letter and a resume. Give the potential writer as much information about you as possible. Also, be specific with them about your goals and why you are pursuing this particular field. The AAMC also provides this helpful guide that you can provide to your letter writers.
- Always remember, the people that you are approaching to write letters of recommendation have been in your shoes! We have all had to ask for letters of recommendation. Just be sure that your approach is respectful (both in timeliness and manner), professional, and appreciative. And always send a thank you note for their support.