There are many aspects to every application, including your GPA, standardized test score, personal statement, list of experiences, letters of recommendation, and biographical information. Some health professions schools review applications holistically, while others rely on metrics to determine eligibility. The best way to prepare is to develop ALL of the pieces in an application.
The best advice for successful application development is to stay involved in the advising process. The Health Professions Advising office is here to support you on your journey.
How do you know if you're ready to apply to health professional school?
The answer to this question should be explored in some depth well before you submit an application to a school. Our pre-medical self-assessment guide is designed to help you address your strengths and weaknesses, put focus on items that you will want to highlight on your application and identify areas where you need to do more work.
The higher your GPA, the better your chances of being accepted into a program. A GPA of 3.0 would be barely meeting the minimum requirements for many programs. There are numerous resources on campus to assist you in achieving a higher GPA.
Online GPA Calculators
- CSULB GPA Calculator
- Iowa State University GPA Calculator
- Temple University Science/Math GPA Calculator
It is important to apply to health professions schools when your application is strong and most competitive. That may mean applying after your junior year, or it may mean applying after your senior year or later. Our pre-medical self-assessment guide and pre-health workshops will help you determine if you are a competitive applicant.
Please note that completing the central application early will usually improve your chances of being invited to interviews and being accepted by schools. It will take the central application services time to verify your application before sending it out to the schools you designate, as the application cycle progresses this can take as long as four to six weeks.
Specific application timelines based on pre-health tracks:
- Association of American Medical Colleges timeline
- American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine timeline
- American Dental Education Association timeline
- Physician Assistant timeline
- Pharmacy School timeline
We do not endorse any specific for-profit review course. Although many students take such courses, others prepare without them. Some applicants prepare for the standardized tests using test preparation materials and practice exams.
For-Profit Review Courses
Open Course Materials
The following offer free open course materials for MCAT prepration.
The personal statement is one of the most important parts of the application process because it allows the readers of the selection committee to know you as an individual. You want the selection committee to become invested in you and your future.
When writing your personal statement, we suggest the following guidelines:
- Follow the guidelines.
If there is a word limit, stay as close to it as possible; do not write a novel. Use 12 point font unless directed otherwise.
- Answer the questions.
This may sound obvious but many students go around the questions without ever answering the actual questions. Try rephrasing the question in your answer.
- Proofread, proofread, proofread!
Grammar and spelling mistakes quickly turn off application reviewers. Be sure to get a second, third, and even fourth pair of eyes before you submit your personal statement.
- Ask for assistance.
Utilize the following resources on campus. They exist specifically for times like these!
- Graduate Studies Resource Center: University Library room 504. Provides graduate school related resources and events for prospective and current post-bac students related to graduate studies including writing the statement of purpose.
- Center for Scholarship Information: USU-238. Contact the Coordinator of University Scholarships to schedule an appointment
- Writer's Resource Lab: LAB-212. You will need to make an appointment in advance
- Career Development Center: BH-250.
Letters of recommendation are key pieces to your professional school application. Choose your recommenders wisely! You cannot control what they write, but you CAN control who you ask. Take the time to build the relationships before you request; recommenders who know you well will write stronger and more favorable letters. What makes them even more valuable is their ability to show that someone else believes in your capabilities as a future healthcare provider. The support of your letter writers can help you stand out further from the other applicants.
Please make sure you ask your letter writer if they can ask for a strong letter of support. In addition, provide them with:
- Copy of your resume
- Copy of your personal statement
- Deadline for letter
- Instructions on where the letter should be sent
- Reminder that the letter must be typed on letterhead, with their signature
Remember to send a thank you note to letter writer. For more tips about letters of recommendation, check out:
- Connecting with Faculty (video)
- Letter of Recommendation Guidelines for Medical School Applicants (AAMC)
Letters of Recommendation Services
Students can request letters to be sent directly to each application service (AMCAS, AADSAS, CASPA) or students can use Interfolio. Interfolio is a secure fee-based service for the collection, storage, management and distribution of letters of recommendation. Letter writers may submit their letters of recommendation electronically or by hard copy. You can monitor the status of your documents and delivery requests at any time.
Each application has its own way of collecting letters; number and type of letters vary from school to school. Check with the application service you are using for additional details and guidelines.
Following an initial review of your primary application, secondary application, and entrance exam score, health professions schools invite select students for an admissions interview. An interview is an opportunity to present yourself in the best light possible. This is your chance to shine. An invitation for an interview means that, on paper, you are a viable candidate for admission, and that now the school wants to get to know you better. Be prepared to discuss anything in your application, your reasons for pursuing the field, your strengths (striking a balance between confidence and humility), your weaknesses (in a honest though positive way), as well as current issues in the profession.
For more interview tips, please see:
- (562) 985-8061
Please include your student ID number in all email correspondence.