You are heading into the final stretch before applications start. Remember, if you are not planning on having a gap year*, you need to be ready to begin your application process at the beginning of June. Think about your profile holistically. It is important to balance keeping your grades strong with meaningful extracurricular activities that include clinical, service, and leadership. Start your personal statement, if you haven’t done so already. Contact career services now to begin a process of drafting and review. Good letters of recommendation will also be key elements of support for your application. Finally, do not rush the MCAT/DAT. Take the exam when you are most ready, even if that is in June and DO NOT take the exam if you have not finished the prerequisites (including Biochemistry).


General timeline for students applying to medical or dental school

What are the required and recommended courses for each individual medical school?
Admission Requirements (

What are the required and recommended courses for each individual dental school?  

Personal statement

– Now is the time to start thinking about your personal statement if you are applying in the upcoming cycle.  It is hard to write about yourself.  Don’t procrastinate.  You may find more information and tips on the personal statement here: Personal Statement Tips


Standardized tests

Medical schools (allopathic and osteopathic) require the MCAT before your application is reviewed.  Dental schools require the DAT.

Some PA and other graduate programs in the health professions require the GRE.  Check the schools that you think you will be applying to and take the required tests.  The GRE does not need to be taken until the senior year and is a skills-based, versus knowledge-based test.

For MCAT and DAT:

Make a study plan and set a date to take the exam.  This may include taking a lighter course load and cutting back on extracurriculars for a semester to give you plenty of time to study.

If you are not consistently achieving at or above your target score, reschedule the exam. 

MCAT resources:

DAT resources:


Letters of recommendation

You must be sure to have the types and correct number of letters of recommendation for the schools to which you plan to apply.  Some schools will not review your application if you do not have the type and number of letters they require.

It is your responsibility to make sure you have the letters necessary for the schools to which you are going to apply.

The HPO can only store and send letters for applications to medical and dental schools.  Other application services will only accept letters directly from the letter writer.

Most medical schools require a minimum of 3 letters of recommendation.   Two of those must be from professors/instructors/TAs who have taught you in a science course, preferably in the area of biology, chemistry, or physics and 1 from a non-science course.  Some schools also want letters from other sources such as clinical experience, research, etc.  See our website for more information:



Application services

It is really important to start familiarizing yourself with the application services now.  There are a lot of details that you want to know about now rather than at the last minute!






Other tests?

Some schools require additional tests such as CASPER ( or PREview(



You will not need to worry about these until you make your school list and file your primary application but you should educate yourself on what the process is like so you are prepared in July when they will be requested. For more information:


Considering a gap year?Click Here