Pre-Med/Pre-Health: Applying to Schools
The mandatory meetings for students who plan to apply in the 2024-2025 cycle for dental and medical school will be held on Weds November 29 for Dental School Applicants and Thurs December 7 for Medical School Applicants. Both meetings will take place from 7:00-8:30pm Eastern Time.
All medical and dental schools strongly prefer a committee letter if an applicant’s undergraduate institution has a Pre-Health Advising Office. A committee letter includes:
- A letter of evaluation written by the Pre-Med/Pre-Health Advising Office that describes the candidate in relation to other applicants from that institution
- Approximately 3-5 additional letters from professors and work or volunteer supervisors that highlight the applicant’s strengths and skills
A good committee letter is the result of the student being a competitive applicant and having a working relationship with the Pre-Health Advising Office. Students and UMass alumni should speak with a pre-health advisor as soon as they determine they will apply to medical school, dental school, or any other graduate program in the health professions. Before deciding when to apply, candidates should meet with an advisor in the Pre-Med/Pre-Health Advising Office to evaluate whether they have demonstrated a strong academic background, particularly in the sciences, continuous dedication to understanding the field, and meaningful and sustained commitment to volunteer service and other community engagement. They should apply when they have strong applications, adjusting their timelines as needed. An informational meeting for applicants is held in the late fall/early winter of every academic year.
The Application Process
Most health professions graduate programs have rolling admissions, which means that the odds of admission decrease the longer a candidate waits to submit the application. Therefore, the Pre-Health Advising Office recommends that candidates submit their applications as soon as possible. For medical and dental school, this means submitting in early June with the plan of matriculating to graduate school 14 months later.
Before submitting an application, candidates should have all of their application materials prepared—letters of recommendation, the appropriate standardized test score, a personal statement, etc. Because of this, applicants begin the process long before they plan to matriculate. For medical, dental, and some other health professions, a committee letter written by the UMass Amherst Pre-Med/Pre-Health Advisors will also be a critical piece of the application.
All medical (MD and DO), dental, podiatry, PA, and optometry schools each work with a unique, central online application service and initially require only one application, which is received and processed electronically and forwarded to indicated schools.
This year-long application timeline charts important to-dos for the application process, including everything needed to apply and when.
- Preparing for the MCAT Exam
- Audio of the MCAT Student Panel on 12/9/20 (see Applicant Support Moodle, below)
- AAMC Anatomy of an Applicant Guide (to assess application readiness)
- Preparing a Personal Statement: more information about preparing a personal statement is available within Moodle
- Letters of Recommendation: Guidelines for Letter Writers
- New AMCAS/AAMC Work and Activities Guide
- Medical and Dental School application checklist
- Science GPA Calculator: use this to find your science GPA for your Self-Assessment and actual application
- Application preparation tool for dental and medical school
- Guide to completing the work and activities section
School selection tools to be used after you have an MCAT or DAT score:
- The MSAR database lists the requirements for application and admission to all U.S. (and many Canadian) allopathic medical schools and is available for a small fee.
- Choose DO Explorer shares the requirements for application and admission to all U.S. osteopathic medical schools.
- The ADEA Official Guide to Dental Schools (available in print or online) lists the requirements for application to all U.S. dental schools and is available for a small fee.
Deadlines/Requirements for Applying with a Committee Letter
All of these deadlines and requirements are based on data-driven best practices, with applicant success (acceptance!) as the highest priority.
- Log in to the Pre-Med/Pre-Health Applicant Support Moodle for the 2023-2024 cycle.
- Read Moodle log in instructions
- Enrollment key for 23-24 Applicant Moodle: 2023_2024Applicants
- Waiver form: Fill out this Pre-Health Advising Waiver Form. The decision to waive access to letters of recommendation is optional and voluntary; however, most medical/dental schools expect it. The form should be uploaded within the Self-Assessment.
- Self-Assessment: Complete the Pre-Med/Pre-Health Advising Self-Assessment Form. Complete in early April if possible but no later than May 1. You should have the MCAT or DAT score you plan to use this cycle before filling out this form.
- veCollect: Register for veCollect to manage letters of recommendation. Please note that veCollect does not submit your letters, so you do not need to input your school list. The pre-health advisors will download your letters and combine them with the advisor letter. After that, they are submitted to the appropriate portal by your advisor. If you have trouble opening veCollect, try a different browser. Letters of recommendation must be received on veCollect by May 31 in the year in which you are applying.
- MCAT Score: Students planning to apply with a committee letter from the PreHealth Office must have a competitive MCAT score** by April (latest test date March). Rare exceptions may be granted for alumni, but you must speak with a pre-health advisor to petition for a variance from this deadline.
- DAT Score: Students planning to apply with a committee letter must have a competitive DAT score** by April. Exceptions may be granted. Speak with a pre-health advisor to petition for a variance from this deadline.
- Advisor Meeting to assess your competitiveness for an application. This meeting should ideally take place six months or more before the application cycle begins.
- Submit by August 1: Applications must be submitted to AADSAS, AMCAS and/or AACOMAS no later than this date.
**Competitive exam scores can vary slightly depending on individual circumstances—speak with your pre-health advisor about your score as early as possible.
Standardized Entrance Exams
Admission test dates for graduate and professional schools
|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|
- American Dental Education Association (ADEA)
- Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC)
- phone: (202) 828-0600
- email: amcas [at] aamc [dot] org (amcas[at]aamc[dot]org)
- Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO)
- American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM)
- American Association of Pharmacy Colleges (AAPC)
- phone: (703) 739-2330
- email: info [at] pharmcas [dot] org (info[at]pharmcas[dot]org)
- American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA)
- American Association of Colleges of Podiatric Medicine (AACPM)