Applying to health professional school is not for the faint-of-heart. It takes approximately a year-and-a-half of your life from start to finish, and along the way you will encounter many frustrations and periods of anxious waiting. Much of the process you have control of, however, and HPA is here to help you maximize your chances for success by doing the process “right.” We urge you to apply as early as possible and to ignore actual deadlines, as your materials will be submitted well before any last-possible date. We encourage you to devote adequate time to every step, particularly the initial online application and the supplemental applications, which always take more time than you think they will; sometimes it will seem almost as if you’re taking an additional course or working an additional part-time job when you’re in the middle of the process. HPA is here to guide you, prepare you well, present you to the schools you’ve chosen with F&M’s support, and advocate for you along the way. Your role is to be informed, detail-oriented, and professional. Please read the material offered here very carefully, and do not hesitate to come into the office and speak with Dr. Cummings well before you embark down this long and winding road.
Our general advice is always, “Apply when your record is good enough to have a decent chance of success and when you are motivated to devote the time and energy needed to apply successfully.” What kind of record is good enough, and what resources do you need to devote to the application? You could look at it as a question of "risk factors" in an applicant's record and in the application process. As the risk factors pile up, so do the chances of rejection. Here are some of the main risk factors that reduce an F&M's student chances of being accepted to health professional school: For medicine, having an MCAT total less than 28 or any individual score below 9; for all health professional schools, having a science GPA or overall GPA below 3.3; taking the MCAT later than June or July in the year you're applying (same with other standardized tests); applying to unwise schools (state schools outside your home state, for example, or only very selective schools); submitting your initial online application (AMCAS, AADSAS, etc) later than June; not having a strong record of service to others and health-related experience. In recent years, as many as 90% of F&M applicants who have met the above criteria were accepted on their first try; a much lower percentage were accepted if they had one or more of the of these risk factors.
You have worked hard and made some sacrifices to get to the point where you are a competitive application to medical, dental, or veterinary school. Do justice to your hard work and dedication by applying when you’re competitive and managing the application process responsibly.