Ultimately, you want to apply when you are ready and can put forth your strongest application. For some students, that means applying to start your health professions program the fall after graduation. An increasing number of candidates take additional time, sometimes referred to as a gap year(s), for personal reasons or to gain additional experience or otherwise increase their chances of acceptance. If you have questions about the best timing for you to apply, please reach out to the Health Professions Pathways Program or other advisors and mentors.

Generally speaking, the application process for a health professions school starts a year prior to when you plan to matriculate (start) school. For example, if you wish to start medical school in the fall of 2022, you will need to start your application in the early summer of 2021. Manage your time wisely; you can start preparing your application materials, such as letters of evaluation and your personal statement, in the spring prior to when the application cycle opens.

Most health professions schools operate on rolling admissions. This means that applications are considered for admission as they are received. The earlier your application arrives at the school, the more seats in the class are available. However, this should not cause you to rush to prepare your application and suffer in quality.  Apply early, but with polished materials.

Below is a sample or generalized timeline for applying to health professions school. Be sure to consider your own pathway and considerations, and reach out to the Health Professions Pathways Program for individualized guidance.

  • Be sure you understand the timeline for the type of health professions school to which you plan to apply.
  • Meet with advisors and mentors, including the Health Professions Pathways Program. Attend workshops, graduate school fairs, and other events that can help you gather more information and prepare to apply.
  • Start researching schools of interest and look into school-specific admission requirements.
  • Consider who can support you with letters of recommendation. Research school requirements and initiate requests to professors, supervisors, healthcare providers, etc. as early as possible.
  • Study for and take your required standardized exam.
  • Make plans for how you will spend your gap year, keeping in mind that part of this time may be dedicated to completing the application process and interviewing.
  • Continue to gain experience through work, volunteer, and clinical opportunities.
  • Compose an initial draft of your personal statement. Start compiling a list of relevant activities you will want to include on your application.
  • Complete coursework requirements, if currently enrolled.
  • Finalize your list of schools to which you plan to apply.
  • Take your required standardized exam, if you have not done so already.
  • Complete and submit your application early in the application cycle. Remember that if you are applying through a centralized application service, it will take some time to process and verify your application before it is released to individual schools.
  • Submit official transcripts once final grades have been posted.
  • If applicable, complete supplemental (or secondary) essays in late summer or early fall.
  • Track your application status. Continue responding to supplemental or secondary essay questions. Submit application updates, if applicable.
  • Participate in interviews with health professions schools, if applicable.
  • Wait for admission decisions, which can include acceptance, wait list, or rejection.
  • Visit campus for “second look” or “admitted students” weekends, if applicable.
  • For accepted applicants, make decisions about where you plan to enroll and notify schools by late spring. For wait list applicants, you may receive acceptance offers through late summer. For rejected applicants, start to evaluate your application and determine next steps.