Application Timeline

On This Page

  1. Timeline
  2. Application process
  3. Resources


November 2016

Start to think about writing your personal statement, and attend the Applicant Chat Workshop that is offered on November 7th at 6:00pm. Location TBA.

January 6, 2017 Alums Pre-Application Due Date
January 23, 2017 Undergrads & Postbacs Pre-Application Due Date 

Submit your completed pre-application with all required documents included to the office of Pre-Health Programs in Clapp 125....PDF is located below under ResourcesThis will allow you to collect many of the resources you’ll need for your real application.  The pre-application is your official declaration of your intent to apply and provides a crucial starting point for dialogue with your health professions advisor and the Pre-Health Programs office.  

January - February 2017

Schedule meeting to discuss personal statement with Office of Pre-Health Programs

Students entering the current application cycle as well as students from all classes are strongly urged to attend this workshop.  The purpose is to assist you through the application process for applying to any postgraduate program in the health professions, including medical, veterinary, dental, nursing, public health, physical therapy, pharmacy, genetic counseling, and physician assistant programs and ensure that your application materials are of high quality and completed in a timely manner. 

Spring 2017

Prepare for and take required entrance exams, if not already done.  For premedical students, plan to take the MCAT no later than June of 2017.  See the MCAT website for test dates. See for financial assistance.

March and April 2017

Meet with the Pre-Health Programs office, to compile a list of schools to which you would like to apply.  Hone your personal statement, showing it to people whose judgment and writing ability you trust. Submit drafts to your major advisor and the Pre-Health Programs office for review.

May & June, 2017

Most central application services begin to open. Some primary applications can be submitted at this time. (See Centralized Application Services for links to primary application services.) If your application is complete, you are encouraged to submit it by June 30 at the latest.  Recommendation letters are not part of your primary application.  

June, 2017

Submit your request for a Committee Letter. (Form at the end of the pre-application.) Applicants submitting requests after June 30 may not receive a committee letter. Requests MUST indicate:


  1. that all of your individual letters are on file at Interfolio
  2. your committee letter writer’s name and email, and
  3. “committee letter” selected as letter type.

To be guaranteed a committee letter by the end of the summer, applicants must submit requests in June.

July through Fall 2017

Premedical students may be invited to submit school-specific secondary applications.  When you receive an invitation to submit a secondary application, notify the Pre-Health Programs office.  Secondaries require additional application fees, and waivers may be available if there is financial hardship. You can apply for the Fee Assistance Program at

Fall 2017 through Spring 2018

Final application deadlines fall within this range, depending on the program. Where admission is granted on a “rolling” basis, applicants who wait until the deadline are at a disadvantage. If you applied early, you may receive invitations to interview during this time. If you do, contact the office of Pre-Health Programs to set up a practice interview. Read everything you can find on the schools you are going to visit so that you can ask informed questions. 

The Application Process

Many applicants face a two-step process consisting of primary and secondary applications.  On-line centralized application services exist for the purpose of filing primary applications to almost all health professions programs. However, please note that NOT ALL SCHOOLS utilize the centralized services.

Schools that read your primary application and wish to learn more about you will ask you to submit a secondary application.  These “secondaries” may be requested by the schools automatically after you submit your primary, or later in the review process and are specific to each school.  It is prudent to submit your secondaries by early August. Secondaries may require an additional writing sample (again, ask for feedback on your drafts), an updated transcript if necessary, and an additional application fee.

Entrance Exams:

Nearly all schools in the health professions require you to take some kind of entrance exam.  Veterinary schools, some physical therapy and physician assistant programs, and graduate schools of public health require the GRE, medical schools the MCAT, dental schools the DAT, optometry schools the OAT, nursing schools sometimes require the GRE, and most pharmacy schools require the PCAT. If an entrance exam is required, familiarize yourself with its format and prepare systematically, either with a self-designed study program and practice exams, or a commercial prep course. Complete the requisite coursework before the exam, or at most have one required course in progress when you sit for the exam. Do not take the exam so late that your scores’ arrival will hold up the completion of your application. Note that Kaplan offers some prep courses on campus at a reduced rate for MHC students. Contact the Western Massachusetts Kaplan representative Christopher Collette - or for additional information and registration. When you register for an exam, specify that your scores be released to Mount Holyoke College (pre-health advisor).


Applicants will need to submit official transcripts from all U.S. colleges and universities they have attended.  If you have a concern about transfer credit, or equivalency credit from study abroad that has not shown up on your MHC transcript, contact the registrar now to take care of it ( When you are ready to send a transcript, current students can log on to MyMountHolyoke, order a transcript, indicate where it is to be sent, and it will be sent out the next day.  Alumnae may write to the registrar (Rm 6 Mary Lyon Hall, 50 College Street) or download the registrar’s online form and submit a request by mail.  Supply names and addresses of the centralized application service (and/or individual schools) to which you want the transcript sent, and enclose the required fee.

Letters of Recommendation:

Professional schools will request letters of recommendation. Approach faculty (primarily from prerequisite courses), research mentors, and clinical internship mentors who know your work well, and who you think will take the time to write a thoughtful letter. Ask respectfully and give as much advance notice as you can. Provide the writer with supporting information (e.g., your resume, unofficial transcript, a draft of your essay) in order to support their efforts to write a comprehensive letter about you. Be clear what you are applying for, where the letters are to be submitted, and the deadline.  Put all of the information in writing and hand it to the letter writer along with all relevant information from Interfolio and Guidelines for Letter Writers. Someone who suggests that you might want to “ask someone who knows you better” may be indicating that their letter will not be as strong as you might wish. Take them seriously, and seek out another recommender. 

Letters should be submitted to your account at Interfolio. All students who are applying to health professions schools should, at a minimum, have an account with Interfolio for the purposes outlined above. However, some centralized application services have their own letter services and these can have varying degrees of compatibility with Interfolio. Because Interfolio is able to send your recommendations in either electronic or hard-copy form, you can usually collect your references in your Interfolio file and then send them from Interfolio directly to schools or to the centralized application services as instructions dictate.  In a small number of cases (typically with PTCAS and VMCAS), you may have to ask recommenders to send their letters both to Interfolio and also directly to the centralized services via an electronic upload link. This is unique to a subset of schools and services; again, we use Interfolio because it is the most versatile. Follow instructions that you find on application service web sites about how to submit letters. If you have questions, please ask us. Students who have not yet registered with Interfolio may do so here, and the account will automatically be associated with Mount Holyoke College. Students who have an existing account must call Interfolio (877 997-8807) to associate their account with MHC. 

To send out your letters of recommendation, please comply with the guidelines on use of Interfolio, which can be viewed at:

Committee Letter of Recommendation:

Medical and dental schools, and sometimes optometry and podiatry schools, request at least three individual letters plus a “committee letter,” written by your Health Professions Advisor or another faculty member on behalf of the Health Professions Advising Committee. This letter is drawn from their knowledge of you as well as from individual letters, scores, your transcripts, your pre-application, and your personal statement.  The strength of your committee letter can be vastly improved if your pre-health advisor has gotten to know you well. Just as with individual letters, you must specifically request a committee letter. With adequate lead time on requests, together with your effort to ensure your file is complete by June 30, authors will normally have your committee letter written and in your file by the end of July. This timing corresponds to the earliest dates when schools solicit secondary applications.

Once you have verified that all of your individual references are on file at Interfolio, and that your supporting documents including a copy of your completed primary application are in your pre-health advising file, you must formally request a committee letter using the form at the end of the pre-health application kit (below).