Application Timeline

Timeline | Application process | Resources


November 2016

Check with your professional school organization to find out about any fee assistance programs (search the org website for “Fee Assistance”). A comprehensive list of health profession schools can be found at: This fee assistance application process can take time and for students taking the MCAT, needs to be in place prior to registering for the MCAT. (See for financial assistance).

November 7, 2016 @ 6:00 p.m. in Cleveland L1 – pizza served
Attend this “applicant chat” workshop to learn more about personal statements and begin developing ideas.

January 6, 2017 Alums Pre-Application Due

January 23, 2017 Current undergrad and postbac students Pre-Application Due

Submit your Pre-Application Form. 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. Pre-applications may be submitted:

  • in hard copy to the Office of Pre-Health Programs in Clapp 125
  • in hard copy in the mail – Jackie Collette, Mount Holyoke College, 50 College St., Clapp 125, South Hadley, MA 01075

After you have submitted your pre-application with all required documents attached, the OPHP will reach out to schedule a meeting for you with your prehealth advisor. You will discuss your overall qualifications and next steps in the application process as well as review your personal statement.

January 31, 2017 @ 6:00 p.m. in Cleveland L1 – pizza served
Attend this workshop on the application process.

Spring 2017

Prepare for and take required entrance exams. You can find out more at: For pre-medical, dental and vet students, plan to take the MCAT, DAT or GRE, respectively, between January and June of 2017 (scores from 2016 are also acceptable).

Revise and finalize your personal statement. You may wish to have a few people review your statement (a professor, family member, peer), and we encourage the use of SAW for grammar and structure editing. Our office will review new drafts when substantial changes have been made, and we strongly encourage you to have us review your personal statement before you submit your application.

Ask for individual letters of recommendation, using Guidelines for Writing a Letter of Recommendation for a Student Applying to Programs in the Health Professions. Medical, dental, optometry and podiatry applicants: Individual letters are due in your Interfolio account by the end of May, so that you can submit your request for a committee letter with all individual letters ready to go. If it is mid-May and you are still missing letters, you must speak with your prehealth advisor immediately to determine next steps. Call Jackie at 413-538-3389 to set up an appointment.

Research your list of schools. We encourage use of resources such as the MSAR and ADEA Official Guide to Dental Schools. Other professions have similar resources. Use the tips at to help you choose your schools. You will not be able to finalize your list until you have your entrance exam score.

May-July 2017

Submit your online primary application as soon as you are able. Medical and dental applicants, aim for June. Submitting after June 30th does not take advantage of being early in the process. (Other professions may have later deadlines. Speak with a pre-health advisor.) Recommendation letters are not part of your primary application and names of letter writers can be added after submitting. The personal statement cannot be edited after submission.

Note: When you register with any centralized application service (CAS), select “advisor release.” By doing this, it enables us to assist you and to track your application.

No later than June 26, 2017

Medical and dental applicants submit <em >“Official Request to the MHC Committee on Health Professions for a Committee Letter” and a submitted or draft copy of your primary application (PDF). Remember that <em >all individual letters of recommendation must be in your Interfolio account when you submit the “Official Request.” Official requests missing individual letters will not be accepted unless you have spoken with your advisor. The official request form can be found on the last page of this Pre-Application Kit. Applicants submitting requests after June 26 may not be eligible to receive a committee letter.

Note: If all individual letters are not in Interfolio by mid-May, you must speak with your prehealth advisor immediately to determine next steps. Call Jackie at 413-538-3389 to set up an appointment.

No later than August 1, 2017

Medical and dental applicants: No later than this date, submit your primary application and immediately send a PDF of the submitted application to the prehealth office. If we receive your submitted application after August 1, you may no longer be eligible for a committee letter.

Summer 2017

You may be invited to submit school-specific secondary applications. Secondaries require additional application fees, and waivers may be available if there is financial hardship. Check with the CAS or professional organization (see Central Application Services).

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. When you receive an invitation to interview, contact the OPHP to set up a mock interview. Read up on the schools you are going to visit so that you can ask informed questions.

Overview of the Application Process

You may find that applying to professional school is a lot like taking a fifth course, writing a thesis, or having a second job—it can be exciting but overwhelming. Accept that the process is demanding, and give yourself plenty of breathing room by starting early. Start by becoming informed about the application process for your chosen health career. There are a large number of resources important to your planning, preparation and submission of applications, and they can be found at:
Your application should reflect every aspect of your qualifications: courses, extracurricular experiences, research, clinical or volunteer experiences, and any personal experiences that demonstrate your maturity, compassion, and commitment to the profession. Collect your ideas as you fill out this pre-application, and pull together a list of your work and volunteer history.

Workshops: Be sure to attend our two important applicant workshops on November 7th, 2016 (personal statements) and January 31st, 2017 (overview of the application process). (

Personal statement: Your application demonstrates your attention to detail, so avoid inconsistencies or errors. The personal statement showcases not just the experiences that have prepared you for your career choice, but also your proficiency with written English. Write a draft early and get plenty of feedback from people you trust.

Your resume: This is a good time to prepare (or polish) your resume. The CDC offers workshops and one-on-one meetings on resume-writing. Sample resumes for pre-health students can be found on the resources page on the Pre-Health website (

Transcripts: When you begin to fill out your primary application you should also have your transcripts sent to the application service(s) (unless you are waiting for spring semester grades). You will need to submit official transcripts from all U.S. colleges and universities you 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, follow the instructions from your central application service and the Registrars from the schools from which you are requesting transcripts.

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, most graduate nursing programs, and graduate schools of public health require the GRE, medical and podiatry schools the MCAT, dental schools the DAT, optometry schools the OAT, 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 (we recommend no later than mid June ideally by the end of May) as score’s take a month to arrive and will hold up the completion of your application. Note that Kaplan usually offers prep courses for the GRE and the MCAT on campus at a reduced rate for MHC students. Contact Jackie at for additional information. When you register for an exam, specify that your scores be released to Mount Holyoke College so that your Pre-Health Advisor will have access.

Submitting applications: Many applicants face a two-step process consisting of primary and secondary applicatioOnlineline centralized application services exist for the purpose of filing primary applications to almost all health professions programs. However, not all schools use the centralized services (see the Centralized Application Services page). Schools that 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. They are specific to each school. Submit your secondaries within two weeks of receiving them. Secondaries may require an additional writing sample (again, ask for feedback on your drafts), an updated transcript if necessary, and an additional application fee.

Letters of Recommendation: Professional schools will request letters of recommendation. All will prefer that you waive your right to view the letters. Some (medical, dental, optometry, and podiatry schools) will expect a committee letter. Make copies of the “Guidelines for Writing a Letter of Recommendation for a Student Applying to Programs in the Health Professions” (included in this packet) to give to each of your letter-writers when you make the request. (

Tell your recommender that letters must be on letterhead, dated and signed (their electronic signature can be inserted) before submitting.

Applicants should have an account with Interfolio. Use this link to create and automatically associate your account with MHC: This will allow the OPHP to see letters, assure they are on letterhead and signed, and distribute them to a committee letter writer if needed. Do not hesitate to call Interfolio for help at 877-997-8807 or 202-738-5322.

All letters should be submitted to your account at Interfolio. Once a letter writer has agreed, you will create a prompt using their email address in Interfolio with the letter type as “Confidential Letter of Recommendation.” When they submit the letter to Interfolio, you will see that it has been received but not be able to view the contents. Some centralized application services also have their own letters service which may 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. Follow instructions that you find on application service web sites about how to submit letters. If you have questions, please feel free to contact the OPHP.

Individual Letters: 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. Also, consider coaches or community service supervisors that know you well in order to add breadth to your application. Ask respectfully and give as much advance notice as you can. Provide the writer with as much supporting information as you can (e.g., your resume, unofficial transcript, a draft of your personal statement) in order to support their efforts to write a comprehensive letter about you. Once someone agrees to write, be clear what you are applying for, where the letter is to be submitted, and the deadline. If you can, put all of the information in writing and hand it to the letter writer when you give them the “Guidelines.” 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 someone else. Once a letter has been uploaded to your Interfolio account, contact the Pre-Health Office to have the letter reviewed to be sure it is on letterhead, dated, and signed (electronic signature inserted is ok). If it is not, we will contact you so that you can ask the recommender to resubmit.

Committee Letter of Evaluation (medical, dental, optometry and podiatry schools): Some schools have a strong preference for a committee letter written by your pre-health advisor or another faculty member on behalf of the Committee on Health Professions. This letter is drawn from their knowledge of you as well as from individual letters of recommendation, entrance exam scores, transcripts, your application, and your personal statement. The strength of your committee letter can be vastly improved if your committee letter writer has gotten to know you well.

Once you have verified that all of your individual letters of recommendation have been received by Interfolio, request a committee letter using the “Official Request to the MHC Committee on Health Professions for a Committee Letter.” You must include a draft or final primary application. When the committee letter is complete, the Pre-Health office will upload it to Interfolio along with a second document called “Committee Letter Including Individual Letters for Upload to [relevant central application service] 2018.” This ONE document will contain your Committee Letter and your individual letters of recommendation. You will tell Interfolio to upload this ONE document to your primary application. The above information with instructions will be emailed to you by the OPHP once complete.

If you submit your committee letter request no later than June 26, the writer will be able to have your committee letter written and in your file by the end of the summer.