Professional School Application Process

Students should check with specific schools to which they intend to apply to ensure that all admission requirements are fulfilled. Competition for positions in professional schools and clinical programs is intense and never guaranteed. Admission to these schools and programs can be based on scholastic record, standardized test scores, personal recommendations, an interview with members of the admissions committee, shadowing and other extra-curricular activities.

If you are applying to a professional school this year, please be sure to let our office know if you have not already done so.

Also, don't forget to notify us by stopping in or emailing us as you start to hear back from the programs you applied to this year about whether or not you were accepted.

Professional School Application

Students can apply to most professional schools through a centralized application service. Some schools have secondary applications for students as well. Students should check with each individual school to find out how the application process works for that particular school.

See the Application Services Handout for more specific information.

Letters of Recommendation

Requesting Letters of Recommendation

Nearly every professional program requires applicants to submit letters of recommendation. Don't underestimate the importance of these letters. While your transcript, standardized test scores, and personal statement/admissions essay are vital components to your graduate school application, an excellent letter of recommendation can make up for weaknesses in any of these areas.

A well written letter of recommendation provides admissions committees with information that isn't found elsewhere in the application. A letter of recommendation is a detailed discussion of the personal qualities, accomplishments, and experiences that make you unique and perfect for the programs to which you've applied.

Here are some tips to help you when requesting letters of recommendation:

  • Many schools and programs will have specific instructions regarding the types of people from whom they would like to receive letters. Be sure to review those instructions and follow them carefully.
  • Give the letter writer plenty of time to get the letter sent in before the deadline. Be sure to let them know the deadline date.
  • Most application services allow for electronic upload of the letter of recommendation. Verify with each service to make sure of the most appropriate way for the letter writer to submit.
  • If the program you are applying to uses reference forms, there is usually a place at the top for the applicant to fill out and sign. Please do not forget to fill this in before giving out the forms.
  • Most letter writers appreciate some type of resume (even an informal one) from the applicant. A copy of your application or personal essay would also be appropriate to give them. Even if the person knows you pretty well, they may not be aware of the work experiences you have and the extra-curricular activities you are involved in and a resume provides them with additional background.
  • It is also helpful if the letter writer has some insight into your professional goals. You can provide them with this information by visiting with them or by providing them with a copy of the essay that will more than likely be required to be included in your application.

See the Letters of Recommendation handout for more specific information.

Personal Statements and Essays

Writing a personal statement is often the most difficult part of the graduate/professional school application process. However, an essay or “personal statement” should always be submitted with your application, even if the school says it is optional. If your qualifications make you a borderline student at a school that makes a point of considering subjective factors in its admission decisions, then your personal statement could make a difference between acceptance and rejection.

Writing requirements vary widely. Some programs request only 1 or 2 paragraphs about why you want to pursue graduate study, while others require numerous specific essays. Since personal statements can reveal your character more clearly than other application materials, they provide evidence that you bring something distinctive to the field such as unusual ability, background traits, experience, or a unique way of looking at the world.

See the Writing Personal Statements and Essays handout for more specific information.


Prepare yourself prior to the interview, dress so dress is not an issue, display confidence and provide clear, concise answers. The following handouts will provide more information regarding interview preparation and practice.

Job Shadowing and Volunteer Opportunities

Observation experience is essential for students pursuing a health care career. Job shadowing allows one to preview professions of interest. Observation also allows one to explore a variety of career settings, such as hospitals, rehabilitation centers, private clinics, and schools.

See the Job Shadowing Information page for more information.

Volunteering takes up our time, energy, and sometimes, money. It can be hard work. It can find us doing and seeing new things, which can be challenging and even a little scary. So why does anyone even go there? Because volunteers can make a difference where someone or something needs help. If people never help each other and only care about themselves, the world becomes a crueler, sadder place. But when we volunteer our time, money, or talents, we help make our planet a better, happier home where people work together to make life easier for all.

See the Volunteer Opportunities page for more information.

Interview Evaluation

Our office has compiled a file that contains interview evaluations done by former students who have interviewed with many professional schools. These evaluations of their interview experiences will give you a great deal of insight about what to expect for your interview. Feel free to stop by anytime and look over the files.

Once you have completed your interview, please fill out and print the evaluation form below for other students to use as a reference in the future. When it is complete, turn it in to the Health Science Office.

Evaluation of Interview Form (PDF File)

Evaluation of Interview Form (Word Doc)