Are you applying to a Professional Health Education Program?
CSUSB Health Professions Advising Center can help with all of the components in the application process.
Call to schedule an appointment to meet with an advisor prior to submitting your application.
Below are the basic steps in the application process:
- Admissions Tests
- Centralized Application Services
- Personal Statements
- Letters of Recommendation
- Preparing for the Interview
The standardized admission test for the health profession of your choice is something you begin preparing for the moment that you enter college. CSUSB Health Professions Advising Center can assist in you in identifying information and resources for these exams.
Health professions admissions test requires a significant amount of time and effort for adequate preparation. To get a score that accurately reflects your best efforts can take anywhere from 3-5 months of study. Most students prepare for and then take the appropriate standardized exam as they begin the 12-14 month application process.
Some students choose to participate in a preparatory review courses such as Kaplan, Princeton or Examkrackers , geared toward different learning styles and levels of comfort with the material. These courses can be expensive although test preparation organizations do have some discounted fees available.
- Dental Admissions Test (DAT)
- Graduate Record Exam (GRE)
- Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)
- Optometry Admission Test (OAT)
- Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT)
Centralized Application Services
Most, but not all, health professions programs use a centralized application service which means you have to submit only one application which will be received by the schools/programs you designate in a specific health profession. Becoming familiar with these centralized application services can help simplify the process and improve your chances of admission. Individual graduate program and centralized application websites will have detailed information on specific requirements. Links to the common Centralized Application Services appear below:
- Allopathic Medicine (MD) - AMCAS American Association of Medical Colleges Application Services
- Dental Medicine - AADSAS American Dental Schools Application Service
- Osteopathic Medicine (DO) - AACOMAS American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine Application Services
- Pharmacy - PharmCas Pharmacy School Application Service
- Physician Assistant - CASPA Principle Application Service for Physician Assistants
- Podiatric Medicine - AACPMAS American Association of Podiatric Medicine Application Service
- Public Health - SOPHAS Schools of Public Health Application Service
- Veterinary Medicine - VMCAS Veterinary Medical College Application Service
Most applications to health professions programs require a personal statement. Please remember that a personal statement is personal. There is no one way to write a personal statement, but you should address the development of your interest in your chosen health profession and your path to applying to the program. Important experiences and what you learned from them, especially in terms of your personal growth, any particular strengths you will bring to the profession, and your educational and career goals should be considered when writing your personal statement. Also, consider discussing adversity you might have overcome and also how you will contribute to the diversity (in the broadest sense) of the class. The personal statement should not be a re-hash of your activities list or resume. CSUSB Health Professions Advising Center can review and work with you in creating your personal statement.
As important as the statement is, an outstanding narrative is only as strong as the applicant's track record in service, leadership, and scholarly work. In other words, an outstanding statement cannot over compensate for a weak record.
Letters of Recommendation
Letters of recommendation are a particularly critical component of the application because they verify the level of contribution, innovation and independence that would be otherwise merely listed on the application. Admissions committees are very interested in your academic achievement and they are just as interested in your character, experience and motivation.
You should plan to have two letters from science faculty and at least one from a faculty member in another discipline. However, it is especially important that you have letters of recommendation from individuals who can describe your leadership skills, campus and community service, research or innovation in scholarly projects, and understanding of and commitment to a career in a specific health profession. These letters can be from research supervisors, job supervisors, project mentors, advisors and etc.
You should carefully determine whom to ask for a recommendation letter. Be sure to ask a potential recommender if he/she knows you well enough to write a strong letter of support and is willing to do so. Recommenders need sufficient time to write your letter and should have your resume and personal statement to review. It can also be helpful to schedule an appointment with a potential recommender to discuss the recommendation letter-and always be sure to follow up with a written "thank you."
Admission committee interviews are another critical component of the selection process for nearly all health professions programs. Learning as much as you can about the type of interview, who will be involved, and preparing well thought out questions for the interviewer(s) will help demonstrate your interest in the program. Students should work with the Career Center and the CSUSB Health Professions Advising Center prepare for the interview.
Individual and panel mock interviews are also available through the CSUSB Health Professions Advising Center.