Applying to Health Profession Schools

The first and most important thing to do as you begin the application process is to ask yourself why you are applying. Really ask yourself why. Many students do not want to do this. But the self-analysis the question requires will make you a stronger candidate.

Once you have thought about why, the next question is what? There are many health professions available to college graduates and the majority of them require graduate education. Investigate the various fields to be sure you are choosing the best course. Take factors such as the  skills/talents required, work environment, length of training, level of responsibility, salary and labor force projections into account in your decision.

This section focuses on applying to medical school (MD and DO), but the process is very similar for dental school. Veterinary, optometry, and podiatry schools are also four-year postgraduate clinical education programs that have similar requirements and processes for applying, although with a shorter timeline. There is also some overlap in the application processes for physical and occupational therapy, physician assistant, and nurse practitioner.

Deciding When to Apply

Once you have decided on your career path, you need to decide when to apply to medical or other health profession schools. We strongly advise you to wait to apply until you are a competitive applicant. There is little to be gained from applying if your candidacy is weak, and in fact, there is much to be lost.

Applying is a time-consuming process. It will take up time and energy you could be devoting to getting good grades, taking MCATs and gaining valuable health-related experience. There is no reason to feel pressured to apply after junior year and matriculate into medical school immediately after college. Medical school admissions committees look very favorably on experienced applicants. The great majority of Tufts applicants take a few years before entering medical school, and have stronger credentials because of it.

The Association of American Medical Colleges and FACTS: Applicants, Matriculants and Graduates of US Medical Schools provides data about students who apply and are accepted to medical school.

If you are not competitive, but you truly want to pursue a medical or other health professions career, there many ways you can strengthen your record and become competitive. If your academic record is weak there are numerous ways to strengthen it, even after college graduation. One way is to pursue a Special Master’s Program.

Health Professions Recommendation Committee (HPRC) - FOR ALL CURRENT APPLICANTS TO HEALTH PROFESSION PROGRAMS

Most colleges have a designated committee to evaluate applicants and prepare them for the application process. At Tufts, that committee is the Tufts Health Professions Recommendation Committee (HPRC). 

The HPRC is composed of a variety of faculty from the Schools of Arts and Sciences, and Engineering, and is co-chaired by Diren Turner and Mitch McVey, faculty in the Chemistry and Biology Departments.

Important updates for students applying in the 2021-2022 application cycle. Tufts will now provide a letter packet for each applicant, as opposed to a committee letter. However, much of the HPRC process remains the same. Students will register for HPRC by April 1, 2021 and receive an interview with a faculty interviewer. Tufts will continue to collect individual letters of recommendation and submit them as a packet to the central application services such as AMCAS, AACOMAS, and AADSAS. Students will need a minimum of 3 and a maximum of 5 letters of recommendation. At least 2 should be from Tufts faculty who have taught you, and at least one of those should be from a science faculty member. It is the candidate's responsibility to be aware of individual school's letter requirements, as these vary from school to school. 

The work you do with the HPRC is an important piece of your application process. Applicants to medical, dental, optometry and podiatry schools will come through HPRC. Central application services for other professions, such as Physician Assistant, Nursing, and Veterinary Medicine do not typically want letter packets. See the HPRC checklist. 

Registration

Registration for HPRC is now open. The link to the online portal is available on our website, through our Canvas course, and through Health-E News. The deadline to complete the registration and hit the 'submit' button is 11:59PM EST on April 1. No exceptions are made to this deadline. You will need to enter in the information for the individuals you want to ask for recommendations by this date. Letters or recommendation are due by May 1, 2021*, and letter writers will be able to submit letters online through a secure portal. 

*Letters for re-applicants will be due June 1, 2021

Interview

Each applicant will be assigned to a member of the committee and will interview with that individual. The goal of the interview is twofold: first, to give you an opportunity for the committee to know as much about you as possible, and two, to have an experience of a professional interview, much like what you will have at medical, dental and other schools. Individual committee members will begin interviewing candidates in May and finish interviewing by July. The interview can only be scheduled after you have submitted your HPRC registration form and completed your file with required materials and individual letters. Applicants will be sent a scheduling link once all their materials have been received.

Preparing For Your HPRC Interview

Your interview with a faculty member on our Health Professions Recommendation Committee is an opportunity to have a conversation with a professional who will want to get to know you. This should not be a tense or stressful meeting, but rather a nice opportunity to discuss your background, your interests, your accomplishments, your motivation, your values and your goals.  There is no need to bring anything to the interview but you should review your resume and autobiography. Come prepared to have a thoughtful conversation about you and your future as a healthcare professional. Be punctual; be respectful; be genuine.

Sending Committee Letter Packets

You will be specifying in your application (AMCAS, AACOMAS, or AADSAS) that you will be having a letter packet. Letter packets are not sent automatically; you can submit the request to the HPRC for your letters to be sent starting on July 1. Information regarding how to request your letters to be sent will be available later in the process. No requests are accepted prior to July 1.

Disciplinary or Institutional Action

You will be asked if any action has been taken by any college or university against you in your HPRC registration, in the centralized application, and by individual schools. It is critical that you respond honestly. Dishonesty or lack of full disclosure is far more serious than virtually any institutional action that may have been taken. 

Even if an action is not noted on your transcript it must still be reported. You should discuss this with the pre-health advisors. 

The HPRC cover letter that is sent with the individual letters collected addresses any disciplinary action taken or its absence. All but a couple of medical schools accept this format and do not require additional forms. If a dean's certification form or disciplinary action form is required beyond the HPRC letter, it should be submitted to the Pre-health Advising Office. 

Application Requirements

General Requirements

All health professions graduate schools expect:

Expected Application Costs

Official websites provide a lot of information on the cost of application but these quick figures will give you a rough indication of how much you will spend on the medical school application process and the dental school process below that. (Updated February 2018)

MCAT $315 This does not include the cost of a commercial review course, which is usually more than $2000.
AMCAS $511 Cost for ten schools: $160 for first school, $39 for every additional school
AACOMAS $285 Cost for three schools: $195 for 1 school, $45 for every additional school
Secondary Fees $1200 Usually between $75-150 per piece

TOTAL $2300

 
DAT  $460
AADSAS Cost for 5 schools: $245 for first school, $102 for each additional school

 

This doesn’t include the cost of interviews, which varies dramatically but includes wardrobe purchases, travel to and from the interview, and lodging and food while there.

Fee Waivers

Fee waivers are available to a very small number of students through AMCAS (now combined with MCAT fee waiver), AACOMAS and ADEA. Once a student qualifies, schools will generally waive their secondary fees. Be sure to read the information about fee waivers on the AMCAS and AACOMAS websites carefully and submit your request early.

Credit Score

A very important financial consideration at this stage of the application process is to make sure you have a clean credit rating. Increasingly medical school financial aid offices are requiring that students prove credit-worthiness. Without this you may not be eligible for loans, the major means of financing your medical school education. Take care of this important step now so it won’t affect your admissions status.

Applying to Medical School 

The largest number of Tufts students and alums apply to medical school – both allopathic (MD) and osteopathic (DO). We work with each applicant through our Health Professions Recommendation Committee, through weekly applicant emails during the application cycle, and through individual meetings. Above are some topics of interest that will help guide you as you proceed through the 16 month application cycle. Be sure to use this website, and very helpful websites of AAMC and AACOM, as the sources of accurate information about the process.

Applying to Dental School 

Tufts has a small but active group of predental students. Most of these students get involved with our Predent Society and some apply as sophomores through the Early Assurance Program to our own Tufts University School of Dental Medicine.

This is your official site to get accurate information, advice and support in preparing the strongest dental application possible: start planning .

The regular application process for dental school begins in a given spring for matriculation into dental school about 18 months later the following September. The central application for applying to dental school is  ADEA AADSAS® (ADEA Associated American Dental Education Schools Application Service) . The application typically opens in early May and can be submitted starting late May or early June for that application cycle. Applicants select the dental schools to which they want it sent. The AADSAS website has lots of helpful information including, among other things, additional materials required by an individual school, the prerequisites for each school, etc. All students seeking admission to Tufts dental school, including those admitted through the EAP, must complete and submit an AADSAS.

Applicants should research participating dental schools through the 2019-20 ADEA Official Guide to Dental Schools or by subscribing to the ADEA Dental School Explorer, an online resource with information about 76 dental schools in the US and Canada.

The two other components of the application process are the DAT and the letters of recommendation. The DAT tests your knowledge of biology, chemistry and organic chemistry, includes both reading and quantitative sections, and also includes a unique section on Perceptual Ability. It is administered very frequently throughout the year and you can see your results immediately. Most applicants take their DATs in spring or early summer prior to submitting their AADSAS.

Most dental schools appreciate receiving a composite committee letter of recommendation from an applicant’s home institution. Tufts students and alums are encouraged to register with the HPRC (Health Professions Recommendation Committee) and go through our process in support of your candidacy. The deadline to register is April 1 of each cycle, and applicants should plan on registering in March. Students in the EAP are also strongly encouraged to go through the committee process.

All dental schools will invite for interview those applicants in whom they are interested. Interviews typically begin in September and go through the winter. Decisions are sent out beginning December 1.

Applying to Veterinary School

Tufts has a small but active and vibrant group of pre-veterinary students. Most of these students get involved with our Prevet Society and some apply as sophomores through the Early Assurance Program to our own Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine.

The regular application process for veterinary school begins in a given summer for matriculation into veterinary school about 14 months later the following September. The central application for applying to veterinary school is VMCAS (Veterinary Medical College Application Service)  and students will submit it by September, selecting the vet schools to which they want it sent. The VMCAS website has lots of helpful information including, among other things, the prerequisites for each school. They do vary somewhat so it is important to check before applying.

The two other components of the application process are the GRE and the letters of recommendation. The GRE is a general aptitude test and is required by most veterinary schools. It is administered very frequently throughout the year and you can see your results immediately. Most applicants take their GREs in the summer prior to submitting their VMCAS.

VMCAS does not accept a committee packet and so prevet students no longer register with the HPRC. Applicants solicit individual letters of recommendation. It is important that you have at least one academic letter – from a faculty member who has taught you in the sciences. Beyond that you should have at least one letter from a veterinarian, and perhaps another from some other animal-related experience you have had.

Many veterinary schools do not interview. The Cummings School does interview. Typically, decisions will come out in winter and early spring.

Additional Veterinary Programs to Consider

Applying to Early Assurance Programs 

Sophomore students who are interested in the medical, dental, veterinary and public health fields have the unique opportunity to enroll in one of Tufts' degree programs through special programs allowing either early acceptance or shortened courses of study. 

Bachelor's/MD Early Assurance Program 

Tufts University School of Medicine offers an Early-Assurance Program for eligible sophomore undergraduates at Tufts University who are interested in the traditional MD Program. Selected candidates are offered the assurance of medical school admission without an MCAT score and prior to the regular admissions process. Hence, program participants reinvest the time typically spent on preparing for the MCAT and participating in the regular admissions process to explore other areas of interest during their academic careers, thus broadening their college experience.  To learn more about the program please visit the TUSM website.

Eligibility

Eligible applicants must be in their sophomore year and must meet the following academic criteria in order to be considered for the Early-Assurance Program:

  • To apply for early assurance, you need to have completed two introductory biology courses, two introductory chemistry courses and one organic chemistry course no later than July of the application year. There is no single or best way to do this. However students who know they cannot take any coursework in the summer should begin with general chemistry. Alternatively, a student who is strongest in biology, may begin with biology, take chemistry in the sophomore year and then organic in the summer after sophomore year. For more information, contact the pre-health advisor or look for the information session that is held on campus each year.
  • To be competitive, you will need both an overall and science GPA of 3.7
  • All courses in Biology, Chemistry and Physics (including labs) >=B+
    All other courses >=B
  • Regarding Exceptional Pass/Fail - All applicants are strongly encouraged to complete their coursework for a traditional grade when the option to do so exists. This is particularly true for prerequisite and science courses. The Early Assurance program is a competitive and highly selective admissions option. Since the MCAT is waived for EAP applicants, this puts greater emphasis on coursework and grades to determine an applicant's fit and readiness for medical school.  Exceptions to this will only be made on a case by case basis.  Exceptions should only be requested in extenuating situations or where the option is deemed appropriate.  
  • You will be expected to complete all of the required courses at Tufts
  • AP credit may be accepted but does not count toward the minimum course requirements.  Thus, students are required to do additional science work at Tufts for the admissions committee to review.  
  • If admitted, you must complete the remaining premed requirements (biochemistry and Physics 1) at Tufts by the summer after your junior year and maintain a strong academic record in those courses
  • You will need to complete your bachelor’s degree and remain in good standing throughout your undergraduate career
  • You can apply to other medical schools but will forfeit your spot in the Early Assurance Program. You can re-apply to TUSM in the regular pool and will be considered for regular admission.

Eligibility for the EAP is determined through completion of a survey released mid-December by the Health Professions Advising office. Once a prospective applicant's information is verified, eligible students will receive an invitation to apply directly from TUSM. Ineligible students will be notified by the Health Professions Advising office.  Due to the unique nature of this program, transfer students are, unfortunately, not eligible to apply. 

For Eligible students invited to apply to EAP: The deadline to apply to the Early Assurance Program application is February 1.  By February 1, The Tufts University School of Medicine Office of Admissions must have received your:

  • Early-Assurance Program Application
  • Early-Assurance Program Application Fee ($125): This fee is collected/due at the time you submit your Early Assurance Program Application (nonrefundable)
  • Letters of Recommendation (minimum of 3) ideally from Tufts faculty members although one letter can come from someone other than faculty. Recommendations do not need to come from science faculty
  • As an applicant, you will be required to report your SAT or ACT scores
  • The Medical School will invite some portion of applicants for interviews in early April. Decision letters will be mailed in the summer once spring and summer grades are received
  • If admitted, you will file an American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS) application in the summer after your junior year indicating that you want to continue with the program (rather than apply to other medical schools). You will have the option of opting out of the program at this point
  • Final acceptance will be mailed to senior students once all AMCAS materials are in and premed courses are completed
Bachelor's/DMD Early Assurance Program 

Tufts University School of Dental Medicine offers Tufts undergraduates an opportunity to apply for provisional admission in the spring of their sophomore year. A limited number of students are admitted, and are guaranteed a space in the dental school once they graduate, provided they maintain required GPA, earn required DAT scores, complete all requirements that accepted students must complete, and interview during the fall of their senior year.

 

An information session will be held during the spring semester.  Please check Health-E News weekly for the date and time.

Application Process

  • Tufts sophomores apply to the dental school no later than April 10th.  The application will be posted on the TUSDM website and can also be accessed from the Pre-Health website in the spring.
  • As part of the application, students will need two faculty letters of recommendation and one must be from a basic science faculty member.
  • The Dental School will invite competitive applicants to interview in April or early May.
  • Decision letters will be mailed sometime in summer once spring grades are received.
  • The student is required to submit an official transcript to the Office of Admissions at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine at the conclusion of each semester.  They will be notified in writing of their status after the transcript has been received. 
  • The student must submit DAT scores no later than November 1 of the year they are applying to the Dental School.
  • Students must complete an AADSAS application during the summer prior to their senior year.  The application must be complete by September 1 of the senior year. 
  • Students must attend a formal final interview at TUSDM during the fall of senior year.  Please note that an interview will not be scheduled until TUSDM has received official DAT scores that meet the minimum requirements.

Program Requirements

  • Competitive applicants are expected to completed two semesters of biology and two semesters of chemistry by the end of sophomore year.
  • Admitted students must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.4 and a minimum cumulative science (Biology, Physics, Chemistry) GPA of 3.3.  If the student fails to meet the minimum GPA requirements, the Admissions Committee may elect to withdraw him/her from the Early Assurance Program.
  • It is strongly suggested that all pre-requisite courses be completed at Tufts.  Special approval must be given for pre-requisite courses completed at another institution.  Remaining courses include one semester of organic chemistry with laboratory, two semesters of physics with laboratory, biochemistry and two biology elective numbered above 13 and 14.
  • Admitted students will be expected to receive minimum scores on the Academic Average, Perceptual Ability, Reading Comprehension, and Total Science sections of the DAT exam.  The scores will be set by TUSDM.
  • Students who receive final acceptance to TUSDM must meet all the same requirements of Admitted students for their class year which includes a Criminal Background Check and completed Dean’s Certification of Disciplinary History Form.
Bachelor's/DVM Early Assurance Program

Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine offers Tufts undergraduates an opportunity to apply for admission in spring of their sophomore year.  A limited number of students are admitted and are guaranteed a space in the veterinary school once they graduate. 

Participants of this program are offered the assurance of veterinary school admission without substantial investments of time and energy that other pre-veterinary students make in the process of preparing, researching, applying to numerous vet schools, and preparing for optimal GRE scores.  Program participants can broaden their undergraduate experience by selecting any undergraduate major, exploring other areas of interest during their junior and senior years, and choosing to study abroad. 

To be eligible to apply, candidates for this program must be sophomores at Tufts and have demonstrated academic proficiency in their freshman and sophomore coursework, particularly in the pre-veterinary science courses. 

 

An information session will be held during the spring semester.  Please check Health-E News weekly for the date and time.

Application Process

  • Tufts sophomores apply to the veterinary school no later than March 1st. The application is available online.  As part of the application process, students must submit three letters of recommendation, including one from a science faculty member. 
  • The veterinary school invites a small number of applicants for interviews. 

  • Decision letters will be available online by late April.

  • Competitive applicants will have completed at least two science sequences (most typically the year of introductory chemistry and the year of introductory biology) by the end of the spring semester of their sophomore year.

  • Students will be expected to complete prerequisite courses at Tufts University or at other universities by special permission of the veterinary school's admission office. 

  • AP credit may be allowed to fulfill prerequisite courses, but students are required to take additional science courses at Tufts so the Admission Committee can evaluate performance in college coursework. 

  • The GRE is not required for applicants to this early assurance program; applicants are required to submit SAT and ACT scores.  These scores can either be taken from the applicant's high school transcript or the applicant can obtain them directly from the College Board. 

Program Requirements

  • In order to remain in the program and be assured admission to the veterinary school, admitted applicants are required to maintain a 3.4 minimum cumulative GPA in their undergraduate program, calculated at the end of each academic year.
  • Admitted applicants must complete the remaining prerequisite courses (listed on the veterinary school website), earn their bachelor's degree, and remain in good standing throughout their undergraduate career. 
  • The offer of admission is not binding; students can defer their admission to the veterinary school for one year, or they can choose to apply to other veterinary schools.
  • Admitted applicants must reconfirm their desire to enroll at the veterinary school no later than May 1 of their senior year.
Bachelor's/MPH Combined Degree program 

The graduate program in Public Health at the Tufts University School of Medicine offers Tufts undergraduates an opportunity to apply for admission in the spring of their sophomore year up to July 15th, before their senior year. A small number of students each year are granted admission to this program. 

Participants in this program take four of their required Master’s in Public Health courses while still undergraduates (two of these courses count towards both the bachelor's and master’s degrees), thus leaving them with only nine courses to complete upon matriculation into the master’s program.  Participants are not required to take the GRE when applying.  Program participants can select any undergraduate major.

To be eligible to apply, candidates for this program must be at least sophomores at Tufts; they must have demonstrated academic proficiency in their freshman and sophomore coursework.  The most current info on the program is on the public health website.

Interested students should contact Professor Fernando Ona for further information and visit our website.

Application Process

Application Deadlines

  • The earliest that you can apply is the second semester of your sophomore year.
  • The latest that you can apply is July 15 before your senior year. 
  • The application is available online
  • As part of the application process, students will need three letters of recommendation, at least one of which must be from a faculty member.
  • Decisions are made on a rolling basis.

Program Requirements

  • Community Health 1 or 2 is recommended.
  • Admitted students must complete a graduate level Principles of Epidemiology course in the junior and/or senior years along with three other MPH graduate level courses picked in consultation with a B/MPH advisor.
  • It is strongly encouraged that students complete at least one semester of biology as an undergraduate, as completion of the MPH degree requires that students demonstrate a basic competency in public health biology. 
  • Students who have not taken biology may fulfill this requirement through successful completion of a free, non-credit, on-line course and examination offered through Carnegie-Mellon University's Open Learning Initiative. Ideally, this course should be taken in the summer prior to matriculation and no later than the end of the first year of the program. 
  • Admitted students must complete their bachelor’s degree and remain in good standing throughout their undergraduate career.
  • It is recommended that admitted students complete a 120-hour field placement in a health or human services field prior to matriculating into the MPH program.
  • Admitted students normally must complete Principles of Epidemiology in the junior and/or senior years along with three other graduate level courses.
  • Students who wish to apply to other public health schools do not forfeit their spot in the Combined Degree Program.