Fifteen Steps To A Successful Application
The application process for all the health professions schools normally begins 18 months before the date you expect to obtain your college degree. The following is a brief chronological list of l5 steps to a successful application.
JANUARY to APRIL
1. OPEN AN INTENT TO APPLY FILE IN THE HEALTH PROFESSIONS OFFICE! The form can be located on the Health Profession's Intent to Apply page.
2. Register for the Admissions Test. WE STRONGLY SUGGEST YOU TAKE THIS TEST IN THE SPRING!! Be sure to register before the deadline and make a copy for yourself.
3. Prepare for the Admissions Test - You should devote a minimum of 300 hours (ideally 400 to 500 hours) in preparing for your admission test. The office has some preparation material and information on commercial test preparation courses.
APRIL - MAY
4. Take Admission Test
5. Download application from each individual website.
AMCAS (allopathic medicine)
AACOMAS (osteopathic medicine)
VMCAS (veterinary medicine)
CASPA (physician assistant)
6. Solicit Letters of Recommendation (no more than 8)
The best letters to get are:
2-3 from CSUF upper division science faculty
1 or more from volunteering in your chosen profession (best to get from a health professional in that area).
1 or more from community service
1 or more from research (if that is significant to you)
Other important people (i.e. employers). Ask our office for advice
The best letters of recommendation will be written by professors/employers/professionals who know you beyond your course grade. Hopefully you have taken the time to visit your professors during office hours. Value is added from the direct experience with you. Regurgitation of your personal statement or autobiography is not helpful. We have a sheet available here or in the office that provides some pointers for your letter writers.
7. Order Transcripts - Order at least 2 copies of your official transcripts: one for the application service and one for yourself. Make sure your Spring grades are included. NOTE: It takes 3 to 4 weeks to process transcript requests, so do it early. If you have attended other colleges, you must obtain those transcripts and provide copies to be included in your file in this office and for the application service. In order to better direct your letter writers, our office has composed a Reference Request Guide which is a document listing down the various topics and areas that professional schools have.
8. Prepare a Draft of Your Personal Statement - A personal statement is a formal part of your application where you detail your qualifications for admission. To receive feedback as your prepare your personal statement, students can schedule an appointment with our advisor. Please note that our advisor will not provide students with grammatically or syntax errors. For a grammatical review of your statement please schedule an appointment with the Writing Center located in the Pollack Library North.
9. Prepare the list of schools where you will apply for admission. - Factors to consider include admission criteria, cost and opportunities.
10. Send Completed Application- We encourage you to submit your application as early as possible, even if you are taking a Summer or Fall admission test. Students who delay are at a disadvantage since almost all schools operate on a "rolling admissions" basis, i.e. the sooner your application is complete, the better are your chances of an interview and a subsequent acceptance. Be sure to save, print and keep a copy of your completed application prior to submitting your application. An electronic copy (pdf) of your complete application is needed for your Health Professions Office file.
JUNE to SEPTEMBER
11. Complete Your Intent to Apply File - To complete your Health Professions office file, you must provide:
A. Ensure that the remainder of your letters of recommendations have arrived.
C. A copy of your professional school application.
D. A copy of your admissions test results (if a test is required).
F. List of schools form stating where you applied.
This list should reflect all schools from which you wish to receive an interview and intend to apply. Click here for the list of schools worksheet.
Please advise the Health Professions Office of any changes in your address, telephone number, recommenders, additional test date, or status of application.
NOTE: Only after your file is complete will the letter/committee packet be uploaded to the professional program one applies to.
12. Secondaries – You should let us know when and from which schools you receive "secondary" requests for information. The supplemental information that is requested by schools can, in some cases, determine if you are offered an interview so you should take time to carefully answer the questions.
NOTE: Schools of pharmacy, chiropractic, optometry and others do not request secondaries. The Health Professions Office will send your letter(s) to these schools as soon as your file is complete unless you indicate otherwise. Some schools provide evaluation forms for your recommenders; these are normally optional and you may disregard them. If there are required forms to be sent with letters, it is your responsibility to tell the office before we send your packet (and not 2 days before!).
If the form is required, have your recommender complete it and have it returned to this office, and we will forward it to the school. It is your responsibility to make certain that schools receive all requested information on time. Most schools do not inform you whether or not they have received your material. Confirm everything!
13. Interviews - When you are invited for an professional school interview, this means you are academically qualified for admission. To best prepare you should schedule a Mock Interview (at the CSUF Career Planning & Placement at 657-278-3121 or in room LH 208).
Keep the office informed about your interviews, both before and after the fact. We may be able to contribute names of former students now attending the school where you have an interview. They may be helpful to talk about their experiences, interviews, etc. Keep a record of your experiences; it will be helpful when the time comes to make a decision. Always send your interviewers a "thank you" note.
14. Acceptance - If after all this your dreams become a reality and you receive an acceptance, please let us know. We will then celebrate your success and display your picture prominently in our office.