What are Health Schools Looking For?
A typical private professional health school receives six thousand applications, interviews seven hundred applicants, and accepts two hundred and twenty students to fill a class of one hundred and thirty. In any case, there are always many more qualified candidates than there are open spots in professional school classes. The typical entering student is also older – more than 24 years old at many medical schools - because older applicants have had a longer period of time in which to accumulate experiences in basic and applied research, clinical work, and volunteering.
All in all, professional programs seek a "seasoned" applicant that has had enough time and experience to know that the health profession is their chosen career. This is why professional school admission committees do not discourage applicants that arrive at their goal only after a circuitous route – perhaps having pursued a non-science major or even another career – that inevitably leads back to their primary interests, the professional field to which they are applying to enter.
Professional health schools are looking for a well-rounded applicant, who not only possesses a strong intellect, but strong interpersonal skills as well. Your application must demonstrate your maturity, integrity, and perseverance, as well as strong communication skills, leadership and respect for others. It is essential when practicing medicine to maintain emotional stability, even when in the midst of a crisis. You must be able to handle stress well and exercise your time-management skills. Apart from your personal traits, which you will demonstrate through your community involvement, personal statement, and interview, admission committees also seriously consider your academic ability through your academic record and test scores. Other important determinants in the application process are your letters of evaluation and experience in medical settings.
Below is a more detailed list of admission factors. No one of these admission factors is evaluated alone, but rather in the context of your total potential of a candidate:
- Knowledge and interest in the profession
- High intellectual competence
- Communication skills
- Cultural sensitivity
- Ability to relate compassionately to patients
- Grades earned
- Entrance exam scores
- Successful balance of academics, work, and extracurricular activities
Many admissions committees operate according to a point system, which gives weight to various criteria, while others use a subjective evaluation process which allows for a broad, overall evaluation of the application. The undergraduate record is usually considered the single most important factor in admissions decisions. This includes the cumulative grade point average, courses completed, academic rigor, and trends in performance (i.e. improving grades). In a typical admissions process, academic factors count for about fifty percent. Equal weight is given to cumulative GPA, GPA for the last two years of undergraduate work, science GPA, and standardized test scores. Most schools have minimum required test scores and GPA and even tend to have higher overall GPA requirements for out-of-state applicants, since in-state applicants are preferred.
If professional admissions committees want a seasoned applicant, what can you do to increase your chances of being accepted if you intend to apply for admission directly after Stonehill?
The following is a general application timeline for all health professional programs:
First & Sophomore Years
- Perform research on the health care field you would like to enter.
- Meet with Andrew Leahy to discuss your plans.
- Begin taking the required courses for admission to health professions school.
- Acquire clinical experience related to your anticipated career.
- Perform community service.
- Study regularly for the entrance exam.
- Meet with Andrew to discuss your preparation for health professions school.
- Register for the entrance exam and plan a more rigorous study schedule.
- Gain clinical experience through interning, shadowing, or volunteering.
Determine if you will apply this cycle or look into post graduate enrichment initiatives.
If applying during this cycle:
- Take the entrance exam.
- Obtain the application(s).
- Request that official transcripts be mailed to individual schools or application service.
- Schedule an interview with the Stonehill Pre-Health Professions Advisory Committee.
SUMMER AFTER JUNIOR YEAR
- Complete your application(s).
- Interviews are scheduled at the discretion of the professional school.
- Send an updated transcript at the end of the fall semester if a school has requested it.
- Begin preparation for financial aid.
- Submit financial aid applications.
- Choose a school if you have gained admission or make alternative plans.