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Application to a professional program typically happens the summer or fall prior to the year of matriculation. For most students, this means that they will apply the summer after their junior year or fall of their senior year. However, every student and every professional program is unique so it is always important to check with the professional programs in which you are interested and talk to your advisor and the HSPP Coordinator to determine the best timeline for your application.
Once an application cycle has opened, it is generally a good idea to apply as early in the cycle as possible. Many professional programs operate on a rolling admissions basis, which means that they start making admissions decisions as soon as they start accepting applications. In some cases, this means that they seat the majority of their class well before the actual deadline. For programs that don’t use rolling admissions, it is still a good idea to apply early so that you don’t run into any last minute problems which could prevent you from getting your application in on time.
Some professional programs use a centralized application service. These centralized application services are one stop shopping – you input all of your information into a master application, hit submit, and the service will verify and send your application to all of your designated schools. However, they can also be very time consuming! Do not expect to complete your application in one sitting; in fact, it may even be a good idea to complete the application, give yourself a day or two, and then review it with fresh eyes before you submit. The table below contains some useful information about the various application services. Please contact the HSPP Coordinator or the application service if you have questions or need help completing your application.
For schools that don’t use a centralized application service, you will send your application directly to the school. In those cases, you will need to contact the school for instructions on how to apply.
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American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine Application Services
Opening Date: May 7 (June 3)
Participating TN School Deadlines: LMU DCOM - March 15
ADEA Associated American Dental Schools Application Service
Opening Date: June 3
Participating TN School Deadlines: Meharry - December 15; UTHSC - September 30
American Medical College Application Service
Opening Date: May 8 (June 4)
Participating TN School Deadlines: ETSU - November 15; Meharry - December 15; UTHSC - November 15; Vanderbilt - November 1
Central Application Service for Physician Assistants
Opening Date: April 17
Participating TN School Deadlines: Bethel - September 1; Christian Bros - July 1; LMU-DCOM - November 1; South - March 1; Travecca - November 1; UTHSC - October 1
Optometry Centralized Application Service
Opening Date: July 1
Participating TN School Deadlines: SCO - March 1; UAB - March 1; St. Louis - January 15
Occupational Therapy Centralized Application Service
Opening Date: July 17
Participating TN School Deadlines: Belmont - February 1; Milligan - April 1; TSU - February 15; UTHSC - March 1
Pharmacy College Application Service
Opening Date: June
Participating TN School Deadlines: March 1 for all TN schools
Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service
Opening Date: July 2
Participating TN School Deadlines: Belmont - February 1; Elon - January 15; ETSU - July 1; TSU - October 15; UTC - November 15;
UTHSC - Janaury 16
The most common sections are:
This section typically includes personal, demographic, and contact information. Some applications split this information into multiple sections.
You will need to list all of the high school and colleges you have attended; this includes institutions where you only took one course or attended for part of a semester. If you received dual credit through a community college, you will need to list that community college as well.
This is one of the more time consuming parts of the application because you have to list all of the courses you have ever taken at a college or university. This includes courses you have repeated or from which you withdrew. If a course is on your transcript, you must include it in this section.
In this section, you should list places you have worked, extracurricular activities you have participated in, and pre-professional experiences such as volunteering or shadowing that you have had. This is also where you would list any honors, awards, or scholarships you have received. Depending on the application system, this section may be split into multiple sections.
While most of the other sections will typically be found on any application (regardless of whether through a centralized service or directly to a school), this section is specific to centralized application systems (CASs). Since CASs allow you to apply to multiple schools with one application, you will need to indicate to which schools you wish to apply. Note: most CASs include the cost of one school designation in their fee, but charge additional fees for each additional designation.
This may be one of the most important parts of the application because it is the first (and, sometimes, the only) part of the application where the selection committee gets to learn about your in your own words. You should take some time on your essay and make sure it conveys the message you want to send. It is also a good idea to have more than one person look at it to check for misspellings, typos, confusing sentences, etc. The HSPP Coordinator is available to help you with all stages of your personal essay.
Some professional programs require students to take a standardized test such as the MCAT, PCAT, or GRE prior to admission. In most cases you can submit your application before receiving your scores, but most schools won’t make an admissions decision without them.
Only students applying to chiropractic, dental, medical, optometry, pharmacy, or physical therapy programs will be eligible to request a committee letter. Pre-Physician Assistant and Pre-Occupational Therapy students should solicit individual letters of recommendation from faculty and professionals as required by their application systems and their school(s) of choice. All other pre-professional students should check with the HSPP Coordinator before soliciting letters of recommendation
There are three separate HSPP Evaluation Committees and each committee has developed its own process and timeline for writing committee letters. For more information about the individual committee evaluation processes, please follow the links below.
An integrated timeline with 2013-2014 dates for all three HSPP Evaluation Committees is available here.