Preparing to Apply/Upcoming Deadlines

Preparing to apply to medical or dental school:

February 15th: Complete the letter of Evaluation Planner on AdviseStream. Here you will submit the names of those people who will be writing your letters of recommendation.

February 1st– April 1st:  Schedule an HPC interview with Dr. Gibson. Before the interview, complete the academics and engagements calendar on AdviseStream.

April 15th: Check to make sure that letters of recommendation have been sent. If not, send reminder e-mail through AdviseStream.

April 30th:

  1. Complete the “Before requesting a letter” Section of the Committee Letter   Planner on AdviseStream. See below.
  2. Update the Academics and Engagement section on AdviseStream
  3. If you are a senior, send your new e-mail address to prehealth@wfu.edu.

June 1 – Open the AMCAS application. Fill out the letter request form, listing Dr. Gibson as the contact. In the Committee Letter Planner section on AdviseStream, fill in the applicant ID number and letter ID number. This must be completed before your letters can be forwarded to AMCAS.

What is the Health Professions Committee Letter? Medical and dental schools ask for a letter from the students’ undergraduate institution(s) that expresses the degree of institutional support for the student’s application, and an explanation of that support. This is the Health Professions Committee (HPC) letter.

The HPC is composed of eight faculty from different disciplines. The members of the HPC are listed in the front of the Health Professions Handbook. All the members of the committee have experience in health professions advising.

In May, the committee will review your portfolio, letters of recommendation, and academic record in Degree Works. They will also review your record community service, clinical experiences, shadowing hours, and research experience, as detailed in AdviseStream. A level of support will be assigned by the committee. An HPC letter that reflects that support will be written by the chair of the HPC. The letter will serve as a cover letter attached to your letters of recommendation. The letter will also highlight to the medical or dental schools your qualifications for admission.

The committee will rank all the candidates into one of four categories: highest confidence, high confidence, good confidence and confidence. The committee will not write a letter for a student that it cannot be confident will successfully complete medical school and/or be an excellent physician. Except in exceptional circumstances, the Health Professions Committee cannot write a strong letter for a third-year student with an overall or science GPA below 3.4, or for a fourth-year student whose overall or science GPA falls below 3.3. The Committee puts no restrictions on letters for alumni.

It is important to note that it is not necessary to have an HPC letter to apply to medical or dental school. If your school has a committee process, then the letter is expected but not required. Generally, the lack of a committee letter indicates that your undergraduate institution could not strongly support your application. But it could also simply mean that you made the decision to apply late too late to apply for a committee letter.

To request an HPC letter:

In AdviseStream, at the top of the page, go to the Prehealth tab. Under the dropdown menu, go to Committee Letter. In this section you will:

  1. Fill out the Intent to Apply
  2. Complete your AdviseStream profile
  3. Complete the letter of evaluation planner
  4. Record your MCAT or DAT score, or when you plan to take the appropriate test.
  5. Sign the FERPA waiver form.
    1. The Family Education and Privacy Act (FERPA) provides individuals access to their educational records. Applicants must indicate whether or not they waive their FERPA rights. Waving your FERPA rights means that your letters of recommendation and committee letter will be confidential. Evaluators will be more likely to write a letter if it is confidential. The evaluators will be notifies as to whether or not you have waived your FERPA rights.
  6. Submit a polished draft of the personal statement.
    1. The personal statement will be a part of your medical or dental school application. The statement is a 5,300 character (including spaces) essay. It is not a summary of the activities that will be detailed in your application. Instead it is an opportunity to let admissions committees know who you are and why you are ideally suited for a career in medicine or dentistry.
  7. Attach a copy of your most recent transcript.

The Interview:

Complete your Academics and Engagements Calendar on AdviseStream before the interview.

You can make an appointment for your interview on AdviseStream. Be sure to sign up for an interview, not an advising, slot. The time slot is for one hour, but the interview will generally not take that long.

The interview gives you the opportunity to discuss your accomplishments with the Director of Health Professions Advising. You will be asked to reflect on your relevant experiences, explain your motivation for a health professions career, and discuss the strengths and weaknesses of your inter- and intra-personal skills. Information from the interview will be used in preparing your HPC letter to the medical or dental schools. This is also a time when your questions about the application process to medical school can be addressed.