When To Apply

Medical, Dental, Optometry and Podiatry applicants may wish to apply for a Composite Letter.  Use this guide to help you determine whether you are (or will soon be) ready to apply for a Composite Letter, and thus ready to apply for healthcare professional school.

The PHMO emphasizes the importance of applying when you are the most competitive applicant you can be; do NOT rush your application timeline.  Be sure to consult with the PHMO to discuss your readiness to apply. 

The gride below outlines the application cycle for some of the most popular health professional schools:

Profession

Application Cycle

Application Cycle Lasts

If you apply:

You will start will start your healthcare program

Nursing

(At Emory)

Application   Due January 15

1 semester

During sophomore   year (you will have to complete at least 60 hours and pre-reqs before you   BEGIN at SON)

Junior year   (fall)

Medicine/ Dentistry/   MD-PhD

Opens May/June   Closes October (same every year)

1 year

After Junior   Year  (you will have completed most   pre-reqs and taken Admission Exam by JUNE at latest)

The NEXT   July, after you graduate (over a year later). NO GAP

Medicine/ Dentistry/   MD-PhD

Opens May/June   Closes October (same every year)

1 year

After Senior   Year (you will have completed most pre-reqs and taken Admission Exam by JUNE   at latest)

The NEXT   July, after one year “off”. ONE GAP YEAR

PA/PT/Public   Health

Can open in   Fall, may continue through spring (depends)

About 6   months

During your   Senior Year

The NEXT fall   (after you graduate). NO GAP

ALL

See Above

See Above

POST Emory   (as alum)

Depends on   when you apply. AT LEAST ONE GAP

Things to Consider Before Applying

As with many pre-health questions, the answer to “when should I apply to my healthcare program” will most likely be “it depends.”  There is no one timeline that fits all students.  You will need to assess when you will be the most competitive applicant. Being competitive relies on BOTH academic and extracurricular plans AND experiences.  Here are some things to consider when determining your application timeline:

  • Academic Accomplishment
    • Have you finished ALL pre-requisites? When will these be completed?
    • How have you actually performed in those courses? Do you need more time to improve?
    • When will you be READY to take your admission exam? (You should not plan to take these exams multiple times)
  • Experience
    • Community and Public Service should be substantial and consistent (if you just started, you’re not ready)
    • Medically-related  has occurred and continues- some programs have specific requirements
  • Support
    • Do you have professors/PIs/supervisors who can write letters of support?
    • Are your family/friends are supportive of YOUR goals?
  • Your professional and personal goals
    • Are you sure of your professional goal?
    • Do you need some time between undergrad and graduate school?
    • Do you need time to save for/pay for your next program?
    • Do you want to explore other options, like a job first

You can use this sample 4-year planner as a guide.  You are always welcome to meet with a prehealth advisor to discuss your timeline options. Make an appointment today.