Apply to Professional Schools
You will save yourself time, money, and heartache if you spend time researching the graduate schools in your field of interest well before you begin the application process.
Medical or Dental School
Medical and dental schools publish information about their most recent class, including their average overall GPA, science GPA, MCAT score, and relevant selection factors. This information will help you estimate whether you are a competitive applicant for admission. The resources you'll need to begin your research are below:
- For allopathic medical schools: Medical Schools Admission Requirements (MSAR)
- For osteopathic medical schools: Applying to Osteopathic Medical College
- For dental schools: ADEA Application Prep
Medical School Applicants
There are two primary educational pathways to becoming a practicing physician in the United States. Allopathic medical schools represent the more established pathway and grant an MD degree after four years of study. Osteopathic medical schools, which have become popular in the last 20 years, grant a DO (doctor of osteopathic medicine) degree after four years of study.
Students in osteopathic programs receive the same training as those in allopathic programs, but with a special emphasis on the musculoskeletal system and its role in overall health and disease. These two educational pathways have different governing bodies and application processes, but both MD and DO degree holders can sit for the state medical board exams and can practice medicine in any specialty.
- Allopathic Medicine: Association of American Medical Colleges
- Osteopathic Medicine: American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine
When to Apply
If you intend to enter a program in September of the year you graduate from Fisher, you will apply as early as the spring or summer before your senior year. Nearly all schools have a "rolling admissions policy" where they will accept outstanding students soon after they start receiving applications. In other words, the later you apply, the fewer open seats will still remain. For this reason, it is strongly encouraged that you complete your application as early as possible in the process.
Allopathic medical schools, osteopathic medical schools, and dental schools each have their own centralized application service. Completing the application through these services is the first step in the application process. Once completed, the application is forwarded to your target schools. Most schools will then acknowledge receipt of this “primary” application and direct you to fill out a “secondary” application specific to that school. The nature of the secondary application varies greatly from one school to the next. Some may ask a few simple questions, while others require several new essays.
- Allopathic Medical School Application
- Osteopathic Medical School Application
- Dental School Application
Letters of Recommendation
Like many undergraduate institutions, St. John Fisher College provides a "composite" evaluation of our students who are applying to medical or dental schools. This evaluation consists of a single letter written by the health professions advisor with the input of the reference chosen by each applicant.
In the spring semester before you apply, identify faculty, staff, and other individuals you wish to act as references, and confirm with these individuals that they are willing to do so. At least one letter should be from a science faculty member; if you are not a science major, another letter should be from a faculty member in your major program. Osteopathic medical schools and dental schools also often require a letter from a practicing physician or dentist, respectively.
The health professions advisor will make a formal request to each individual on your list of references for their evaluation of your intellectual capacity, commitment to health care, a record of service, and the likelihood of succeeding in the field and request a supporting letter. The advisor will then use this information, your transcripts, and your resume to make the "Fisher case" for your admission into the program.
Dental schools and nearly all medical schools allow the composite letters to be uploaded directly to their application service site - applicants will see the instructions for this process during their application process. However, please check the process used by each individual school and inform the health professions advisor if you are applying to a school that does not follow the typical protocol. The osteopathic medical school application service is moving toward this system, but until it is functional, composite letters and supporting documents are sent via US Mail to each selected osteopathic medical school separately.
Download the Pre-Health Application Checklist [pdf].
While most pre-pharmacy students at St. John Fisher College express a primary interest in Wegmans School of Pharmacy, it can be worthwhile to research other programs that might be a good fit for your goals and interests. PharmCAS maintains a college guide to all pharmacy programs available around the country.
When to Apply
The deadline for applications for the fall semester at most pharmacy schools is the early spring semester of the same year - but most students apply earlier, in the previous fall semester. Students can apply to most pharmacy schools after completing 30 credits of undergraduate coursework. However, typically students have not completed the prerequisite courses that contribute to success on the PCAT exam before this time, so many wait to apply in the fall of their junior or senior year.
Nearly all schools have a "rolling admissions policy" where they will accept outstanding students soon after they start receiving applications. In other words, the later you apply, the fewer open seats will still remain. For this reason, it is strongly encouraged that you complete your application as early as possible in the process.
Pharmacy schools participate in PharmCAS, a centralized application service. Completing the application through PharmCAS is the first step in the application process. Once completed, the application is forwarded to your target schools. Most schools will then acknowledge receipt of this "primary" application and direct you to fill out a "secondary" application specific to that school. The nature of the secondary application varies greatly from one school to the next. Some may ask a few simple questions, while others require several new essays.
- The primary application is available at the PharmCAS website.
Letters of Recommendation
Letters of recommendation are uploaded by each of your references directly to the PharmCAS system. The application service will direct you to identify the names and email addresses of each of your references and will send a request to these individuals directly.
Other Health Professions Programs
Some health professions graduate programs require that a primary application be made to a centralized service. These include:
- Optometry: Optometry Centralized Application Service (OptomCAS)
- Podiatric Medicine: American Association of Colleges of Podiatric Medicine Application Service (AACPMAS)
- Physician Assistant: Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA)
- Physical Therapy: Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service (PTCAS)
- Public Health: Schools and Programs of Public Health Application Service (SOPHAS)
- Veterinary: Veterinary Medical College Application Service (VMCAS)
Note that not all schools in these categories utilize the centralized application service.
Depending on the application service, some programs may require you to fill out a secondary application for each school once you have completed the primary application. You should try to complete these secondary applications as soon as possible.
Most of these programs do not require a composite letter of recommendation from the Health Professions Advisor, although for some programs, a composite letter is accepted. Check with the programs to determine which letter of recommendation style appears to be the better choice. If you do wish to obtain a composite letter for your application, check out the Pre-Health Application Checklist [pdf] and make an appointment with the health professions advisor.