The Pre-professional Health Committee (PHC) is a group of faculty from the University of
Pittsburgh that will evaluate your credentials for medical school (with the exception of your MCAT
scores) in the same way that they will be evaluated by a medical school admissions committee; the
PHC then writes a composite evaluation (sometimes referred to as a “Committee letter”) that you
can have Career Services send to medical schools in support of your application. Medical schools
prefer (and some require) that you have a composite evaluation as a part of your application, so it’s
important to participate in this process. You should apply for evaluation by the PHC in your
The PHC meets only during the summer months, so all of your materials for Committee must be
submitted by the middle of May (typically May 15th). This is a firm deadline, and there are no
excuses that are good enough to allow you to submit your PHC application packet after the deadline.
The Committee will evaluate your application over the summer, and makes every effort to have all
composite evaluation letters finished by the end of August.
In order to be evaluated by the PHC, you will need to provide the following:
A PRE-PROFESSIONAL HEALTH COMMITTEE APPLICATION FORM. The application form is available
from the Health Professions Counselor. You will be asked to provide academic and biographical
information, as well as information about volunteer and research experiences on the application.
A PERSONAL STATEMENT. Your personal statement should be 1 to 2 pages in length and should
outline your motivation for pursuing a career in medicine.
OFFICIAL COLLEGE TRANSCRIPTS. You will need to provide official transcripts for every
college/university that you have attended since high school.
5 LETTERS OF EVALUATION. Science faculty should provide at least 3 of the 5 required letters
of evaluation. Each letter of evaluation should be sent directly to Career Services, and should
have an “Evaluation for Graduate Study in the Health Professions” form attached.
A $35 CREDENTIAL SERVICE FEE. This fee covers the cost of establishing a credential file with
Career Services, as well as the printing and mailing costs for 10 packets.
AGAIN, ALL MATERIALS FOR YOUR PRE-PROFESSIONAL HEALTH COMMITTEE FILE
ARE DUE IN CAREER SERVICES BY THE MIDDLE OF MAY.
After the PHC has evaluated your application materials, it will create a composite letter for you.
The PHC ranks you as a candidate for medical school, using the following scale:
Well Below Average
Because of confidentiality laws, if you have waived your right to read your individual letters of
evaluation, you will also not be allowed to read your composite evaluation. However, you are
encouraged to schedule an appointment with the Health Professions Counselor to discuss your
Committee letter. You will be told your rank and will be given the general “gist” of the letter.
After this point, you can request that your composite evaluation (in addition to your individual
letters of recommendation) be sent to the schools to which you have applied. You must complete
the "Composite Evaluation Packet Release" form and submit it to Career Services before your
letters can be sent. If the schools to which you are applying ask that your AMCAS ID number or
your Social Security Number appear on your letters, you are responsible for providing Career
Services with labels containing this information – Career Services staff will affix these labels to
each of your letters as they are sent. Please allow 3 to 5 business days for your letters to be sent
after your request. Career Services is very conscientious about sending letter packets, and
encloses a postcard with each packet that the medical schools are asked to complete and return,
documenting the receipt of your letters.
Your Application Year
Once you have finished your coursework, volunteered in the hospital, worked in a research lab,
taken the MCAT and been reviewed by the Pre-professional Health Committee, you are ready to
apply to medical school. Finally! Well, not really -- the application process is a very time, energy
and money consuming process, but well worth it if you are accepted. Remember that the application
process begins over a year before you actually start medical school, so following this timeline is
crucial. Here are the steps that you will need to take to apply:
MAY - JUNE - JULY
Apply for admission through the medical school application services.
AMCAS - American Medical College Application Service
This is the service you use for allopathic schools of medicine.
AACOMAS - American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine Application Service
This is the service you use for osteopathic schools of medicine.
Both of these services allow you to submit one application, one set of transcripts and one set of
MCAT scores to apply to participating schools. These applications are both available on-line and will
require you to complete information on your academic background, volunteer work, research
experience, extracurricular activities and work history, and will ask you to write a personal
statement. Each application service also comes with its own set of application fees, so be prepared
to submit a check at the same time you submit your applications. Obviously, these are not forms
that you complete in a couple of minutes – it often takes applicants several days to complete all of
the sections on the applications. Be sure to check the MSAR (Medical School Admissions
Requirements) for allopathic schools that do not participate in AMCAS. If you plan to apply to a
non-AMCAS school, you will need to contact the medical school directly for an application. All
osteopathic schools participate in AACOMAS. Each medical school has its own AMCAS or
AACOMAS application deadline – be sure to adhere to these dates.
Although most medical schools do not have AMCAS or AACOMAS application deadlines until
October or November (at the earliest), it is best to have your application completed by the end of
June. First, this allows you to fully focus on your classes when the fall semester begins. Second, it
is much better to be reviewed earlier, rather than later, by medical school admissions committees,
since many schools have already started to interview and admit candidates by the application
Most students choose to apply to about 10 different schools, although you may want to apply to a
few more or a few less. Be sure to research the schools to which you are applying by reviewing the
MSAR or the Osteopathic Medical College Information Book; visiting the schools’ websites is also a
good idea. You should consider a number of factors when choosing medical schools, including
programs, affiliated hospitals, location, cost and the residency match rates and programs. This
information is typically available in the school’s admissions literature or on their website.
Unfortunately, the admissions offices at almost all medical schools will not have time to spend with
you before you apply, so it may be difficult to visit (or even to speak to someone on the phone), but
there may be a general tour available that you can take.
AUGUST – SEPTEMBER – OCTOBER – NOVEMBER - DECEMBER
Complete secondary applications.
Once you have submitted your AMCAS or AACOMAS applications, the medical schools will review
your information, and, if they are still interested in you as a candidate, they will ask you to
complete secondary applications. You will need to complete these application forms and return them
by their deadlines. Unfortunately, secondary applications also come with secondary application
fees, so, again, be prepared to send checks along with your application forms.
When you are sending your secondary applications, you will also need to contact the Career Services
Credential Service to have your composite evaluation letter packets sent to the medical schools.
You are responsible for providing Career Services with a typed list of the medical schools and
addresses to which you want to have your packets sent. Your packets will not be sent until you have
paid the Credential Service fees and have submitted a signed “Composite Evaluation Packet Release”
SEPTEMBER – OCTOBER – NOVEMBER – DECEMBER – JANUARY – FEBRUARY - MARCH
If you are still a viable candidate, medical schools will invite you to interview after they have
reviewed your secondary applications and letters of evaluation. Interviews usually take place at the
medical schools and you are expected to cover the costs of travel, lodging and meals while you are
there (although some schools will provide breakfast or lunch on the day of the interview). Many
schools will arrange for you to stay with a current medical student if you request to do so. You may
also want to request to meet minority students and/or faculty if you are a minority student. We’ll
talk about the interview in more detail in the next section.
ANY TIME AFTER YOUR INTERVIEW
Receive letter informing you of your status: accepted, wait-listed, rejected.
After you have interviewed, you should receive a letter letting you know if you have been accepted,
wait-listed or rejected by the medical school. Some schools write letters on a rolling basis, while
others wait until their interviews are completed to send letters. Don’t panic if you don’t hear from
the school right after your interview, especially if you interview early – it may be one of the schools
that waits to write letters.
If you have been rejected, it’s very normal to feel disappointed, but try not to let it get you
down too much. You may want to schedule an appointment with the Health Professions
Counselor to talk about your next step – either planning to apply in the next application cycle, or
making another career choice altogether.
If you have been wait-listed, you will likely not hear about admission or rejection until May or
June. Although some schools will answer questions about your rank on the wait-list, many do
not, so making repeated calls to the schools will probably not be very productive. The best
thing that you can do in this situation is be patient and hope for the best, although you may
want to write a letter to the school, indicating your enthusiasm and interest in attending there.
If you do receive and accept an offer of admission from another medical school, you will need to
contact the school at which you have been wait-listed to inform them of your admission to
If you receive an offer of admission, you will need to decide if you want to attend that
particular medical school. Your decision may be based on a number of factors, including the
school’s programs, location, facilities, available housing, cost and financial aid package. When
making a decision, consider all of these factors (making pros and cons lists can help), but don’t
discount your gut feelings about the school. If something inside is telling you that you won’t be
happy at a school, don’t go there! On the flip side, if you fall in love with a particular school, it’s
probably the right choice for you. Your intuition knows more than you think, so trust it when
making your decision. Usually, you will be given a few weeks to accept or decline; once you have
decided, you are responsible for informing the school of your decision. The AAMC (American
Association of Medical Colleges) and the AACOM (American Association of Colleges of
Osteopathic Medicine) expect applicants to only hold one acceptance at a time, so that the
medical schools may fill the seats that have been declined. The AAMC doesn't become too
picky about his issue, though, until May 15th – after that date, schools may begin to revoke your
offers of admission if you are still holding multiple acceptances.