Carefully read these Frequently Asked Questions and the “Instructions” for the Portfolio of Accomplishments and Reflections (PAR).
How can I be added to the 2024 Applicant Blackboard site?
Applicants who submit the 2024 PAR will have access to the 2024 Applicant Blackboard site. You will need to use your BU Kerberos login and password in order to access the 2024 Applicant Blackboard site. Be sure to check the site regularly for updates throughout the application cycle.
What information can I find on the 2024 Applicant Blackboard site?
In addition to linking back to important information on our website, we post announcements, reminders, and instructions for the current application cycle. In addition, we post invitations to upcoming school and profession-specific events.
Comprehensive Advising Appointment (CAA)
Is there a limit to how many comprehensive advising appointments I can schedule?
As of Fall 2021 and starting with the 2023 application cycle to health profession school, applicants are limited to a maximum of TWO CAAs (one per application cycle). We encourage you to be thoughtful when deciding which application cycle you will be most competitive for and schedule your initial CAA for that application cycle. If you are unsure whether you will be prepared for the upcoming application cycle to health profession school, we recommend you schedule a “Pre-Application Assessment” (available October – December) with a pre-health advisor through Handshake to review your academics and your most updated and comprehensive resume prior to submitting a PAR. At that appointment we will help you consider the best timeline for your application.
Even if you have already completed one or more CAAs before the 2023 application cycle, you are still eligible for TWO additional CAAs starting with the 2023 application cycle. However, you may find that you do not need an hour-long appointment to discuss your PAR. Having completed previous CAAs assumes that you have put significant time and effort into updating your PAR so you may choose to schedule regular 20-30 minute advising appointments that focus on updating your personal statements or other significant updates to your activities/experiences since your last appointment. CAAs are not required to be completed in order to qualify for the interview workshop series or a Letter Packet.
If you schedule a CAA and do not show up for your scheduled appointment, or fail to contact us in advance to cancel or reschedule your appointment, that appointment will count towards one of your two CAAs.
What will be discussed during the comprehensive advising appointment and how can I prepare for it?
The purpose of the CAA is to help you assess your preparedness for the application process. The advisor will review with you your accomplishments in and out of the classroom, including the competitiveness of your cumulative and science GPAs and standardized test scores (if available), your experiences in clinical and research settings, your employment, your involvement in the University community, your dedication to community and social service opportunities, and your reflections on all of these experiences. In addition, the advisor will give you feedback on your personal and autobiographical statements and discuss whether or not a gap year may be useful for you to continue to build your academic or overall portfolio.
We recommend you review your Portfolio in advance of your appointment and come prepared with any specific questions or concerns you might have about your Portfolio and the overall application process.
Additionally, we recommend that you bring a copy of your Portfolio and attachments, so you can take notes during your CAA. A copy of your Portfolio (including attached documents) was sent to the email address you submitted with your Portfolio.
Because there is so much to cover in your CAA, we recommend that you schedule additional follow up appointments to review:
- Revisions to your portfolio and personal statement (this includes ONE additional appointment to review updated activities and a maximum of THREE appointments to review personal statement revisions)
- Discuss the overall application and interview process
- Standardized tests
- The development of a school list
What will not be covered during the comprehensive advising appointment?
The pre-health advisor with whom you meet for your CAA will generally not discuss the overall application process, the interview process, preparation for standardized tests, or the development of a specific list of schools to which to apply. We encourage you to schedule follow up appointments to cover these topics.
After my comprehensive advising appointment, what kind of follow up appointments can I make ?
We encourage you to schedule follow up appointments to discuss:
- Revisions to your activities/experiences (individuals will be limited to ONE additional follow-up appointment)
- Revisions to your personal statement (individuals will be limited to a maximum of THREE additional personal statement appointments)
- The development of a list of schools to which to apply
- Questions you have about the primary or secondary application process
- The benefits of a gap year
- Preparation for standardized tests or your score when it becomes available
Please reach out directly to your CAA advisor if you do not see any open availability on Handshake when scheduling your follow-up appointments.
What happens if I miss my CAA?
No Shows will be marked as a completed CAA and count toward your 2 CAA limit. If you need to cancel your CAA, you must let us know in advance of your appointment by emailing us at email@example.com. CAAs canceled in advance of your appointment will not count toward your 2 CAA limit.
If you scheduled a virtual CAA and haven’t received a Zoom link by the morning of your appointment, you must contact the office in advance of your appointment. Do not wait until after the appointment or your CAA will be marked as No Show.
Health Profession School Interviews
How can I register for the Interview Workshop Series?
Applicants who submit the PAR by the stated deadline are eligible to attend the interview workshop series co-hosted by the Center for Career Development. You will receive an email by the end of the spring semester with instructions on how to register for the workshops through Handshake.
How can I prepare for my interviews?
Individuals who complete and submit a PAR by the stated deadline will be eligible to participate in the interview workshop series co-hosted by the Preprofessional Advising Office and the Center for Career Development during the summer. We also encourage you to use the interview module “Big Interview,” available through Handshake. Additionally, in September, the Preprofessional Advising Office will invite you to attend a panel discussion, at which Boston University alumni who are in their first year of health profession school will share their interview experiences.
Review our webpage, Professional School Interview, for more information.
What is the Association of American Medical Colleges’ Video Interview Tool for
Admissions (AAMC VITA)?
The Association of American Medical Colleges Video Interview Tool for Admissions (AAMC VITA) is a tool used by some allopathic medical schools. According to the AAMC, “The AAMC Video Interview Tool for Admissions…is a one-time, one-way video (recorded) interview designed to help medical schools assess applicants’ pre-professional competencies important for success in medical school.” For more information, please visit the AAMC VITA website.
Letters of Recommendation
Does the Preprofessional Advising Office offer a Committee Letter ?
No, the Preprofessional Advising Office does not write committee letters on behalf of applicants to health profession schools. Instead, we offer a Letter Packet to individuals who complete the Portfolio of Accomplishments and Reflections by the stated deadline.
Please note: Although we do not write a committee letter, AACOMAS and AADSAS define a Letter Packet as a “committee letter.”
Unfortunately, central application services for other professions such as Veterinary Medicine, Physician Assistant, Nursing, Optometry, Podiatry, etc. require forms that are incompatible with Letter Packets. Although applicants to other health professions may still have letters of recommendation submitted to our office on their behalf, they will ultimately need to request that their recommenders submit letters directly to the appropriate central application service(s).
What information is helpful to know if a health profession school asks why I do not have a committee letter?
The Boston University Pre-Professional Advising Office does not write a committee letter for applicants to health profession schools. Instead, we submit letter packets that contain letters of recommendation written by others on behalf of applicants to certain central application services. An individual who qualifies for a letter packet may request a letter packet that contains up to five letters of recommendation. To qualify for a Letter Packet, applicants must properly complete the PAR by the deadline for the current application cycle.
What if I have previously applied for a Letter of Evaluation/Dean’s Letter or submitted a Portfolio?
The Preprofessional Advising Office does not submit previously written Letters of Evaluation/Dean’s Letters to schools on behalf of applicants. Individuals applying to enter health profession schools in the fall of 2024 may request that the Preprofessional Advising Office submit a packet of letters of recommendation to certain central application services. In order to qualify for a Letter Packet, you must submit your completed Portfolio by January 3, 2023 5:00pm ET. Letters of recommendation you wish to include in your Letter Packet must be received by June 7, 2023 11:59pm ET. Although the packet may include up to five letters of recommendation, there is no limit to the amount of letters you may have submitted to the Preprofessional Advising Office on your behalf.
If you previously completed an application for a Letter of Evaluation/Dean’s Letter or a PAR you must complete the PAR for 2024 by the appropriate deadline. Previously submitted letters of recommendation need not be resubmitted to the Preprofessional Advising Office. In some cases, however, you may wish to request an updated letter from a recommender. In addition, if you have changed your career goals (e.g. from medicine to dentistry), your old letters of recommendation may no longer be appropriate. You may also submit additional letters of recommendation. If you previously applied to the MMEDIC program, we recommend that you request new letters of recommendation (see question below).
What if a health profession school requires additional letters of recommendation?
Individual letters that must be submitted to meet a particular school’s requirements should be sent separately by recommenders to the appropriate central application service. This customization of letters will be necessary for health profession schools that have requirements that differ from the letters included in your Letter Packet.
What if the Preprofessional Advising Office previously submitted a Letter of Evaluation or Dean’s Letter to health profession schools on my behalf, but I was not accepted?
The Preprofessional Advising Office does not submit previously written Letters of Evaluation/Dean’s Letters to schools on behalf of applicants. Individuals applying to enter health profession schools in the fall of 2024 may request that the Preprofessional Advising Office submit a packet of letters of recommendation to certain central application services. In order to qualify for a Letter Packet, you must submit your completed Portfolio by January 3, 2023 5:00pm ET. Letters of recommendation you wish to include in your Letter Packet must be received by June 7, 2023 11:59pm ET. The packet may include up to five letters of recommendation.
Although the packet may only include up to five letters of recommendation, there is no limit to the amount of letters you may have submitted to the Preprofessional Advising Office on your behalf.
Read the questions below to learn about selecting letters of recommendation for enclosure with your Letter Packet.
How many letters of recommendation should I request be submitted to the Preprofessional Advising Office?
Although there is no limit to the amount of letters you may have submitted to the Preprofessional Advising Office on your behalf, we will enclose a maximum of five letters of recommendation in your Letter Packet. You will be required to select and list the letters you wish to have the Preprofessional Advising Office submit on the electronic Transmission Form.
Any additional letters of recommendation you wish to submit to schools must be done independently of the Preprofessional Advising Office and in accordance with the instructions of central application services (e.g. AMCAS, AACOMAS, TMDSAS, AADSAS, etc.). Be aware that some application services limit the number of letters you may submit. Review our webpage, Letters of Recommendation, for additional details.
If I applied to the MMEDIC Program, can I use the letters of recommendation submitted for that program?
We recommend that you request new letters of recommendation from individuals who previously wrote a letter for your application to the MMEDIC Program. Any mention of the MMEDIC Program in a letter may have a negative impact on your application to health profession schools. You may speak with someone by calling the Preprofessional Advising Office at 617-353-4866 during regular business hours (M-F, 9am – 5pm) or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org at any time if you would like to determine whether your letters of recommendation mention the MMEDIC Program or you may schedule an appointment with a pre-health advisor to discuss specific questions or concerns you have about letters of recommendation that mention the MMEDIC Program.
Whom should I ask to submit letters of recommendation on my behalf?
Review our webpage, Letters of Recommendation, for more information about selecting individuals to write letters of recommendation.
How can a recommender submit a letter of recommendation on my behalf to the Preprofessional Advising Office?
Letters of recommendation must be received by the Preprofessional Advising Office no later than June 7, 2023 11:59pm ET to be included in a Letter Packet.
Letters of recommendation must be written on letterhead stationery, must include a signature, and must be accompanied by the Preprofessional Advising Office’s Letter of Recommendation Waiver Form. Recommendation Waiver Forms should be given to each of your recommenders and submitted by them to the Preprofessional Advising Office. We strongly encourage recommenders to submit their letters and the waiver form electronically as PDFs to email@example.com. Alternatively, physical copies of recommendations may be mailed to: Boston University Preprofessional Advising Office, 100 Bay State Road, Room 428, Boston, MA 02215.
Under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, Boston University students are entitled access to letters of recommendation contained in their permanent educational records at Boston University. However, a student may waive this right of access to letters of recommendation. If this right of access is waived, letters of recommendation will be considered confidential and will not be available to the student. Schools generally prefer to receive letters for which applicants have waived their right of access. If you have questions about the waiver, please schedule an appointment with a pre-health advisor.
You are responsible for determining that your letters of recommendation are received by the Preprofessional Advising Office’s June 7, 2023 deadline. In some cases, you may need to apply tact and diplomacy to remind your recommenders to submit their letters.
The Preprofessional Advising Office does not accept letters of recommendation and Letter of Recommendation Waiver Forms that are hand-delivered or emailed to us by applicants. The Preprofessional Advising Office submits Letter Packets only to certain central application services and health-related scholarship programs. The Preprofessional Advising Office does not submit letters of recommendation to other programs or to anyone else for other purposes, including master of medical science and other graduate programs, job applications, and internship programs.
Review our webpage, Letters of Recommendation, for more information.
You may call the Preprofessional Advising Office at 617-353-4866 during regular business hours (M-F, 9am-5pm ET) or email firstname.lastname@example.org to confirm the receipt of your letters of recommendation.
Do I have access to the letters of recommendation in my file?
Under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, Boston University students are entitled to have access to letters of recommendation contained in their permanent educational records at Boston University. However, an applicant may waive this right of access. If you have waived your right of access, letters of recommendation are considered confidential and are not available to you.
Schools generally prefer to receive letters for which applicants have waived their right of access. If you have questions about the waiver, schedule an appointment with a pre-health advisor.
Can I use my previously written Letter of Evaluation, previously written Dean’s Letter, or letters of recommendation to apply to master’s programs, scholarship programs, internships, or research positions?
The Preprofessional Advising Office does not submit letters of recommendation, or previously written Letters of Evaluation or Dean’s Letters to post-baccalaureate programs, including master’s of medical sciences, special master’s programs, and other master’s programs. This policy reflects the inability to meet the many different submission requirements and protocols introduced by individual schools and central application services. Individuals applying to such programs should ask recommenders to submit their letters directly to schools.
If a recommender no longer has a saved copy of a letter, you may request that we send a copy of the letter back to the recommender by emailing the Preprofessional Advising Office at email@example.com. You must include the recommender’s contact information in your email.
Which letters of recommendation will be included in my letter packet?
When completing the appropriate transmission form(s), applicants will indicate which letters of recommendation (up to five) will be included in their letter packet. When you have more than one letter of recommendation from the same individual, we will include the most recent letter of recommendation in your file. Letters of recommendation will be in alphabetical order in the letter packet.
How do I request that my Letter Packet be submitted to schools?
Only individuals who complete the Portfolio by the stated deadline may qualify for a Letter Packet. Applicants who qualify may request that the Preprofessional Advising Office submit a packet of letters of recommendation to certain central application services of health profession schools.
Instructions on requesting that your Letter Packet be submitted to schools will be sent to you by email in May. It may take 7-10 business days from the time your request is received in the Preprofessional Advising Office for your Letter Packet to be sent to schools.
When can I request a Letter Packet to be submitted to central application services by the Preprofessional Advising Office?
Applicants who have completed all of the requirements of the Portfolio of Accomplishments and Reflections must submit our electronic Transmission Form to request submission of a Letter Packet to central application services. You must wait to submit the Transmission Form until after you have submitted your primary application. We will reject Transmission Forms submitted prematurely.
A full set of instructions on how to request a Letter Packet will be posted in Blackboard and emailed to those who submitted a Portfolio of Accomplishments and Reflections for the 2024 application cycle. Instructions will be posted and emailed in May 2023.
How many Letter Packets can I request?
You may only request one Letter Packet per central application service (e.g. AMCAS, AACOMAS, AADSAS, TMDSAS, etc.).
If you are applying through AMCAS and wish to customize the letters of recommendation sent to each school, you must request your recommenders submit their individual letters of recommendation directly to AMCAS.
AACOMAS and AADSAS do not allow customization and will send all of the letters and/or Letter Packets submitted on your behalf to all the schools to which you apply.
What if I am considering dual degree programs?
Many schools offer combined degree programs, such as MD/PhD, MD/MPH, MD/MBA, MD/JD, DO/PhD. Be aware that MD/PhD and DO/PhD programs often require letters of recommendation from your research mentors. If you are considering applying to MD/PhD or DO/PhD degree programs, you are encouraged to discuss your plans with a pre-health advisor, as applications to such programs require additional planning and knowledge of the application procedures.
Individuals applying to MD/PhD programs will be required to submit two additional essays. More information is available on the AAMC website.
What do I tell health profession schools that ask about Boston University’s grading policy during the Spring 2020 semester in light of the COVID-19 pandemic?
The Preprofessional Advising Office recommends using a statement like,
On March 27, 2020, the Provost at Boston University announced that “students will have the option to designate any, all, or none of their courses taken in spring 2020 as ‘Credit/No Credit’ classes. Students can also choose to retain their letter grade for any or all of their courses. If a student chooses to designate a course as Credit/No Credit, their transcript will simply show ‘CR (Credit)’ or ‘NC (No Credit)’ for that course in the place of the letter grade. For undergraduate courses, any grade of D or above will translate into a ‘Credit’ designation.”
Are there other things I should do if I am graduating this year?
If you are graduating in May and will no longer be using your BU email address, it is very important that you update the Preprofessional Advising Office with an alternate email address to ensure you receive notices about the application process. If you will no longer be in Boston, it is possible to schedule virtual appointments with a pre-health advisor to discuss your application to professional schools.
What resources are available to help me write a draft of my personal statement?
Pre-health advisors are available to review applicants’ personal statements after they submit their Portfolio. While this discussion typically starts during your CAA, applicants can schedule up to three additional personal statement reviews. These appointments must be scheduled with the same advisor with whom you met for your CAA.
Additional resources to help you write a draft of your personal statement to submit with the Portfolio:
AAMC Advisor Corner: Crafting your Personal Statement
AAMC: Your Pathway to the White Coat: 7 Tips for Writing your AMCAS Personal Comments Essay
Education Resource Center (ERC) Writing Assistance
COM Writing Center Resource Page
Are pre-health advisor advisors available to discuss my personal statement if I’m applying to a special graduate or post-bacc program?
Yes. If you are first pursuing a graduate (special master’s program) or post-bacc program to enhance your academic foundation or complete the required prerequisites before entering health profession school, you can meet with a pre-health advisor at any time to discuss the personal statement you will be submitting to these programs. You can meet with the same pre-health advisor up to three times to discuss revisions to your personal statement for graduate programs.
How many times can I meet with a pre-health advisor to discuss my personal statement?
You can meet with the same pre-health advisor up to three times to discuss revisions to your personal statement.
Applicants who submit a Portfolio must wait to first discuss their personal statement with an advisor at their CAA. You can then meet with the same pre-health advisor up to three times to review revisions to your personal statement.
Please reach out directly to your CAA advisor if you do not see any open availability on Handshake when scheduling your follow-up appointments.
Is there anything I should be aware of when writing my personal and/or autobiographical statement?
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, a federal law, requires that the Preprofessional Advising Office report to the University’s Title IX Coordinator any form of sexual misconduct that advisors learn about through discussion with or from written material provided by students who have been targets of sexual misconduct. Sexual misconduct includes, but is not limited to, incidents of rape, sexual assault, coercion, harassment, domestic and dating violence, and stalking.
The personal statement you submit to health profession schools is likely to be a blending of the personal and autobiographical statements you write for your Portfolio.
Portfolio of Accomplishments and Reflections (Portfolio/PAR)
What if I am not sure whether I will be applying for 2024?
If you are unsure whether you will be applying in the upcoming application cycle, we encourage you to first schedule a “Pre-Application Assessment.” After the assessment, if you are still unsure about whether you will apply, we recommend you submit a Portfolio. Otherwise, if you do not submit a Portfolio and decide to apply to enter health profession school in the fall of 2024, you will not qualify for a Letter Packet, a CAA with a pre-health advisor, and the interview workshop series.
Only individuals who have submitted applications to enter health profession schools in the fall of 2023 may request to waive the final January 3, 2023 deadline by contacting the Preprofessional Advising Office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’m currently in the 2023 application cycle and may re-apply in the 2024 application cycle. Do I need to submit my Portfolio by the January 3, 2023 deadline?
Individuals who have submitted an application(s) to enter health profession schools in the fall of 2023 may request to waive the final January 3, 2023 deadline by contacting the Preprofessional Advising Office at email@example.com. They will still have to submit a PAR for the 2024 application cycle in order to qualify for a Letter Packet, a comprehensive advising appointment with a pre-health advisor, and the interview workshop series.
I previously submitted one or more Portfolio of Accomplishments and Reflections but did not apply for the most recent 2023 application cycle, do I need to submit my Portfolio by the January 3, 2023 deadline?
Yes, as stated in the FAQ above, only individuals who have submitted an application(s) to enter health profession schools in the fall of 2023 may request to waive the final January 3, 2023 deadline by contacting the Preprofessional Advising Office at firstname.lastname@example.org. They will still have to submit a PAR for the 2024 application cycle in order to qualify for a Letter Packet, a comprehensive advising appointment with a pre-health advisor, and the interview workshop series.
What format should I use when describing my activities and experiences in the Portfolio of Accomplishments and Reflections?
While you may describe your experiences using a bullet format, you will likely be able to provide a better description of the experience, your key responsibilities, and the significance of the activity by using a narrative or paragraph-style format. It is important to provide thoughtful reflections of your experiences to demonstrate how they have helped shape your interests and motivation for pursuing your desired health profession. Remember, the clarity of the information you provide about your activities in your PAR, will impact our ability to help you evaluate your preparedness as an applicant and develop your application for health profession schools.
Review our webpage, Instructions for Completing the Portfolio, for more information.
When will I be notified about the status of my Portfolio of Accomplishments and Reflections?
In January (or November/December) you will receive an email, sent to your BU email address, from the Preprofessional Advising Office concerning the status of your PAR.
If you qualify for a CAA, the email will include instructions on how to sign up for a CAA with an advisor. CAAs will take place in February, March, and April. Individuals who wish to qualify for an early comprehensive advising appointment in December or January must submit a Portfolio of Accomplishments and Reflections by December 5, 2022 5:00pm ET (optional early deadline). A limited amount of early comprehensive advising appointments will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Review our webpage, Applicants, for more information.
How can I update the Preprofessional Advising Office with new information about my activities and involvements?
If you have additional information to share with us after you have submitted the PAR, you may update us during your CAA. For example, you may wish to inform us of your confirmed plans for the summer, a description of your senior honors project, or your confirmed plans for next year if you are graduating.
Pre-Application Assessment Appointment
What is a Pre-Application Assessment Appointment?
A Pre-Application Assessment Appointment is a type of appointment that is meant to help you consider the best timeline for your application. This appointment is for individuals who are unsure of their competitiveness or readiness for the upcoming application cycle and wish to discuss their academics and/or experiences before they submit the Portfolio of Accomplishments and Reflections.
Do I need to schedule a Pre-Application Assessment Appointment?
These appointments are intended only for individuals who truly do not know where they stand, want honest feedback, and have an open mind about their application timeline. We do not recommend you schedule a Pre-Application Assessment Appointment if a pre-health advisor has already given you feedback about your competitiveness for the upcoming application cycle during a regular advising appointment or if you do not intend to adjust your application timeline for any reason.
What do I need to do to prepare for my Pre-Application Assessment Appointment?
You must send an up-to-date resume at least 24 hours in advance of your appointment to the advisor with whom you are scheduled to meet or to email@example.com. Otherwise, your appointment may be canceled.
How should I begin exploring schools and developing a school list?
You will likely find it helpful to begin by reviewing the requirements for individual schools. The requirements and additional important information (e.g. GPA and standardized test scores of the recent entering classes) are available online and/or in books published by the national associations of the schools.
Specific information can be found on our Building Your School List page.
With whom can I meet to discuss my list of schools?
After you have completed your CAA, you may schedule an appointment with a pre-health advisor via Handshake to discuss your school list.
It is most helpful to meet with an advisor to discuss your school list after you have done your research about the schools to which you would like to apply, and when your standardized test score(s) is in.
What is my Science or BCPM GPA and how do I calculate it?
When applying to most health profession schools, you will submit your application through a central application service. This central application service will, among other things, review your transcripts and standardize your GPA using their grade-point conversion scale, which is different from BU’s scale. If a central application service calculates your “BCPM” GPA, Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Math course grades will be included.
You will use the GPA calculator* to help determine your science, non-science, and overall GPAs as calculated by common central application services. You should use this tool to help determine your competitiveness for various programs and how performance in future classes will affect your GPA.
The GPA calculator is a tool for you to prepare for your eventual application, understand this process, and have an understanding of where you stand metrically. We recommend that you start tracking your overall and science GPA after your first semester freshman year.
You will be required to upload an up to date GPA calculator when completing the Portfolio of Accomplishments and Reflections.
*The GPA Calculator was created by West Virginia University’s Pre-Health Advising team
When can I expect to receive secondary/supplemental questions?
Some health profession schools will require that you answer additional, school-specific questions in separate, secondary applications, while other health profession schools require that you answer additional, school-specific, supplemental questions as part of the primary application.
For schools that require a separate secondary/supplemental application, you will not receive secondary applications until after you submit your primary application. However, the timeline of when you start to receive secondary/supplemental applications may also vary by health profession and school.
What kind of questions can I expect on secondary applications?
Your primary application is submitted to every school to which you apply so your answers to schools’ secondary/supplemental questions are your opportunity to send tailored, school-specific responses. Taking the time to individualize your responses will help schools determine whether your values and interests align with theirs. We do not recommend that you cut and paste your responses to these questions, even if the questions seem similar!
The types of questions health profession schools may ask will vary greatly. Some common topics may include:
- Asking for more/specific information about why you are applying to that particular school
- Describing how you contribute to the diversity of the school
- Responding to ethical decision-making scenarios
- Discussing a challenging time you’ve experienced and how you overcame that challenge
- Talking about a time you needed to put the interests of another person ahead of your own
- If you took a gap year(s), explaining what you have been doing during that time and why
- Providing new or additional information you wish to share that was not previously discussed in your primary application
- Sharing whether COVID-19 impacted your preparation and describing the impact
Can I meet with a pre-health advisor to review answers to secondary application questions?
Applicants may schedule one appointment to discuss up to 5 prompts (e.g. drafts of your responses) with a pre-health advisor. You must wait until after you have received secondary applications before you schedule this appointment. Advisors will only review essays based on actual questions, not hypothetical scenarios or prompts you found from a previous cycle.
If you completed a CAA for the 2024 application cycle, you must schedule your secondary/supplemental application follow-up appointment with the same advisor to discuss your essays.
If you did not submit a Portfolio and/or you did not have a CAA, you may schedule an appointment with any pre-health advisor through Handshake.
You must send any materials you would like to review at least TWO BUSINESS DAYS (weekends NOT included) before your appointment to either firstname.lastname@example.org or directly to the advisor with whom you are scheduled to meet. If we do not receive your materials on time, your appointment may be canceled.
Do I have to send my official MCAT score(s) to Non-AMCAS Institutions?
Yes, your score(s) will not automatically be sent to other central application services or institutions. Directions on how to send your score(s) to other central application services or institutions can be found on AAMC website.
What is CASPer and why and when should I take it?
CASPer is the Computer Based Assessment for Sampling Personal Characteristics. An increasing number of health profession schools require applicants to complete the CASPer test to assist in their selection process. If required by any of the schools to which you plan to apply, we suggest you take CASPer no later than late spring/early summer of 2023 for the 2024 application cycle.
For more information about CASPer, please visit https://takealtus.com/casper.
What are Snapshot and Duet and do I need to complete them?
According to Altus Suite, Snapshot is “a short, one-way video interview to highlight your communication skills and motivation for the profession so you can bring your personal statement to life,” and Duet is “a value-alignment assessment that compares what you value in a program with what the program has to offer.” You will need to complete one or both of these components if required by any health profession school to which you plan to apply.
What is the AAMC PREview and do I need to complete it?
The AAMC Preview is “a standardized exam designed to assess examinees’ understanding of effective pre-professional behavior across eight core competencies for entering medical school.” Additional information can be found on the AAMC website. You will need to complete this exam if required by any medical school to which you plan to apply.
How do I submit my official transcript(s) to central application services?
Health profession schools require you to submit official transcripts from Boston University and all other institutions at which you have taken college courses (even if the credits have been transferred to Boston University or the courses have been taken as part of a high school program). Instructions on how to send your official Boston University electronic eTranscript (or paper transcript) to central application service(s) are available on the Registrar’s website and our Ordering Transcripts page.
A central application service must accept electronic transcripts from Parchment, Boston University’s transcript partner, in order for you to send your Boston University transcript electronically. Be sure to follow central application services’ instructions when requesting a transcript be sent, since it may not be possible to send an electronic transcript and you may need to send your transcript by postal mail.
It is your responsibility to request that all official transcripts from the appropriate institutions be sent directly to central application services. We do not submit official transcripts on behalf of applicants.