The decision about when to apply to professional schools should be based on your level of readiness. We encourage you to apply to professional schools when your portfolio is at its strongest. As pursuing further education at a health professional school requires a substantial financial, time, and personal commitment, we encourage you to apply only once and when you are ready. This means applying when your portfolio (grades, entrance exam scores, extra-curricular activities) is the best it can be.
Health professional schools look for early evidence that you can manage the challenges of their science-intensive curriculum and will view your cumulative grade point average (GPA) and BCPM (Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Math) GPA as your way of demonstrating this. Other considerations include trends in your academic performance, the diversity and rigor of your courses, knowledge of the profession you seek to enter, and a demonstrated commitment to health care on an individual and/or societal level.
NYU's competitive candidates for allopathic (MD) medical schools traditionally earn a 3.6–3.7 GPA overall and in the sciences and score above the 88th percentile on the MCAT entrance exam.
The application timeline should be used in conjunction with other application timetables published by professional organizations:
- Association of American Medical Colleges' Timeline for Application/Admission to Medical School
American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine's Undergraduate Timeline for the Pre-Medical Student Applying to Osteopathic Medical Colleges
If you intend to apply to medical schools the summer after your junior year - for entrance into a medical school the fall immediately after graduation - you will need to design your curriculum to incorporate all of these competency areas into your first three years. You may want to consider taking the MCAT and applying after your senior year to allow for a stronger application and enhanced scheduling flexibility. At NYU, we refer to the year “off” between undergrad and grad as a student’s “glide year.” The majority of applicants take at least one glide year.
Committee Letter of Evaluation
The Committee Letter is an institutional letter of evaluation that highlights you as a multidimensional applicant. It ties together your academic record and scholarly accomplishments, personal attributes, experiences working and volunteering in the community, and your demonstrated commitment to healthcare. The letter will tell your story of why you selected this professional path and serves to introduce you – holistically – to all members of Admissions Committees.
Many health professional schools recommend that students obtain an institutional letter of evaluation (e.g. Committee Letter) if the service is available at his/her institution, however, some centralized application services and professional programs do not accommodate traditional NYU Committee Letters.
Students seeking a Committee Letter of Evaluation work closely with the prehealth advisor throughout the academic year preceding their summer application to health professional schools. The steps that NYU Shanghai applicants complete to receive a Committee Letter is popularly referred to as the "Committee Process," and this process incorporates four main components:
- Confirmation on the medical school application
- Participation in a Committee Interview
- Solicitation of individual letters of evaluation
- Discussion of each applicant by members of the Committee
A review of these materials and interactions allows us to write a personalized, thorough, and reliable Committee Letter to accompany your application to health professional schools.
The NYU Shanghai Committee Interview will be scheduled for April of the application year. The Committee Interview provides you the opportunity to discuss the portfolio with the NYU Shanghai Prehealth Committee on Evaluations. This one-on-one, 30-60 minute interview may feel like a guided conversation where you are able to share their personal/familial backgrounds, educational choices, professional goals, and the experiences that have informed your understanding of the health profession that you seek to enter. The Committee will be observing your communication style, interpersonal skills, maturity, and professionalism during this encounter. You may be asked pointed questions related to the preprofessional preparation and how the applicants demonstrate the competencies that professional schools value. Examples of professional school competencies can be found online (AAMC’s Core Competencies for Entering Medical Students).
There are a number of documents you need to submit for the Committee Process by the end of March. All documents should be emailed to the prehealth advisor.
Required Documents include:
- Completed Professional Preparation Document (see required template here)
- Completed Reflection Statements (see prompts here)
- Unofficial transcript
- A listing of the grades in Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Mathematics (BCPM) courses and the GPA overall across these BCPM courses. See here for details on which courses need to be counted into the BCPM GPA.
- Signed and scanned Application Integrity Certification & FERPA Waiver
Applicants should also prepare their plans for asking for letters of evaluation, providing writers at least 6-8 weeks of lead time. Please review carefully these instructions to student for soliciting and submitting letters. Then, in addition to the transcript, resume, and personal statement, applicants will want to provide the following documents to each of your letter writers:
The Medical College Admission Test is required by practically all allopathic, osteopathic, and podiatric medical schools in the United States and Canada. At the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) web site, students will find a great deal of information, including on-line registration, pamphlets in PDF format, and practice exams.
The Great Debate: When should I take the MCAT?
The Preprofessional Center and most medical schools will encourage you to take the MCAT as early as possible. If the thought of taking it in April while you are still in classes frightens you, then you can choose a May date after final exams. There is a certain advantage to taking it in the spring, because your score will be available to AMCAS and the schools earlier in the application process, and therefore a certain disadvantage to taking it as late as August (which our office tries to discourage). HOWEVER, we certainly understand that taking the April or May exam when you are not prepared and getting a low score is far more of a disadvantage than waiting until June, July, or even August when you will be ready to do your best. Note that the September exam is far too late for anyone to be taking! Test dates and fees for all standardized tests will vary from year to year. It is the applicant's responsibility to read and understand the policies regarding administration of the test found on the test's website. The current schedule is always on the MCAT section of the AAMC website. The latest that you can take an MCAT or OAT is August (October for the DAT) of the year before you expect to matriculate in your health professions school (e.g., applicants for the entering class of September 2020 must take the MCAT no later than August of 2019).
Because of the greater emphasis on interpretation and reasoning on the newer MCAT, as opposed to the ability to recall which dominated earlier MCATs, we believe that, even if you have completed all the necessary course-work by the end of the sophomore year, it is better to wait and take the MCAT towards the end of your junior year when your reasoning skills have developed to the maximum, rather than take the test at the end of the sophomore year for fear of forgetting some material.
In addition, NO ONE should even consider sitting for the MCAT before taking all of the basic prehealth sciences. Students who take it in April are often finishing up one or two science sequences at that time, but by April the semester is almost done and they should have absorbed what they need to know for the MCAT by that point.
Reference: NYU College of Arts and Science Prehealth