Applying to Medical or Dental School
Plan to take the MCAT or DAT
Well in advance of the application cycle, prospective applicants to medical or dental school should determine when to take the MCAT/DAT. The MCAT should be taken no later than May 2017 for those planning to apply in June 2017 and matriculate to medical school in August 2018. The DAT should be taken no later than August 2017 for those planning to matriculate to dental school in August 2018. Medical school applicants should refer to the AAMC MCAT web pages for the MCAT testing calendar, registration information, and more. Dental school applicants should refer to the ADEA GoDental web page on the DAT.
Attend "How to Apply to Medical School" Workshop
Students will be notified of workshop dates and times via email. Login to HamNET and go to the Events page in order to RSVP for the workshop. The workshop will review/discuss:
- the timeline and process for applying to medical school
- the documents required to obtain a Committee Letter
- letters of recommendation
A Committee Letter is a letter authored by a pre-health committee or pre-health advisor and intended to represent your institution’s evaluation of you. At Hamilton, the Committee Letter is a detailed narrative of your path to a career in medicine written by Leslie Bell and edited by the Health Professions Advisory Committee. It is combined with your other letters of recommendation (LOR's). Although not required for admission to medical school, medical schools prefer to receive a Committee Letter so it is a benefit to you. In fact, they will become suspicious if an applicant doesn't submit such a letter when his/her school offers this service.
Identify Reference Writers and confirm their willingness to support your candidacy
As part of the medical school application process, you will need to solicit four-to-six letters of recommendation (LORs). Serving as an outside endorsement of your candidacy, a LOR is a letter in which the author will assess your qualities, characteristics, and capabilities as they pertain to medical school. Ideally, a LOR will demonstrate to the admissions committees that you possess the traits and core competencies that they look for in a future physician. Don't underestimate the importance of a strong letter of recommendation. A comprehensive letter from a solid source who knows you well can speak volumes about your integrity and the quality of your work.
LOR's will be collected by and stored in veCollect. Those applying for admission to medical or dental school for fall 2018 will need to create an account (paid for by the Career Center) by December 1, 2016 (more information below.) Applicants should confirm writers' willingness to support them before setting up an account and listing your evaluators. For tips on soliciting letters of recommendation, visit our Letters of Recommendation Page.
Submit Declaration of Intent
The Declaration of Intent is a Qualtrics form that notifies the Health Professions Advising office of your intent to apply to medical or dental school for the fall of 2018 and provides the office with basic identifying information. Complete this form no later than December 1st, 2016. Re-applicants from the 2017 application cycle should submit a new Declaration of Intent by February 1st, 2017.
Submit Release of Information/Confidentiality Waiver
The Release of Information/confidentiality waiver (found within the Declaration of Intent Qualtrics form) allows Leslie Bell and the Health Professions Advisory Committee to contact the Dean’s Office in order to determine if there are any sanctions that have been brought against you during your time at Hamilton as well as waives your right to view any letters written on your behalf. While you legally have the right to view any letters written on your behalf, it is best to waive this right for several reasons. Medical schools are wary of applicants who feel they need to see their LORs. Failure to waive this right creates the impression that your LORs may not be candid assessments of your candidacy and that you may have "censored" your letters by including only those that paint a very positive picture of you. Admissions committees want to have assurance that they are receiving a complete, unedited picture of you from those who wrote your LORs, so it is best to remove any appearance of you having a hand in what they say. From the medical schools' perspective, therefore, it is preferable that you have a closed file and that your letters be confidential.
Create Account on veCollect
All applicants, including those with letters currently on file at the Health Professions Advising office, must create an account on veCollect.
- Go to https://collect.virtualevals.net
- To learn how to use veCollect, watch the Video linked in orange from the right side of the page: "Registering for an account on veCollect".
- Use the link: “click here to register for veCollect access”
- Select your state from the dropdown
- Select Hamilton College from the dropdown. Enter the required authorization code sent in an email in November. If you did not receive this email, contact Cheney Cronin in the Health Professions Advising office at email@example.com for the code.
- Complete the registration form, choosing a login and password, to create your account. You will receive an email that includes a link to activate your account and takes you to the Applicant "dashboard".
- On the Applicant dashboard, read the detailed instructions under the "For Applicants" tab in order to understand the steps involved in requesting letters of recommendation (LOR's) .
Generate Letter Requests in veCollect
- Applicants will be responsible for generating letter requests and monitoring the receipt of letters in their file.
- Those who have letters on file with the Health Professions Advising office must create both an evaluator record and a letter record for each of the recommenders/letters that you wish to use this cycle. Once this is done, your letters will be uploaded to veCollect by the Health Professions Advising office.
- Letters of recommendation are due by February 1st. Candidates' materials will be presented to the Health Professions Advisory Committee (HPAC) in the order in which files are completed. We strongly recommend generating letter requests, especially those for faculty, in early December with a deadline of February 1st so that they can use winter break to write. Check your account frequently to monitor receipt of letters as you may need to follow up with evaluators whose letters have not been submitted.
- Applicants who wish to request an LOR for a later date may do so (e.g. from a supervisor at a new job or from a professor who is just getting to know you.) However, note that candidates will not be presented to the Health Professions Advising Committee until their files are complete (all LORs and other documents received and MCAT taken.)
- Some recommenders may be difficult to reach or may need reminders to submit their letters; starting early is the key to success.
- Files must be complete by May 1, 2017 in order to receive a Committee Letter.
Request that transcripts from other institutions be sent to the Health Professions Advising Office
The evaluation of your candidacy will include a review of all of your transcripts (other than study abroad) by the members of the Health Professions Advisory Committee (HPAC.) You do not need to provide a Hamilton transcript to the HPAC as we have access to WebAdvisor. However, if you have completed relevant course work at other post-secondary institutions (e.g. summer classes, post-bac programs, Master's degrees), you will need to request that transcripts from those institutions be sent to Cheney Cronin, Health Professions Advising Assistant, at firstname.lastname@example.org, by February 1, 2017. Applicants taking classes through May 2017 should notify the Health Professions Advising Office that a transcript will be forthcoming. Unofficial transcripts, if you have them, are also acceptable. Ultimately, you will be responsible for requesting transcripts from all secondary institutions you have attended when you complete your application to medical school on AMCAS/AACOMAS.
Call Career Center to schedule an Interview for a Committee Letter
Call the Career Center at 315-859-4346 in January to schedule an Interview for a Committee Letter to take place between January and April, 2017. The interview is a conversation between you and Leslie Bell, allowing her to get to know you as well as the experiences, passions, academics, and extracurricular activities outlined in your Self-Assessment and Resume (due by February 1st). This information will be used to write a comprehensive Committee Letter that will be sent along with your Letters of Recommendation to the medical/dental schools to which you are applying. Allow one and a half hours.
Alumni: interviews will be conducted by Skype; times have been reserved after 4:30 p.m. for those whose work schedules prohibit appointments during normal business hours. Please consider scheduling your interview during the weeks of March 13th and 20th when students are on break.
Fill out and submit Self-Assessment for Committee Letter
Download and complete the Self-Assessment form. Send it to your veCollect account by February 1st, 2017 (re-applicants by March 1st); instructions for sending documents to your account will be included in an email in mid-January. It will be used in combination with your transcript, resume, and the interview to draft your Committee Letter. Reflecting and writing about your experiences should also help you prepare answers for your application. Please save the “Self-Assessment” with your last name and document name in the filename: (LastName_Self-Assessment)
Submit Additional Documents (Personal Statement & Resume)
Also by February 1st (March 1st for re-applicants), send a draft of your personal statement and a current resume to your veCollect account; instructions for sending documents to your account will be included in an email in mid-January. They will be used in combination with the interview to draft your Committee Letter. To have your resume reviewed (optional), please call the Career Center at 859-4346 in order to schedule an appointment with a Peer Advisor by December 9th or between January 16th and January 31st.
A personal statement is required as part of your application to medical/dental school. Drafting it by February 1st and taking the time to develop it will ensure that this part of your application is in its final form when it is time to upload as part of your application (starting in May 2017). The medical school application essay is limited to 5300 characters (including spaces); for osteopathic schools, the limit is 4500 characters (including spaces). For dental schools, the limit is 4500 characters (including spaces)
Contact any reference writers who have not submitted letters of recommendation
It will be your responsibility to monitor your account of veCollect regarding the receipt of your letters and to contact reference writers who have not yet submitted them. Often a phone call is the best way to touch base with your writer regarding the status of your letter.
Complete Interview for Committee Letter
The interview consists of a discussion between you and Leslie Bell, allowing her to get to know you as well as the experiences, passions, academics and extracurricular activities outlined in your “Self-Assessment” and “Resume” (due by February 1st). This information will be used to write a comprehensive Committee Letter that will be sent along with your Letters of Recommendation to the schools to which you are applying.
Optional: Schedule a review of Personal Statement
It is recommended that you receive and incorporate feedback from several sources, both personal and professional, to craft your final essay. For professional reviews, appointments can be made with the Writing Center and/or the Career Center. To ensure that your personal statement is ready to be presented to the Health Professions Advisory Committee, aim to finalize your personal statement by mid-March.
Prepare to complete the AMCAS Application
What is AMCAS and how does it work?
The American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS), run by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), is a web-based, centralized application service that was developed to simplify and standardize the process of applying to U.S. allopathic (M.D.) medical schools. This means you only need to submit one set of application materials, no matter how many medical schools to which you apply. Once you submit the required information, AMCAS will collect, verify, and process your applicant data and transmit it to the schools you designate. Individual medical schools are then free to review your application and send you any secondary or supplemental applications that they may require.
Note: In Texas, medical schools have their own separate application service.
How to Prepare for the AMCAS Application
- Watch the Application Overview Prezi on the AMCAS website, including important dates, information on coursework and transcripts, and letters of evaluation.
- Become aware of Hamilton-specific AMCAS Instructions & Tips before AMCAS becomes available.
- Check out the AMCAS site to familiarize yourself with other helpful application resources such as:
1. The key steps in starting an application.
2. The AMCAS Instruction Manual
3. An application worksheet that previews the application content
4. An application timeline/checklist (Note: It is to your advantage to apply early in the admission cycle, e.g. June)
5. Important FAQs
Complete & Submit AMCAS Application
AMCAS application opens early May, 2017
- Candidates may begin to complete the application and make changes.
- Complete the "Identifying Information" and "Schools Attended" sections first in order to generate a Transcript Request Form. Submit this form as soon as possible to the Registrar offices of the post-secondary schools you have attended, so there is no delay in AMCAS receiving your transcripts.
- Remind yourself of Hamilton-specific AMCAS Instructions & Tips.
AMCAS application opens for submission in early June 2017
- Applicants may submit application to AMCAS for verification (which typically takes 30 days.) Note that initial transmission of application data by AMCAS to medical schools begins on July 1, 2017.
Submit Secondary Applications as early as possible
Most medical schools will send you their own secondary/ supplemental application after receiving your AMCAS application. While some medical schools send applicants secondary/supplemental applications after reviewing their AMCAS application, most send it to every applicant. These applications vary in length and what they ask you to do. Some simply require some additional personal information; others require you to respond to one or more essay prompts. It is important to submit these to the medical schools as soon as possible after receiving them.
Prepare for Interviews
Schedule an interview preparation appointment with your assigned career advisor to be conducted in person or via Skype.