Given the complexity of factors to be considered, there is no formula for deciding the number of schools to which one should apply. The number should depend on the strength of your qualifications and the amount of time and money you wish to spend exploring possibilities. Applications to more than 15-20 schools will not necessarily increase your chances of admission; rather, careful research and selection of schools that match your interests and qualifications will increase your chances. Effort spent in research now will save you time, aggravation, and money later on.
To begin the research process, explore individual school and program admissions requirements:
- Medical School Admissions Requirements (subscription information)
- Osteopathic Medical College Information Book
- Veterinary Medical Schools Admissions
- Dental School Admissions
- ADEA Official Guide to Dental Schools
- Pharmacy School Admissions Requirements
- ASPPH Public Health Graduate School Viewbook
- NAAHP Health Profession Admission Guide
- The Complete Guide to the MD/PhD Degree – Rosner, 2004
Choose schools whose pedagogy, research emphasis, and clinical programs fit your style and goals. Identify your personal preferences for location, cost of living, access to transportation, and community environment (rural vs. urban), etc. Read through school's admissions requirements to determine differences in origins, mission, and philosophy. Look to see how schools combine didactic, clinical, and pedagogical approaches (problem-based or group learning vs. independent or individual learning). If you visit a school, talk to as many students as possible to gain a variety of perspectives. Attend Prehealth Advising events that highlight schools and programs of interest.
- Does the school's mission fit with my values and goals?
- Do I prefer a small or large school? Do I like a small or large class size?
- Am I interested in research, clinical practice, academics, or a combination?
- Which schools have a learning approach that emphasizes what I am most interested in?
- What schools have a teaching approach that will work well for me?
- Where is the school located – urban, suburban, rural? What is the cost of living?
- What are the options for experiential learning?
- How does the school or program support diversity?
- What types of financial aid are available at the schools I am considering? What is the average student debt load for graduates?
- What is the school's licensure pass rate? How does the school help students prepare for these exams?
- What kinds of activities/organizations are available? Where are the students spending their time outside of class?