Current Professional School Applicants
These are a few quick Questions and Answers, but make sure you check out our Application Hub (the AppHub) for more detailed information on applying.
For healthcare programs:
You will see application deadlines that are often in November-March. You should completely ignore these deadlines. Most competitive applicants are submitting their applications through their application services about a month to a month and a half after their application service opening. That means if your application service opens in June, you should apply in July or early August even if your program deadlines are in February. Yes, that seems crazy early, but that really is the best strategy for admission.
For law programs:
Generally to be most competitive, plan to apply between Halloween (end of October) and Thanksgiving (end of November). This window allows to have your application in early enough to be considered for funding.
This is really a complex question and one that is best discussed in person--please make an appointment and come meet with us. Make an appointment with BoilerConnect.
When contemplating retaking the aptitude test, here are some things to consider.
- What do you think went wrong on the test day?
- Were you ill?
- Did you feel like you had not prepped correctly?
- Do you feel like you did everything you could to prepare?
- Should you have prepared differently?
- Did you give it your best effort?
- Were you distracted by something at the test center?
- Do you realistically have time to prepare again?
- Did you have one particular area that was problematic or an overall score problem? (If it was only one area, remember that in preparing to re-take the test, you must prep all areas again so that your score doesn't drop in other areas).
- Professional schools have different policies on scores when you retake tests. Some will take your best score, some average them, some take the most recent, and some will create a super-score using the best of each section. Only the GRE allows you to choose your best score. All other aptitude tests will send scores from all attempts.
- Typically schools do not mind that you take a test again, but they do want to see improvement.
- Most aptitude tests do limit how many times you can re-take them, how far apart they must be in time, and how many times you can take them in a calendar year.
At Purdue, we have seen quite a few students improve their scores on second attempts largely because they know what to expect on test day when the repeat the exam.
- Personal statements are an important part of your application. This is one of the best ways for schools to get to know who you are and how you think.
- Plan to spend considerable time writing your personal statement.
- Plan to write several drafts of your personal statement.
- Have a number of people read and comment on it--faculty, letter writers, friends, academic advisor, etc.
Purdue Writing Lab
Make sure you prepare ahead of going to the writing lab. What are you having a difficult time expressing in your personal statement? Or you having specific grammatical issues such as using active voice? The Writing Lab works best when they can help you address specific issues.
You can either email your personal statement to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will email comments back to you or you can can email your personal statement to us at least 3-5 days in advance of an appointment that you make through BoilerConnect to discuss your personal statement.
- Research your school to learn what happens on their interview day and the format of their interviews.
- Contact a pre-professional advisor to gather lists of practice interview questions and to discuss interview strategies.
- Set up an account on Big Interview, to practice interviewing. Big Interview has professional school questions. If you have a webcam, you can record yourself and will be able to watch to see if you have any strange mannerisms.
- If you have an interview scheduled and after practicing with Big Interview, you can schedule a virtual mock interview.
- Set up a 60-minute professional school mock interview with Cheryl Alcock by making a pre-professional advising appointment for a mock interview with Cheryl on BoilerConnect. It will be tailored to your professional field.
- Before going to your actual interview, re-read everything you submitted to that school.
- Prepare questions for them (we have a list of suggestions to get your started). You can request this from a pre-professional advisor.
- Keep up with current events in the news and with health news.
It costs more than you think. The expenses are not all at once, but by the time you add in test preparation materials, an aptitude test, primary application fees (the online common application), any secondary application fees (the direct to school fees), interview clothes, travel to the interview, possible overnight stays for the interview, it can really add up. In general, you need to budget at least $1000-3000. If you live on one of the coasts and will be applying there, probably more since you will be flying more for interviews. If you are applying to dental school, you should probably budget more as their costs are higher.
Fee Assistance: All of our Career Guides in the Career section of this website have links to fee assistance programs. Unfortunately, not everyone will qualify for those.
Planning Ahead: The best way is to plan ahead. This may mean being smart about your summer at the end of freshman and sophomore year to save money for your application costs.
Controlling Costs: You can keep your costs down by applying closer to Purdue and to fewer schools. A well chosen 6-10 schools is really sufficient to provide you a number of different kinds of opportunities without spending huge amounts of money. If you apply to 25 schools, it will cost you a lot more money. Research schools carefully and choose wisely. Do you have a realistic shot at all the schools to which you are applying? If not, do not spend your money applying there. If there is a closer school you like just as well, remove one that would require a flight for interviews.
Coastal Living: For those of you who will need to fly for interviews because you live in California, Florida, Texas, or New York, and you have a couple of interview offers in your home state, it is ok to ask schools if you could arrange them the same week. It isn't always possible, but if they can help you, they will. They do understand the financial side of the application process is difficult. So be ultra-polite and call the admissions office to explain the dilemma and see if there is any way they could accommodate a change in your interview date.
Ultimately, be smart. Spend serious time looking at schools and thinking about whether they are a good fit. Don't throw away money at schools where you don't have a realistic shot or don't really want to go anyway. Sometimes we see people apply, for example, at a medical school in Puerto Rico even though they aren't from there (which is fine), they don't speak Spanish (not as fine), don't intend to learn Spanish (not ok), and don't want to move to Puerto Rico for medical school (what?). So make sure your list of schools makes sense and is making smart use of your resources.
- I took CHM 12901 and only have 5 hours of chemistry credit instead of 8. Is that ok?
- I took ENGR 16100-16200 as a physics class. Will that count for my physics requirement?
- I took SCLA 10100 as an English writing class. Will all my schools accept that?
- I took BIOL 30100-30200 as my Anatomy and Physiology and my PT program is asking for an 8 hour sequence. Will my schools accept that?
The answer to all of these questions is maybe...
Each school determines their policies on what they will accept to meet their requirements. If you are unsure about whether your courses will fulfill their requirements, you need to contact that school directly and ask them.
It helps to save the syllabus from the course in case a school asks to see it. If you did not do this, you might be able to get one from the professor. A course description that you find online may also be sufficient.
How to contact schools
- Before you call them, think ahead about your questions and jot them down. They are busy and you want to get them off the phone as quickly as possible.
- Also think about a quick introduction to who you are and why you are calling so that the person answering your call can assess who will be the best person to answer your questions.
- Once you are speaking with the correct person, go down your list of questions.
- If this person says that your course will work, ask what you will need to do to verify the course has been approved when it is time for you to apply.
- If it is not approved, ask if they are willing to look more closely at the course if the professor, department, academic advisor, or pre-professional advising contacts them. If so, let the appropriate people at Purdue know that they can advocate for this and who to contact.
- Before hanging up, thank the person for their time and assistance.
Remember that schools often track all contacts with applicants so you want all of your contacts with professional programs to be positive and professional.