Applying to Professional School

Applying to professional school can be a somewhat daunting task. You start the process of taking an aptitude test and applying about 15 months before you would actually begin a professional program! That's why you have pre-professional advisors here to help. Please don't feel that you have to figure this all out on your own! We spend a lot of time learning the latest on the application processes and trends in admissions. We are happy to help.

We also offer classes about applying to healthcare programs and law school:

  • BIOL 39600: Pre-Med/Pre-Health Planning Seminar is a 0 credit/10 week course that takes you step-by-step through the application process. 1 section in the Fall/2 in the Spring
  • GS 49000: Law School Exploration is a 1 credit/10 week course that helps you explore whether law school is the right fit, brings in lawyers to talk about their careers, and walks through the application process. 1 section offered in the Fall and the Spring

Rather than needing a number of prerequisite courses, law schools look for students to have a number of skills sets (things like critical reading skills, problem solving, research, organization, etc) as defined by the American Bar Association.

Prepare for the rigors of law school. Check out the Law School Academic Success Project.

Once you are ready to apply, our PPA Law Application Checklist will take you through the steps of applying.

Most professional programs require an aptitude test.

  • Allopathic Medical Schools (MD)-MCAT
  • Osteopathic Medical Schools (DO)-MCAT
  • Podiatric Medical Schools (DPM)-MCAT
  • Anesthesiologist Assistant (CAA)-some GRE, some MCAT
  • Pathologists' Assistant (PA ASCP)-some GRE, some MCAT
  • Dental Schools (DDS, DMD)-DAT
  • Optometry Schools (OD)-OAT
  • Pharmacy Schools (PharmD)-PCAT
  • Physician Assistant (PA)-as of now most require the GRE, some don't require a test, a few are exploreing the new PA-CAT
  • Most other health care fields-GRE (Veterinary Medicine, Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Public Health, Orthotics/Prosthetics, Genetic Counseling, Health Administration, Physician Assistant, etc)
  • Law School (JD)-LSAT

The PPA Aptitude Test Guide offers basic information and links for each test.

Regardless of which test you are taking,

  • Register for the test well in advance so that you get the date you want
  • Read and follow all the test day rules
  • Give yourself plenty of time to prepare--for all but the GRE, you will need 400-600 hours
  • If you take a test-prep course, your class time does not count as study time--you still need 400-600 hours outside of class time to prepare
Need help finding schools? This Resource List guides you to the handiest site for your field to easily link to schools. No more random web searches!

Most programs use web-based common applications called application services.

To quickly find

  • the name of the application service for each field
  • the link to the application service
  • the month it typically opens

Check our Application Services List.

Remember: For your application to be most competitive, you should submit within about a month of the application service opening. School specific application deadlines may be months away. Applications are all happening within the 1-3 months after the application service opens. If you wait to submit a month before the actual application deadline, it is generally too late.


As the name indicates, the personal statement should be personal. This is your opportunity to tell admissions committees about YOU. How do you think and feel about things. This is not recitation of your resume. They have that information in the activities section of the application. This is your chance to be a person to them--not just grades and series of activities. This is where you want to demonstrate for them that you have a realistic sense of the field, you are well-prepared for going into that field, and you will be a great future colleague. You will do all of this in just over a page of text! That means you will need to write several drafts to get it right.

Each application service has a prompt or several prompts for their personal statement and generally they provide a limit for the length (often a character limit counting spaces).

As much as possible in your personal statement, you want to provide examples that illustrate your points. Stating that you are a very empathetic person doesn't really mean very much to them. Describing a volunteer situation in which they can see that empathy play out is far more useful. Our PPA personal statement guide will help you get started. You can also come meet with us to discuss us more. OWL also has some great resources.

Your application will require that you submit a transcript from all colleges at which you earned credit even while in high school.

Pre-Professional Advising does not handle transcripts. You are the only one with access to your transcripts. You must order them from the Registrar at each college where you have credits.

Application services have a transcript matching form that you print and sign once you have started your application. You will then need to make this into a PDF. Your transcript has a better chance of being matched with your file if that form is sent with your transcript.

To order your Purdue transcript as a CURRENT STUDENT:

  • Log in to MyPurdue
  • Click on Academic Tab
  • In bottom left corner click on order OFFICIAL Transcript
  • Request that they send a PAPER COPY (do not send it electronically)
  • Attach an electronic version (PDF) of the application service's transcript matching form

To order your Purdue transcript as a FORMER PURDER STUDENT:

  • Use this e-transcript link to set up an account to order your OFFICIAL transcript
  • Be sure to attach your transcript matching form
  • Request that Purdue send a PAPER copy (do not send an electronic copy of your transcipt)

Additional information on obtaining transcripts at Purdue

 

Each year more programs seem to be requiring the CASPer test. This is a situational judgment test that you take online.

Indiana University School of Medicine & Indiana University School of Dentistry both now require CASPer as does Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine.

You cannot study for it, but you should prepare for it. While companies do offer test prep for this, it is NOT worth the money. Complete the practice questions offered by CASPer so that you know how it works and you can start thinking ahead about how to answer these types of questions. The test is really a way for schools to see how you respond to various ethical situations.

Learn more about CASPer.