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Getting ready to apply to medical school?

Ryan Mehl analyzing samples in lab with student
Director of the Unnatural Protein Facility Ryan Mehl works with undergraduate and aspiring pediatric oncologist Sonia Grutzius.

For students who are preparing to apply to medical schools (MD or DO programs).

The OSU pre-medical committee exists to serve our students along their journey to becoming a physician. Please read through the following steps to guide you through your preparation. Most of this information is for students who are graduating by the end of the current academic year and/or who are planning to apply to medical school in the upcoming medical school cycle. (Medical school applications are submitted in the early summer). OSU alumni are also welcome to use our services. Please note that dates and timelines are usually updated by mid-fall term in preparation for the next cycle. All students must adhere to the OSU Procedures and Deadlines for applying to medical school for the current cycle (for submitting your application in Summer 2022 for admission for Fall 2023).

Step 1: Letters of evaluation

Students applying for medical school may create a profile page on the Health Professions Portal to collect letters of evaluation electronically at any time in your college career. A member of the OSU Pre-Medical Committee will review the letters. Letters on your behalf can be sent to us any time, and we will keep them on file until you apply. Letters should be submitted to the pre-medical committee by June 21 of the year you are applying to medical school.

Please note that the College of Public Health and Human Sciences (PHHS) has their own letter system, so those students should not be using this system.

Please first confirm with your potential letter writers that they will be able to write you a strong and positive letter of recommendation. Once you have confirmed with them that they are willing to write you a letter, you may add that person as an evaluator. Fill out an "Evaluator Profile" to enter his/her name and contact information.

Guidelines

Once added, an email is automatically sent to that letter writer with the guidelines for composing a letter of recommendation, as well as a link to upload a letter directly to your student profile. Review the guidelines. This is a good reference for students to know the qualities that are valuable to be expressed in letters.

Minimum requirements

Most medical schools minimally require to have at least 2 letters for recommendation from science faculty and one from a physician. The OSU pre-medical committee requires this minimum in order to use the committee letter system. You should have a minimum of four letters of evaluation total. Other letters can come from supervisors, employers, volunteer coordinators, or other faculty.

Please be sure to monitor your letters as they arrive in your Health Professions Portal.

Notify the pre-med committee coordinators (premed-committee@oregonstate.edu) once all of your letters have been received.

Committee letter

A committee letter is written by a student's primary advisor (usually the major advisor). The committee letter is a cover letter that gives an overview of your application, adding insight and additional information (that is why it is SO important for you to stay in touch with your pre-med advisor). Medical schools value committee letters. It serves to provide highlights and context to the student's letter package submitted as part of the medical school application. The committee letter file includes the committee letter and all of your other letters of evaluation from doctors, faculty, employers, etc.

To be eligible for a committee letter, you must have the minimal letter requirements stated above, as well as a minimum GPA of 3.2 and MCAT of 500. Additionally, to comply with the requirements of many medical schools in the United States, students must have completed the 200-level chemistry course at OSU, or the equivalent lecture and lab series at another university. This series better prepares students for the MCAT and medical school by providing more in-depth material and more lab experience. Students need to take pre-requisite science lab courses in person. For OSU courses, that includes the labs for Principles of Biology (BI 21x or 22x series), General Chemistry (CH 23x/26x series), Organic Chemistry (CH 331 or 334 series with CH 337), and Physics (PH 20x or 21x series). The equivalent of these courses from other schools may also be acceptable by approval. (Courses only offered online during the COVID-19 Pandemic are usually acceptable exceptions). Be sure to also check individual medical schools’ admissions protocols to see if they specify other in-person or other course requirements.

Please be sure to tell the pre-medical committee coordinator(s) who your committee letter writer is, but do not add them to your letter portal on your own. The coordinating pre-medical committee advisors will do that for you as part of their process. Please note that writing your committee letter is at the discretion of your advisor.

Appeal Process

For students who meet the other letter and course requirements, they may appeal for the ability to receive a committee letter if they have below either or both a 3.2 GPA or 500 MCAT. For the appeal process, the student must first connect with their academic advisor to confirm if they would be willing to write a committee letter for them should they be approved through the appeal process. If their advisor agrees, then the student must contact the premed committee coordinators at premed-committee@oregonstate.edu to request an appeal form and to set up meetings with the two coordinators to review the student’s case.

Signature page

Students who go through the OSU system to assist with collecting and submitting letters of recommendation for medical school applications will need to complete a signature page for the Statement of Understanding to allow the release/discussion of your information and Statement of Confidentiality indicating that you understand and agree to the fact that the letters of evaluation on your behalf are confidential. Students will receive this form when they meet with a pre-medical committee coordinator to review their application status and open their "pre-med file" (see Step 3 below).

Summary of letters of evaluation requirements:

  • Minimum of two science faculty letters
  • Minimum of one physician letter
  • Minimum of four letters total
  • Meet the pre-requisite science course requirements as outlined above in order to receive a committee letter
  • Must have 500 MCAT and 3.2 GPA minimums to receive a committee letter or be approved via the appeal process

Step 2: Should I apply to medical school now?

You may review the General application timeline for the timeline for applying to medical school.

Are you ready to apply to medical school? Please complete this initial, quick self-assessment to help you determine your readiness for applying to medical school. Review your self-assessment with your academic advisor. Think about how you have developed the core competencies that medical schools look for in applicants.

In order to be able to use the OSU Pre-Medical Committee letter system, you will need to have a minimum 500 MCAT score and 3.2 cumulative GPA. Please consider these metrics when thinking about if you are a viable candidate. Students may appeal for the ability to receive a committee letter if they have below either or both a 3.2 GPA or 500 MCAT. For the appeal process, the student must first connect with their academic advisor to confirm if they would be willing to write a committee letter for them should they be approved through the appeal process. If they advisor agrees, then the student must contact the premed committee coordinators at premed-committee@oregonstate.edu to request an appeal form and to set up meetings with the two coordinators to review the student’s case.

Review the AAMC's Anatomy of an Applicant page to see where you stand on your core competencies and to view their more in-depth self-assessment guide.

Step 3: Opening your pre-medical file

Students who plan on using the committee letter writing services at OSU must open their pre-medical file with one of the pre-medical committee coordinator(s) via a meeting. You will do this in the winter or early spring term of the year that you plan on applying to medical school. Students who are not applying to med school until a year or more after they graduate can still use our services, the Health Professions Portal, and should inform their major advisors and the premed committee coordinators of their plans.

Procedures and deadlines

Review the OSU procedures and deadlines for applying to medical school for applying to medical school for the current cycle

Application seminars

The application seminars offered during Fall and late Winter or early Spring terms each year will be the most accurate and current source of information and advice about the application process, obtained directly from the medical schools and application services. They are announced on the pre-med listserv. To join the listserv, send a blank email from your OSU email account to premedclub-join@lists.oregonstate.edu, and reply to the email response to confirm your subscription.

Opening your file

Students must open their pre-medical file by June 7 of the year they intend to apply to medical school. Steps to open your pre-medical file:

  1. To get started, go to the Pre-Medical File Intake Web Form within the Health Professions Portal. You will log in to your pre-med student profile (same username and password you created for your profile for letters of evaluation). You must complete this form in order to initiate the process of opening your pre-medical file.You will be able to log back into your account to make edits to this web form.
  2. Once your form is submitted, a Pre-Medical Committee Coordinator will follow up with you after an initial review of your pre-medical file form to set up a meeting.
  3. In order to be eligible to use the pre-med committee letter service, you must have at least a 3.2 cumulative GPA and a 500 MCAT Score.You must also have completed at least 45 credits of pre-medical prerequisite courses at OSU. Pre-requisite science lab courses must have been taken in person (with exceptions for courses only offered online due to the COVID-19 pandemic). The chemistry series must be the 200-level at OSU or equivalent.
  4. Students must obtain at least 2 letters of recommendation from science faculty and at least one letter from a physician. Students should obtain between 4 to 9 number of regular letters of evaluation.
  5. Agreement of an advisor to compose a committee letter on behalf of a student is at the discretion of the advisor.
  6. If you do not meet the minimum 3.2 GPA and 500 MCAT, you may submit an appeal for a committee letter. See details in the Appeal Process section of Step 1 above. Please contact the pre-med committee coordinators about submitting an appeal.
  7. For any questions regarding the medical school application process, please email premed-committee@oregonstate.edu.

Step 4: After you submit your applications

Let us know whether or not you have been accepted

Send an email to premed-committee@oregonstate.edu

Prepare for interviews

Reapplying to medical school

If you are re-applying, please complete the information sheet for re-applicants and email premed-committee@oregonstate.edu. You must also adhere to the same procedures and deadlines as first-time applicants.

Reapplicants should refer to the AAMC frequently asked questions and tips from admissions officers for reapplying.