Applicant Advising

If you are a UW-Madison student or alumni applying to a health professions program, the Center for Pre-Health Advising has several specialized resources to support you. 

On this page, explore the tools available to you throughout the application process.

To learn more about the components of an application, visit our Applying to Health Professions Programs page and schedule an appointment with us so we can help you weigh when it is best for you to apply.

Applying to Health Professions Programs

Applicant Advising in May

In peak application season during the month of May, CPHA prioritizes applicant advising. Appointments and drop-ins are reserved for applicants only so we can focus on supporting you at this important time!

Current students can schedule an appointment via Starfish. Alumni can email ( or call our office to set up an appointment in the absence of access to Starfish.

CPHA Self-Paced Application Canvas Courses

If you are planning to apply to a health professional program in the coming year, please sign up for a CPHA Application Course. These are free resource courses on Canvas designed to supplement advising conversations with our office and support you through each stage of the application process. 

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Applying to Medical Programs Course

This course walks you through applying to MD and DO programs. In this course, you will find:

– Intro to the application, timelines, getting organized
– Information for re-applicants, DACA/International students
– Pathways to research in medicine (including MD/PhD…and others!)
– Paying for the application and medical school
– Requirements, letters, selecting schools, and exams
– Writing essays and a million FAQs on the actual applications!
– Interviewing, providing updates, and making decisions

Sign up for Applying to Medical Programs

MCAT 101 Course

MCAT 101 is designed to help you understand the exam and how to study to maximize your preparedness. In this course, you will find:

– What’s on the MCAT, recent percentile rankings, and oldest test dates accepted by schools
– Using stress to your advantage, understanding how you study, and keys to doing well
– Logistics: Applying for fee assistance and accommodations, creating a study plan and tracking your progress
– Tough questions: When should I take it? Should I re-take? What works?
– Resources: Lots of free resources and feedback on the stuff that you have to pay for!

Sign up for MCAT 101

Applying to Physician Assistant Programs Course

This course walks you through applying to PA programs. In this course, you will find:

– Intro to the application, timelines, getting organized
– Letters, selecting schools, and exams
– Writing essays and lots of FAQs on filling out CASPA!
– Interviewing, providing updates, and making decisions

Sign up for Applying to Physician Assistant Programs

Applying to Health Professions Programs Course

The Applying to Health Professions Programs course has application information for several healthcare professions. Each module is specific to a profession and their application (for example, the Applying to Dental Programs module is specific to dentistry). The course includes:

– Dentistry
– Occupational Therapy
– Optometry
– Physical Therapy
– Public Health
– Veterinary Medicine
– Post-Baccalaureate Programs

Sign up for Applying to Health Professions Programs

Application Prep

How We Can Help

Personal Statements: CPHA will meet with you twice to discuss and review your personal statement. We have found that students get the most out of this feedback if they have done some writing, looked at the Canvas courses modules on doing revisions, and now feel “stuck”, although we are happy to review your writing at any stage!

Experience Statements: CPHA will review 2-3 experience statements in appointments.

Secondary Essays or Program Materials: CPHA will review 3-5 school-specific essays.

When To Meet With Us

We recommend meeting with us to discuss essays about 1 semester before you plan to apply. We can talk through the various essays you will encounter throughout the application and the functions they serve within the application. These conversations can give you clarity as you start brainstorming and organizing your essays.

Please be mindful of others. If you have met with us twice for a personal statement, consider getting additional feedback from the Writing Center or another trusted reader. If we have already looked at some of your experience essays, have someone else give them a final review. We are committed to supporting many people throughout the application process and these people could be your future colleagues! We’re all in this together.

Want More Help?

Work with the UW-Madison Writing Center! They offer peer feedback for current students and alumni and appointments for current UW-Madison students. The Writing Center also offers a list of proofreaders and editors who are all graduate students or recent PhDs who charge reasonable rates for their service.

For alumni, Madison Writing Assistance offers individual in person or remote appointments for you to work on your personal statement with a writing specialist.

We Offer Mock Interviews!

We offer applicants two mock interviews — one for you to practice the traditional one-on-one interview format and a second for you to practice the multiple-mini interview (MMI) format. We also have question banks for many schools, so if you get additional interviews, let us know. We are happy to share additional information with you!

Please only make mock interview appointments after you have been invited to interview at a health professional program. When you make a mock interview appointment, please specify in your appointment note the school(s) for which you want to practice.

Need a mock interview and can’t find an opening in Starfish? Email us at!

After Applying

You’ve put time, energy, and money into an application. It’s normal for the (sometimes extended) waiting period after applying to be difficult.

Now is a good time to connect with us about questions related to providing updates, waitlists, letters of intent, financial aid, negotiating and accepting offers, reapplying, and more.

More on After Applying

Accepted? We want to celebrate with you! Feel free to let us know by emailing With your permission, we can add you to our alumni database.  

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