Holistic Review Process

Health professional programs are interested in everything about you—your academic and non-academic experiences, your skills, sensitivities, awarenesses, and other personal attributes. They also—importantly—really want to know why you are interested in the career path you are pursuing. The maturity and thoughtfulness you show in describing all these things are critical parts of your application.

Most programs have a centralized application service where you include information about your background, courses, experiences and share essays about your interest in health care.

Our office can help with this application process. We have detailed Canvas courses on applying to MD/DO, PT, PA, and Dental programs. If you are interested in one of these fields and have completed the Orientation course, please meet with us to talk about the application. We will also be happy to add you to the appropriate Canvas course.

You can also talk with advisors at CPHA in one-on-one appointments about developing depth of insight as you think about your interests in and preparation for a health professional program. Learn more below.  

Surrounded by a sea of flowering bluebells, undergraduate Sydney Rearick works on her laptop computer while studying under a historic bur oak tree near Nancy Nicholas Hall at the University of Wisconsin on May 13, 2013. A major in human development and family studies, Rearick was writing a paper for a class on family stress and coping during final-exams week of spring semester. (Photo by Jeff Miller/UW-Madison)

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  • GPA (overall and science)
  • Trends in your academic work; consistency is best, but an upward trend is taken into account in admissions
  • Professional Exam Score (DAT, GRE, MCAT, OAT, PCAT)

Experiences outside the classroom

  • Clinical experience (shadowing, hospital or other clinical volunteering, or paid clinical work)
  • Community Service (non-clinical)
  • Paid Employment (non-clinical)
  • Personal Interests or Hobbies (student organizations, intramural sports, music, etc.)
  • Profession-Specific Shadowing (many dental, vet, med, PA, PT and OT programs require students to observe professionals)
  • Research
  • Studying abroad, language skills, cultural immersion and/or experience learning from others

Personal attributes

  • Interest in Healthcare
    • Personal and Professional Characteristics
    • Skills and Attributes
  • Letters of Recommendation (LOR’s)
  • Maturity and thoughtfulness expressed in your writing
  • Demographic Factors
  • Timing of Application
  • Citations/Institutional Actions


Health care education organizations provide lists of skills, sensitivities, awarenesses, competencies, and/or experiences aspiring professionals in these fields should cultivate. These are the personal attributes and experiences you want to come shining through your application when you apply.