Application Components & Process (Applying to Health Profession Schools)


Every health professions school will require official copies of your transcripts as a part of the application process. Pay close attention to information regarding how, when, and to whom you should send your transcripts. Watch application deadlines and delivery dates. Be sure to request transcripts from all undergraduate institutions attended. Note that problems with transcripts are the number one cause of processing delays and missed application deadlines.

Transcripts CAN NOT be sent by you or by your advisor to central application services or to health professions schools, they MUST be sent directly by the Registrars’ Offices.

A large number of health professions schools are using centralized application services (CAS) to streamline the application process for everyone involved. Pay close attention to delivery addresses and codes for programs using a CAS.

When it comes time to apply, make early transcript requests so that the processing of your application is not delayed by a lack of transcripts. 
Wellesley College uses an online service to send transcripts called Parchment. If you are taking spring courses, we strongly recommend that you plan on having your spring grades appear on your application. Make sure your transcript is not sent until after the spring course grades have been recorded.

Order transcript copies for yourself as well, as you will need them as you complete your applications. Look over your transcripts carefully and make sure the grades, courses, AP credit, etc. all look correct. You are entitled to have up to four eligible AP courses listed on your Wellesley transcript. Make sure you have the AP courses you want posted on your transcript if you’ve received more than four credits. For example, if you have to choose between a math AP credit and a history AP credit, choose the math credit as you may want it to count towards an application requirement.

Once you order your transcripts, check to make sure all of your transcripts have been received by the application service.

For AMCAS: Parchment is authorized by AMCAS to provide secure electronic transcripts to AMCAS. Choose “Academic Transcripts under the “Especially for Students” tab. Enter AMCAS in the field when asked where the document should be sent and hit “Search.” Select AMCAS. After the confirmation page, a box will appear that will ask for date of birth, AAMC ID, and AAMC Transcript ID number. Once those fields are completed, proceed to completion of the order. 

For Other Centralized Application Services: If you are asked by an application service or school to attach a Transcript Request Form to your transcript, you may be unable to do this through Parchment. Instead, type the name of the application service along with your personal ID number into the address field to where you want the transcript to be mailed (for example, ”AACOMAS ID # 305624”). Your ID number will then be part of the address label, and the application service or school will be able to match your transcript to your application.

International Transcripts: Many health professions schools and centralized application services will not accept transcripts from international schools. If a school to which you are applying does accept international courses, they may require that you provide an international school transcript. This may necessitate that you send the official international school transcript to a service such as World Education Services or Educational Credential Evaluators to evaluate your international courses for US equivalency. Be sure to check with the health professions programs directly for guidance.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Courses: AMCAS requests that applicants list every post-secondary institution where they were enrolled for at least one course, even if credits have been transferred, no credits were earned, or the applicant withdrew. If you've taken an undergraduate course at MIT, then MIT should be listed on your “Schools Attended” list. When listing MIT courses, place “MIT” under “School Name” and list the courses that you took at MIT. Do not list the courses twice as MIT courses and then as Wellesley courses. Taking cross-registered courses at MIT generates no MIT transcript; the courses are listed on your Wellesley transcript. You must request a transcript exception for MIT using the “Consortium/cross-registration program” from the drop-down menu.

Shadow Grades: As you know, Wellesley College now has mandatory Pass/No Pass grades for courses in the first semester and for some first-year Writing courses. Our Registrar’s Office and the Health Professions Advisors will not reveal your “shadow grades” to programs or schools.

When you apply to health professions schools, they will require you to disclose if you have been the recipient of any institutional action for unacceptable academic performance or conduct, even if such action did not interrupt your enrollment or require you to leave the institution, or if the action has been deleted or expunged from your record. They will also ask if you have been found guilty of a misdemeanor or a felony. Many schools now conduct background checks as a final portion of the admissions process. If there was an issue in your past about which you are concerned, talk with your health professions advisor. It is extremely important that you represent yourself honestly and completely on your application. If there is an issue to report, good steps to describe the situation include:

  1. Briefly explain the circumstances of the transgression
  2. Take responsibility for your actions 
  3. Explain any disciplinary action that was taken and how you completed what was required
  4. Explain what you learned from the experience and how it's helped you to mature into a better person as a result
  5. Affirm that this hasn't happened again and won’t happen again

Don’t hesitate to request a confidential conversation about this with a health professions advisor.

Completing Secondary Applications

After receiving your primary application, health professions schools may ask you to complete a secondary application and pay a supplemental application fee. (If you are accepted into a Fee Assistance Program, many schools will give you a reduced secondary application fee.) It is important that you have internet access during the application process, and that you monitor your email (and your spam folder) closely.

Work as carefully on your secondary applications as you did on your primary application. Print a copy of your secondary application, proofread it, and have a second person proofread it. Do not turn in an application with spelling and grammatical errors. Use the additional essays to highlight what in particular you like about the individual school. Keep in mind that schools are interested in both why you applied to their school, and how/why you would be a good addition to their community. Read the website of each school carefully, in particular noting the mission statement and the curriculum, and tailor your essays to show your interest and your fit. You may also choose to share things about yourself that you didn’t have a chance to describe in your primary application.

Spend the time to complete these carefully and submit them before the deadlines. We strongly urge you to send in your secondary applications within two weeks of receiving the requests. If you delay in submitting your secondary applications, schools will interpret that as a lack of interest on your part.

Sending Application Updates

The application process spans a long period of time. During that time, you may have new accomplishments you want to share with the schools to which you are applying. Some items that may be of interest to admissions committees include:

  1. Additional undergraduate or graduate courses with grades 
  2. Awards or honors
  3. Presentations, posters, abstracts, and/or journal articles on which you were a major contributor
  4. Other significant experiences or achievements that were formative and that you believe made a difference in your understanding of the world

Keep in mind that some schools will not accept updates from applicants, so it is important to find out if updates are welcomed by checking admissions websites, paying attention to communications from the schools, or by contacting the Admissions Office. Find out in what format and when updates would be most helpful. For example, some schools will want a copy of an official transcript that shows recent grades, while others may want you to incorporate your new grade information into your written update. Note that some centralized application services have specific periods of time during which you may update your application.

If you send an update to a school, keep it brief and to the point. Begin your note by expressing your ongoing enthusiasm for the school, and if you can, mention specifically what it is about each particular school that makes you want to attend. Then include your new information. Be careful when sending these that you don't cut and paste information about one school and send it to another by mistake.

Schools will also want to know about any significant negative developments since you submitted your application. For example, if any kind of disciplinary action has been taken or if you have been arrested for any reason, schools may require that you report this to them. Check with your central application service or with the individual schools to which you’ve applied.

Sending frequent or inappropriate updates may cause your application to be viewed in a negative manner. For more about the pros and cons of sending updates, see Judge When to Update a Medical School Application from U.S. News and World Report. If you are not sure about sending an update, check with your Health Professions Advisor.