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Candidacy Assessment

Your preparation for application to medical schools should always begin with assessment of your individual candidacy. Use the Pre-Health Pillars Candidacy Assessment as a guide to self-assess and plan to speak with a Pre-Health Advisor about your progress. 


Pre-Health Pillars Candidacy Assessment 


AMCAS: American Medical College Application Service

  • This application is used for allopathic medical programs.

AACOMAS: American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine Application Service

  • This application is used for osteopathic medical programs.

TMDSAS: Texas Medical and Dental Schools Application Service

  • This application is used to apply to medical, dental, and veterinary schools in the state of Texas. 

Applications open each year in early May. Dependent upon the application service(s) most applicable to you, submission may begin in May or early June. Although closing deadlines are not until September - December, you should apply in early summer due to the application verification and rolling admission cycle.

Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)

Applicants should complete the MCAT no later than April prior to the application cycle beginning in May. The test consists of four sections: 

  1. Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems
  2. Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems
  3. Psychological, Social and Biological Foundation of Behavior
  4. Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills

Test Preparation Resources

There are many types of test preparation resources that vary in cost and approach. Pre-Health Advisors do not endorse any of the providers below, but are happy to speak with you about how you might identify the style of preparation that best fits your needs.

AAMC How I Studied for the MCAT Exam Testimonials: Tips from students who self-identified as having performed well on the exam. Profiles include insight on student performance, overall study approach, tips, any challenges they faced and overcame, and "do's and don'ts" to be aware of.

Source Cost Level
AAMC Interactive Content Tool: What's on the MCAT? Free
AAMC Creating a Study Plan Guide Free
Khan Academy MCAT Collection Free
Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs): Coursera and EdX Free

AAMC Materials:

Official Guide to the MCAT Exam, Fourth Edition
Study for the MCAT Resources
Practice for the MCAT Resources
Practice with Exam Features



Dr. Flowers MCAT Low - Mid
Exam Krackers Low - High
NextStep Test Prep Free - High
Kaplan Test Prep Free - High
Princeton Review Free - High
Altius Test Prep Free - High

Selecting Schools

It is essential to select schools that are not only a good fit for you academically, but also a good fit for your values, skills, interests, and that will help you become the professional you want to be. Take time to research programs prior to the application process. Here are some factors you should consider:

  • Admission requirements: coursework and clinical experiences
  • Intstitution's mission, goals, curriculum, grading system
  • Size of cohort / class
  • Location. Where do you want to live? Where will you have a support network in place? What is the cost of tuition and cost of living?
  • Where will you complete your clinical rotations? What type of patient population will you serve (i.e. urban, rural)? Will this provide the experiences you hope to gain?
  • Does the school's mission and training focus align with your professional interests (i.e. research, personalized medicine, rural medicine)?

Recommended Length of School List:

  • 12-15 Allopathic
  • 12 -15 Osteopathic  


Guidelines for Making a School List 

Letters of Evaluation (LOEs)

You may submit a minimum of three and a maximum of ten individual letters on the AMCAS application. Letters may be sent electronically through the AMCAS Letter Writer Application or Interfolio letter service. 

You should determine any specific LOE requirements from programs of choice. However, letters are most commonly required by: 

  • Science Faculty (2)
  • Non-Science Faculty (1)
  • Faculty Advisor
  • Employer
  • Research Mentor
  • Healthcare Provider
  • Volunteer Manager


 Guidelines for Letters of Recommendation

Personal Statement

Your personal statement is a distinctive aspect of your application. It begins with reflection. Consider the following questions to begin:

  • Why do you want to become a physician? Why is this the profession you have chosen instead of another?
  • Think back to your experiences volunteering, shadowing, researching, studying abroad. Can you provide a specific story that deeply impacted you and your decision to become a physician?
  • What do you want the committee to know about you as a person or future colleague? What makes you a good fit for the profession?

AMCAS: 5,300 character limit (including spaces and punctuation)
AACOMAS: 4,500 character limit (including spaces and punctuation) 

While there is no formal prompt, the application services additionally suggest considering the following topics:

  • What motivates you to learn more about medicine?
  • What do you want medical schools to know about you that hasn't been disclosed in other sections of the application?
  • Have you experienced any special hardships, challenges, or obstacles that may have included your educational pursuits? 
  • Commentary on significant fluctuations in your academic record that are not explained elsewhere in your application.


Personal Statement Guidelines
Pre-Health Advising Personal Statement Reviews (by appointment)
UVA Writing Center


Request official transcripts from all institutions attended. Make sure to carefully follow AMCAS, AACOMAS, and TMDSAS instruction manual guidelines for specific details on transcript submission to the application service. 


UVA Registrar's Office 

Interview Preparation

Pre-health mock interviewing is available to students and alumni preparing for or currently in the health professions application cycle. Interviews are one hour and include a feedback session aimed at increasing your readiness and confidence before an actual admissions interview. To schedule a mock interview complete the following steps.

  1. Schedule Your Mock Interview With an Advisor: Contact the UVA Career Center at 434-924-8900 and indicate you are requesting a Pre-Health Mock Interview or schedule online through your Handshake account.

  2. Come to the Career Center to be Interviewed: Please dress as if this were a real interview. By doing so, you can become comfortable with an interview situation dressed in professional attire. The Pre-Health Advisor will provide feedback as to appropriate interview attire. If you do not have interview attire at this time, please dress in the most appropriate outfit you have available.


Interviewing for Health Professions Admissions

Statistics for Medical School Applicants

The statistics reported below include all applicants who chose to designate the University of Virginia as their designated school for application purposes. Those applicants identified their academic work at UVA as anyone with: 

  1. Post-baccalaureate work,
  2. Bachelor's degree,
  3. Graduate degree (Masters, Doctoral),
  4. Other degrees (Professional, Other), or
  5. No degree. 

Additionally, statistics are not reported for applicants who chose to withhold their information from Health Professions Advisors on their centralized application (AMCAS / AACOMAS). 

Allopathic (MD) School Applicants

  Number of Applicants Number of Accepted Percentage Accepted Number of Applicants Number of Accepted Percentage Accepted
2014 331 182 55% 47,810 20,740 43%
2013 466 241 52% 43,454 20,519 44%
2012 450 253 56% 43,548 19,735 45%
2011 431 254 59% 32,423 19,585 46%

Osteopathic (DO) School Applicants

*The Osteopathic Medical School Application Service (AACOMAS) only reports the number of applicants who chose to matriculate, not the number of applicants who were accepted.

  Number of Applicants Number of Matriculants Percentage Matriculated Number of Applicants Number of Matriculants Percentage Matriculated
2014 108 36 33% 18,181 5,362 29%
2013 111 35 31% 16,708 5,896 35%
2012 83 25 30% 15,173 5,258 34%
2011 88 32 36% 14,304 5,098 35%