Making a Health Professions School List

Why the Diamond?

Grad School selection Diamond

The shape of the diamond represents both the order of institution importance and number of schools which should be reflected in your list. For example, state institutions in which you are a resident are the most essential schools on your school list; but they will likely not represent the majority of the list. Private institutions will likely constitute the majority of your list while public institutions in states outside of your residency will be in the minority.

In-State Public Institutions

Whether your state of residency has one or three public institutions make sure you apply to all! Public institutions receive state funds; therefore they are more committed to educating in-state residents! If your state does not have its own institution research reciprocity agreements with neighboring states!

Private Institutions

Private institutions are more independently funded; therefore they often have less preference on a candidate’s state of residency. An informed school list will consist of private schools that the candidate feels their candidacy aligns with the accepted applicant pool.

Out-of-State Public Institutions

Since your state institutions have a preference for educating their own residents, other states feel the same obligation. As a result, spots for out of state students are limited and very competitive! If you choose to apply to these types of schools make sure they are limited.

International Schools

International schools can be a good option for some applicants, but make sure you do your research in order to fully understand the difference between programs and what may be the best fit for you.

Why Limit the Number of Schools?

Many schools utilize centralized application services therefore; the only way an individual school can ask you specific questions is in a secondary application. When you’re in the application process you may receive a number of secondary applications within a small time frame. It is important to respond to these essays within one to two weeks of receiving them. The number and type of secondary essays vary and can potentially add up quickly. You do not want to substitute quality for quantity so a having a manageable number is key. Financial costs and interview schedules are also important factors to consider.

Recommended School List Length

Program Type Recommended List Length
Medicine: M.D. 12-18
Medicine: D.O. 12-15
Dental  12-15
Pharmacy 5-7
Physician Assistant  5-7
Optometry 5-7
Physical Therapy 5-7
Occupational Therapy 5-7
Veterinary Medicine 4-6

Resources to Research Schools

Medicine: M.D. AAMC Medical School Admissions Requirements (MSAR)
Medicine: D.O. AACOM Medical College Information Book
Dental  ADEA Official Guide to Dental Schools
Pharmacy PharmCAS School Directory
Physician Assistant  PAEA Program Directory
Optometry OptomCAS Directory of Schools and Colleges
Physical Therapy PTCAS Program Directory
Occupational Therapy AOTA Find a School
Veterinary Medicine AAVMC Veterinary Medical School Admission Requirements (VMSAR)