The Committee Process for Applicants to Medical, Dental, and Veterinary Medical School

Applicants to medical, dental, and veterinary medical schools are expected to complete the PPHS 1800 and PPHS 3400 courses and are eligible to participate in the PPHS committee process. Graduates can continue to take advantage of the PPHS program even after they leave campus. (Applicants in fields other than medicine, dentistry, and veterinary medicine do not participate in the committee process, because their application services typically do not rely on committee evaluations.)

Each applicant is assigned a committee chair, who reviews the applicant’s records, confirms their readiness to apply, and provides advice about the application process and interview preparation. A valuable part of the PPHS committee process is the “mock interview,” where the applicant is questioned by a panel of SPU faculty and staff and receives formative feedback to consider in advance of an actual interview at a professional school. Following the mock interview, the committee chair writes a letter on behalf of the interview committee to summarize the applicant’s accomplishments and suitability for training in medicine, dentistry, or veterinary medicine. A comprehensive committee letter supplements the assessments provided in individual letters of recommendation and is considered to be an excellent mechanism for conveying each applicant’s potential for success as a health care professional.

SPU’s Pre-Professional Health Sciences program and committee process have been advising students and alumni for over 25 years. The admissions committees at professional schools are familiar with the committee process, and many are also familiar with SPU’s particular program. Our records indicate that candidates who apply to professional schools with the support of the PPHS program are able to submit competitive applications and are admitted to professional schools at a rate much higher than the national average.

The committee process involves multiple steps with deadlines ranging from approximately January to July each year. Applicants are expected to meet with the PPHS director and their committee chair and to share personal information that is relevant to their application, such as test scores and copies of their personal statement. In addition, applicants must request supporting letters of recommendation from professors, clinical preceptors, and other mentors. Applicants are also responsible for ensuring that their test scores and college transcripts reach the application service. All these steps must be addressed before the committee letter—with the other supporting letters attached to it—can be submitted to the application service.

Applicants are encouraged to prepare their application materials well ahead of the deadlines so that they can receive feedback early enough to address any deficiencies. Applicants who are unable to meet the expectations of the committee process may not receive a timely committee letter, jeopardizing the overall success of their application. Applicants who do not gain admittance to a professional school are able to participate in the committee process again, after they have made necessary adjustments to their application.

More information about the committee process is available to members of the SPU community ( login required).