Primary and Secondary Applications

Primary Applications

Most health professions schools require that students complete a computerized, primary application similar to the common application to college, which allows basic information to be collected centrally, and then transmitted to the schools to which you have applied. Each profession has a different primary (sometimes called "standardized") application.

Expect to spend about five hours on the data entry aspects of the application, and considerably more time developing your essay and activities list.

The primary application asks you for a broad range of basic information, including:

  • Biographical data such as your name, address, date of birth, citizenship, etc.
  • Information about where you took college courses, and grades from all of your undergraduate courses
  • Activities you've engaged in since high school
  • Entrance essay(s)
  • List of schools to which you are applying
  • Copies of your official transcript(s) from any colleges or universities that you have attended (transcripts are sent directly to the application service, not to individual schools).

The HPA Pre-Application Interview process helps students to prepare important portions of their application, including their list of activities with narrative descriptions.

Applications open at different times, so be sure to check the deadlines for each school that you apply to. Because many schools admit students on a rolling admissions basis, you are encouraged to complete and submit the primary application as quickly as possible.


Application Services for Different Health Professions



Physician Assistant (PA)


Public Health


Secondary Applications

Once you have submitted your primary application, some health professions schools will require that you submit additional information, as determined by individual schools. These applications are generically referred to as secondary, or supplemental applications.

Almost every allopathic or osteopathic medical school requires a secondary application. Some schools send secondaries as soon as the primary has been submitted. Some schools wait until after the primary application is processed. Still others will wait until the primary is processed, and then screen applicants based on the primary, and only send secondary applications to selected applicants. Secondary applications for medical school often involve one or many essay questions, and often involve a fee, averaging around $75. For allopathic medical schools, the Medical School Admissions Requirements (MSAR) publication lists the secondary application policy for each school. Expect to spend significant time writing essays in late June and July.

Dental school supplemental information is minimal in comparison to medical school. Information on each school's requirement is listed on the primary (AADSAS) application. Required information may include a high school transcript, photo, fee, an official copy of DAT scores and/or transcripts, and possibly other information (it varies widely by school).

For more information, see the HPA FAQ on secondary applications.