Professionalism in the Application Process


Serving others through a career in the health professions requires responsibility, sensitivity, maturity, good judgment, and leadership and interpersonal skills. Your interactions with faculty and fellow students, internships, and service in the community all help you obtain those qualities that are collectively considered as professionalism. When applying to medical, dental, veterinary, or other graduate schools, you need to convey that you are ready to undertake a serious professional career. Below are a few helpful reminders for this process.

Communication with health professional schools

  • When choosing user names for email accounts, online web applications, and other online forms, always choose a professional sounding username.
  • Do not write any email correspondence to schools as if you were text-messaging or e-chatting with a friend. It is easy to do, so always carefully read over your emails before you send them.
  • Create a basic signature file containing your name and contact information.
  • Change your voicemail greeting to a "professional" greeting in case admissions officers decide to contact you by telephone. Sometimes admissions officers will call to invite a local applicant to a newly opened up interview slot. Do not have a long musical interlude before your voicemail activates.
  • Make sure to check both your voice mail and email daily. Always reply promptly to messages sent to you by health professional schools.

Online Persona

The enormity of public spaces on the Internet means that it is likely there is a significant amount of information about you on various web sites. Keep this in mind and recognize that admissions committees often check online to find out additional information about applicants.  You should review "How Do I... Make Sure Social Media Doesn't Hurt My Chances?" on the AAMC web site for perspectives from medical school admissions officers about how social media can have an impact on the application process.

  • “Google search” yourself to see what is out there about you. You do not want to be caught off-guard by somebody’s web page that might be unflattering to you.
  • Facebook, Tmblr, Instagram etc. accounts are not always as secure as they purport to be, so check your privacy settings often and also check what might be posted about you on your friends' web pages.
  • What you post on blogs and websites can be archived; just like email, nothing is ever truly deleted. If you are posting sensitive information, make sure it is in an area absolutely inaccessible to admissions committees.
  • Even sites like Twitter, where content changes rapidly, can provide a way for admissions officers to form an opinion about you. Throughout the admissions process, it is a good idea to exercise discretion with online posts of any kind.
  • Make sure you present the portrait that you want these admissions committee members to see; you never know if one of them may want to look at your profile. Medical and dental students who serve on admissions committees and have their own profiles are web-savvy and can look you up. You might also be surprised at how skillful many admissions officers and faculty are in finding information about applicants through the Internet.