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Health Professions Advisory Board (HPAB) Process

Welcome to Penn’s HPAB process for medical and dental school applicants!


Please note: The steps below detail the process for the current cycle with matriculation in Fall 2023.  Please check back in December 2022 for the complete details of the updated committee letter process for matriculation in Fall 2024.


Click on the steps below to expand upon each component of the HPAB Process and see the deadlines for this cycle:

Attend a Medical School Applicant Orientation:

  • There are 3 dates for the Medical School Applicant Orientation, starting in December and ending in February.  The registrations are open now!
    • December 2nd, 2021 at 7pm via Zoom
    • January 21st, 2022 at 4pm via Zoom
    • February 2nd, 2022 at 12pm via Zoom
  • There is 1 date for the Dental School Applicant Orientation: February 23rd, 2022 at 1pm via Zoom.
  • NOTE: Make sure to log into the Zoom session with your Penn email address and/or full name visible so your attendance can be documented.
  • TIP: You can find and register for all pre-health events via upenn.joinhandshake.com/events when you filter by “pre-health event” label:

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Read your Applicant Manual:

  • The manual is updated yearly and has all the information you need to know! More often than not, your questions about the process are already answered in the manual.
  • Access the PDF version of the manuals here:


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Open your Credentials File:

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Schedule an Advisor Interview:

  • Within 2 days of attending the Orientation, you must call 607-UPENN CS (607-873-6627) to schedule your Advisor Interview.  Interviews are scheduled on a rolling basis, starting two weeks out.
    • December Orientation Attendees must call January 11-12 between 10am-6pm
  • Advisor Interviews must be completed by April 8th, 2022 in order to be eligible to receive the full unabridged committee letter.
  • Click here for further instructions if you have already completed your Advisor Interview in a previous cycle.

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Complete all HPAB Documents prior to your Advisor Interview and upload them to your AMS portal: https://uapps.vpul.upenn.edu/csonline

You can view a video tutorial introduction of AMS here: https://upenn.box.com/s/mhm56384h75pxy7pq69uss3f0mo3kw5w

  • Photo – An appropriate headshot (no group/inappropriate photos, please).
  • Expanded Resume – There is an example of the expanded resume in the AMS portal.
  • BCPM GPA – There is an example of the format in the AMS portal.
      • Note: If you have taken BCPM courses at another institution, you will create a separate table for Penn BCPM courses and outside institution BCPM courses. You should calculate the BCPM GPA for Penn and outside institutions separately, and then include the total calculation for all courses at the bottom.
  • HPAB Short Essays – These responses are a way for your advisor to get to know you and to help you prepare for medical school applications and interviews.
      • 300 word maximum for each response.
  • NOTE: If you do not see the options to upload all of the above documents, please send a screenshot of your AMS checklist page to rtamayo@upenn.edu so we are able to resolve this as soon as possible.
  • If you have any trouble with submitting these on AMS, first make sure you are using the correct file type (JPEG under 1MB for the photo and PDF for the resume & GPA), and then try using a different browser (Firefox seems to work well for most). If these tips do not work, please reach out to Becky at rtamayo@upenn.edu.

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Have you already completed an Advisor Interview?

If you have already attended an Orientation and completed an Advisor Interview in a previous cycle, there are a few steps to take to update us:

  1. Email Becky at RTamayo@upenn.edu to notify the office that you will be applying this cycle.
      • Provide your best contact phone number and email, and indicate the type of programs you will be applying to (MD, MD/PhD, DO, Dental).
  2. Update your HPAB materials on AMS by April 8th:
      • Expanded Resume
      • BCPM GPA
      • Essay questions 6, 7 & 8 if anything has changed for those responses (if not, please resubmit your previous responses)
      • LOR Form dated for 2022
  3. If you would like to update your advisor on anything new since your last meeting, you must complete all the above documents and then you will be able to request a pre-health advising appointment on Handshake.

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Attend your Advisor Interview:

Complete the HPAB Information and Waiver forms to complete your Credentials File registration process:

      • Send both completed forms to rtamayo@upenn.edu prior to your Interview.
      • NOTE: We cannot accept digital/Adobe font signatures. Please draw your signature into the document.
  • Be sure to arrive to the meeting on time, whether it be in-person or on Handshake Video Conference!


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Secure at least 3 Letters of Recommendation in your AMS Credentials File by May 13th:

  • Review advice on requesting Letters of Recommendation here.
  • Complete the Confidentiality Agreement Form in full and send one to each of your recommenders.  The form below has important information for your letter writers regarding formatting (letterhead, date, signature) and submission via email:

  • The Confidentiality Form should accompany the letter of recommendation and be emailed by your recommender to vpul-letters@pobox.upenn.edu.
  • We include a “Pronouns” section to ask how you would like us to refer to you in the Committee Letter, and also to provide your letter writers with this information as they write their letters. If you wish for us not to use pronouns and to only refer to you by name in the letter, you can just enter your name!
  • You can check which letters have already been received and processed by accessing your AMS portal and selecting “Check Status of Letters of Recommendation” on the home page.
  • Please note, letters may take 3-5 business days for processing before appearing on your AMS Recommendations page. If the letters are received by May 13th, they will still count towards your 3-letter minimum, even if they do not yet appear as available in your AMS portal.


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Submit your LOR form via AMS by May 20th:

  • The List of Recommenders (LOR) Form is how you designate exactly which letters you would like to be included in your HPAB Packet.
  • There are two options to enter your Recommender information on the LOR form:
      • The drop-down “Select” menu where you can choose from the letters already on file.
      • The text fields to manually enter the information. Please manually type in any letters that have not yet been received by the office if you plan to use them in your packet.
  • You must submit separate LOR forms for each type of program you intend to apply to (MD, DO, MD/PhD, etc).
      • NOTE: If applying to more than one type of program, please submit the first program LOR, check that your first LOR form was submitted properly via the “View List of Recommenders Submitted” link, and then submit your second LOR.  Our office is able to see all submissions, so you do not have to send us any PDFs of your LOR forms.
  • You can update your List of Recommenders Form throughout the summer, but we will always use the most up-to-date LOR Form when we finalize your Committee Letter and packet.

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Upload your completed application to AMS:

  • https://uapps.vpul.upenn.edu/csonline/appdoclist.aspx?d=app
  • If you have technical and/or logistical questions about your primary application, please consult the Applicant Manual or the instruction guides provided by AMCAS or AACOMAS. There is also an AMCAS FAQ page and an AACOMAS FAQ page. Finally, you can reach both organizations via telephone and email. More often than not, you will find the answers to your questions through these resources.
  • Transcripts: Request a “paper copy” via Penn-In-Touch, input the mailing address for AMCAS and/or AACOMAS, and then email the “Transcript Request Form” from AMCAS/AACOMAS to the Registrar’s office (transcripts@upenn.edu) on the same day. We will not be able to answer any further questions about official transcripts. If you have any questions, contact the Penn Registrar at 215-898-6636 or review their website.
  • Letters of Evaluation Section: Please indicate that you will receive a “Committee Letter” from your Pre-Health Advisor (NOT a “Letter Packet” or “Individual Letter”). If you do not know who your advisor is, feel free to contact Becky at Rtamayo@upenn.edu. If you need more explanation of this, please see the Applicant Manual linked above.
  • AMCAS Letter ID Form: After completing the Letters of Evaluation Section, you will receive a Letter ID Form. Please do not email any of us this form. Save it for your records, as you will need the Letter ID number when you make your Credentials Request. We will never need a copy of this form.

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Request your HPAB Packet:

  • https://uapps.vpul.upenn.edu/csonline/prequest.aspx
  • Check AMS to confirm your LOR form reflects the letters on file. If not, your LOR form must be updated before requesting.
  • ALL checkboxes on your Document Checklist must be marked completed before you will be able to request.
  • Please note, packets will require 7-10 business days for processing and submission.
  • Detailed instructions will be sent in the days leading to the Credentials Request opening date, July 18th, 2022 at 12pm EST.

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Optional Resources:

  • The Pre-Health Newsletter is distributed 1-2 times a week and includes important information about pre-health events and opportunities.  Click here for subscription directions.
  • You can find detailed statistics for Penn applicants to Medical and Dental schools on our website.
  • The Pre-Health Advising office offers several resources and programs to help you write your personal statement. The best place to start is our website, which has links to articles and blog posts to introduce you to the genre and answer basic questions.
      • If you need additional help, we also offer a webinar for Getting Started on your Personal Statement (found on Handshake events) and Pre-Health Personal Statement Review appointments in the spring semester.  Further information will be emailed to current applicants when they become available.
  • Interview Resources:
  • In the fall semester, Penn Career Services offers mock interviews for traditional-style interviews and MMI interview workshops to help applicants prepare for schools that utilize Multiple Mini Interviews.
      • Each applicant may have one traditional mock interview and one MMI workshop.
      • All mock interviews and MMI workshops will be held remotely via video conference.
      • We do our best to accommodate all applicants, but we cannot guarantee we will be able to schedule you before your first interview.
      • Please do not delay scheduling your mock interview or MMI workshop once you know you need one.