Open File Information for Pre-Health Professions Applicants

Making the decision to apply to graduate schools of health professions is only the beginning. It is important that students considering allopathic and osteopathic medical school, dental, veterinary, optometry, and podiatry schools take the time to assess their personal goals and understand their motivation to apply. As a student, you want to apply when you are the strongest, most competitive applicant. If you have assessed yourself and made the decision to apply, it will be important to devote the proper time and energy into the application process. The Office of Academic Advising is dedicated to helping you through this process.

What is the Health Professions Advising Committee (HPAC)?

The Health Professions Advising Committee’s (HPAC) role is to write formal committee letters of evaluation for students applying to graduate schools of health professions. This in-depth, personalized letter of evaluation accompanies individual letters of support (requested by the student) to form a Committee packet. Ultimately, the OAA and HPAC aim to create a letter that best represents a student’s candidacy for admission. Admission committees value these letters because they provide an integrated and institutional perspective on an applicant’s readiness for graduate study and a future career in the health professions.

What is Open File?

As part of the process to create these letters and help applicants produce stronger applications, the HPAC requires students applying to graduate schools of health professions to participate in the “Open File” process. This process includes providing the Committee with relevant information, including a curriculum vitae, draft personal statement, and answers to a variety of informational interview questions. This information is then used to craft a committee letter of evaluation.

As part of the Open File process, the OAA also manages the receipt of all individual letters of support and ultimately submits a full Committee packet directly to the various health professions application services to accompany each student’s application.

Re-Applicant Policies
  • Students who have been accepted to any medical school (MD or DO) or dental school in the United States in a previous cycle are NOT ELIGIBLE to use the Health Professions Advising Committee letter or Open File process. (Please note that this policy does not apply to Rice-Baylor Scholars, UTH-McGovern Humanities Assured Acceptance Program students, FlexMed students, or any students who may have been admitted to a combined Bachelors-Medical School program from high school when they applied to college).
  • Students may only receive the Rice HPAC committee letter a maximum of three (3) times, meaning you can only receive committee letters for three of your submitted applications. If this will be your fourth time submitting a medical/dental school application and receiving an HPAC letter, you are NOT ELIGIBLE to sign up.
  • Reapplicants currently in the 2024 admissions cycle have until March 15, 2024 to register for Open File and be eligible for all Open File services. The absolute last day to register is May 1, 2024. Those who apply between March 15 and May 1 will not be eligible for a pre-application appointment but will still receive a full cover letter.
  • Reapplicants who are currently in a medical school application cycle and waiting to hear back from medical schools are welcome to apply for Open File and withdraw when accepted. A full refund will be granted.
General Open File Policies
  • Applicants who apply after the January 12 deadline will not be eligible for services such as a pre-application appointment or committee letter. A cover letter will be written instead.
  • Pre-application appointments can be rescheduled for good reason. Applicants will not be eligible for a pre-application appointment if there is a no-call, no-show or last-minute cancellation without good reason. Pre-application appointments can be rescheduled once.
  • Application must be filled out, and the fee must be paid by the deadline. If you feel as though you may not be able to pay the fee, please email

    Applicants for Fall 2025 Admission

    The OAA will hold two Open File sessions for students seeking admission to medical or dental schools for Fall 2025. Attendance at both sessions is expected of those interested in participating in Open File for the 2025 admissions cycle.

    Assessing Your Candidacy - Advisors provided students with information to help them assess how ready they are for medical school and look for ways to create a stronger application.

    Open File 101 - Open File launch session with details on what is expected of Open File participants.

    Applications for Open File 2025 are now open. Payment and registration links are in Part 1 of the Open File Guide below. The HPAC can only work with applicants who have completed or will complete their undergraduate degree at Rice University.

    Open File Guide for 2025 Cycle

    Open File Timeline


    Monday - Friday

    8:30 am - 12:00 pm

    1:00 pm - 5:00 pm 


    Phone | 713.348.4060

    Email |


    Office of Academic Advising MS-529

    Rice University, Ley Student Center, Suite 132

    6100 Main Street

    Houston, TX 77005