Open File Information for Pre-Health Professions Applicants

Making the decision to begin the application process 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. Once you have assessed yourself and decided 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.

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.

Open File Information Sessions

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 high school activities paragraph, 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.

Open File Information Sessions are intended for all students who plan to apply to graduate schools of health professions for matriculation in Fall 2022. In each session, we will address important details about the application process, including deadlines and advice for submitting the strongest possible application. Save-the-date for this year’s upcoming session.

Please click here to access the recording from the November 12 Open File Information Session.

Open File Policies Beginning for Fall 2023 Admission (New)

1. 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).

2. Students may only receive the Rice HPAC committee letter a maximum of three (3) times. 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.

3. If you are a re-applicant, the deadline for you to contact the OAA (by emailing to join the HPA 2023 cycle is Wednesday, June 1, 2022. We cannot accommodate any reapplicant's request to join Open File after that time.

Applicants for Fall 2022 Admission

Click here to access the Open File Guide.

Registration for the Open File 2022 Cycle closed at 10:00 AM CT on Friday, January 29th, 2021. For information about late registration, please reach out to

If you have questions about registration or need any assistance with the Open File process, please email

Below is the timeline for the 2020-2021 Open File process and health professions application cycle for Fall 2022 matriculation. (Click here to download this timeline as a PDF.)

Open File 2021 Timeline

Office | Ley Student Center, Suite 132

Click here to schedule an appointment with an OAA advisor.

Phone | 713.348.4060, 713.348.2637

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