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 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.

What are Open File policies for re-applicants?

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 currently in the 2023 admissions cycle, we will have separate deadlines for signing up for Open File. These deadlines will be communicated at a later date, so please check back.

Applicants for Fall 2024 Admission

The HPAC is only able to work with applicants who completed their undergraduate degree at Rice University.

We are currently reviewing and updating our Open File procedures for the 2024 cycle. We will share more information when we hold our Open File Information Session in November 2022. Please check back for more information as we approach that date.


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Office of Academic Advising MS-529

Rice University, Ley Student Center, Suite 132

6100 Main Street

Houston, TX 77005