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 2022 admissions cycle, the deadline for you to contact the OAA (by emailing to join the HPA 2023 cycle and receive a Pre-Application Appointment is March 11, 2022. After that time, the OAA can only provide the full-length committee letter through Wednesday, June 1, 2022. Following June 1, we cannot accommodate any reapplicant's request to join Open File.

Applicants for Fall 2023 Admission

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

The recording from the Open File Information Session from Tuesday, November 9, 2021 is now available! Please click the link below to access the recording:

Open File Information Session Recording for Fall 2023 Applicants (ENTER PASSCODE: ewSr8!6U)

Registration for the Open File 2023 Cycle will open at 10:00 AM CT on Wednesday, November 10, 2021, and will close at 10:00 AM CT on Friday, January 14th, 2022. Please note that registration for Open File is a two-step process:

  1. Pay the Open File Registration Fee
  2. Complete the HPA Applicant Information Form

You will not be considered registered until both steps are complete. If you have questions about registration or need any assistance with the Open File process, you may email

Rice Pre-Med Society Personal Statement Workshop (November 17): Juniors and seniors register here.

Multiple Mini Interviews List (as of July 2021)

Open File Guides

Part 1 - Getting Started

Open File Guide - Part 1

What you will find in this guide:

  • Instructions for registering for Open File
  • Detailed overview of required materials
  • A guide on requesting letters of evaluation
  • Information on researching schools
  • And more!
Part 2 - The Application

Open File Guide - Part 2

What you will find in this guide:

  • Instructions on submitting updated materials for the HPAC
  • Application manuals
  • Letters of evaluation processing
  • Transcript submission
  • Information on secondary applications and interviews
Part 3 - The Ongoing Application Process

Open File Guide - Part 3

What you will find in this guide:

  • An FAQ for all of your questions about what happens after you submit your applications
Box Resources for 2023 Cycle Applicants

Box Resources (current students log in using Rice e-mail; alumni use personal e-mail that you registered for Open File with)

Below is the timeline for the 2021-2022 Open File process and health professions application cycle for Fall 2023 matriculation. Click here to download this timeline as a PDF.

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