A portal application is used by the California State University system and also by many professional programs. This type of application allows prospective students to fill out basic information required by all programs and universities and then submit more specific information directly to each program. 

Cal State Apply

This screen shot is what you will see when you create an account for any CSU program. 

Screenshot of the application process on CSU program website 

Basic information is required in the three quadrants labelled Personal Information, Academic History and Supporting Information. Specific program information that you must submit is described in the Program Materials quadrant. This could include your resume and essays as well as other supplemental questions. You may create your account by applying to just one or two programs and you can add additional programs to your list by clicking on the Add Program tab. This takes you to a directory of all CSU campus programs.

It is best to look at the applications for your targeted schools early on in your process as some programs require extensive written materials. A few programs are not listed as they are administered by Extension programs and have their own applications. Check the CSU website for the campus you want to attend to find that information.

Professional Schools

Medical school, dental school, law school and others also use portals, a system that makes it a little easier to apply to multiple programs. The portals and their associated professional organizations, combined with the websites of individual university programs and your university advisors, are the best sources of information about the prerequisites, requirements and the application process for each of these types of professional degrees. 

Review the application process well in advance of when you will apply as this will help you get organized and know your timeline. Some of the information in this section overlaps with the advice found in the Personal Statement section, but the information here focuses on the portal itself. 

Medical School

The Association of the American Medical Colleges (AAMC) has a website that will provide you access to the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS). This is the portal through which you will eventually submit your application materials. The site also contains a wealth of information including a medical school preparation timeline, information about the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), admissions requirements, how to prepare for medical school interviews, and how to finance your degree. There is also a search engine for Postbaccalaureate Premedical Programs.

Dental School

The American Dental Education Association (ADEA) administers the centralized application form for most dental schools through the Associated American Dental Schools Application Service (AADSAS). However, if you want to apply to a dental school in Texas you will use the Texas Medical and Dental Schools Application Service. The dental school application submission period generally opens in June and runs through February, with schools making provisional offers beginning in December. You may also be required to submit additional materials to each school to which you apply. For more information view this YouTube video: What I learned on my Dental School application journey that presents the views of various dental school applicants and see this ADEA timeline which provides an excellent roadmap on what you need to do to prepare for dental school. The Dental Admission Test (DAT) is the exam required to apply to dental schools.

Physician Assistant Programs

Approximately 90% of training programs for the Physician Assistant profession participate in the Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA). Physician Assistants work under the supervision of a medical doctor and are usually part of a team. PA programs grant either a Master in Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS), a Master in Health Science (MHS) or a Master in Medical Science (MMS). There are over 220 programs in the US and the application cycle runs from April every year until the following March with program start dates varying by school. You often have to show substantial work experience in a clinical setting and submit additional materials when you apply. For example, the UC Davis program requires 1,000 hours of either paid or volunteer work and invites a select group of applicants to apply for UC Davis admissions after the initial CASPA screening process. You can find more information about the profession at the Academy of American Physician Assistants (AAPA).

Master in Public Health

The Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health (ASPPH) administers the centralized application service for many participating public health schools called SOPHAS (Schools of Public Health Application Service). SOPHAS has a checklist of requirements that includes a Statement of Purpose and Objectives. But even though much of the information is aggregated, including test scores, CV and GPA/grades, you are able to write a custom statement for each institution you are applying to. Make sure to check the requirements for each school/program. For a Master in Public Health you will be required to submit scores from the Graduate Record Exam (GRE).

Law School

To apply to Law School you will need to create an account at the website of the Law School Admission Council (LSAC). The LSAC website has a link to the Credential Assembly Service (CAS), the website where you will eventually submit your transcripts, letters of recommendations and LSAT score when you are ready to apply. The site also provides you with a great deal of preparatory information about law school. There are search engines to look for appropriate schools, an overview of the application process and information on Forums in various cities where you can talk to representatives from many schools.

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