COVID-19 FAQs

COVID-19 FAQs

 

This page provides information from professional organizations and health professional schools regarding the impact of COVID-19 on admissions and upcoming application cycles. Check back frequently as this information, and guidance from UNC Health Professions Advising, continues to evolve as additional information becomes available.

Last updated April 15, 2020




Yes! Continue to schedule an appointment on the HPA website. You will receive an email with a link to join your zoom meeting at least 24 hours prior to your appointment. Stay tuned to the HPA Listserv and this website for additional programming this semester! Please review this FAQ page prior to meeting with a health professions advisor to maximize the value of your appointment.


Health professional schools continue to communicate responses to COVID-19.  Generally, these  fall into one of these categories:

  • Pass/fail grades will be accepted
  • Pass/fail grades will be accepted, but grades are strongly preferred
  • Pass/fail grades will be accepted, provided the university’s policy is to only award pass/fail grades

Online coursework will be accepted by a majority of professional schools. However, it is recommended that students on a pre-med track take their prerequisites in person.  This summer, consider taking elective courses or satisfy general education requirements, and use the option to take your prerequisites and labs in person at a later date.

These are unofficial, working documents created cooperatively by members of the National Association of Advisors for the Health Professions.  These should be used as tools for general guidance while official policies continue to evolve:

Dental Schools – COVID-19 P/F Policies

Medical Schools (MD) – COVID-19 P/F Policies

Medical Schools (DO) – COVID-19 P/F Policies

Medical Schools (Podiatric) – COVID-19 P/F Policies

Optometry Schools – COVID 19 P/F Policies

Pharmacy Schools – COVID-19 P/F Policies

Physical Therapy Schools – COVID-19 P/F Policies

Physician Assistant Schools – COVID-19 P/F Policies

Veterinary Schools – COVID-19 P/F Policies

UNC’s Emergency Grading Accommodation allows students to declare a course pass/fail through August 7th. This accommodation gives you time to make a well-informed decision based on your health and personal experience this semester.  You may also contact programs directly with specific questions.

Stay focused on your classes. Although we are in the midst of extraordinary times, the rigor of a health professional school will not change. Continue to prepare for this by challenging yourself and work as if you’ll earn a final grade. Remember that resiliency and adaptability are core competencies that all health professional schools seek in their applicants. If you choose to pass/fail a course, be prepared write or speak to your answer why.


Students should confirm this with the professional school to which they have been admitted.


The impact of COVID-19 has changed everyone’s plans for Spring and Summer 2020.  You are not alone.  The most important thing is to take care of yourself and remain flexible for what the future holds. Monitor updates from the CDC and follow social distancing guidelines in your area.  These are ideas – not expectations!

Think creatively about ways you can help your community.  Healthcare workers, the elderly, and the unemployed are all facing needs.  Can you fundraise or help organize donations?  Can you volunteer remotely?  Can you simply check on your neighbor?  If these resources aren’t specific to your area, use them as examples to explore what may be an opportunity near you. Staying active and engaged with your community is healthy for your mind, spirit, and wellbeing.

 

Remote Volunteering Opportunities
Virtual Crisis Counseling
Tutor Online
Science, Conversation and Research
Proofread, Transcribe, Record
Donate

Food & Goods

PPE Equipment, Blood, Medical Supplies, Meals, Child Care

Local and State opportunities from  Carolina Center for Public Service:
Research Professional Schools

Dental:  ADEA, ADEA Dental School Explorer also available to purchase

Medical (MD):  Medical School Admissions Requirements (MSAR)

Medical (DO):  Choose DO Explorer

Medical (Podiatric):  AACPM

Occupational Therapy:  AOTA Find a School

Pharmacy: PHARMCAS School Directory

Physical Therapy:  PTCAS Programs Directory

Physician Assistant:  PAEA Program Directory

Veterinary Medical Colleges:  AAVMC, VMSAR also available to purchase

Post-Bacc Programs:  AAMC Post baccalaureate Premedical Programs

Participate in Virtual Seminars, Fairs, and Info Sessions

These are promoted on the HPA listserv, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!  Listserv emails are also archived on the HPA website.

Stay connected with Student Life & Leadership


COVID-19 Update for Pre-Dental Applicants from the ADEA AADSAS Team 

  • ADEA AADSAS® (ADEA Associated American Dental School Application Service) will open on time. Applicants can open an application on May 12 and start submitting on June 2. While applicants are still encouraged to apply early, please stay safe and know that when you are able to apply, the schools will be ready to review your application. 
  • A new question will be added to the application. The new optional question in ADEA AADSAS prompts applicants to share how COVID-19 has affected their preparation to apply for dental school. 
  • Dental schools are being flexible. Disruptions to transcripts, the Dental Admission Test (DAT) and letters of evaluation are causing anxiety, yet schools are reviewing policies and deadlines to accommodate those affected by the pandemic. For updates from each school, please check the school website or the text listed in the Program Materials section of ADEA AADSAS. 
  • Things are changing daily. The only constant is change. ADEA and the dental schools are committed to informing applicants of updates made throughout this year. Please check our ADEA AADSAS updates page 

As you prepare to apply to dental school, know that we are all working through the disruptions this year. You are joining a profession that is respected and essential to the well-being of our country and health care providers are needed now more than ever. When you are ready to apply, we are ready to assist in the process. 



Osteopathic Medical Schools Adapt Admissions Processes in Response to COVID-19:

The American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM), our Board of Deans, and our nation’s 36 osteopathic medical schools recognize that these unprecedented times have impacted your path toward medical school in numerous ways. As we focus on the health of our nation, it is important to ensure the next generation of doctors are given clear guidance for application and acceptance into medical school. Osteopathic physicians across the country have risen to the occasion during this pandemic. We are honored that you seek to join them in providing individual, holistic, patient-centered care while bravely serving our nation in this time of crisis.

Congruent with our philosophy, AACOMAS participating schools intend to adapt their application review process to the following to mitigate the many obstacles you may face:

  • Accept all pass/fail/satisfactory/unsatisfactory coursework, regardless of whether your school required this, including pre-requisite coursework in the context of your entire academic history
  • Accept all online coursework, including laboratory credits
  • Review your application without all required laboratory coursework, if you can demonstrate that your institution was unable to provide these courses due to COVID-19; proof of completion may later be required
  • Review your application and extend interview invitations prior to receiving your MCAT score, by evaluating experiences, academic metrics, and attributes that you have demonstrated in your application. In some instances, our colleges will accept you without MCAT scores, but many will await required MCAT scores before extending an offer to join a class
  • Consider reducing the required number of health care experience hours and other extracurricular experiences you planned to complete

Most of our schools will continue to require a letter of recommendation from a physician (DO or MD).

If you plan to take an MCAT exam, please ensure you are currently registered for an upcoming exam and indicate your planned MCAT date in your AACOMAS application. We encourage you to apply early and when ready without MCAT scores. As in previous application cycles, AACOMAS does not delay the delivery of your application without MCAT scores.

If any of your institutions cannot provide official transcripts due to this pandemic, the AACOMAS application will provide an exception process for you to get your application verified and delivered to the colleges you select in your AACOMAS application. Keep in mind that our colleges will require official transcripts when operations resume at your previous attended institutions.

It would add value to your AACOMAS application to answer the COVID-19 essay that will be presented to you. This is your opportunity to highlight how you have dealt with and shown perseverance during this pandemic.

We encourage you to continue to apply early and when ready. Now more than ever, our communities need physicians that are willing to face uncertainty. We wish you the best of luck in your journey to enter the field of medicine.

These additional COVID-19 questions have been added to the application and are optional:

  1. Did your school move to offering only online curriculum during the COVID-19 crisis?
  2. Did you have an opportunity to receive a letter grade for any of your courses taken during the COVID-19 crisis?
  3. Please describe how COVID-19 has impacted your pathway to medical school. (2500 characters) Items to consider incorporating in your response may include but are not limited to:

Academic:  Were you able to interact with your professors?  Did you have to leave an academic program stateside or abroad?  Did your school require you to move to pass/fail grading systems?  Did your MCAT exam get cancelled or delayed?  Other academic barriers?

Professional:  Did you hold a job?  Did you have to go out and seek new job opportunities?  Did you lose a job?  Other financial or professional barriers that you faced?

Personal:  Did you have to move out of a house or dorm?  Did you have to cancel travel plans?  Did you modify your planned experiences related to healthcare or volunteer opportunities?  Did you seek out volunteer opportunities that arose from the crisis?  Did you assist any family or community members that were affected?

All other updates in response to COVID-19 can be found on our COVID-19 Resource page.


The AACPM, and the nine colleges of podiatric medicine it represents, recognize the extraordinary situation current and future students are experiencing during the COVID19 pandemic. If you have found that your previous pathway to a physician discipline has been disrupted during this extraordinary COVID19 pandemic, we wish to reassure you that your new pathway will be recognized and honored as “special circumstances beyond your control.” We are taking action to offer current and future applicants the appropriate accommodations to alleviate fears and concerns during this application cycle. We are all in this together.

The AACPM is suspending, in part, its current Traffic Rules to mitigate requirements for the following:

  • Official MCAT – The colleges have agreed to temporarily waive Item II.5 of the AACPMAS Traffic Rules for the remainder of the application cycle, which states “Schools and colleges will not take final admissions action, including a request for deposit or a matriculation agreement, prior to the receipt of an official MCAT, or DAT, standardized test score. An official score is accepted only through the AACPMAS program.”

If your spring MCAT, or DAT, has been cancelled, this means the school or college now has the prerogative to modify testing requirements for you. Each school or college will provide you with their specific modifications. Additionally, the AACPM and its colleges of podiatric medicine wish to confirm the following:

  1. Acceptance of online and/or distance learning prerequisites: all schools and colleges will accept Spring 2020 prerequisites that are delivered via online or distance learning.
  2. Courses taken as Pass/No Pass: all schools and colleges will accept Spring 2020 prerequisites that are graded Pass/No Pass
  3. In-person Interviews: Interviews may now be conducted via video-conference technology or other acceptable means.

While the AACPM is a resource for you during the application process, we do encourage you to reach out to the schools and colleges of podiatric medicines’ offices of admissions for additional guidance on starting or completing an application. Contact information for each college can be found here.


Updated COVID-19 Information for Current and Prospective Optometry Applicants  

OAT Exam 

All Prometric testing centers where the Optometry Admission Test (OAT) Exam is given are closed in the US and Canada. Candidates may continue to schedule appointments. Prometric will be monitoring the situation closely, and will provide updates accordingly. More information can be found at https://www.ada.org/en/oat. 

OptomCAS 

The OptomCAS application for the 2019-2020 cycle will now remain open until June 15, 2020 (original date was May 27) to allow applicants who are still applying more time to submit their application. Please check the OptomCAS website for each institution’s deadline. OptomCAS plans to continue to process applications without any interruption. Additional information for applicants can be found at https://help.liaisonedu.com/COVID-19. 

The 2020-2021 OptomCAS cycle for entering class 2021 will launch as planned on June 30, 2020. For the 2020-2021 cycle, OptomCAS will accept unofficial transcripts due to the interruptions and delays that undergraduate institutions are experiencing. Instructions for this process will be included on the OptomCAS application once it launches.  

Acceptance of Online and Pass/Fail Courses 

Our schools and colleges of optometry are currently working on adjusting their admissions processes to accommodate applicants who have been impacted by COVID-19. ASCO in the process of collecting information on the acceptance of online and pass/fail courses from each of our schools and colleges of optometry. This information will be available shortly. If you have questions in the meantime, please contact the institutions directly. 


Visit the PharmCAS COVID-19 webpage to understand how pharmacy admission policies have been modified to date in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This site contains COVID-19 Pharmacy School Admission Policies with the following data points:

  • Online Interviews
  • Online Course Prerequisites
  • Pass/Fail Course Prerequisites
  • Course Prerequisite Waivers and Substitutions
  • PCAT
  • Health Documentation Requirements for Matriculated Students
  • Criminal Background Checks and Drug Testing

Pharmacy admission policies may change over time and not all Pharm.D. degree programs are reflected in these reports. Students are strongly encouraged to reach out to colleges and schools of pharmacy directly with any questions. Visit the PharmCAS School Directory for contact information and contact cas@aacp.org with general questions about these reports.

PCAT

Due to the temporary closure of Pearson VUE test centers through April 30, PCAT registration will open to students on May 4, 2020 for the testing dates in July 2020, September 2020, and January 2021. Pearson has also extended the registration and schedule deadline for the July administration to June 1, 2020. Pearson strongly suggests that you register and schedule as soon as possible to get your preferred testing date, time, and location. Visit the PCAT website at pcatweb.info for the latest information.

The PCAT testing dates on April 2 and 3, 2020 were previously cancelled. Registered candidates have been notified by Pearson VUE via email. Affected students should contact PCAT Customer Relations at Scoring.Services@Pearson.com, if questions.

PharmCAS will be able to match July 2020 PCAT scores to applicant files in both the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 cycles, based on the applicant’s account. All PharmCAS applicants should continue to send their official PCAT scores to School Code 104. Review the Pharmacy Admission Policies section above to view school-specific PCAT policies for the remainder of the 2019-2020 admissions cycle.