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Pre-Health COVID-19 Updates

UH Interim Grade Policy Recommendation:

The University of Houston has implemented an Interim Grading Policy due to the impact of COVID-19. Be sure to review the policy carefully prior to making a grade decision. See here for steps and deadlines for reviewing and requesting grades changes.

Importantly, our office recommends that all Pre-Health students strongly consider accepting letter-grades for all courses, especially courses that count as pre-requisites for your specific healthcare pathway (i.e., medical, dental, PA school, etc.). You should only consider accepting/requesting a Satisfactory grade if you believe you will receive a C or lower in a course—and it is recommended you retake pre-requisite courses in which you receive the S-grade to try for an A or B.

We have received a number of emails from students asking if they should accept the Satisfactory for grades of B- or better—of course not! While some health professional programs are continuing to accept Pass/Satisfactory grades in pre-requisite courses due to COVID-19, this is not universal. Moreover, letter-grades are still preferred among admissions committees if the option is available. You will be a more competitive applicant with an A or B in a course, compared with an S. The Satisfactory grade is not as diagnostic of your performance in a course or as useful to a committee making admissions decisions compared with a letter-grade (which is why Pass/Satisfactory grades have not been historically accepted).

Additionally, TMDSAS (the primary application for Texas medical and dental schools) and AACOMAS (the primary appliation for non-Texas osteopathic medical schools) have indicated that NCR grades will be treated the same as (F)ailing grades within the GPA calculation. Therefore, if you believe you will fail a course, it is recommended that you Withdraw, rather than opting for the NCR.

If you have additional questions, you may email You should also always speak with your major advisor before making a grade option decision.

Application Timelines:

At this time, your application timeline need not be significantly altered because of COVID-19. Thousands of applicants are experiencing the same issues across the nation and health professional schools are aware of the issues that applicants are facing (e.g., delayed MCAT, DAT, TEAS, etc. testing dates) and are adjusting their application review processes accordingly.

TMDSAS has released an updated timeline for EY2021:


Health professional schools are still determining how these issues will impact their application review process, but most programs plan to extend their application review timeline to accommodate delayed applications and supporting documents (e.g., letters, scores, transcripts).

Specifically, TMDSAS does not require test scores to process applications, so applicants should not delay applying simply because a MCAT or DAT score is not yet available. TMDSAS member institutions understand that scores will be available later in the cycle and will evaluate applications as scores are submitted to TMDSAS. The schools will use the time allotted from the new timeline to review applications and extend interview invites, ensuring that applicants are not adversely affected.

Finally, many application services and secondary applications will have additional sections and questions allowing you to describe any COVID-19 related issues (academic, professional, financial, personal) that you have encountered that may have impacted your application.

  • Allopathic Medicine: The 2020-2021 AMCAS appliation will still open on May 1st. AMCAS has moved the transmisson of applicant data to medical schools from June 26th to July 10. Therefore, you should take your time completing the application.
  • Osteopathic Medicine: The 2020-2021 AACOMAS application will open on May 5th. Applicants should wait to submit until at least June 15, as processing does not begin until that date. Three COVID-19 questions have been added to the appliation for this cycle. Applicants are encouraged to answer all three questions. Additionally, AACOMAS is accepting unofficial transcripts, if an official transcript cannot be provided due to COVID-19 disruptions.
  • Optometry: 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. Additional COVID-19 Impact questions have been added to the application.
  • Dentistry: AADSAS will open on time. Applicants can open an application on May 12 and start submitting on June 16. Additionally, a new question will be added to the application that prompts applicants to share how COVID-19 has affected their preparation to apply for dental school.
  • Nursing: The University of Houston College of Nursing has announced that the application deadline for the Traditional BSN Track has been extended to June 1st. For more information, please visit the UH College of Nursing website.
  • Physician Assistant: PAEA has added a COVID-19 hardship essay to the CASPA application which will allow applicants to express how the pandemic has impacted their pathway to becoming a PA. This essay is optional, will be up to 2500 characters in length, and PAEA will continue to have the essay in CASPA for at least the next 5 application cycles.

Application Open Dates


Open Date

Earliest I can submit?


[Texas Allopathic, Osteopathic, and Dental]

May 1

Anytime (after Spring grades are posted)


[National Allopathic]

May 4

May 28


[National Osteopathic]

May 5

Anytime (after Spring grades are posted)


[National Dental]

May 12

June 16 (*changed from June 2)



June 30

Anytime (after Spring grades are posted)


[Physician Assistant]

April 30

Anytime (after Spring grades are posted)


[Physical Therapy]

July 2

Anytime (after Spring grades are posted)



July 18

Anytime (after Spring grades are posted)


Additional Links & Resources:

Select updates from Texas Medical, Dental, and Veterinary programs that participate in TMDSAS can be found here. For national updates, you may refer to this site.

ADEA ADSAS updates for dental applicants can be found here.

COVID-19 Opportunites for Pre-Health students

Click here to view volunteer opportunities through the Texas Disaster Volunteer Registry.

AAMC Tips for Virtual Interviews