PreHealth application Information Review (PIR)

Washington University's Institutional Support Process

How to Use the PIR System

The PIR process is designed to provide us with the information we need to support your application. We do not rank applicants; we support everyone. Your advisor will use the PIR materials to understand your narrative and to give you constructive feedback.
You will use your PIR portal to collect and submit letters of recommendation and to share materials with your PreHealth advisor.

STEP 1: Create your PIR account. (First time users only)

STEP 2: Download and begin working on the PIR Questions

STEP 3Submit your PIR Answers, Personal Statement, Resume and List of Activities

STEP 4: Once you have been assigned a PreHealth Advisor you will receive instructions on how to set up a PIR appointment, be sure your materials are successfully uploaded 2 weeks before you Schedule your PIR Appointment! The deadline for PIR appointments is APRIL 1st. LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION ARE SUBMITTED BY YOUR FACULTY LATER AND ARE NOT DUE APRIL 1.

Instructions for the PIR system and Letters of Recommendation for A&S, EN, Olin, or Sam Fox students.
Instructions for the PIR system and Letters of Recommendation for Post- Baccalaureate students.

What if I Miss the April 1 Deadline for Completing My PIR?

Juniors who do not complete their PIR materials and meet with their advisor by the deadline are not eligible for an institutional letter of endorsement (cover letter). *Please note: materials are due for some advisors up to 2 weeks prior to the appointment; students must factor this into their planning. Our experience is that juniors who have not crafted a personal narrative and completed their PIR benefit from more preparation time before they apply.   We urge you to complete your PIR in your senior year, apply at graduation, and make plans for a gap year.

Seniors who miss the deadline may be granted an extension* but we still strongly urge you to take more time to be fully prepared to apply, even if this will mean two gap years.  This advice is based on data (below).

In 2018-2019, we endorsed 47 first time A&S applicants who were not admitted to medical school.  19 of those applicants had a science gpa below 3.2 or an MCAT below 500.  Of the remaining 28 with with BCPM > 3.2 and MCAT > 500, 13 or almost half had incomplete PIR materials at the deadline.  80% of the first-time applicants we endorse are admitted, but having incomplete PIR materials by late spring poses a significant risk factor for non-admittance and is best avoided.

*Extensions will not be granted past the end of May.  Applicants who have not completed a PIR appointment by the end of May are not eligible for a cover letter.

Should I apply this Cycle?

The application process is best summed up as one of finding the right fit for the school and for you so that a match can be made. As you go into the application process, it is important to examine, critically and reflectively, not only your scores and experience but also what they mean to you and to the schools to which you apply.

Well-prepared candidates have found the aspects here to be significant to their applications. Consider the degree to which each statement represents your own readiness for the current cycle.

If, after considering your readiness in these regards, you think a gap year might be in your best interest, your pre-health advisor, as well as the pre-health advisors in the Career Center, are happy to help you generate options.

What if I Have to Reapply?

Many successful physicians applied to medical school more than once!  The AAMC encourages reapplication after thoughtful reflection. 

If reapplication is part of your path to medicine, that’s ok, and we want to help.  Some medical schools will give applicants feedback on their applications, so it is definitely worth investigating whether this option is available to you.  After carefully assessing your prior application using these reflection questions, discuss your responses with your prehealth advisor, who can help you with a strategy for next steps.

Ideal PIR Timeline

In the year you plan to apply...

Complete your PIR materials before returning from winter break

Your PIR includes: the PIR responses, a draft of your personal statement, the activities section, and a resume. *Letters of recommendation are not required for your PIR appointment.

Schedule your PIR appointment early in the Spring Semester

Students who are able to incorporate feedback from their prehealth advisors are able to make improvements on their final PIR materials and ultimately their applications to medical school. The PIR appointment deadline is APRIL 1.

Submit your AMCAS Application in June

We have evidence that, all things being equal, if you apply in June you will have a higher success rate than if you wait to apply later in the summer.

Requesting Letters of Recommendation

Letters of Recommendation for Medical Schools

Specific Advice for Remote Recommendation Requests


Guidance For PreMeds Applying in June 2021

Recommendations are an Important Piece of your Application

Find out more about what is required, how to secure strong letters, and logistics.

Learn More

Applying for Entry in 2022?

You should have already been assigned an advisor (January of Sophomore year). Without an advisor you will not have a PIR appointment, which means we will not be prepared to write a cover letter on your behalf. If you are applying for 2022 and do not have an advisor, it is your responsibility to let us know you need an advisor assigned. The PIR appointment deadline is April 1st of the year you will apply.

Request a PreHealth Advisor

Our Application System

What is a PIR?

The PreHealth application Information Review (PIR) system is

  •  a means for you to provide your prehealth advisor with the information we need to write a strong letter of support for you (the cover letter)
  •  a place to collect your letters of recommendation, which you will eventually send to medical schools.
  •  an opportunity for you to self-assess, to rehearse and refine your narrative and get your advisor's constructive feedback, as practice for every part of the application from AMCAS to interviews.

The PIR system DOES NOT

  • require you to have faculty letters submitted before your advisor PIR meeting
  • send emails to your recommenders

If you opt out of our process we will not be able to offer our support in the form of our cover letter. Please take the time to complete your PIR materials thoughtfully and carefully. We have found that students who submit these documents without full reflection compromise their chances of a successful application process.