ʻImi Hoʻōla Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)



Effective September 1, 2020.  Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the ʻImi Hoʻōla Post-Baccalaureate Program will accept applications for the ʻImi Hoʻōla Class of 2021-2022 via secured email.

Applicants should upload and submit only 1 (one) application per cycle.  Any updates to an application must be emailed to imihoola@hawaii.edu by November 1.  Applications received via electronic delivery or postmarked by 11:59 pm on November 1 will be accepted.Late or incomplete applications will not be considered.


~If you mailed your application via USPS prior to 9/1/2020, do not resubmit your application online.  A confirmation email will be sent to you by 9/21/2020.


Effective 4/17/2020, in alignment with JABSOM admissions, the ʻImi Hoʻōla program is implementing the following changes due to the current COVID-19 pandemic:

  • ʻImi Hoʻōla will now accept pass/fail grading policies for Spring and Summer 2020 coursework due to undergraduate schools’ changes in grading policies due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The MCAT must still be taken within 3 years of the anticipated year of matriculation into medical school.  The deadline for MCAT for the regular MD program has now been extended from September 30 to October 31, 2020.  Therefore, applicants to the ʻImi Hoʻōla program who are being considered for the 2022 entering JABSOM class, must take the MCAT between January 2019 to October 31, 2020.  More information is available on the JABSOM Office of Admissions webpage.
  • Online lab courses will now be accepted starting with Spring 2020 and may be used to fulfill prerequisite requirements for General Biology, General Physics, General Chemistry, and Organic Chemistry as outlined on the JABSOM Admissions Requirements page.

Please continue to monitor our website and FAQ pages for updates.

1.  How do I apply?

All applicants are required to apply to the University of Hawaiʻi John A. Burns School of Medicine through AMCAS AND submit a separate application to the ʻImi Hoʻōla Post­-Baccalaureate Program. The ‘Imi Hoʻōla application can be found at http://jabsom.hawaii.edu/ed-programs/imi/admissions/


2.   Do I need to take Cell & Molecular Biology as a prerequisite to the program?

Starting with the ʻImi Hoʻōla incoming class of 2020-2021, Cell & Molecular Biology will no longer be a required science prerequisite to the ʻImi Hoʻōla Post-Baccalaureate Program.  More information about the change to the science prerequisites can be found on the JABSOM Admissions page at https://admissions.jabsom.hawaii.edu/prospective-students/admissions-requirements/


3.    What types of students are considered for participation in ʻImi Hoʻōla?

The ʻImi Hoʻōla Post-­Baccalaureate Program provides educational opportunities to individuals from socially, educationally, or economically disadvantaged backgrounds that have demonstrated a commitment to serve in areas of need in Hawaiʻi and the US Affiliated Pacific Islands. Please refer to page 2 of the ʻImi Application Booklet for more information regarding application requirements (i.e., Ties to Hawaiʻi and the Pacific, Disadvantaged criteria, and Academic requirements).


4.    Do you pre-screen applications to the program?

We do not prescreen or pre­-qualify applicants to the program. If you think you may qualify and believe that you would be a good fit for ʻImi Hoʻōla, then you should apply. Our application does not have an application fee.


5.   Is it possible to deliver an application in person?

No hand-delivery of application packets will be allowed.  Only applications postmarked by November 1 will be accepted. Any application materials that are postmarked after the application deadline of November 1 will not be accepted.


6.   For sending in the application, is there a specific type of envelope that is preferred? For example, a standard letter envelope or a flat rate envelope? Is sending the application in through certified mail allowed?

There is no specific type of envelope preferred.  It is at the applicant’s discretion as to how you should mail your application.  If it is sent via certified mail, personnel in our central mailroom will sign for it.  Please note that all applications must be postmarked by November 1st.


7.  Can a recommender write their own letter of recommendation or do they need to complete the form provided in the application?

A recommender should attach their own letter of recommendation along with the completed form included in the application packet. Letter writers should address all of the questions that are asked within the letter they write on behalf of the applicant since these questions are part of the evaluation process.


8.    Will I receive a notification when my letters of recommendation are received?

The only way we can update applicants on the status of their application (i.e. receipt of letters of recommendation on their behalf), is if we have received the 10­ page application form from the applicant. Letters of recommendation that are submitted prior to receipt of the application are filed into an applicant folder, but without the contact information provided on the 10­ page application form, we are unable to notify them.


9.   Will I receive a notification about my application?

The Program will send out a status email to the email address noted on current applications after December 1.  No status updates will be provided between October 25 and November 30.  Applicants should be mindful of these time periods when submitting their applications and should plan on meeting the application requirements well ahead of the November 1 submission deadline.


10.  Can letter writers submit the letter of recommendation and forms through/by U.S. mail or fax?

As of August 2018, letters of recommendation must be submitted via email to imihoola@hawaii.edu by the recommender by November 1.  No faxed, hand delivered, or mailed letters will be accepted.


11.  Can the deadline for the letters of recommendation be extended?

We are not able to extend the deadline or make any exceptions to our policy.  All application materials, which include letters of recommendation, must be emailed by November 1 to be considered. For more information about our Programʻs admission requirements (including academic requirements), please visit our program website at http://jabsom.hawaii.edu/imihoola.


12.  Can I use the same letters of recommendation that I submitted to JABSOM on AMCAS?

Applicants are able to use letters written from the same recommenders for the ‘Imi Ho’ōla application process; however, ‘Imi has specific questions that will need to be addressed in the letter that they submit.  Along with the letter, they will also need to complete, sign, and submit the Recommendation Form via email to imihoola@hawaii.edu.


13.  How many letters of recommendation can I submit?

Two letters of recommendation must be submitted via email to imihoola@hawaii.edu.  It is at your discretion if you want to ask more letter writers, however, we will only accept the first two letters of recommendation received.


14.   Will you accept letters of recommendation from Interfolio or a similar system?

Letters of recommendation must be submitted directly from the recommender via email by November 1st.  No third party recommendation letters will be accepted.


15.   Can we submit our application before our MCAT scores are out (for the sake of getting it in earlier)?

You are welcome to submit your application before you receive your MCAT score. Please keep in mind that applicants are assessed on the most recent MCAT score, so it is this score that must meet the academic requirements.  MCAT scores will be a part of the application review process.


16.  What academic components are reviewed in the admissions process?

ʻImi Hoʻōla conducts a holistic review of potential applicants which does include the most recent MCAT scores and GPA as part of this process.


17.   Do I need to send my official transcripts and submit my MCAT score as part of my application, or do you get it from the AMCAS application?

Official college transcripts are not required to be submitted with your application.  You will not need to submit your MCAT scores with your application, however, you must enter the date of your most recent MCAT on the application.


18.  One of the essay questions states, “Describe why you want to pursue a career in medicine.  What key experiences have influenced this decision?”  Would I need to copy and paste my personal statement from the AMCAS application? Or would I need to elaborate my personal statement much further?

Although your personal statement for your AMCAS application and Essay B for the ʻImi Hoʻōla application both ask the applicant to address why the applicant wants to pursue medicine as a career, we suggest that when applying to ʻImi Hoʻōla, you take into consideration the mission of our program and determine whether your professional path and career goals align with the mission of the program.


19.  In the application form for the experiences section, is there a character limit for the experience description?  Does the description need to fit in the two lines given for each entry?

There are 2 lines allocated for your a brief description of your experience.   An additional page may be added if more space is needed. Please review your application before submitting it to ensure that your text is visible and legible.  The length of the brief description it is up to the applicant as to what you would like to share.


20.   Should secondary materials, such as a curriculum vitae or AMCAS personal statement be turned in with the application?

Secondary materials, such as a CV or additional essays, should not be turned in with the application.  Essays B & C in the ʻImi Hoʻōla application form is an opportunity for applicants to include additional information about themselves and their backgrounds. Applicants can use this space to provide any additional information that may not be apparent elsewhere in the application.


21.  Can the information I provide on my application be updated after the November 1 deadline? 

All application information received by the November 1 deadline is included in the applicant review.  Additional information regarding coursework and activities after that date is not forwarded or included in the admissions process (with the exception of required prerequisite courses that are still in progress).


22.  My citizenship status is Permanent Resident. How should I report that I am a Permanent Resident on the application? 

If you are a US permanent resident/green cardholder, you must indicate permanent resident on the citizenship line.


23.  The application asks for tax return information. If I did not file any tax return and/or was claimed as a dependent by someone else, do I complete the Annual Income of Applicant section?

If you are claimed as a dependent by your parents and did not file a tax return in your name then you will not need to complete the Annual Income of Applicant section. If you were claimed as a dependent on your parents’ tax return, please complete the Annual Income of Parent(s) section.


24.   Are there additional courses that would help strengthen my basic science foundation?

JABSOM Admissions lists recommended courses that have helped students strengthen their basic science foundation prior to medical school. Some of the courses listed are Anatomy, Calculus, Cell and Molecular Biology, Genetics, Immunology, Microbiology, Physiology, and Statistics.  More information about these courses and other recommendations can be found on their website https://admissions.jabsom.hawaii.edu/prospective-students/admissions-requirements/.


25.   What are some resources I can access as a pre-medical student?

These are just a few resources that have been helpful to students in the past.