We shared tips in this post for undergrad freshman pursuing health care careers that require graduate school. Now we focus on what you can do sophomore year to move that much closer to your goal.
You can also check out our junior and senior year directions, as well as our general health care education guide here.
Keep in mind that like GPS routes, there is always more than one way to reach your goal. These timelines were developed for undergraduate students thinking about applying to a health professions school in order to matriculate right after graduation.
Many students, however, will choose to do other things after graduating, like taking a glide year before graduate school to work, do service, take more courses and generally enhance their preparation for their chosen careers. For every kind of student, there may be a different timeline. For more specific information and help with your plans, consult a health advisor or faculty member at your college or university. The end goal is for you to be able to prepare and submit a strong application to the health professions schools of your choice.
During Sophomore Year
|Get specific. Select your major and minor. Create a checklist of courses you will need to satisfy your major and minor and to apply to the health professions schools you are considering. Create a plan that incorporates those courses into the next three years if possible, but remember that doing well in your courses is critical. You may need to work with your advisor on a plan to complete some pre-health courses after graduation if your course load is heavy. The key is to find a challenging but manageable course load you can handle.|
|Prepare for exams. Now is the time to make sure you will take or have taken courses needed to prepare for your entrance exams for health professions school. Most health professions schools assume students will take the exam in the spring of the year they are planning to apply. This may be the spring of your junior year, if you are a strong enough candidate to apply that year, or the spring of your senior year. And remember, you can wait for an even later spring, if that’s when you will be ready.|
|Get involved. Get more involved in the health professions clubs you have joined. Sign up to organize events or join a committee. Find and participate in online and in-person recruitment fairs for the career you are interested in. Plan early for summer. What summer enrichment programs do you want to apply to? What are the requirements?|
During Summer Break Before Junior Year
|Prepare. Participate in a summer program, enroll in summer school or work/volunteer in a health care environment similar to the one you hope to work in. Many (not all) enrichment programs offer stipends so you can conduct research, work with children or examine a cadaver while getting paid!|
|Gain Experience. Participate in a summer program, enroll in summer school or work/volunteer in a health care environment similar to the one you hope to work in. Many (not all) enrichment programs offer stipends so you can conduct research, work with children or examine a cadaver while getting paid!|
|Do your research. Start researching the entrance exam you will have to take. When are the registration dates? How will you study for the exam? What can you do to ensure your success? Purchase review books and consider whether you need an online or in-person course. Make sure the books and courses follow the actual content of the entrance exam.|