If you are planning on a health care career that requires graduate school, it’s not too early to prepare. To help, we’ve created a series of roadmaps for health care career success to help undergraduate students get to their goal.
Below you’ll find our freshman year directions. Be sure to check out our sophomore, 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 Freshman Year
|Meet with your advisor. This may be an assigned academic advisor or a health professions advisor who works with students interested in all of the health professions. If you have decided on a career like dentistry or medicine, you may have an advisor for that field. Based on your advisor’s suggestions, you’ll be able to map out the academic courses you need to take as an undergraduate.|
|Set yourself up for academic success. Make sure you know the GPA you need to maintain for the health professions school you hope to attend and set that as your target to achieve or surpass. Find a study group or attend a study skills program to strengthen your study habits. Think about which major and minor you want to pursue.|
|Set yourself up for overall academic success. Find out which clubs or societies at your school are geared toward pre-health students. Joining a club will provide you with an opportunity to start learning how to manage your time, a skill that will come in handy during college. Your college’s academic learning center can offer assistance if you need help. Start thinking about how you will pay for health professions school. This is going to require some planning so getting started early is key!|
During Summer Break Before Sophomore Year
|Prepare. Participate in a summer academic enrichment program like the Summer Medical and Dental Education Program. This program is a free (full tuition, housing and meals) six-week medical and dental school preparatory program that offers freshmen and sophomore students intensive and personalized medical and dental school preparation.|
|Gain Experience. Work or volunteer in a health care environment to learn more about the work of the health care profession you plan to pursue. Talk to practitioners.|
|Do your research. Find and talk with students who are already enrolled in the type of health professions school you plan to attend. Ask if your health professions advisor or career center maintains an alumni database. Spend some time looking at information about your career. Start with ExploreHealthCareer.org’s Career Explorer.|