Planning Your Path

Not sure which health field you want to pursue? Which courses you need to take? What you need to apply? We're here to help you plan your path.

Health care is an exciting and varied field. The more courses you take and the more co-curricular experiences you acquire, the more information you will have to inform your decision about a path that is right for you.

It's important to understand that professional program requirements can be completed alongside any major. First-year students are advised to start slowly and move into a more demanding schedule after a year, once you know exactly how much you can manage. Two science courses (including math) each semester during your first year is probably enough.

Take stock of whether you are enjoying the ideas in your science coursework. Almost half of the health care fields do NOT require advanced coursework in chemistry or biology. A graduate program based on prerequisite courses you truly enjoy may be a better choice.

Are you specifically interested in medical school?

Medical schools will evaluate applicants on these competencies. Medical schools also want to see evidence that applicants understand the challenges as well as the rewards of being a physician. Shadowing or clinical volunteering that allows a prospective student direct observation of the physician role is essential. Click here to download data from the AAMC on undergraduate experiences of accepted medical students. Note that the few students who did not engage in clinical volunteering were probably MD, PhD applicants who appropriately focused their time on research.

Timeline for PreHealth Students

There is no right or best timeline for preparing for medical school. That being said, some general guidelines...

Students Join MyPreHealth

Early in the Fall semester, all incoming students are invited to join the MyPreHealth system for upcoming events, information, and programming notifications.

MyPreHealth Portal

PreHealth Advisors assigned after completion of canvas course

After the first year, students who registered in MyPreHealth will receive an announcement with a link to self enroll in the noncredit Canvas course, A Reflective Guide for Prehealth Students. Students may complete the assignments as early as the summer after their first year, or any semester after that. A PreHealth advisor is assigned after completion of the course.

Link to Canvas Course

To Gap Year OR Not to Gap Year

Half of our students take at least one gap year, a gap year is never a disadvantage. Students who do not opt for a gap year have a lot to do before June after the Junior year including: take all required coursework for the MCAT, take the MCAT, secure three strong faculty recommendations (including two from science faculty), develop a portfolio of evidence of a strong interest in the welfare of others , and engage in enough clinical experience to demonstrate a mature and thoughtful choice of vocation.

Gap Year Stories

Required Programming: Official MyPreHealth Strategy Meeting

In the year leading up to application to medical school (maybe senior year, maybe after graduation, maybe junior year), students will work closely with prehealth advisors and staff to craft application narratives. Our fall program (Break into Medical School), an official MyPreHealth Strategy meeting, Personal Statement Workshops; and the Junior Jumpstart program are all part of executing an excellent application. A Strategy Meeting by the end of March is a REQUIREMENT for our institutional letter of introduction and endorsement. All medical schools expect this institutional letter; other health care graduate programs vary in expectations.

Link to Canvas Course

Application to Medical School happens in June

No matter what year you plan to apply, it must be in June. We have statistical evidence that applying later in the summer puts you at a disadvantage.

Your PreHealth Journey

Find Your PreHealth Path

Evaluate your longterm goals and consider these possibilities as you plan your time as an undergraduate. Still not sure which field you're interested? Check out the wide range of health field options and learn more about the career path for you.

Explore Path Options
Requesting Letters of Recommendation

Course Planning, Recommendations & Requirements

About half of PreHealth students choose to spread the coursework out, or take additional time to prepare for an entrance exam. These students apply the summer after the senior year, and work during their “gap year” while they are interviewing for professional school. Many students who opt for the gap year report that they wanted to create time to study abroad, or gain more experience outside the classroom in clinical settings, before they applied.

Find Your Courses

Course Credits & Grade Requirements

Students with a wide range of credentials apply successfully to medical school. Furthermore, holistic review of medical school applicants is real, and students with lower grades and MCAT can be successful applicants. See your prehealth advisor to develop a strategy.

Review Requirements


Your academic advisor is an excellent resource, or you can email us.

Contact our Team