First-year Students

Interested in a career in a health field? This is the place to start.

What Should I Do in My First Year?

Fall: Engage

Winter: Plan

  • Make a plan to get clinical experience or, for future, to shadow during the summer.
  • Research places to volunteer next summer.
  • Prepare your resume.

Spring: Dig Deeper

  • Keep studying to maintain a competitive GPA.
  • Stay involved. Evaluate if your fall activities were worthwhile. Continue those, or choose new activities and volunteer work.
  • Look for research opportunities.
  • Apply for summer positions.
  • Declare a major.

Summer: Stay Busy

  • Get clinical experience.
  • Volunteer.
  • Find leadership opportunities.
  • Do research.
  • Work with people, for example, as a camp counselor.

Use this Self-reflection Worksheet to be sure your activities align with your goals.

Where Do I Go for Help?

Group advising meetings for first-year students are held in the fall and spring semester, covering what pre-health courses to take and how to plan for graduate school in a health field. Drop-in Peer Advising from a trained team of upperclassmen is also available. This AAMC Advising Guide outlines how to maximize your time with a pre-health advisor.

This table shows who to talk to or where to go for answers to the following questions:

What if I want to... My Major Advisor Pre-Health Peer Advisors Pre-Health Group Advising My Professor Learning Resource Center (LRC) Advisor in the Major of Interest Dean(s) of Advising
Get help for a personal issue or academic emergency?        
Get help with a class?        
Find out how to get into graduate school?          
Learn more about a major?            
Find help choosing classes for my major?          
Get help choosing pre-med / pre-health classes?          

What Do I Need to Do to Get into Health Professional School?

To get into graduate school for the health sciences, you must demonstrate that you have knowledge of the field, are prepared for the academic rigors of graduate school, and are engaged in your community. Strong applicants show (1) commitment over an extended period of time and (2) passion for the activities in which they engage. If you are going to medical school, look at the AAMC’s recommendations for preparing and the Core Competencies for Entering Medical Students that medical schools will be evaluating.

Fill Your Buckets

How Do I Pick a Major?

Pre-Health/Pre-Med is not a major but a series of courses that are required by health professions programs. When selecting a major, many students opt for one in the sciences, as the coursework will overlap with pre-health requirements. However, the best option is one that interests you and in which you will excel. Know that graduate admissions committees will focus on your grades, especially in science and math courses. You should not attempt multiple majors or minors if it will jeopardize your ability to do well or preclude your getting involved on campus, in the community, or in clinical experiences.

Where Can I Learn More?