Preparing Your Candidacy for Pre-Health Juniors

Students who planned activities carefully and did well academically may strong enough candidates to apply for health professional school as juniors to matriculate directly after graduation. Most of our applicants, however, apply senior year and take a “glide” or “gap” year between Princeton and professional school for a variety of reasons.

Juniors should carefully consider whether or not their candidacy, holistically, is strong enough to help them reach their goals. Remember, if you apply "direct entry," this is the last year of grades that will appear on your transcript, the last set of faculty whom you can approach for letters. You will navigate standardized test preparation during the spring as you complete junior independent work, so careful time management is critical.

Junior year should be a continued time for gaining leadership experience, fostering relationships with faculty and others who will write your letters of recommendation in the future, and ensuring that medicine is truly right for you, through clinical experience, self-reflection, and talking with mentors about your plans. By now, older peers you may have known at Princeton may be in health professions school or in the application process – be sure to talk with them about their experiences!

Any student considering applying should attend an HPA Applicant Info Session in the fall semester. Dates will be announced via Vitals and on Facebook.

Other resources to provide guidance:

Highlighted FAQs

Juniors To Do List

  • Look into standardized test (MCAT, DAT, etc) prep. Register to take the exam (by May if applying direct entry; over the summer if taking a glide year).
  • Check in with HPA to assess your strengths and areas to improve as a candidate.
  • Continue to gain leadership and clinical experience.
  • Foster strong relationships with faculty -- you'll need letters of recommendation soon!
  • Come to an Applicant Workshop to get a sense of the application process.
  • Look into fellowships with early senior fall deadlines (e.g., Fulbright, Rhodes).

For additional things to consider, check the Dean of the College's Junior Action Plan.