Deciding When to Apply

The best time to apply is when your application is strong enough to reach your goals

Work with HPA to reflect on your preparedness for health professions school, based on your understanding of what it takes to be a successful applicant. If you know that there are aspects of your candidacy that you could improve dramatically, you may want to reassess your timeline of application. In most cases, it's better to devote time, energy, and money to strengthening your academic record, gaining health-related experience, or otherwise becoming a stronger candidate. rather than to an application process when you aren't confident in your candidacy. 


Clinical Experience

Standardized Test Timing

Letters of Recommendation

Time Commitment

Potential for Improvement

Burnout and Overall Readiness

Glide Year Considerations

Over 75% of Princeton applicants take time off between graduation and health professions school matriculation.

Students who wish to take time off before beginning professional school may start the HPA preapplication process in their senior year or wait until after they’ve graduated. It can be helpful to gather letters of recommendation from Princeton faculty and staff prior to leaving campus.

Your age when you decide to apply does not bias medical schools against your application. The average age of matriculating medical students is 24, so taking a year or two off does not harm your chances.

As you decide when to apply, it's okay to start the preparation for your application -- it's much easier to start preparing and then postpone than to have to scramble at the last minute to pull an application together. Applying early in your chosen application year is to your advantage since most schools are on a rolling admissions policy. You should plan to submit your application in June. HPA prepares students throughout the academic year to be ready to apply in June.