A Brief Summary of What to Expect

The HPA website is rich with information - here are some good starting places for students in each class year.


  • Read your Preparing for a Career handbook!
  • Establish your support group. Meet the HPA staff, and get on HPA email listservs, as available. Meet your Deans and Directors of Studies. Make friends.
  • Strive to do well in your classes – go to tutors, join study groups, attend office hours, and get to know faculty.
  • Develop and improve your time management and study skills, and spending habits (schools may request your credit report, plus, applying to health professions schools is expensive).
  • Create a resume, journal, or other way to track all of your activities, awards, and accomplishments.
  • Over the summer, pursue an internship, volunteer position, or research opportunity in your profession of interest.


  • Investigate potential health professions schools and their entrance requirements and plan classes accordingly.
  • Find balance between co-curricular activities and (academics come first, but take care of yourself and find good stress relievers)!
  • Declare your concentration, develop a graduation timeline.
  • Reflect on your continuing motivation to become a health professional – you’ll have to articulate your reasons in your personal statement and it’s never too early to refine them.
  • Meet with HPA to talk about strengths and areas for improvement in your candidacy.
  • Continue summer involvement in employment, research, volunteering, and personal enrichment activities.


  • Look into standardized test (MCAT, DAT, etc) prep. Register to take the exam in the spring (if direct entry) or 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 in the fall to get a sense of the application process, if desired.
  • If applying direct entry: Prepare pre-application materials, ask for letters of recommendation, and have pre-application interview.  Apply in June.
  • Look into fellowships with early fall deadlines (e.g., Fulbright, Rhodes).


  • Apply for fellowships, post-bac programs, or other glide year activities.
  • Come to an Applicant Workshop in the fall.
  • Schedule an Applicant Intake appointment to discuss candidacy.
  • If taking one "glide year": Prepare pre-application materials, ask for letters of recommendation, and have pre-application interview. Apply in June.
  • Come to Applicant Seminars in the spring, apply in the early summer.

Postgraduate Years

  • The application process to medical school takes about 15 months. Between two-thirds and three-quarters of Princeton applicants apply in their senior year (taking one "glide" or "gap" year off between Princeton and medical school), or take even more time off before returning to the application process.
  • Taking time off takes pressure off of MCAT timing, allows students to apply after completing the thesis (and accruing a strong letter of recommendation from the thesis adviser), and gives students an opportunity to gain some real world experience before embarking on the next step in their education.