Question of the Week: Planning My First Fall Schedule

Friday, Sep 6, 2019

Hi HPA – What recommendations do you have for courses for an incoming premed student?
Welcome to Princeton! Our best advice for the first semester is to take a balanced, open-minded approach in classes and activities. Try something new and don't try to do too much--give yourself room to adjust to expectations.  And remember that you’re here to become a broad and critical thinker, an effective communicator, and a problem solver; you’re not just to do what you have to do on your way to becoming a doctor. Take advantage of the liberal arts curriculum and the incredible opportunities that Princeton provides in these four years as a time of enrichment and growth, not just as a means to an end: you’ll miss so much if you take the latter approach.
Practically speaking, when it comes to classes:

  • Read our “Preparing Guide” for many tips – it’s linked here:
  • Start with one lab science course, ideally Gen Chem (CHM 201) if you don’t have AP Chemistry (for AB students – BSE students will take more).
  • The Health and Medicine Related Classes document we create may give you inspiration for gen eds:
  • Talk with HPA Peer Advisers for their perspectives on a balanced schedule.
  • Run your schedule by an HPA adviser at the Academic Expo on Monday, at course registration on Tuesday, or during Drop-In Hours all this week.
  • Use add/drop strategically – you can “shop” classes until September 24, so don’t be afraid to change your schedule around as the year begins.

Also, if you’re thinking about becoming a dentist, veterinarian, physician assistant, pharmacist, optometrist … you’ll still need a lot of the same courses, and we’d still recommend Gen Chem as your first college science.  Learn more about other careers and their prerequisites on our website: