The most frequent questions we hear from first- and second-year students are “How do I get started in Pre-Health?” and “Am I on the right track?”
The year-by-year guideline below will help to address these concerns. Please note that you can begin preparing for a career in health at any point in your time as an undergraduate or even after graduation. Every path is different, so there’s no falling “behind” in your readiness for a health career. We will advise you after graduation, until you reach your health career goals.
Pre-Health Year 1—Getting Acclimated, Making a Plan
- Get acclimated and develop study skills—grades matter! Check out the resources at http://success.gatech.edu.
- Explore your career options in health with your advisors or at explorehealthcareers.org.
- Listen to your inner voice and explore personal interests with the hundreds of student organizations on campus.
- Get to know faculty members (a.k.a. future letter-writers) during office hours.
- Explore possible service and clinical opportunities for future reference.
Pre-Health Year 2—Refining the Plan, Learning More
- Keep your grades up! Visit faculty, form study groups, and use success services.
- Get involved in a clinical setting. Shadowing is great, but it’s not the end. Look into clinical volunteerism.
- Maintain your faculty relationships with a visit to your past faculty each semester.
- Get involved in extra-curricular, co-curricular, and volunteer opportunities to showcase your leadership and service orientation. Remember that professional schools will want to know what you contributed (depth, not breadth).
- Explore undergraduate research opportunities.
Pre-Health Year 3—Thinking About the Application
- Keep those grades up again! If a strategy isn’t working in a class, try a new approach.
- Sustain your engagement in a clinical setting. You may grow in responsibility or patient access.
- Take on additional responsibility in organizations in which you are a member.
- Begin thinking about your professional school applications.
- Prepare for standardized testing.
- Evaluate whether you are ready to apply or consider adding a bridge year (or years!) between your graduation from Georgia Tech and the start of medical school. The majority of medical school matriculants now take at least one bridge year after graduation.
- If applying to medical school, complete your application, letters, and testing for upload in June. (See “The Application Process” for details.)
Pre-Health Year 4—the Application Year (or continued preparation)
- Keep up your grades! You’re an old pro at academic success by now.
- Keep up your clinical engagement! You’ll want to discuss your clinical work at interviews or showcase it in upcoming applications.
- Avoid “senioritis.” You’ll want to position yourself for possible reapplications by continuing your engagement with service, organizations, and/or research.
- Dazzle professional schools with thoughtful responses to requests for supplemental applications (i.e. “secondaries”) and in interviews.
- Consider applying for bridge year opportunities in fellowships, graduate programs, post-baccalaureate programs, or work in healthcare or in industry.
Want more details? See the resources in the GT Pre-Health Canvas site, and come visit your pre-health advisors.