"Four Year" Plan for Future Health Professionals

This "four year" offers rough guidelines to help students prepare to apply to a program in the health professions. Most students choose to spread their preparations out over more than the four years of college, choose to take advantage of the many opportunities offered by the college, and choose to fully explore the many rewarding careers and experiences available to them.

Only about 15% of students matriculate into medical immediately after they graduate! The majority of students choose not to matriculate until 2 years or more after graduation. This is true everywhere, not just at Bowdoin, and in fact health professions schools appreciate more mature applicants with greater life experiences.

Check out a graphic representation of the "four year" plan here.

A Four Year Guide

First Year

  • Settle into your courses and college life
  • Consider engaging in a few extracurricular opportunities
  • Contact your academic advisor or the health professions advisor if you have questions about course selection

Sophomore Year

  • Assess your academic and personal strengths and interests
  • Explore options in health care (see Exploration page for ideas)
  • Review the academic requirements for different health professions
  • Meet with the health professions advisor to discuss your interests
  • Select your major, based upon your strengths and interests
  • Decide if you will apply to study away, and map out courses accordingly
  • Participate in extracurricular activities
  • Engage in community service
  • Attend relevant informational programs on campus
  • Plan to make constructive use of your summer

Summer After Sophomore Year

  • Hold a pertinent internship, if possible, or try to volunteer in a health care field on the side
  • Lay the groundwork for an internship the following summer

Junior Year

  • Maintain a strong performance in the classroom and lab
  • Reevaluate the strength of your prospective candidacy
  • Discuss your intentions with the health professions advisor
  • Speak with health care professionals in your field(s) of interest
  • Continue extracurricular involvement; consider assuming leadership role(s)
  • Continue community service
  • Attend relevant panel discussions and info sessions on campus
  • Identify and apply for summer internships or relevant employment
  • Lay the groundwork for a senior honors project
  • If you hope to matriculate in a health professions program the fall after graduating:
    • Complete the academic prerequisites
    • Attend the HPA meeting on application procedures
    • Study for and take the MCAT in the spring or the DAT or GRE in the spring or early summer
    • Request letters of recommendation
    • Write the personal statement for your application (plan on doing multiple drafts!)
    • Complete the candidate information form and meet with the health professions advisor

Summer After Junior Year

  • Hold a relevant internship
  • Complete your applications for med school, if hoping to go on right after graduation
  • Consider taking the MCAT, if you will be applying at the end of senior year
  • Take the pertinent test (i.e. DAT, OAT, GRE) for your field of interest, if you haven't done so already

Senior Year

  • Maintain high level of academic performance
  • Put energy into your honors project or independent study
  • Continue extracurricular/community involvement
  • If you are applying to enter in the fall:
    • Complete your applications for health professions programs
    • Prepare for and go to interviews
  • If you hope to matriculate in a health care program after one or more years out of college:
    • Complete the academic prerequisites, if you have not already done so
    • Make preparations to take the appropriate test (MCAT, DAT, OAT, GRE…)
    • Request letters of recommendation
    • Meet with the health professions advisor before leaving campus