Pre-Health Checklist and Timeline

Why choose a career in the health professions?

There are many reasons why students are drawn to health professions.  There is no one perfect answer, the truth is that students are intrigued at different points in their lives.  Some witness it first hand through relatives or parents who are actively involved as health professionals. Many students have a passion for science and the human body and are seeking to make a difference and help others by means of becoming care-givers to those who need health assistance and counseling. Other students are inspired by both the challenges and endless opportunities within the fast growing health field such as education, research, the ability to touch lives, competitive earning potential and complexity of the job. Many are seeking a career that embody their passion for science and their duty to serve their community as socially responsible citizens.

Explore Different Health Careers

Pre-Health Checklist and Timeline (Click to PDF File)

The document above is a suggested Pre-Health Checklist and Timeline, recommended for undergraduate students who are interested in a health profession to follow.  However, please keep in mind that this is just a suggestion and may not necessarily work in the same timeframe for every student based on your individual circumstances.

How to be a Competitive Applicant


Completion of pre-health requirements

Maintain a strong academic performance in all coursework, and specifically in the sciences

Ask questions during class, get to know your professors and stand out

Extracurricular Experiences 

Involve yourself outside of the classroom to become a well-rounded individual

Continue your medically-related and volunteer experiences

Keep a journal and reflect upon what you have learned through your experiences

Carefully consider how your experiences reflect the competencies important to success in medical practice

Be Motivated

Have a deep compassion for others and drive to pursue a health profession

Acknowledge and be able to articulate why you want to be a physician/dentist/optometrist/etc.

Carefully consider how your experiences speak to your motivations for the career

Be Prepared

Standardized test are a given; retain concepts learned in class and utlize appropriate prep courses

Make sure that you establish positive working relationships with professionals, faculty and staff (Remember you will ultimately need Letters of Recommendation)

Meet your deadlines; be organized and take advantage of resources available to you

Interviews: Your application, scores, grades and recommendation letters will get you an interview but how well you can articulate your ideas, thoughts, values and overall impression is what will get you into a health professions school