Prehealth Student Guide

Below is a general guideline for preparing for applications to health profession graduate programs while a student at Pomona. Keep in mind that about 15% of our students matriculate into medical or dental schools immediately after they graduate (i.e., applying after junior year)! The majority of US medical students take 1-2 gap yearsHealth professions admissions committees value life experience and mature applicants who have taken the time to determine that a medical career is the right path for them, AND have the maturity to reflect on that choice in their applications.

First Year

Sophomore Year

Junior / Senior Year

Application Year (Jr, Sr, or post-grad)

  • Attend the Applicant Kick-Off meeting in September
  • Follow the Pomona Committee Letter Process timeline and make sure to meet all deadlines
  • Familiarize yourself with the relevant centralized application service
  • Research schools of interest
  • Read all Prehealth Advising applicant update emails


  • Explore the Prehealth website
  • Follow @POMONAPREHEALTH on Instagram and/or Facebook
  • Schedule Prehealth Advising appointment as needed
  • Draft a resumé – visit the CDO for assistance
  • Follow health news and read relevant articles
  • Document volunteer, shadowing, research, etc. experiences (include start/end dates, patient interactions, and supervisor information)
  • Connect with the Prehealth Liaisons
  • Learn about PCIP, SURP, and other campus opportunities


Academic Year and Summer Plans

When and How to Develop Competencies

Year Academic Year Plan Summer Plan (After)
First year Chem, Bio (if you want), Learn to study and be successful in college, explore clubs. Start exploring research opportunities around campus; ask professors about their research and about joining their labs Shadow, clinical experience or research experience, summer camp
Second year Org chem, Intro Bio (If didn’t take first year), decide on major and take courses for major. Join club, volunteer at PVHMC or other extracurricular healthcare org, get EMS license with EMS club. Talk to study abroad office if you want to go abroad junior year. SURP to do research at Pomona, PCIP for volunteer work at clinic or service site, REU or enrichment programs elsewhere (apply in Dec-Feb). Useful certifications to get include EMS or CNA to work in health fields.
Junior year Physics, BioChem. Continue volunteering at same place to build consistency, start to get leadership in clubs, orgs, or athletics. Develop relationships with letter writers by going to office hours, taking a second class with a prof, or working in their lab. Start thinking about thesis topic – if experimental STEM major you may want to start your research over the summer. Study for MCAT AND do part-time job, volunteer work or shadowing
OR: full-time opportunity for more research or healthcare work. Scribing can be a great way to have patient contact and a physician mentor. Summer research could be connected to senior thesis.
Junior year for Direct Entry to Medical or Dental school Begin Pomona committee letter process in September and take MCAT or DAT in Spring Submit primary application in June and write secondary essays in July
Senior Year *if applying to MD/DO/DDS school, begin Pomona committee letter process. Finish pre-reqs, thesis. Continue volunteering, athletics, clubs.
**apply for gap year jobs or fellowships
* submit primary application in June and write secondary essays in July
**graduate and celebrate!!
Alum years Work, continue to do healthcare experiences Apply WHEN READY