There is no single “correct” path to medical, dental, or veterinary school. To address situations where students require additional academic preparation after graduation, post-baccalaureate (“post-bac”) pre-health programs and courses have emerged as a viable option for many pre-health students.
There are two main types of programs: career changers and academic record enhancers. Within each, there are some programs specifically focused on increasing the success of students who are underrepresented in medicine in terms of their race, ethnicity, or socio-economic status.
A Second Opinion: The Post-Baccalaureate (NY Times, April 2012)
Career Changer Programs
For students make the decision to pursue a health professions career later in their undergraduate years, or even beyond, shifting gears from other arenas that may not have been health or science-focused, basic science preparation is required. For these students, a “career changer” post-bac program is an excellent option. For a detailed description of this type of program, see our handout Post-Bac Paths: Career Changers (pdf). We also maintain a list of career changer programs in which Princeton alums have found success.
Record Enhancement Programs
Some pre-health students require an additional “boost” from courses taken after graduation. There are numerous programs that cater to all students in this situation, and some that are geared particularly to students from underrepresented backgrounds. For a detailed description of these types of program, see our handout Post-Bac Paths: Record Enhancers. (pdf). We also maintain an online list of programs in which our graduates have found success.
AAMC Post-baccalaureate Premedical Programs Database
The Association of American Medical Colleges' Post-baccalaureate Premedical Programs is a searchable database that enables you to search according to program type and other program characteristics. This is the most comprehensive list of programs available.
HPA Letter of Recommendation Guidelines for Postbac Applicants
Princeton University does not have a postbac program. If you are a Princeton student applying to postbac programs, please refer to these guidelines. Any Princeton student or alum who seeks advice about postbac programs is welcomed to contact our office.