First Year

Many factors are important to consider when asking, “Is a career in healthcare right for me?” If so, what are the next steps? Here are some resources to get you started.

  • September: Being “pre-medicine” or “pre-health” is an intention, not a major. Students who choose to complete pre-professional curriculums are still required to complete degree programs. While students with science-related majors represent more than half of admitted medical school students, students who major in the humanities or social sciences are admitted at a statistically higher rate (Association of American Medical Colleges). Taking this information into consideration, begin to explore classes in the science department, but also in other departments, to see what you are most passionate about. Review this comprehensive resource for First Years written by Dr. Kevin Crisp, Chair of the Health Professions Committee and Katie Hughes, Pre-Health Career Coach at the Piper Center.
  • September – March: Register your interest in health professions by emailing Katie Hughes with the email address you wish to use and your graduation year to be added to the St. Olaf College Health Professions email list.
  • October – November: Carefully consider career options with your advisor and/or Piper Center peer advisors and staff. It may be helpful to browse the Bureau of Labor Statistics website and explore Piper Center career exploration resources. Information concerning careers in the health professions can also be acquired from career fairs, career panels, informational interviews, job shadowing, internships, mentoring, volunteer activities, work experience, and the Piper Center weekly email.
  • October – April: Initiate the sequence of courses required by the professional schools of interest. Plan your course of study and possible career objectives with your academic advisor, planning course selection broadly to allow maximum flexibility.
  • October – April: Plan any international and off-campus studies. Explore non-academic, international humanitarian opportunities for health professionals.
  • September – May: Get to know your professors through visiting their office hours, inquiring about teaching assistant positions, and engaging in collaborative research opportunities. Remember, some of them will be writing letters of recommendation for you. 

– Ted Johnson, Finding Your Way to a Career in the Health Professions