Summer, Post-Baccs, & Gap Year(s)

Summer/Gap Year

The academic year is often very busy, especially for pre-health students.  We advise students to always make academics their first priority, which is especially important for first-year and transfer students.  For this reason, we encourage students to make the most of their time spent away from the university.

Summer Experiences

Pre-health students are busy people, which means they often need to make the most of their time during breaks from their studies.  Breaks between quarters and over the summer are great times to gain much-needed shadowing, clinical, or volunteer experiences, and students can do these back in their hometowns or in the Goleta and Santa Barbara areas.  Additionally, summer is a great time to consider studying abroad to experience other countries and cultures.

If you are interested in summer employment opportunities, consider visiting a job posting website such as Indeed.com.  This website and others like it can help you both explore employment opportunities and gain an understanding of the employment needs of the various hosptials, clinics, and other businesses in the area.

Gap Year Information

Students choose to or need to take a gap year for a number of reasons.  Deciding whether or not a gap year is the best course of action is best discussed with one of our staff pre-health advisors.  A few common reasons to take a gap year are

1) You’re just not ready to jump into 4 or more years of professional school and just need a break.

2) You may have struggled a bit academically and need to consider a masters or post-baccalaureate program in order to improve your competitiveness as an applicant. See information on post-bacc programs below.

3) Taking a gap year may allow students to spread prerequisite course requirements out across several years, lightening their science courseload and potentially helping students to manage their time and maintain competitive grades.  

4) You may need more experiences to become a well-rounded applicant.  For information on possible avenues to gaining additional clinical, research, volunteer/service, and other experiences, reach out to a pre-health advisor.

Note: Some majors may require students to complete science prerequisite courses in a shorter a shorter timeframe. Please speak to a peer or staff advisor if you have questions about this.

Post-Baccalaureate Information

Are you concerned that you’re not performing quite well enough academically to be a strong candidate for medical school or another health profession program after you graduate from UCSB?  Are you a junior or even a senior who hasn’t completed many or any of the pre-health courses, and are you wondering if it is still possible for you to be admitted to a health professions program?  We suggest that you meet with a Letters and Science pre-health advisor to discuss your options, including a post baccalaureate (“post bac”) program.

Types of Post Baccalaureate Programs

There are two main types of post baccalaureate programs:

  • Academic record Enhancer Programs--for students who have completed all or almost all of the required prerequisite courses but who do not have a strong GPA, particularly in science courses.
  • Career Change Programs—for students late in their college careers (juniors or seniors) or even years after graduation who are consider a health profession but who have completed few if any of the prerequisite courses.

The length of post baccalaureate programs vary, however most can be completed in one-to-two years. Admissions requirements vary considerably between programs, and quite often post baccalaureate programs focus on preparing students for particular health professions and/or target students with specific backgrounds and interests.  Also the comprehensiveness of the preparation and support that programs provide students ranges greatly. Thus, it is important for a prospective students to thoroughly research the programs they are considering.

Finding a Post Baccalaureate Program

The Association of American Medical Colleges' (AAMC) website provides a great tool (Click Here) for locating and researching post baccalaureate programs as well as additional information that you will find useful as you consider whether or not to pursue a post-bacc program. (Click Here)

Taking course prerequisites at a community college or online courses is generally not recommended. Please contact a pre-health advisor for additional information.

University of California Post Baccalaureate Consortium

There are five University of California Schools of Medicine that offer comprehensive post baccalaureate programs designed to help students from economically and educationally disadvantaged backgrounds in gaining admission to medical school.  The post baccalaureate programs at UC Davis, UC Irvine, UCLA, UC Riverside, and UC San Francisco are looking for students who are committed to practicing medicine in underserved communities in California. Click here to visit the website!

Other California Post Baccalaureate Programs

California Northstate University

     *Academic Enhancement and Career Change program that may be suitable for a variety of careers in the health professions.

Cal State East Bay

     *Academic Enhancement and Career Change program that may be suitable for a variety of careers in the health professions.

Cal State Fullerton

     *Academic Enhancement and Career Change program that may be suitable for a variety of careers in the health professions.

CSU,LA 

     *Academic Enhancement and Career Change program that may be suitable for a variety of careers in the health professions.

Cal State San Marcos

     *Career Change program that may be suitable for a variety of careers in the health professions.

Keck Graduate Institute 

     *Academic Enhancement program that may be suitable for medical school and physician assistant programs.

Loyola Marymount University

     *Career Change program that may be suitable for medical and dental school.

Mills College

     *Career Change and prerequisite completion program that may be suitable for medical, dental, pharmacy, veterinary medicine, and optometry schools.

San Francisco State

     *Academic Enhancement and Career Change program that may be suitable for a variety of careers in the health professions.

Scripps College 

     *Career Change program that may be suitable for medical, dental, and veterinary medicine schools.

USC

     *Career Change program that may be suitable for medical, dental, and veterinary medicine schools.

UC Berkeley Extension

     *Academic Enhancement and Career Change program that may be suitable for a variety of careers in the health professions.

UCLA Pre-Medical Post-Bacc

     *Our rigorous post-baccalaureate certificate program for pre-health students is approved for Federal Financial Aid and provides a structured academic preparation for those planning to apply to health professional programs including medical, dental, veterinary, nursing, pharmacy, physician assistant, and physical therapy, among others. Earned credits are transferable to UC and Cal State University campuses, plus many universities nationwide (some limitations may apply).

UCSD

     *Academic Enhancement for medical school.

UCLA School of Dentistry

     *Academic Enhancement program geared toward underrepresented and disadvantaged students seekingn to apply to dental schools.

UCSF School of Dentistry Post-Bacc Program

     *Academic Enhancement.