Skip to main content Skip to secondary navigation

Professional School Considerations

Main content start

Study in an area of desired profession, such as a health professional field or law, requires a significant investment of resources. It is worth exploring these fields thoroughly so that you are confident that this is the right path for you, and so that you are able to have a strong application when the time comes to apply. Professional studies include:

  • Professional degrees (for example, M.D., D.O., J.D., M.B.A.): These types of programs allow one to earn professional degrees in areas such as medicine, law, or business. They may include relevant coursework and experiences in professional fields to prepare students either to enter into a career in a related area or to prepare for further specialization.
  • Post-baccaulaureate programs: For pre-medical students who are seeking further preparation before applying to medical school, some post-undergraduate programs are referred to as “Post-bacc Programs”, which may result in a master’s degree, a certificate, or neither.

Academic Advising at Stanford offers one-on-one academic advising, online advising resources, and programs designed to guide students toward making informed decisions about academic preparation and application to pre-professional schools (medicine, law, business, or education). You should meet with a pre-professional advisor as soon as you become curious about a professional field so that we can help you identify ways to further explore these fields and to provide you with helpful resources and support related to these interests. We can help to guide you towards crafting a plan that will allow you to complete necessary prerequisite courses or courses that can allow for further skills development related to fields of interest.

One of the best ways to explore fields of interest is through volunteer opportunities. For health-related fields, this typically would be a clinical volunteer opportunity. For law, it could be through organizations such as Justice Corps. The links below offer detailed advice for volunteer opportunities.

A competitive applicant to professional school will excel academically and meet other important admissions criteria (see links below). In addition, applicants will be expected to convey their sincere motivation for obtaining a professional degree, interesting and relevant experiences, and provide strong letters of recommendation. Pre-professional advisors offer expert advice and guidance throughout the undergraduate career and to alumni.

Law Links
Planning for Law School

Pre-Health Links
Planning for Medical School


Download our Interactive Worksheet

Academic Advising is a planning process that helps students to approach their education in an organized and meaningful way… 

—National Academic Advising Association 

See Also