Three- vs. Four-Year Course Sequencing
Undergraduates who plan to enter medical/dental/veterinary school the fall after graduation need to complete all of the required courses by the end of the Junior year so that they can file their applications the summer before beginning the Senior year. While simultaneously taking Junior year coursework, we recommend that you study for, and take, the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) between April and July. Students taking the Dental Admissions Test (DAT) are encouraged to take it in early summer (e.g., May/June).
In addition to a competitive test score, health professions graduate schools also expect a high level of academic performance, significant exposure to the health field, and other meaningful experiences. Clearly this is a lot to accomplish in three years and, for this reason, increasing numbers of students choose the four-year option below. Competitive candidates following the three-year cycle should anticipate invitations for interviews during the fall or early winter of Senior year. If accepted, students would begin graduate school in August/September after graduation from BC.
The majority of students at BC (and other institutions) are applying to health professions graduate schools at the end of their Senior year — or even later. Students who follow the four-year (or four-year plus) program have the opportunity to pursue other interests and/or opportunities (e.g., study abroad, completing a thesis, minoring in a nonscience discipline, volunteer work, research) in a more leisurely fashion, thus potentially making them more attractive candidates. This is an especially good option for the student who has had a modest performance during freshman year, as it allows time to bring grades into a more competitive range. The four year option also allows for more flexibility in terms of deciding when to take the entrance exams (MCAT, DAT). The average age for students beginning health professions graduate school is approximately 25, and therefore the majority of students do not enroll directly after graduating from college.