For those that are unfamiliar with the term, a gap year is a gap between getting your undergraduate degree before making the decision to enter medical school. While some are apprehensive about wasting time, thinking that medical schools won’t take people seriously if they have a gap in their applications, there are some alternative you can do to make your application look unique and positive.
The common fear is that you have to explain the gap to the people that will accept or deny your medical school application.
That means you need to think about taking a gap in the first place. There are some proven ways o utilize that gap for your benefit.
What to do During a Gap Year Before Medical School
Research is always something that will land you some major points with medical schools. Many undergraduate programs offer the tools and resources that you can use to enter research opportunities before you head off to medical school. Consider taking a year to explore your options at these research facilities.
Clinical employment/ Volunteer work can be a powerful tool for gaining admittance to some of the most prestigious medical institutions. Meeting physicians and showing you can thrive in the facilities you’ll be working in after you complete your doctorate will go a long way.
Traveling/ Study Abroad programs will help give you real-world experience. I will caution that you can’t just fly to Europe and sit by the beach. You have to enroll in programs that allow you to travel and shadow professional in the medical field.
Doctors Without Borders is another way to gain experience in the field before you gain your doctorate. Many of the placement programs don’t require previous medical experience or proficiency in a foreign language so you can help doctors in their day-to-day tasks and learn from them while you work.
Going for a master degree in public health (MPH) is another sure-fire way to get medical schools to see your application going above and beyond the others. You’ll also get the benefit of tackling some of those biology credits you’ll need anyway.
There are many ways to get medical schools to acknowledge your application with intrigue. You should take the time to interview doctors and see what worked best for them to make your decisions on what to do with a gap year. Sometimes the best thing to do is start medical school right away.