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Monday, February 6, 2017
Advantages of the Gap Year for Med School Students
As someone who never moved much past high school biology, I've long regarded medical students as a different breed. They understand organic chemistry and blood doesn't make them squeamish. They also go to school for a really, really long time. Which is why I was a little bemused to discover that the medical school gap year is actually a thing.
In weighing the gap year option, there appears to be a couple of camps. The first school of thought sees the gap year as an opportunity to erase an applicant's weaknesses. The second sees the gap year as a chance to broaden an applicant's life experiences.
The gap year is a potential antidote for a poor undergraduate GPA or low MCAT score, allowing students to offset anemic transcripts with valuable clinical experience. The year presents opportunity for tackling additional academic courses, retaking the MCAT, or developing working relationships that will lead to stronger recommendation letters.
On the flipside, the gap year is fertile ground for bolstering life experience. Pre-med students can take on research positions or volunteer posts in the medical field, which can be useful in helping students hone in on a specialty. There are domestic options like Americorps, and international aid organizations offering invaluable practical experience to would-be medical professionals.
Taking the year out to work is a great way to set aside financial reserves to pay for medical school. Soul-searching has the potential to spice up med-school interviews. Clinical experience is invaluable. Maturity is a good thing when you're managing people's health and well being.
Whether they'll get rusty in chemistry is another thing.
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