Are gap years ok to take before med school?
My goal is to go to medical school and become a physician. However, I feel that if I have a little more time, I can get more clinical experience and be a more competitive applicant. Are gap years looked down upon by medical schools?
I took a couple years between college and medical school to work as a medical assistant and then as a technician in a medical school research lab. In the lab job I was able to take free courses at the university where I was employed, including repeating organic chemistry and getting a better grade.
Both jobs were very helpful to me...the medical assistant job confirmed my love for direct patient care, and the lab job confirmed that basic science research was really not the career path I would be happy in. I'd encourage you to think about why you want and/or need that gap period and be able to explain your motivation in your application.
Good luck to you. This is an exciting adventure you are embarking on on!
As a premed myself, I have heard this question a lot. Statistically, most the matriculants into medical school are nontraditional students according to AAMC, that means that taking a gap year doing research, shadowing, volunteering, or traveling is not a bad idea and it’s not frowned upon. It shows that you are more dedicated than it seems. You could spend your gap year doing a post-bac program to boost your acceptance into medical school or you can spend your gap year working. It all just depends on how well you put it in your application when you’re ready to apply.
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If the gap year involves additional training and studying that will help as a physician (research and public health as examples), it is fine. If you are unsure about medical school or you need to " grow" a little a gap year is a good option. Think about what you want to accomplish and plan ahead, though. Best wishes in your endeavors.