If you are a prospective medical student, you can use a gap year to learn more about your field before getting into a medical school. Depending on the individual needs of a medical school applicant, a gap year gives students an unparalleled opportunity to strengthen their GPA or MCAT scores, observe physicians, take classes, shadow a doctor, explore their passions in-depth or simply take a break and unwind before the rigors of medical school kick in.
If truth be told, a gap year can help prepare you for a challenging medical school life ahead. Many applicants usually take a gap year if they are not accepted into a medical school of their choosing. It gives them a golden opportunity to polish up on the weakest areas of their medical school application and hone in on some indispensable skills before reapplying.
There are many premeds who are confused about whether to take a gap year before starting a medical school. If you are considering taking a gap year before applying to a medical school, here is how to make the most of your gap year.
Improve Your GPA
Believe it or not, a gap year is an exciting time to amp up your academic performance and make a brilliant mark. This period of time gives you an amazing opportunity to improve your GPA by taking a master level science program or courses that you found overwhelming in school. Completion of a hard science course goes to demonstrate your competency and helps you learn how to study for a challenging course material before applying to a medical school.
Boost Your MCAT Scores
Another benefit of taking a gap year is that it gives you more time to devote to MCAT preparation. It can be challenging enough to prepare for the MCATs with a hectic schedule of classes. You can fully prepare for an MCAT exam without the additional pressures of school obligations by taking a gap year.
Complete All Your Missing Prerequisites
Post-baccalaureate programs are indeed a great option to fulfill premedical prerequisites that you might have missed on. Especially if you had a non-science major, you will have a great opportunity to complete science requirements on a streamlined schedule.
Shadowing a Doctor
Shadowing or assisting a doctor can give prospective medical students an opportunity to gain clinical experience and glean a tangible sense of what various medical fields and healthcare settings are really like. In fact, shadowing a doctor during your gap year is indeed a sensible decision that helps future medical students learn about the various fields before applying to a Caribbean school of medicine.
Volunteer in a Medical Field
Many medical schools prefer candidates who can show some experience in hospitals, medical centers, clinics or any other healthcare settings. So, if you don’t have pertinent medical experience under your belt, it is strongly suggested to use your gap year to perform volunteer work in a healthcare setting which will eventually prepare you for a career in medicine, increase your chances of admissions, and make you a perfect and knowledgeable candidate. In addition, volunteering gives you an opportunity to explore an area of work, stand out from the crowd and gain valuable experience and skills which will make you more desirable for medical schools.
Conduct Research Work
Participating in labs and research facilities helps prospective medical students learn more in-depth knowledge about medicine and develop a better understanding of the different research processes. Regardless of whether you are conducting your own research or assisting a superior on a project, participating in research and scholarly activities will solidify your chance of getting into a viable Caribbean medical university. So, it is advised to gain ample research experience to bolster your medical school application.
Glean Letters of Recommendation
The experiences you gain during your gap year may put you into contact with doctors, supervisors, mentors, researchers, professors and other people who will get to know your abilities and interests. Nurturing these kinds of relationships in the field can help you get medical school recommendation letters that highlight your attributes and accomplishments which are crucial to your success as a medical school applicant.
Take a Break
Medical school life can be rigorous and challenging. This period of time can be utilized to work on your personal projects, travelling, rest, or indulge in any recreational activity that you love most. Before getting into a demanding medical school, take a break from academics and get ready for the road ahead.
Check Premed Coursework Requirements
Keep track of medical school admission requirements that you might be interested in applying to. There are chances that some medical schools may make a few changes to their requirements during the interim period. You have a great chance to complete these additional premed coursework requirements during your gap year.
To Wrap Things Up
Remember, medical school admissions committees are looking for candidates who can demonstrate practical knowledge, skills, and an uncanny ability to deal with rigorous challenges before starting.
A gap year is your chance to hone in on your knowledge, improve your skills, boost your GPA, gain valuable research and shadowing experience that will make you a perfect candidate for medical school and eventually a great physician.