Should you take a gap year before medical school?

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22 students and faculty members discussed the benefits of taking a gap year before medical school in the Dedman Life Sciences Building Feb. 21.

The lecture covered what to consider when deciding on whether to take a gap year. It also described what the biggest benefits of taking a gap year are.

“I think really the biggest benefit is for students to become more mature and to have a more competitive application, because when you apply at the end of your junior year, we’re really expecting you to have a really stellar record in six semesters,” Director of the Office of Pre-Health Advising, Pamela McNulty said.

One consideration to take when deciding on whether to take a gap year or not is preparation for the MCAT.

“For so many students it is so hard for you to juggle Bio-Chem 1 or 2, Physics 1 or 2, and take the MCAT at the same time,” McNulty said.

Each student has their own reason that they choose to take a gap year. Alumna Louisa Weindruch, who is currently in her first of two gap years, explained her reasoning.

“I chose to take a gap year for a bunch of reasons, I think one of the big ones is I didn’t want to rush through her pre-med classes, I wanted to take my time. I also knew I wanted to spend a semester studying abroad in Paris,” Weindruch said.

Another concern for students is getting a letter of recommendation from a teacher for the applications, especially after graduating and being out of school for a time.

“Well first of all before you leave ask for your letter because that way while you’re still here we can put down our, you know, utilize our brain cells and put down everything we remember and we can work together on crafting the best letter,” Senior Lecturer, Teresa Strecker, Ph.D. said.

A benefit to taking a gap year is the ability to gain real work experience before entering medical school.

“If you get additional clinical experience during that year. It really helps because you know what you’re getting into, you’ve kinda confirmed it, you’re more mature, med schools like that so there’s lot of upsides to it,” McNulty said.

Going to medical school is not the same as going off to college.

“Med school is a huge transition, it’s a new environment it’s a very challenging environment and not everyone is ready to step into that role right out of college,” McNulty said. “Some people truly need a break, and so med schools don’t count that against you, but what they do want is for you to be prepared to be productive throughout that year.”

Alpha Epsilon Delta will host its next event, Princeton Review vs. Kaplan, on Wednesday, March 7, at 6 p.m.

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