Anecdotal research shows that upward of 60 percent of medical school hopefuls apply not directly after graduation, but upon taking a year off studies. It’s known as a “gap year” and there are multiple reasons and benefits, including the opportunity to complete prerequisite coursework, improve MCAT scores, gain clinical experience and – perhaps most importantly – do a little personal reflection to make sure that a medical career truly is right for you.
If you’re considering taking a gap year, WOLFPACC offers these recommendations for making the most of your time away from the classroom:
- Volunteer in at a local clinic or hospital: Classwork and laboratory learning is one thing, but nothing beats hands-on experience. In fact, most medical schools require some amount of real-world clinical experience for acceptance. Seek out opportunities to shadow physicians working in your chosen specialty or to volunteer or complete internships at a clinic or hospital near you. Those focused on underserved patient populations likely will be most amenable to your offer.
- Work in a research laboratory: Signing up to spend a year working in a university or corporate research lab will afford you the opportunity to see firsthand how diseases are studied and medications developed and to develop your analytical and problem-solving abilities as well as your fine-motor skills.
- Travel abroad: Traveling has always been a top gap-year choice, particularly when it involves volunteering with an international medical mission or organization. Not only will you experience new cultures, but you’ll also learn about medical systems in other countries, particularly ways in which they differ or fall short of medical systems here in the United States. It’s also a great way to develop capacities of empathy, communication and problem-solving.
- Get political: Much of the development of medical science, technology, policy and funding depends upon what happens at the legislative level. Working or volunteering as a political aid is an excellent way to learn firsthand how medical care is directly affected by government goings-on. Consider working as a federal or state representative staffer, a legislative aid or a campaign aid.
- Get the competitive edge: While the coming physician shortage means lots of opportunity for medical field hopefuls, know that competition for coveted medical school placements and ultimately for jobs will remain fierce. Via its revolutionary approach to the study and practice of medicine, St. Augustine’s WOLFPACC offers a proven way to prepare for the rigors of medical school, easily pass your USMLE and COMLEX exams on the first try and boost your chances of a successful health care career.
Learn more about how WOLFPACC can benefit your efforts toward a rewarding medical career by calling 904-209-3140 and speaking with an enrollment specialist.