One of the most common questions we receive from aspiring medical students is whether or not taking a gap year will hurt their chances of being accepted into medical school. The answer to this question can be complicated. The answer depends on a variety of factors. However, we want to dispel the myths and address the taboo associated with taking a gap year. When done correctly, taking a gap year can be a huge boost to your chances of getting accepted into the medical school of your choice.
In this blog post, we will explore the pros and cons of taking a gap year before medical school, and help you learn how to make the most of a gap year so that it won’t hurt your chances.
There are a few reasons why taking a gap year before medical school can actually improve your chances of getting into medical school. First, it shows that you are mature and responsible enough to handle the rigors of medical school. Secondly, it gives you time to explore your interests and make sure that medicine is the right fit for you. Lastly, it allows you to boost your GPA or take other courses that will make you a more competitive applicant.
Of course, there are also a few ways in which a gap year can hurt your chances of getting into medical school. One of the biggest is if you do not use your time wisely. Below we will help tackle misconceptions and common taboos around gap years. We will also cover how to avoid wasting your time when taking a gap year, which will hurt your chances.
Will Taking a Gap Year Mean I Can’t Get Into Medical School The First Time?
Reality: Even if you did apply once and weren’t accepted, it’s well past time to retire from this taboo. Many successful applicants have taken a break before hitting the books again and be better for it on the other side. In fact, some medical schools are now encouraging students to take a gap year. Even admissions committees are seeing the benefit it can provide to future applicants!
Also, it’s no secret that medical school admissions committees are looking for future doctors who are compassionate, empathetic, and humble. So if anybody makes assumptions about your capacity or looks down their nose at you for taking a gap year, use that experience as an opportunity to reflect on what it means to be humble and compassionate. Through this experience, you can learn not to make the same mistake of forming ignorant assumptions or judgments about your future patients, colleagues, or leaders.
Taking a gap year can help you integrate important soft skills into your individual strengths, such as compassion, humility, and maturity.
Will Taking a Gap Year Will Put Me Behind?
Reality: If anything, taking a gap year can actually put you ahead in the bigger picture of your future career as a physician. A well-utilized break in schooling can actually give a student a much better foundation for medical school than someone who goes straight through without a break.
Use this time to build new study habits, work on your physical, mental, and emotional health, grow your personal support network by making new friends or joining clubs, and gain life experiences that will directly benefit the way you practice medicine and serve patients in the future.
A well-utilized break in schooling can actually give a student a much better foundation for medical school.
Will Taking a Gap Year Make it Appear as if I Am Not Committed or Confident in Becoming a Doctor?
Reality: Taking a gap year can actually be the sign of a thoughtful individual who wants to fully reflect on their decision and prepare carefully for their future career. Some students are very intentional about why they want to take a gap year and about how it will support their time in medical school.
You can be extremely sure in your decision to be a doctor and confident in your path AND choose to take a year off- they aren’t mutually exclusive.
Taking a gap year can actually be the sign of a thoughtful individual who wants to fully reflect on their decision and prepare carefully for their future career.
Will Taking a Gap Year Look Bad to the Admissions Committee?
Reality: The bottom line is that taking a gap year can either help or hurt your chances of getting into medical school, depending on how you use your time. If you are responsible and use it well, there’s no reason to fear how a gap year will be perceived. When it comes down to it, medical school admissions committees are always looking for mature, organized individuals who will contribute positively to their student body. They don’t discriminate on the basis of a gap year if you can demonstrate to them that you used that year to become an even better applicant.
If you are responsible and use it well, there’s no reason to fear how a gap year will be perceived.
There are all sorts of reasons why people might want or need to take some time off. Maybe you didn’t get the grades you wanted and need to retake some courses or improve your GPA. Maybe you want to take some time to explore your interests and make sure that medicine is the right path for you. Whatever the reason, taking a gap year can actually be a great way to improve your chances of getting into medical school.