November 11, 2013
Article by Global Pre-Meds
Hospital doctor shadowing & global health experience programs.
A Gap Year is that phase in between the end of your undergraduate studies and the start of medical school. Although it is called a gap ‘year’, it does not refer to any actual time frame. It is essentially a break between two academic programs, could be less than or more than a year depending on the circumstances of an individual student.
Why take a gap year before joining medical school? It is always a good idea to gain some medical field-related experience before you actually join medical school and a gap year helps you do just that.
The gap year is a break during which you can hone your skills, learn a little more about the medical field, work in a community setting, shadow a doctor or work in a healthcare unit or hospital. The experience you gain in this period and the confidence you develop can be the key to helping you get through the interviews and into medical school.
If your application to medical school was rejected the first time you submitted it, you will find yourself taking an enforced gap year. You can put this time to good use to learn something new and pick up new skills. It also gives you the opportunity to figure out whether you are actually cut out for the medical profession. The one thing to keep in mind before taking a gap year is to ensure that it has to be well-planned and structured. It is not meant to be wasted in useless activities and pursuits. The purpose of the gap year is overall growth and advancement and that is what you should be aiming for.
There are several benefits to taking a gap year and most universities and colleges recognize it as a valuable and almost necessary experience. It has been noticed that most students who have chosen to take a gap year have had very good experiences during that time. It offers a great growth opportunity, adds value to your resume and medical school application and gives you a lot of exposure as well. There is a lot of learning that comes from classrooms, but the world outside also has a lot to offer.
Gain as much experience as you can, work in good settings that give you some exposure to the medical field and acquire as much knowledge as you can. Look for work and volunteer opportunities outside the country. Do a medical placement in a foreign country. Use this period to network with others from the medical community. This will help you get a good number of references which will add weightage and credibility to your application.
A gap year will help widen your horizon and make you a more well-rounded and mature person. Learn a new foreign language even as you work in a foreign country and delve a little deeper into your personality and desires. All-in-all, it is a great learning experience and worth serious consideration.