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Do gap year activities have a significant impact on your chances?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by lblock209, Aug 20, 2011.

  1. lblock209

    2+ Year Member

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    Since I'm hearing you apply and submit a full year before you hope to matriculate, and you can only put down things you've already completed (and not things you will complete), does it even matter that much if you have a productive gap year?

    For example, if I applied with no research but landed a paid research position June 2011 and continued this throughout my entire gap year, I'd have a total of 1 year of research, though on my apps I could put down 0 years of research since I started after I submitted.

    Is there anything else besides secondaries (from what I've heard, this is just you letting them know what you plan on doing without having actually completed it yet) that will let schools know someone with no research experience will actually have the average amount (1 year) before he hopes to matriculate?
     
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  3. Barcu

    2+ Year Member

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    It does matter.

    Most secondaries will ask what you have been doing (or will do), and interviews will definitely ask what you've been doing. So, you do want to be doing something productive. The research sounds good and continue your clinical volunteering if you can.

    If something significant comes up in your research, you may also be able to write an update letter to schools to increase your chances.
     
  4. Longshanks

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    You will also be asked during interviews what you are doing with your year "off" from school. What you do during your gap year absolutely is important, and I don't think I would have been accepted without my gap year activities and publications.
     
  5. lblock209

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    But my point is (and correct me if I'm wrong) the gap year activity, in my case research, doesn't significantly impact my chances of getting INVITED to an interview correct? Sure they'll want to know that I kept busy, but interview invites are based on your application. And I can't put any research down on my application since I'll send it before I start by research. (excluding maybe the secondary)
     
  6. Longshanks

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    It can help later in the year if you haven't been invited yet, and you are still in the running at schools whom accept and are receptive to update letters. Your gap year activities are essentially another EC to supplement your application. This can come in handy after schools go through their first round of cherry picking the superstar applicants. Your gap year activities might be what separates you from another applicant getting that interview invite in the December-February period.
     
  7. Morsetlis

    Morsetlis I wish I were a dentist
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    I had 3 gap years and filled it with 1.5 years of full time research, .5 year of part-time research and EMT training, then EMT work and hospital volunteering, with non-medical volunteering interspersed in between.

    Of course if I just started at SGU right away I wouldn't even need the gap year activities :rolleyes:

    However, if you plan on applying to out-of-state MD schools or even prestigious MD schools (and you're from CA/NY), then gap-year activities will absolutely help. Perhaps you can do some part-time research, some volunteering, some shadowing, make some money to help the family, work in some leadership capacity (tutoring, management, etc).

    Just remember that, no matter what you do, you should be able to answer the question "so what did you do last year?" in an interview. :laugh:
     
  8. well you can put the start date and say that it's ongoing and maybe describe a project that you will be working on or something. then go into detail during the interview. the consensus here is that doing nothing during the gap year doesn't look good and even volunteering with a part time job would be okay.
     
  9. StephanieZ

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    I'm pretty sure they do influence your chances. Whatever you are doing, write letters of intent to the schools you applied to whenever something new comes up (you start volunteering somewhere new, make a publication, etc.) I asked my pre-med advisor this same question and she told me that a weak application CAN be pushed forward for an interview if they get more information to supplement it. If you are waitilisted anywhere, it will also help get you off the waitlist.
     
  10. osprey099

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    Because you used the word "significant"...... two acronyms come to mind

    MCAT GPA MCAT GPA MCAT GPA MCAT GPA MCAT GPA MCAT GPA MCAT GPA MCAT GPA MCAT GPA MCAT GPA MCAT GPA MCAT GPA MCAT GPA MCAT GPA MCAT GPA MCAT GPA MCAT GPA MCAT GPA MCAT GPA MCAT GPA MCAT GPA MCAT GPA MCAT GPA MCAT GPA

    Everything else may be necessary or recommended, but certainly not significant
     

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