Aug 15, 2017
6
0
Status
Pre-Medical
I graduated December 2016 and don't plan on applying until 2019. I'll be 25 (almost 26) by the time I enter med school in 2020. Is anyone else taking this much time off from school, and if so, what are you doing during these years?

I was hoping someone could shed some light on what it's like taking this many years off school. Do you regret it? What would have done differently? Any advice on how to utilize this time efficiently?

For me, I really hope to use this time to really strengthen weak areas of my app (research and extracurriculars). My goal is to go to a research heavy med school, and right now I just don't have the "oompf" to get me into one. At least I don't think.

Anyways, if anyone feels compelled to share their experiences please do!
 

workaholic181

2+ Year Member
May 29, 2017
1,292
818
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Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
I graduated December 2016 and don't plan on applying until 2019. I'll be 25 (almost 26) by the time I enter med school in 2020. Is anyone else taking this much time off from school, and if so, what are you doing during these years?

I was hoping someone could shed some light on what it's like taking this many years off school. Do you regret it? What would have done differently? Any advice on how to utilize this time efficiently?

For me, I really hope to use this time to really strengthen weak areas of my app (research and extracurriculars). My goal is to go to a research heavy med school, and right now I just don't have the "oompf" to get me into one. At least I don't think.

Anyways, if anyone feels compelled to share their experiences please do!
I'll have just turned 25 when I hopefully start next year (assuming IIs go well) so I can relate to that aspect of what you're saying. I worked, finished my prerequisites, took the MCAT during this time. I honestly think I'll be a better physician for having had the working experiences I've had this year. I also took this year to develop healthier habits than I had in college and generally just feel way more ready and confident for med school than I would have been had I gone after graduation in spring 2016.

So gap years are really what you make of them. But you're not old at all and I bet a bunch of people who were "old" when they started med school will comment on this thread to tell you that. The average age of 1st year med students is like 24.4 now.. you're hardly older than that.
 

numbersloth

2+ Year Member
Mar 26, 2015
426
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Pre-Health (Field Undecided), Pre-Medical
For me, I view gap years as a blessing in disguise. I have the time to confront questions such as: do I really like research that much? What kind of person and physician do I want to be? What environment makes me happy? Where do I want to live (rural vs. urban)? It is much easier to grapple with these questions now rather than in the thick of med school.

In addition, you also have the time to shadow a number of specialties and be ahead of the curve going into first year in terms of being able to jump into specialty-relevant ECs and research.
 
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ciestar

All grown up! MS4!
5+ Year Member
Sep 18, 2013
6,224
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I graduated in 2013, started med school in 2016. I will be 27 in the not so distant future.

No, I don't regret my gap years. I was a late bloomer to medicine so it took extra time for me to get everything together for my application on top of working.
 
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Matthew9Thirtyfive

*breathes in* boi
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Jan 11, 2016
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I don't regret my gap years. I wasn't ready for med school. If I had gone on time, I don't know if I would have done well.
 
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Lucca

Will Walk Rope for Sandwich
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FWIW I havent met someone IRL who regretted taking some time off between college and med school. How much time and what to do during that time depends on the person and how prepared their overall package is at graduation.

I'm taking 2 gap years. I don't feel bad about it, but mostly because I have a plan and I'll be doing something I hope to be doing throughout my career.
 

Mad Jack

Critically Caring
5+ Year Member
Jul 27, 2013
35,680
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4th Dimension
I graduated December 2016 and don't plan on applying until 2019. I'll be 25 (almost 26) by the time I enter med school in 2020. Is anyone else taking this much time off from school, and if so, what are you doing during these years?

I was hoping someone could shed some light on what it's like taking this many years off school. Do you regret it? What would have done differently? Any advice on how to utilize this time efficiently?

For me, I really hope to use this time to really strengthen weak areas of my app (research and extracurriculars). My goal is to go to a research heavy med school, and right now I just don't have the "oompf" to get me into one. At least I don't think.

Anyways, if anyone feels compelled to share their experiences please do!
I had a career for many years prior to med school. I enjoyed the best years of my life, and now I'm spending my 30s in school instead of my completely awesome 20s. 10/10, do not regret, would take 5 gap years again.
 

YCP Pre-Med

2+ Year Member
Oct 18, 2015
76
91
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Medical Student
@gummybeargal

I can sympathize with your feeling. I was ambivalent about taking one gap year (never mind two, which ended up happening). The trap is to see where other people are and assume that you should be there too.

My gap period involved both research and clinical experience. I had a chance to see research go from idea to manuscript (fingers crossed on journal submission). I was able to work with the same patients for over a year. And not just medical experiences. I was able to go out into the community and appreciate other aspects of life, including family.

Are you stronger for taking a gap period? Did you have experiences that will make you a better doctor? If you can answer yes, than it will be absolutely worth it. It's not others who should define your success. Hope that helps.
 
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holdthemayo

5+ Year Member
May 13, 2014
616
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The average matriculant age is 24. At some schools it is a year or two higher. You will not be noticeably older than your classmates.

As for whether or not to regret your gap years, I guess that depends on how you spent them. I wouldn't give mine back.
 

Dr. Stalker

5+ Year Member
Sep 11, 2014
1,609
1,719
Itchy and Scratchy Land
Status
Medical Student
I graduated December 2016 and don't plan on applying until 2019. I'll be 25 (almost 26) by the time I enter med school in 2020. Is anyone else taking this much time off from school, and if so, what are you doing during these years?

I was hoping someone could shed some light on what it's like taking this many years off school. Do you regret it? What would have done differently? Any advice on how to utilize this time efficiently?

For me, I really hope to use this time to really strengthen weak areas of my app (research and extracurriculars). My goal is to go to a research heavy med school, and right now I just don't have the "oompf" to get me into one. At least I don't think.

Anyways, if anyone feels compelled to share their experiences please do!
ayyo.

Read my thread here.

Graduated May '15 with my BS, top honors, advanced research thesis, 3rd highest GPA in my department. 29 MCAT. Didn't get into med school. Felt like crap. Gap year 1, was a lab tech. Took MCAT again, did bad again, didn't get in again. Gap year 2: Full time masters, took MCAT, did better. Now embarking on Gap year 3.

You'll feel bad, that's okay. Its gonna happen. In my case I worked so incredibly hard in UG I just couldn't accept that people with both lower GPAs and MCATs from my university got in, and I didn't. I felt like the universe was just screwing with me. Everything happens for a reason. Take a deep breath. Analyze your shortcomings, and what you can do to improve yourself to put the best f*cking application forward and earn your acceptance. Cheers.
 
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OP
G
Aug 15, 2017
6
0
Status
Pre-Medical
For me, I view gap years as a blessing in disguise. I have the time to confront questions such as: do I really like research that much? What kind of person and physician do I want to be? What environment makes me happy? Where do I want to live (rural vs. urban)? It is much easier to grapple with these questions now rather than in the thick of med school.

In addition, you also have the time to shadow a number of specialties and be ahead of the curve going into first year in terms of being able to jump into specialty-relevant ECs and research.
That's a great point.. the shadowing one. I'm currently doing clinical research stuff and was able to shadow my first ever surgery! I never ever thought I would want to go into surgery until I had my first experience in the OR. Anyways, thank you for your advice. Much appreciated.
 
OP
G
Aug 15, 2017
6
0
Status
Pre-Medical
isn't the average matriculant age for UCLA, a top 10 school, like 26?
UCLA is a weird one... I saw on MSAR that their average MCAT is about 507 or 508. I think they have some sort of program that accepts older students/ particular background.
 
OP
G
Aug 15, 2017
6
0
Status
Pre-Medical
ayyo.

Read my thread here.

Graduated May '15 with my BS, top honors, advanced research thesis, 3rd highest GPA in my department. 29 MCAT. Didn't get into med school. Felt like crap. Gap year 1, was a lab tech. Took MCAT again, did bad again, didn't get in again. Gap year 2: Full time masters, took MCAT, did better. Now embarking on Gap year 3.

You'll feel bad, that's okay. Its gonna happen. In my case I worked so incredibly hard in UG I just couldn't accept that people with both lower GPAs and MCATs from my university got in, and I didn't. I felt like the universe was just screwing with me. Everything happens for a reason. Take a deep breath. Analyze your shortcomings, and what you can do to improve yourself to put the best f*cking application forward and earn your acceptance. Cheers.
Kudos to you. That's amazing. I kind of have a similar story. Graduated magna cum laude but scored a 508 this past year. I was really bummed and it let me down A LOT. Was even contemplating NP programs, but I knew that MD is what I want... It's great to hear that it didn't let you down from applying again.
 

TheBiologist

2+ Year Member
Sep 14, 2015
1,226
1,111
United States
Status
Pre-Medical
UCLA is a weird one... I saw on MSAR that their average MCAT is about 507 or 508. I think they have some sort of program that accepts older students/ particular background.
keep in mind that that is for last year only - in previous years their MCAT was 35/36 (516+). I'm not entirely sure what happened this past year, maybe they were trying to accept more of a variety of people, and it is uncertain what they will do this year/future years in terms of MCAT
 
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