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Gap years: What have you guys done during a 2-3 year gap between undergrad and med school?

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tr926

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Hi!

I'm a current third-year undergraduate student majoring in business/finance while taking prereqs. Very competitive GPA ( near 3.9), High Sci GPA of about 3.8. Multiple translational and clinical research laboratory experiences with a publication submitted as third author. It has pretty recently donned on me and my family that I'm not gonna begin studying for the MCAT until the Summer after I graduate because I want to get some biochem classes under my belt before studying (haven't taken them yet because I am a finance major). Anyways, if this happens, assuming I don't do terrible on the MCAT, I'll be looking at 2 gap years at least, which is fine by me, but I wanted to get a sense of what you guys were doing during longer extended gap periods to really improve your application. I wouldn't be opposed to taking multiple gap years (like I'd be OK with 3,) if it meant really improving my application to help me stand out. I missed out on a ton of clinical experiences this year due to covid (there was a free clinic I am currently involved in that can't hold in person clinics at this time due to COVID, and a separate hospital volunteering program that still operates, but, as I'm living at home with parents during the pandemic, I don't think it would be advisable to volunteer again until I am vaccinated) that I want to make up for during next year and after graduating, but other than that, what can I do? Would it really be worth scribing or EMTing for 3 years full time (I get that clinical experience is important, but I feel like this might be a little redundant)? Should I look for a position in research (I really do enjoy research, but I don't know if I can get worthwhile position in research as a holder of a non-science bachelor's degree? Pursue volunteering abroad? I'm a finance major, so would it be a good idea to look for a healthcare-related finance job (I know these are few and far between, and the candidates for them are top-tier, so I don't know how realistic landing one of these jobs can be)? Anything else?

Thanks.
 

adrummingdog

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Well you already have research experience, I think it would be worth while getting some clinical employment since clinical experience is what you're lacking. Scribing did wonders for my app (1 II last cycle now sitting on 7II). I'd say get a job as a scribe or some other type of clinical employment for the first year, then after that get a job that you enjoy and that can pay a little more. After 1 year of scribing I had around 2000 hours of clinical experience total in 2-3 specialities. I was a scribe for 1.5 years after college and now Im substitute teaching haha, I like it a lot. Thats not the only way to get clinical experience but it is a good way
 
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kwsx1

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Working as a CRC gave me an opportunity to see patients often and get abstracts/pubs (depends on the position of course). Didn't do scribing because the pay was too low to support myself but if you can swing it, it's a great experience as well! Also did an AmeriCorps year related to community medicine which I could swing cause I moved back home. I also volunteered throughout my gap years, ended up with over 4000 clinical hours and over 2000 volunteer hours which I think really helped my app stand out
 

tr926

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Working as a CRC gave me an opportunity to see patients often and get abstracts/pubs (depends on the position of course). Didn't do scribing because the pay was too low to support myself but if you can swing it, it's a great experience as well! Also did an AmeriCorps year related to community medicine which I could swing cause I moved back home. I also volunteered throughout my gap years, ended up with over 4000 clinical hours and over 2000 volunteer hours which I think really helped my app stand out
Thanks for the quick reply. How did you find work as a clinical research coordinator? That seems like something I'd like to pursue.
 

lumya

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Thanks for the quick reply. How did you find work as a clinical research coordinator? That seems like something I'd like to pursue.
If you pick any university with a medical center, there will be tons of positions for CRCs

Source: used to be a CRC and worked in hiring CRCs in a lab manager capacity.
 
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Bored_Conscious

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If you pick any university with a medical center, there will be tons of positions for CRCs

Source: used to be a CRC and worked in hiring CRCs in a lab manager capacity.
Just going to hop onto this conversation real quick. Should I still apply to CRC positions with a medical school even if I don't meet their qualifications? It seems like most CRC positions within a university medical center requires that I have clinical trial experience (2 year minimum), clinical experience (2 year minimum), and research experience (2 year minimum). In addition, they stated that they prefer master students rather than undergraduates and, as such, have stricter requirements for undergraduates.

I have 2 years of experience in both clinical work and also clinical research experience but am having a hard time snagging interviews. Applied to like 20 jobs (private...not associated with a university medical center) so far with only 1 interview. They rejected me.

Any advice would be appreciated.
 

kwsx1

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Thanks for the quick reply. How did you find work as a clinical research coordinator? That seems like something I'd like to pursue.
Agreed with other comment to look at areas with universities/medical schools with a big research presences. I lived near a big hub for this type of thing so it was a little bit easier for me, but there are definitely opportunities around.

Just going to hop onto this conversation real quick. Should I still apply to CRC positions with a medical school even if I don't meet their qualifications? It seems like most CRC positions within a university medical center requires that I have clinical trial experience (2 year minimum), clinical experience (2 year minimum), and research experience (2 year minimum). In addition, they stated that they prefer master students rather than undergraduates and, as such, have stricter requirements for undergraduates.

I have 2 years of experience in both clinical work and also clinical research experience but am having a hard time snagging interviews. Applied to like 20 jobs (private...not associated with a university medical center) so far with only 1 interview. They rejected me.

Any advice would be appreciated.

Just apply!! For perspective, I only had 3 interviews and applied to over 100 positions. I'm not exaggerating, I threw my app in EVERYWHERE. If you haven't looked into university medical centers and have one near you, that may be an option. They're probably more understanding and open to having CRCs that are there for learning and know you will be leaving. In my area, it was a well known fact that CRCs were generally pre-med students that would leave in 1-2 years. Other areas expect CRCs to stay on for a longer period of time, so that may be difficult to swing.
 
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lumya

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Just going to hop onto this conversation real quick. Should I still apply to CRC positions with a medical school even if I don't meet their qualifications? It seems like most CRC positions within a university medical center requires that I have clinical trial experience (2 year minimum), clinical experience (2 year minimum), and research experience (2 year minimum). In addition, they stated that they prefer master students rather than undergraduates and, as such, have stricter requirements for undergraduates.

I have 2 years of experience in both clinical work and also clinical research experience but am having a hard time snagging interviews. Applied to like 20 jobs (private...not associated with a university medical center) so far with only 1 interview. They rejected me.

Any advice would be appreciated.

Just apply. I've found that a lot of places don't really stick to the requirements that strictly. If you want, you can DM me your resume and I'll take a look at it. You'll probably have to apply to a lot of programs and it's possible some may want you to start at a CRA level and then promote you to CRC after a few months.
 
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iHawk_MD

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Hi!

I'm a current third-year undergraduate student majoring in business/finance while taking prereqs. Very competitive GPA ( near 3.9), High Sci GPA of about 3.8. Multiple translational and clinical research laboratory experiences with a publication submitted as third author. It has pretty recently donned on me and my family that I'm not gonna begin studying for the MCAT until the Summer after I graduate because I want to get some biochem classes under my belt before studying (haven't taken them yet because I am a finance major). Anyways, if this happens, assuming I don't do terrible on the MCAT, I'll be looking at 2 gap years at least, which is fine by me, but I wanted to get a sense of what you guys were doing during longer extended gap periods to really improve your application. I wouldn't be opposed to taking multiple gap years (like I'd be OK with 3,) if it meant really improving my application to help me stand out. I missed out on a ton of clinical experiences this year due to covid (there was a free clinic I am currently involved in that can't hold in person clinics at this time due to COVID, and a separate hospital volunteering program that still operates, but, as I'm living at home with parents during the pandemic, I don't think it would be advisable to volunteer again until I am vaccinated) that I want to make up for during next year and after graduating, but other than that, what can I do? Would it really be worth scribing or EMTing for 3 years full time (I get that clinical experience is important, but I feel like this might be a little redundant)? Should I look for a position in research (I really do enjoy research, but I don't know if I can get worthwhile position in research as a holder of a non-science bachelor's degree? Pursue volunteering abroad? I'm a finance major, so would it be a good idea to look for a healthcare-related finance job (I know these are few and far between, and the candidates for them are top-tier, so I don't know how realistic landing one of these jobs can be)? Anything else?

Thanks.
I currently work in industry (pharma/biotech) research, and have been doing so for about 3 years. I'm applying in the upcoming cycle. I think its a great way to continue to get research experience and papers, see a different side of medicine, and get $$$. I seriously make much more than I'm worth, and its going to be painful to go back to being on a strict budget, but I'm saving a good amount to make the transition a bit easier. If there is good industry near you (SF, Boston, Chicago, NYC), I'd recommend trying that route.
 

PerfectMD

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Used my undergraduate/master's degree to work in disability management at various organizations including insurance and not-for-profit. Also mentored and was heavily involved in my community.
 
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clumsy.md

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Use that finance degree and make some money! Seriously, you can do research or volunteering on the side to continue strengthening your app while saving good money for school. I worked at a prestigious investment bank during my gap years and even that was a great talking point during my interviews. Plus, you'll save up a sizable amount for school and have extra to enjoy your gap time.
 
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tr926

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Use that finance degree and make some money! Seriously, you can do research or volunteering on the side to continue strengthening your app while saving good money for school. I worked at a prestigious investment bank during my gap years and even that was a great talking point during my interviews. Plus, you'll save up a sizable amount for school and have extra to enjoy your gap time.
PM'ed
 

tr926

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Used my undergraduate/master's degree to work in disability management at various organizations including insurance and not-for-profit. Also mentored and was heavily involved in my community.
Interesting. I'm considering a master's degree after graduating too (maybe Mfin. or I'd love to find an MS in data science program but I know I don't have the kind of mathematical background to look for that kind of program), but I'm not thinking MPH or anything like that yet.
 

PerfectMD

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Fair, don't do a master's degree just because. Really consider if it will help your medical school goals. I was really fortunate that mine helped my medical school goals and in the job market.
 
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