Nov 15, 2013
Hi everyone, this is my first time posting on here. I need some guidance on whether taking a year off after undergrad would be better for me applying to MD schools. I am currently a junior at a private engineering school in MA. Here are some stats:

-Major: biomedical engineering
-GPA: 3.75 right now (I have planned it out and hope to have a GPA of a high 3.7/ low 3.8 by the end of the year)
By the time of application in June:
-1 year of clinical research at Brigham and women's hospital under psychiatrist (1 poster presentation; most likely 3rd author publication)
-9 months research assistant at neurology lab at UMass medical school for ALS
Both of the doctors I work under will be writing recommendations which I expect to be very good
-Volunteering: 100 hours in surgery department
-Shadowing: 17 hours of shadowing neurosurgeon (in surgery and in ICU); I am going to be sitting in on surgeries my next upcoming break so it should be an addition 40 hours
-I'm leaving for Thailand in December for 3 months to work on developing a waste management system for a specific Bangkok slum (group of four students from my school is working with 4 Thai university students and sponsor); with presentation and report
-I've been in habitat for humanity since freshman year; went to build houses last Christmas break in New Orleans
-in biomedical engineering society and pre health society

I'm taking the MCAT in April and starting to study soon. I took a practice test BEFORE any studying this summer and got a 28. I plan on studying a lot and highering that score.

I don't have my heart set on top medical schools, I just want to get in. At my school we do major specific research our senior year (with publication). Obviously if I applied at the end of this year I would not be able to put this on my application. I'd prefer to not take a year off if I do decently well on my MCAT. I don't mind taking a year off to do research if it will really increase by chances. What does anybody think about whether it would be really beneficial or not to take a gap year and gain more experience? Also what are some schools anyone would suggest (either with gap year or not)?



SDN Gold Donor
Gold Donor
5+ Year Member
Mar 1, 2013
You sound like you're in pretty good shape, especially if you're not dead set on a top 20 school.
Make sure you've got >= 40 hours shadowing and try to get some patient-contact experience.
Regarding your research, list it as a planned senior thesis and the topic. You're already strong-enough for most schools research-wise.
Score >30 MCAT and you should be good to go.


5+ Year Member
Jun 4, 2013
Resident [Any Field]
Hard to say without your MCAT. Get a good score and then re-post this in WAMC for advice.


5+ Year Member
Feb 18, 2013
Resident [Any Field]
I like to advocate taking time off, if nothing else than just for life enrichment. But if you feel like you want to start right after undergrad, I see no reason why you can't or shouldn't, based on your qualifications (and pending a decent MCAT, of course).


5+ Year Member
Dec 5, 2012
Medical Student
Doesn't sound like you'd need a gap year for the sake of additional experience. If you feel ready, no need to hesitate.
Re schools, what type of doctor do you want to be? what do you want to do with your degree? Should we assume you want to do BME/neuro/psych research and work with low-income communities/in developing countries?
Nov 15, 2013
I definitely want to go into a surgical speciality (that probably comes from my engineering major haha), possibly neuro but I'm not closing myself off to other types of surgery..I could also see myself doing neuro oncology but my passion is with surgery