I will be graduating from undergrad this coming May, and I plan on taking a gap year in order to give myself sufficient time to study for and take the MCAT, as well as strengthen my application. I have some sort of idea as to what I need to do during this gap year, but I would love some expert advice! Here is everything I have so far. ...
I'll describe my current plan, and would love advice on how to change it to best sculpt my application. Apart from taking the MCAT, I plan on shadowing one more ortho guy this summer. This is less to build my app and more because I just love it so much. The last specialty I have left to see up close is trauma and I met an awesome DO who will take me on this summer for some shadowing. I will also be returning to do some continued research with the other ortho guy I started with last summer. We have plans to get something written up and submitted for publication. Other than that, it seems to me that my biggest weakness is my volunteering experience. Due to working close to full time for my entire undergrad, it has been difficult to rack up as much volunteering as I would have liked too. I am passionate about helping those in need and have a few ideas for experiences I would like to pursue this coming gap year. Some of my questions regarding my app and my gap year are as follows.
-When returning back to research this summer, how important is it that I push to get something published?
-Do I need to get some more variety in my shadowing? I feel as though I see/deal with a lot of "primary care" type patients in the ER and do not feel like I would benefit that much from shadowing one. My father is an OB/GYN here in town and I could get some shadowing through his practice, but I don't particularly find that very inviting
-I have already started the process to volunteer for the red cross. would this count as clinical or nonclinical volunteering?
I am sure I am missing small details here and there but this is overall where I'm at. Sorry for such a long post! any advice/constructive criticism would be accepted with open arms
You have a lot of hours banked on soccer as a volunteer and a lot of hours working with orthopedics. Do I think volunteering or working in a hospital setting will help you? Absolutely. Do I think you need a lot more variety in your experience knowing what medicine is like (aside from your EMT and orthopedics experience)? Absolutely. Do you need to publish a paper during your gap year? Eh... that's up to you. You obviously can do well in classes, but you need to shed any concern that one would have that you come in with a rather rosy view of health care and don't really have insight into the real challenges of health care in situations where you can't do anything for a patient because of a lack of an effective treatment or lack of insurance or lack of community support. Maybe that could happen with the Red Cross, but I'd be sure I knew how to properly talk about your reflections of your experiences in a remarkably humble way that reveals the effective side of true patient care. Other than that, you know what to do for MCAT prep and application prep.