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XYF

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Does taking time off after graduation help your application merely because the stuff you do during your time off (job, research, volunteering, etc.) will bolster your qualifications? or do med schools view time off in itself a benefit (as long as the time is used productively) because you've experienced the "real world", are more mature, and probably more genuine in your motivation to study medicine?

Just how much does taking time off from school help your application?
 

Hurricane95

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Usually taking time off is used to strengthen a shaky application from what I have seen. For example if you had very minimal volunteer experience during undergrad then maybe the time off could be used to make up for this by putting in extra volunteer hours during your time off fomr school. If your application is strong enough to begin with the only reason to take time off is personal reasons...you want to travel and see europe, work and save some money for the debt to come, etc. If your application is good to go there's no need to take time off unless you want to, I dont see how it would help you.
 

Law2Doc

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Hurricane95 said:
Usually taking time off is used to strengthen a shaky application from what I have seen. For example if you had very minimal volunteer experience during undergrad then maybe the time off could be used to make up for this by putting in extra volunteer hours during your time off fomr school. If your application is strong enough to begin with the only reason to take time off is personal reasons...you want to travel and see europe, work and save some money for the debt to come, etc. If your application is good to go there's no need to take time off unless you want to, I dont see how it would help you.
Certain things, like peace corps, world travel, working with the poor, starving, diseased and the like, tend to make one a more interesting candidate and can make an otherwise generic student's PS a better read. I also agree that it is a good time to bolster things. Also, if you are an unusually young college grad, it might avoid issues to "mature" for another year. However, it's certainly better to take a year off then to chug straight through and burn out, so if you feel that you are not mentally ready for med schoo, by all means take the time out.
 
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gujuDoc

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I tend to think it follows scenario 1.

In other words, it is that of which you do in your time off, not the fact that you took time off that gets you in medical school.

It is assumed that by the committee that if they've accepted you, that you are mature and able to handle the responsibility of medicine. Some people mature at a quicker age then others. Others are not ready at a young age but then find they want to go back to medical school later on. It is not the fact that they are 3 or 4 or 5 or 10+ years older then they were in undergrad that made them mature. It is how they spent their time between college days and their current return to school that shows their maturity, compassion, and devotion.

Hence, it is important to do something productive in a year off and not just sit around being lazy all the time, whether it is volunteering one day a week, going on a mission trip, traveling for the sake of traveling, etc.

Med schools want to know what you do both on a nonmedical and medical level due to need for diversity and wanting to get to know the whole applicant. Therefore, if you take a year off, it only looks good if you do something productive that you could talk about should it come about in an interview.
 

jrae

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My old roommate and I both applied for medical school in different years with similar MCAT scores GPAs and ECs. I chose to defer a year and ended up getting into a medical school. My roommate at the time applied early after her junior year and ended up getting rejected. What was the reason? Most schools told her she was TOO YOUNG. She graduate from college at the age of 21. All in all, I don't think a year off, used wisely, can do anything but help an application. Also, it gives you some time to relax away from the stress of school.
 
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