How long of a "break" can you take after finishing undegrad?

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tak08810

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I feel this may be a silly question, but how long a break from schooling can you take after undergrad before it would actually start to hurt your chances since they want to see recent evidence that you can succeed academically. This is disregarding the MCATs.

Basically, I am graduating this year, and I am hoping to land a research position which would require a two year minimum commitment. Would it possibly hurt my chances if I decided to wait another year before applying? I'm planning on doing more volunteering during my years off but I won't be taking more classes or anything ofc.
 

tantacles

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I feel this may be a silly question, but how long a break from schooling can you take after undergrad before it would actually start to hurt your chances since they want to see recent evidence that you can succeed academically. This is disregarding the MCATs.

Basically, I am graduating this year, and I am hoping to land a research position which would require a two year minimum commitment. Would it possibly hurt my chances if I decided to wait another year before applying? I'm planning on doing more volunteering during my years off but I won't be taking more classes or anything ofc.

This is a non-issue for the most part, especially in your case. Taking two years off from school, especially to work in research, is widely accepted as a Good Thing. It's certainly key that you do well on your MCAT, but your scenario is one where there is no doubt that the material is maintained to a great enough extent that you can succeed. Personally, I took three years off in a research position before attending medical school, and the reaction to that has been nothing but positive.

From what I understand, the point at which is starts to matter is after five years. Many schools have policies that won't allow pre-reqs to count unless they were completed in the last five years, meaning anyone that graduated from college five or more years ago will have to re-take all pre-reqs in a post-baccalaureate program.

Now, if you decide to do nothing during this next year, that will present a problem. Make sure that if you aren't able to land a position that you continue to volunteer and do other things that will make your application more competitive.

In any case, your plan is sound.
 

drshoes

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Two years is fine, especially if you can do a lot of work in those two years. Most schools don't take MCAT scores that are over 3 years old I think.
 
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DrDori

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I plan to apply next year! I graduated in 2007 and worked for about a year. I did some non-clinical volunteering but it was part-time and I am not completely pessimistic! I'd say you're fine !
 

johnnydrama

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I feel this may be a silly question, but how long a break from schooling can you take after undergrad before it would actually start to hurt your chances since they want to see recent evidence that you can succeed academically. This is disregarding the MCATs.

Basically, I am graduating this year, and I am hoping to land a research position which would require a two year minimum commitment. Would it possibly hurt my chances if I decided to wait another year before applying? I'm planning on doing more volunteering during my years off but I won't be taking more classes or anything ofc.

There isn't really any stigma to working between college and medical school as long as your college record stands on its own.

The main thing you need to avoid is that you don't want to have any gaps in your resume. Have a clear reason for everything you do between college and medical school and assuming the time is spent doing something interesting, you should have no problem.

Just remember you will need to write more in your application explaining every gap in your education - make sure you can write something positive.
 
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If you are pursuing what interests you then you are always contributing to your application. . . Research = Strength. Increase your strengths, increase your # interviews, increase your chances of admission.
:highfive:

I finished undergrad in 2004 and worked overseas in retail, traveled, etc. I didn't even decide to pursue med school in 2010 and was accepted this round (my second app round). . . . There is no right or wrong time. There is only your time.

In hindsight if I had known I wanted to do medicine before 2010 I would have surely started volunteering in hospitals earlier and would have connected to academic world to try and initiate some research exposure. . . so from my perspective, If you KNOW that you want to pursue medicine, then I would recommend keeping up your involvement with the community through volunteering or education while enjoying the awesome research oppotunity. . . :D

Also, in your plan, I recommend setting aside some solid time for MCAT prep during a period of time when your work is lighter and when you have no other studying commitments. If you are looking several years ahead of time then you can certainly make time for that significant portion of your academic profile. . . the MCAT provides evidence of "recent academic success" since it has to be less than 3 years old. There are a few schools that hold a decade deadline for prerequisites (that I was skirting when I applied this year. But obviously not enough to keep me out of med-school ;)). When you come across schools like this then you have two choices, don't apply or retake the prereq. Simple.

:hello:Relax and enjoy your research!
 

Praefectus

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As long as you're doing something, you should be fine. Just check with the schools you apply to in order to insure that your MCAT doesn't expire in that period.
 
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