Need help deciding whether or not to take a gap year and when to take the MCAT

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Aug 30, 2022
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Hello: I am an incoming sophomore and I'm trying to decide whether I should take a gap year or not so I can plan on when to study for the MCAT. I'm not sure if that hours I have/ will have this year will be enough to apply at the end of my junior year, and I was wondering if someone could help?
Currently I have a 3.75 gpa and a 3.6 science gpa.
I have around 250 hours of research, 150 clinical hours from caregiving, and 90 nonclinical volunteering from volunteer clubs at school and volunteering for my swim team.

This coming year, I will be part of a disaster preparedness group whose goal is to provide greater outreach to surrounding communities about different disasters, and on the side I will be doing my own research project on environmental disasters and infectious disease. That should add to my nonclinical volunteering with around 250 extra hours. I am also part of a paid wastewater testing group for COVID-19, which is just nonclinical employment. I am not planning on pursuing more research as I'd rather do more clinical work. This coming summer I am planning on returning to my job which should get me another 150 hours since I am part time. I run my own medieval studies blog as a hobby, but it's not really volunteering, it's just for fun lol. I'm considering a public health minor since one of my main interests is infectious disease (hence the disaster preparedness group and wastewater testing) as well as medieval studies since I originally got interested in disease through the 14th century black plague outbreak.

I was going to pay for a counselor to help me plan the rest of my timeline, but wanted to try a forum like this first, so would anyone be able to help or provide insight on what I can work on and whether I would need to take a gap year before applying? If so, when should I start studying for the MCAT? Thank you!! (Sorry this is so long/ is really premature, I haven't gotten any advice from anyone yet so everything I've been planning has been based off my own research lol)

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Have you tried the resources available at your own institution (i.e., prehealth advising office, career services, academic advising)? Also read While You Are Waiting: Processing Health Professions Applications - SDN .

A lot of medical school students take gap years (1-3 or so). Some of them even go do Peace Corps or Americorps and really bump their application desirability provided the rest of their courses and application are solid. Normally you should take your MCAT within 12 months of your intended matriculation, although your score could be valid up to 3 years before you start med school (depending on the school).

Good luck applying for a Fulbright (if that is going to be your plan).
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