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opinions on taking a year off?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by elle, Apr 3, 2001.

  1. elle

    elle Senior Member

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    Hi,
    I am a junior in college, and I am planning on taking the April MCAT. I've begun to think, however, that regardless of when I take the MCAT, it would be a good idea to take a year off between college and med school, and I was wondering if anyone had opinions on that. Especially if anyone took time off, I would love to hear if that worked out well for you. My grades aren't really a problem, and I have some experience in clinical and research aspects of health care. But... I would like to work for a year doing HIV prevention counseling (something I've only done as a volunteer) or just doing something completely different....
    Does taking a year off mean MCAT scores from your junior year could be too old? I have researched this a bit and haven't found that to be the case, but you never know... Is it frowned upon by the people who end up making admissions decisions? If anyone has any advice, it'd be much appreciated. =)

    Good luck to everyone starting/going through this long process!
     
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  3. Crafty

    Crafty Member

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    elle --

    I say go for it. I took last year off (after my fourth year of undergrad), and I am now back at school finishing my fifth year. It was probably one of the best decisions I have made. I was able to pursue goals outside of school, and now I feel refreshed and ready to start med school in the fall. I know many friends who feel burnt out and wish they could have a break before starting med school. As for the MCAT results being too old, don't worry. I think most schools accept scores within the last three years, and some even five years. So that isn't a concern. If you really want to do this, then go for it. Good luck!
     
  4. lilycat

    Moderator Emeritus

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    I will have taken two years off between undergrad and med school (originally intended 1 year, but it became 2 b/c of the timing of my MCAT), and I am so glad that I did! I just think it makes you appreciate school so much more. Looking back, I don't think I would've been happy or really excited starting med school immediately after undergrad -- just too much of the burn-out factor. Now, I'm really excited to be going back, and I've had some time to work full-time in healthcare, which I think has help tempered some of my expectations, and made me more realistic about my future, in a good way. If you choose to work, volunteer, travel, whatever, I think you will really appreciate having taken that time for yourself.
     
  5. youngjock

    youngjock Banned
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    i knew two co-workers. one got accepted by med. school, one got accepted by a dental school. the first one took this year off, now she is not planning to go to med. school at all. the later one is thinking about taking a year off, too. i don't know his exact plan, yet.

     
  6. Medigirl

    Medigirl Member

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    I am totally in favor of taking a year off. I also took the MCAT my junior year, took a year off, and was given no trouble about my scores being out-dated. I believe the limit is three years.

    My main reason for taking a year off was I got seriously burnt out on studying and wanted to have time to be a slacker. This past year, I have been working in medical research. It has given me tons of time to go out with friends and take trips all over. I was even able to save some money for school, which is nice. Working also paid for those expensive interview trips. [​IMG]

    Bottom line: "real world" experience looks great on an application.

     
  7. I haven't much more to say that I agree with the above posters: taking a year off is NOT looked down upon by AdComs and often provides excellent fodder for your personal statement and interview. Since interviews are about getting to know you as a person, if you do something interesting with that year off and note it in your application, I'm sure the interviewer will appreciate having a "ready-made" topic of conversation! [​IMG]

    As long as you aren't contemplating taking the year off to live in your parent's basement and watch old Charlie's Angels reruns, I'd say its an excellent idea!
     
  8. mpp

    mpp SDN Moderator
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    I took three years off between undergrad and applying to medical school. It's well worth it to get out into the world before continuing your education. Travel some, work some, and enjoy yourself the whole time.
     
  9. captain crunch

    captain crunch Junior Member

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    I'm a big fan of people getting out of school for a little bit and gaining a little more of that non-specific thing people call "life experience." Depending on what you want to do, you may want to consider taking two years off. Why? Because many of the interesting jobs/programs out there demand a two-year commitment (after all, why spend six months training someone if they're going to leave just six months later?).
     
  10. SocialistMD

    SocialistMD Resident Objectivist

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    I graduated a year early, so I figured I had a year to play with and I would still be there with the kids my age. Could not advocate it more. I have caught up on my video-gaming, I became published several times over, I worked in a hospital full-time and gained tremendous experience and got over the burn-out I began to feel at the end of my senior year. If you have any worries that you may burn out, take the time off.
     
  11. cobalt

    cobalt Junior Member

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    I think i would have seriously burnt out in med school if i didn't take a year off. Having a regular 9-5 job where you can go home and watch TV or read a non-academic book without feeling guilty is exactly what i needed after college.
    not only that, but after being away for a year, i'm pretty excited to be back in an academic setting this august.
     
  12. kas44

    kas44 Junior Member

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    I am currently taking a year off between undergrad and med school. I don't know if it really helped me out with med school admissions, God only knows. I would advise taking a year off if you have a definite plan of what you will be doing with that year and if you know you will like what you are doing. I am not totally satisfied with what this year off has given me. I find myself bored at times and out of touch with my friends. Sometimes I feel like I am wasting my time, and I am not all that impressed with "the real world." However, this year off has given me more motivation to get back to school. It is going to be nice to have learning as your primary responsibility again.
     

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