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Should I take a Gap Year/ What do I need to work on?

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KidatHeartMD

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I am a junior biomedical science major

I have a 3.88 GPA and a 3.82 sGPA (have had straight A’s since my freshman year)

I have been a vTA for Human Anatomy (volunteer) and a Microbiology tutor through school (paid)

I have not taken the MCAT but I am taking the last class physics 2 for it this upcoming semester

I am in the process of founding a pediatric interest club at my school where I am the president.

I have worked at an Easter Seals Camp as a camp counselor with the mentally and physically disabled (600+ hours)

I have volunteered at a Serious Fun Network Camp (1100 hours+) where I have been a camp counselor for sick children and their families of all illnesses. The work done at these camps can only be described as life changing not only for the children and families who work there but for the staff and volunteers.

150 hours of volunteer hospital experience in nurses’ station, ER, and ICU.

I just landed an internship which will give me bare minimum 40 hours of shadowing with a pediatric cardiologist. And should be going up to shadow an ENT doctor over my upcoming spring break, which should give me a good chunk of hours 20-40 hours.

Have a personal health experiences of my own to fuel my passion for medicine.

But I have no research and am unsure about my time comments this upcoming semester. I intend to work at a summer camp with kids this summer. I know I do not need more hours of this, but the work I do is the reason I do everything I do and I can't seem to give it up.

Should I take the gap year?

Had a few plans ranging from applying to the Fulbright scholarship, being a scribe, being a high school science teacher, JET Program, working for serious fun network, volunteering overseas or doing research during this gap year. But I have to make sure to pay off my debt if I do this, which is low under 13,000 but I still have to factor it into the equation.

I know without the MCAT it is hard to estimate but I just wanted to see if anyone had a good estimate. And if I wanted to go to a top school or get a very good scholarship what do I need to work on/do I have a chance? And for top med schools does research need to biomedical or can it be in other fields like sociology or psychology?
Thank you!
 

bananafish94

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I have a 3.88 GPA and a 3.82 sGPA (have had straight A’s since my freshman year)
That's awesome.
I have worked at an Easter Seals Camp as a camp counselor with the mentally and physically disabled (600+ hours)
I have volunteered at a Serious Fun Network Camp (1100 hours+) where I have been a camp counselor for sick children and their families of all illnesses. The work done at these camps can only be described as life changing not only for the children and families who work there but for the staff and volunteers.
150 hours of volunteer hospital experience in nurses’ station, ER, and ICU.
Excellent!
I just landed an internship which will give me bare minimum 40 hours of shadowing with a pediatric cardiologist. And should be going up to shadow an ENT doctor over my upcoming spring break, which should give me a good chunk of hours 20-40 hours.
That's more than enough shadowing.
Have a personal health experiences of my own to fuel my passion for medicine.
Could be good fodder for your personal statement.

Had a few plans ranging from applying to the Fulbright scholarship, being a scribe, being a high school science teacher, JET Program, working for serious fun network, volunteering overseas or doing research during this gap year. But I have to make sure to pay off my debt if I do this, which is low under 13,000 but I still have to factor it into the equation.

Everything here looks wonderful. The issue is that it is functionally impossible to recommend anything without the MCAT score. Assuming you get at least a ~510, I don't see any reason why you would need to take a gap year. If you wanted to take gap year that could be a great experience and bolster your application even more. But don't even think about anything until after the MCAT because doing poorly on it would close far more doors than a spectacular gap year would open.
 
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1) if I wanted to go to a top school . . . . what do I need to work on?

2) And for top med schools does research need to biomedical or can it be in other fields like sociology or psychology?
1) Top 10-15 schools tend to be strongly research-oriented. A good goal would be two years of research (ideally, with eventual creative control) and strong peer leadership to look more appealing to them, though particular strength in another field of endeavor may override typical expectations.

2) Any hypothesis-based research using the scientific method would be fine.
 
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WedgeDawg

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For top schools, your biggest hurdle is going to be the MCAT. Score 518+ and you're in good shape.

Next biggest hurdle is going to be having some research experience. Research can theoretically be in anything, but I am slightly more inclined to recommend scientific research or at least psychology research if you are doing research with the goal of being attractive to research oriented schools.

I think your best bet is to take your MCAT late this summer or something and spend your senior year doing a thesis or some other sort of research, then applying at the end of your senior year and continuing to do research during the application cycle (your "gap year").
 

Dr.Sticks

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Try to avoid gap years. Try to get in asap.

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Why? That is a silly idea..

Anyways OP;
I would certainly take a gap year, you could get some research under your belt, not feel rushed for the MCAT, and with a proper MCAT you should be competitive for top schools like Harvard.
 

PiggyPug6

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You have amazing stats so far. I can't really speak on much besides from a personal level, but gap years are increasingly common. Your MCAT withstanding (because you haven't taken it) you honestly don't need to take a gap year. However, if there are some experiences that you want to gain before attending med school I believe a gap year is the best time to do that.

I ended up taking two before applying and I strengthened my application, gained knowledge in other fields of interest, and am traveling the world. I figure I'll only be young once, so why not haha. But again, I'm just speaking from personal experience. Gap years aren't for everyone and you look to be a strong applicant!
 
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Don't be a teacher if you're only going to do it for 1 year. You won't help anyone by having a school invest resources to train you and to then you quit. Also it hurts the kids to see such turnover.
 
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