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Strategic leave of absence for research and clinical experience


Full Member
2+ Year Member
Mar 30, 2018
  1. Pre-Medical

Hoping to get some advice regarding taking a leave of absence from my undergraduate institution to pursue a year of clinical research (started freshman year) and continue working/volunteering as an EMT in a free clinic and at a COVID testing lab. I am currently going into my third year and cannot fathom more online learning.

I understand leaves of absence are typically due to health, finances, and other life struggles. My friends and I are concerned about the prospect of our school going back online for the fall. We learned nothing when classes went online in the spring and wonder if a solid year of clinical experience and research would be a safe bet. While we could wait until a final word from the school's administration, we are concerned that it will no longer be an option when God & country apply for a leave. We go to a small LAC on the west coast and are concerned the college will make a statement along the lines of "your return will not be guaranteed should you take a leave of absence for 2020/2021."

I'm curious as to what people think adcoms will think of this year off. I like the idea of being able to help my community, get experience, and continue my research while offsetting my education to ensure I get the quality I want from in-person classes, but perhaps I am being selfish in this thought process. Any thoughts would be appreciated.
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the evil queen of numbers
15+ Year Member
Mar 7, 2005
  1. Academic Administration
Schools are judged by the number of students who achieve graduation at 5 years so schools will have an incentive to take you back rather than cut you loose if you take a year long leave of absence.

Taking time off is pretty common among applicants who do missionary work for 2 years -- usually at about the point you are in your studies. What you are proposing to do is more related to an career in medicine that missionary work would be so I don't see a downside in taking a year off to get some work experience before returning to the classroom.
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