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Plz help. I am junior undergrade and i want to take mcat at end of my senior year to take one year off from school. i am planning to apply for 2008 admissions. During my year off i will be doing:
1- cancer research
2- volunteer in hospital- clinical experience
3- driving yellow cab part-time to pay loans.
5-Going to South Asia
6-Going to interveiws

Any one who took year off before starting medical school or already graduated plz help me making this decision.
Thanks
 

rup47

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Its definitely good if you are utilizing your time like you plan on doing...

The only drawback of taking a year back is that you'll be a doctor one year later than you would if you went straight through. But by no means do ADCOMs see it as a negative.

PS
I took a year off (not by choice, I was a reapplicant) and I think I will be a better doctor than if I had gone straight through.

Best of Luck
 

LucidSplash

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I took 3 years off and the feedback I received in more than one interview was positive regarding my time off. Also, check out this link to the AAMC data of matriculants by age. The mean age for the last 3 years or so is 24-25, which means there are more than a few that take at least a year if not more off, to drive the mean that far above the "typical" undergraduate age at graduation.

http://www.aamc.org/data/facts/2005/2005age.htm
 
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mineshMD

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Do what you wanna do- you're grown. Taking a year off won't hurt you chances of getting into med schools as long as your application is competitive. And you don't need to absolutely do volunteer work, research, etc. during your year off. For me, I didn't take a year off after graduating from undergrad, but during my interviews, when asked about my plans in case I did not get in med school, I told the interviewers that I would go and work on a cruise ship down in Miami and travel the Carribean until I got in. I didn't mention anything about volunteering at hospitals or doing research or graduate school, I stuck by my guns and told them the truth. I guess the ADCOMS didn't want me to enjoy the open waters because I got into med schools.
Good Luck!
 

beefballs

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I took a year off. As long as you aren't sitting around being a bum all day it will give you a chance to do some things-i.e research, gain healthcare exposure, volunteer-all of which will make you a more attractive applicant. I did get asked what I had been doing with my time since I graduated in interviews but if anything it helped me imho.
 

SeaAngel45

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If it improves your apps, then do it. You'll be more confident, and well rested before med school.

Use the search option. There are at least 30 reccent threads on the same topic.
 

UCSFnerd

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I am just finishing my year off and going to med school at UCSF this fall. Looks like I had similar plans as you during this year off: research, clinical experience, travel, blah blah (I got paid doing research so I don't think you need to be a cab driver to pay of your loans). Taking a year off definately doesn't hurt you but you need to be able to explain why you are taking a year off to those interviewers that ask you (a really common question during my interviews). It seems that research and clinical experience is the number one most common thing people that take years off do. So when explaining what I'm doing to those interviewers, they weren't all that impressed. But in any case, if thats what you really want to do, and you'll have fun doing it, then do it. Otherwise, I suggest you do something more unique imho. If I can redo my whole year off I would do a spanish immersion program abroad for 3 months and work in ski patrol at mammoth...
 

md mayhem

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i took a year off to do research, volunteer etc. As long as you are productive in your year off, you will be fine. Some schools want to see you maintain some academic involvement so you dont forget how to study, you might look into taking some courses part time.
 
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WWU_Viking

well im taking a year off (applying last year in undergrad) because i think i will better-more grades on transcript, more volunteering and shadowing, and so that my last year my academics will not bothered by secondaries and interviews.



md mayhem said:
i took a year off to do research, volunteer etc. As long as you are productive in your year off, you will be fine. Some schools want to see you maintain some academic involvement so you dont forget how to study, you might look into taking some courses part time.
 

MD2b20004

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WWU_Viking said:
well im taking a year off (applying last year in undergrad) because i think i will better-more grades on transcript, more volunteering and shadowing, and so that my last year my academics will not bothered by secondaries and interviews.
Taking a year off should not hurt you, but do not over burn yourself with that one year, try to have some type of clinical experience while having fun and enjoying life before your life sentence to medicine.
 

kjmtthws

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I have taken 2 years off since undergrad; working for a CV surgeon, doing research, and generally goofing off with friends. I have been having the best time with friends, doing some pretty neat clinical things (I have even learned to suture before I even start med school) and I am so happy that I did. I would definately recomend taking a year off before M school starts, it is pretty much the last time that you can have some raw fun without the constant pressure of school in the back of your mind.





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R*ckstar

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I took this past year off, because I felt that the extra time would allow me to better my application. I feel like it was the right decision for me in more ways than one. First off, I did make my application stronger. But more importantly, I got to spend a year doing what all my friends are doing... I was making money, living on my own, having fun, traveling and just enjoying being in my early 20s. Also, I realized just how much I really want to go to med school. So many people said it would be really easy not to go back to school if I took time off. I found the exact opposite to be true! I feel like my brain is lacking stimulation, and I can not wait to be surrounded by a bunch of overachieving, nerdy med students. After a while you get sick of pina coladas and late nights with a bunch of binge drinking animals (not that I don't love them) and just want to learn something worthwhile. My advice to you is do it. You have the rest of your life to grow up and be a doctor... take what little time you have to be a kid and enjoy it!
 

RaaMD

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R*ckstar said:
I took this past year off, because I felt that the extra time would allow me to better my application. I feel like it was the right decision for me in more ways than one. First off, I did make my application stronger. But more importantly, I got to spend a year doing what all my friends are doing... I was making money, living on my own, having fun, traveling and just enjoying being in my early 20s. Also, I realized just how much I really want to go to med school. So many people said it would be really easy not to go back to school if I took time off. I found the exact opposite to be true! I feel like my brain is lacking stimulation, and I can not wait to be surrounded by a bunch of overachieving, nerdy med students. After a while you get sick of pina coladas and late nights with a bunch of binge drinking animals (not that I don't love them) and just want to learn something worthwhile. My advice to you is do it. You have the rest of your life to grow up and be a doctor... take what little time you have to be a kid and enjoy it!
Well Said!
 

tiger_lily

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Absolutely take the year off! I took a semester off after I finished my courses and did the "volunteer in Africa" thing for 3.5 months. I came back, took a few more courses (I had deferred), and then took this entire last year off just to work. Like R*ckstar, I found that I can't WAIT to go back to school, but neither would I trade that year and a half just to finish med school a year or two earlier. You have the rest of your life to work as a doctor. I took this year to learn how to rock climb, scuba dive, and get my motorcycle license :) I also feel like I'm in a much better place, and feel absolutely grounded. I feel like I can hit the ground running when I start in August, because I am refreshed and ready to throw myself into some hardcore studying, which I might not have felt had I gone straight from undergrad. Plus I *highly* recommend doing traveling and volunteer work (together if you can!), if it interests you in the least. It was incredible, and enabled me to learn much more as a premed than I could have here at home (ie, I got to assist in surgery on a GSW!). Mostly, I learned tons about compassion and humanity in the midst of tragedy - as trite and cliche as that sounds. Good luck to you!
 
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