It depends. Have you done research in undergrad? if not, I would suggest that. I can relate to your situation b/c I took a year off and got into a great school this year. I work for a non-profit that deals with the disabled. I love what I do. The work is fun and not too hard. Make sure to choose something that will give you some time to do all those applications throughout the year. My job also gave me something great to write about in my essays and talk about during my interview. Lastly, I got to save some money for med school. Now I'm planning my cool summer. Hope this helps!
depending on you stats, you may want to establish residency in a state that is less competitive and has more medical schools than where you're currently a resident (you're a cali resident?). some states are key because they have many schools - some long shots and some safes. i'm pretty sure this isn't the type of thing you're talking about, but i thought i'd put it out there as an option..
Going overseas to work/volunteer would look great on your app, however my advice is to make sure you go somewhere that will make you happy. Real work and having real responsibilities will begin after this year, so enjoy your year off! Doing anything out of the ordinary will make you stand out and help your app, as long as it has some correlation to the medical field. Enjoy
thanks for all the advice!
I have a lot of options, which makes it hard to decide what I want to do. I have done research during my undergrad years, so I may go to work in a lab.
Smile'n'Wink -- how did you find your job? It sounds interesting.
This may seem stupid, but I have been considering becoming a interstate truck driver if Im not accepted on my first attempt. It may not be scholarly, but you get to see the country, develop an interesting personal statement, and met some strange people.
An EMT maybe a possible choice. I'd much rather help save lives and be part of the healthcare system than volunteering. Although volunteering can save lives, it's not for me. just a suggestion, best of luck
Note on the EMT: If you decide to become an EMT, be sure to recognize you will be making less than $10 an hour and you will be working weekends/nights in the begining. The money could be a problem if you are planning to live on your own. Not that there is anything wrong with that, just making you aware before you spend money on the class.
My service started paying 10, and 14 for college grads, so its not like youll be making much less than 10, 10 is like the minimum, its not minimum wage untrained labor, its an important job and a good time if your into it.
Id much rather do that than research personally.
Have you looked into Americorps? The commitment is only a year compared to Peace Corps which is 2 years. I heard it is phenomenal and you get to learn so much. One person I met at my UCLA interview is doing Americorps in San Francisco working on a van that travels into places with underserved populations. You can find more information at http://www.americorps.org/. Good luck with everything!
Which service pays $14 for college grads?!? Thats awsome, just never heard of it before. I took the class at UCLA and all the companies around this area were offering only $8.75/hr. Apparantly it varies based on location. Americorps is a great way to go...
If you're interested in student-led international service work, look into www.rice.edu/hmo.
Personally, I'd recommend maybe 3 months of service work abroad (it is a great learning experience and looks great on your application, but is also pretty expensive), followed by some time in a lab or working as an EMT. If you aren't already an EMT, I guess that might be a little difficult, but doing something health/science-related that could also earn you some money would be good in a number of ways.
AmeriCorps can be really great and an awesome experience but it can also be a very difficult and impoverished year. It's really important to talk to people who have done it or are currently doing it. For instance, I am doing AmeriCorps and work in a free healthcare clinic serving the homeless, but I myself don't have health insurance beyond emergency services. So, that's something to think about. You just have to plan very carefully and know what you're getting into financially, etc. Plus, some sites are better than others in terms of management and things like that.