corporateflea

10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Aug 28, 2008
61
3
Status
So I'll be having potentially 2 gaps years since I'm graduating this June of 2011.

I have pretty decent hard factors (GPA:3.88 MCAT: working on it but with 1 year I think I can manage somewhere in low 30's)

So now comes the soft factors like volunteering, extracurricular, jobs and whatnot..

What are some things to do during your gap year to strengthen your application? I know there are myriad of things to do...but it'd be great if I can get some tips from people who've already dealt with taking gap years.

Thanks!
 

Lokhtar

Dreaming about the lions
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Aug 6, 2007
3,102
11
Philadelphia
Status
Medical Student
Go on a political/spiritual/economic exchange.

Make sure to tell everyone about it.

[YOUTUBE=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eKFjWR7X5dU]Gap Ya[/YOUTUBE]

Or you could do this:

[YOUTUBE=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gNz-P5WMQ8w]Gap Yah 2[/YOUTUBE]
 

Catalystik

The Gimlet Eye
10+ Year Member
Sep 4, 2006
32,345
11,949
Camp SDN: The Place for Summer Fun
Take a look at the ECs you have so far, decide what your weak areas are, get a job in healthcare or research if those are weak areas, otherwise anything is fine. Do more volunteering, leading, teaching, and shadowing if they need to be beefed up. Save money. Travel. Recharge your academic bateeries. Develop a unique hobby.
 

Ursa

woof
5+ Year Member
Oct 19, 2010
1,077
2
Status
Medical Student
I am currently in my gap year. I joined the health division of AmeriCorps called HealthCorps, and I am now a full time diabetes counselor. Interviewers eat it up. I have received 6 interview invites this year as opposed to only 1 last year, and have gotten one acceptance so far. AmeriCorps is always a good choice and you always will have good stories to tell. It's not luxurious living on the stipend they give, but its worth the value it adds to your application. This would be a really good choice since you have a good GPA.
 
Jul 17, 2010
2,149
24
Status
Medical Student
I am currently in my gap year. I joined the health division of AmeriCorps called HealthCorps, and I am now a full time diabetes counselor. Interviewers eat it up. I have received 6 interview invites this year as opposed to only 1 last year, and have gotten one acceptance so far. AmeriCorps is always a good choice and you always will have good stories to tell. It's not luxurious living on the stipend they give, but its worth the value it adds to your application. This would be a really good choice since you have a good GPA.
I second this. I too am in an AmeriCorps Healthcorps program, where I have gotten clinical experience with low-income, Hispanic patients. Most of my interviews have centered around this experience. It has been a major, major plus for my app. Of course, I also enjoy the work and it reaffirms my commitment to medicine. But the interview stories are key.

Though, you can really do anything, as long as you are able to talk about what you learned from your year off. Just keep up with a small amount of volunteering (health and non-health) and you should be fine.
 

SoundofSilver

10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Dec 25, 2008
261
15
Status
Medical Student
Try do something intellectually stimulating. If you're into research, try to obtain a research job, and perhaps get a publication or two out of it.

Continue to show your interest in medicine by volunteering at a hospital once a week.

If you're looking to really impress admissions committees, then do americorps or peace corps. Peace corps is a two year commitment I believe.

Good luck. Have fun.
 

Southcane

7+ Year Member
Mar 19, 2010
15
1
Status
The number one goal of any gap year should be traveling (at least in my opinion). I just finished off my gap year and got to go to a lot of places and had a lot of fun.

If you're not into traveling, then definitely spend the majority of the time relaxing... maybe get some part time temp work or something like that. Since you could possible have two years off... you might want to look for a little bit of a more steady job, but it definitely wouldn't be necessary.

Also, I would advise against going into something hardcore medically related for time off... you're going be working in that for the rest of your life, so now is your chance to have fun in maybe your second or third favorite field. Like computers?... then work in computers... don't think you have to go to some research project somewhere just because it will look good for med schools.
 
Aug 13, 2010
105
0
Status
Pre-Medical
don't think you have to go to some research project somewhere just because it will look good for med schools.
Agreed. I'm working at a restaurant to save money for traveling before med school. At an interview a couple weeks ago, I talked mostly about working at the restaurant, and I ended up getting in. It seems like everyone does full time research during their year off, so doing something different and non-medical will set you apart (and will likely be more fun and character-building than doing full time research).