SDN members see fewer ads and full resolution images. Join our non-profit community!

Two-year gap, Grad school vs. Research

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Jermsss, May 12, 2014.

  1. Jermsss

    Jermsss 5+ Year Member

    Jan 26, 2012
    New York
    Hello guys,

    I am graduating this Spring with a BS in Biology. I will have to take a two year gap between undergrad and med school due to family issues. I was wondering what would be the best thing to do for the time being. I was considering getting my masters, but my undergrad GPA isn't EXTREMELY bad, and I would rather not spend the extra money unless I absolutely have to. If I decide not to do grad school, I was planning on working as a lab tech and EMT for the two years. Here are my stats:

    Undergrad cGPA=3.71
    MCAT= taking this summer

    Lab experience= none
    Clinical experience= 500hrs geriatric dept. volunteer at NY Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Hospital
    500hrs emergency dept. volunteer at Long Beach Medical Center
    300hrs emergency dept. volunteer at South Nassau Communities Hospital
    Shadowing= 1000+hrs (ED physician, Infectious Disease/Internal Medicine physician, General Surgeon)
    Along with several hundred hours of volunteer work with several different organizations (shelters, relief funds, breast cancer, food banks, red cross)
    I am also a physics and organic chemistry tutor

    Any advice would be much appreciated! Thank you
  2. SDN Members don't see this ad. About the ads.
  3. masaraksh

    masaraksh 5+ Year Member

    Sep 11, 2011
    :whoa:1000 hrs of shadowing :thinking: .... :claps:
    onyisraw and James1992 like this.
  4. samsunimomo

    samsunimomo SDN Gold Donor Gold Donor Classifieds Approved 7+ Year Member

    Sep 14, 2010
    How do you expect to get a research position without previous experience?
  5. Jermsss

    Jermsss 5+ Year Member

    Jan 26, 2012
    New York
    I was with someone almost every week since I began undergrad :shrug:
  6. Jermsss

    Jermsss 5+ Year Member

    Jan 26, 2012
    New York
    I already have an offer to work in my professor's lab. I've taken graduate level bio lab courses in my school, so it's not like i'm completely unexperienced
  7. Jermsss

    Jermsss 5+ Year Member

    Jan 26, 2012
    New York
    Please guys, I'm not looking for any sarcastic, meaningless comments.
  8. coffeesnob

    coffeesnob 2+ Year Member

    Aug 2, 2011
    You probably don't need to go to a grad school just to raise your GPA. Get a job. It probably doesn't have to be research. Usually research positions require 2-3 years of commitment. If I were you, I would get a proper job and make some money during my gap year.
    Hillo likes this.
  9. Jermsss

    Jermsss 5+ Year Member

    Jan 26, 2012
    New York
    Thanks for your input. Would taking more than 1 gap year affect my application at all? I guess that's my main concern. I only recently found out that I would have to take a second year off and I don't want it to offset my chances
  10. Hillo

    Hillo I gotta stop 5+ Year Member

    I doubt it.

    But I'd also recommend taking at least one difficult biology class for at least one semester before matriculating into med school.
    It won't affect your application really, but it'll lessen the upcoming academic shock :p
  11. lobo.solo

    lobo.solo 5+ Year Member

    May 4, 2011
    I wouldn't take 2 years off unless you want that time off from school. Your app looks solid granted you do fine in the mcat. Just do EMT work and get that research job.
  12. coffeesnob

    coffeesnob 2+ Year Member

    Aug 2, 2011
    I took two years off. It didn't cause any problems. As long as you are productive and can show how you used the time off, you are fine. It won't offset your chances even if you took two years off.
  13. coffeesnob

    coffeesnob 2+ Year Member

    Aug 2, 2011
    Gap years usually mean time off from school (or between schools). I don't understand why you are advising against 2 years off.
  14. ridethecliche

    ridethecliche Meep Meep Meep 5+ Year Member

    Feb 2, 2011
    Tied to a library chair
    I'll have worked for 5 years by the time I start med school, given I get in for next fall.

    I would do clinical research if possible in a place where they'd want you to be able to work with patients. It'll help a lot come application times. Basic science isn't a bad option at all, but I think clinical might be helpful in your case. Then again, publications are publications and if you can continue working with a prof you know and keep on doing research and get something more out of it then that's a great option as well.

    Taking time off between undergrad and med school is never a bad thing if you use that time wisely.
  15. Underu

    Underu 2+ Year Member

    Oct 22, 2013
    When you say work as a lab tech, do you mean preparing media and routine things? Or will you get to work on a project, by yourself or at least under supervision? The latter is much better for your resume, but I'd be surprised to see a PI hire someone with no prior lab experience for that purpose. But I'll assume it's the latter, just as a best-case scenario.

    I am certain that working and getting 2 years of research and EMT experience is a much, much better alternative than getting a masters in biology or something. First off, your undergrad GPA is fine, most medical school averages hover around 3.7 anyway. Besides, your undergraduate GPA is a separate entity from graduate GPA, so it wouldn't even help. A masters in biology wouldn't help your medical career significantly (maybe a MPH would be useful), and it'll be a massive money sink. Any research techniques you learn in that masters program you could just as easily learn by working in the lab, and I doubt the additional coursework will help you much.

    If you're going to use these 2 years as a time to grow and learn independence, then I think working full-time is the better alternative than going back-to-back undergrad to grad to med school. Also, it's nice to have a little extra cash to finance your application cycle, and to treat yourself once in a while.
  16. optimistic3

    optimistic3 2+ Year Member

    Dec 31, 2013
    I just graduated now and I plan to apply next year, so I will also have 2 gap years. The financial aspect was a big reason that I chose not to go to grad school during my 2 gap years. I plan to become an EMT and hopefully will be able to find a job. If so, I will both be making money and gaining hands-on experience. I also plan to take a few more science classes to raise my GPA.

    I've never done research either, as it does not interest me, but I am considering looking for a research position as well - just something basic to give me some experience.
  17. ANATOMYgirl22

    ANATOMYgirl22 2+ Year Member

    Oct 7, 2011
    Ann Arbor
    Taking more than one gap year will not hurt your app. I'd argue that as long as you are doing productive things (like research/working as an EMT) it will only make your app better. I also would not advise you to do grad school, your gpa is good and the extra classes aren't really going to help you be more prepared. I took 2 gap years and I think it really helped me 1. make my app better (I did full time research) 2. gain some maturity, which has ultimately made me feel more prepared to face medical school.

    Good luck! I hope you enjoy your time off :)

Share This Page