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Medical What do I do during gap years - have solid GPA, but can't take MCAT until 2021?

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Oct 14, 2011
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I am a coming senior graduating in 2021. I will realistically graduate with a 3.83 cGPA and 3.76 sGPA if all goes well. I haven't taken the MCAT and probably won't be able to until Fall 2021 due to my class schedule. This will put me in the 2022 application cycle and hopefully start medical school in 2023. I am lost in what to do in that 2 year window. My gpa doesn't really qualify me for a SMP. I have virtually no research/extracurricular except for one research assistant position I held for a summer.

What should I do to make the most use of that time and improve my application?
Should I do a regular master's program or simply work until it's time to apply?
Would a SMP be of use to me?
If you keep up the sGPA and are graduating with a biomedical-relevant major, you won't need an SMP. In fact IMO, it probably would be a waste of money and time. A regular master's helps only if you want to continue with a more research-oriented direction (like be a research assistant) for your goals.

I'm not sure how much reading of the forums you have done, but it really depends on where you are with respect to clinical experience/shadowing. If your grades are strong, then clinical experience and community service/volunteering become important. There is always work, including in health care settings (I know scribing has been very popular as has EMT or allied health tracks like phlebotomy or X-ray tech. Clinical research organizations also are interesting options though not necessarily "clinical exposure".)

Of course you could get a one-year internship, or work for Teach for America/AmeriCorps or similar organizations.

The more important issue will be how you will maintain your connections with professors whose letters you want for your pending application in the future. If you have a prehealth advisor/committee, you also should factor their role or assistance if you do gaps. You should be talking with them and career services advisors about what you should consider and how to get there.
 
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Jun 11, 2010
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If you keep up the sGPA and are graduating with a biomedical-relevant major, you won't need an SMP. In fact IMO, it probably would be a waste of money and time. A regular master's helps only if you want to continue with a more research-oriented direction (like be a research assistant) for your goals.

I'm not sure how much reading of the forums you have done, but it really depends on where you are with respect to clinical experience/shadowing. If your grades are strong, then clinical experience and community service/volunteering become important. There is always work, including in health care settings (I know scribing has been very popular as has EMT or allied health tracks like phlebotomy or X-ray tech. Clinical research organizations also are interesting options though not necessarily "clinical exposure".)

Of course you could get a one-year internship, or work for Teach for America/AmeriCorps or similar organizations.

The more important issue will be how you will maintain your connections with professors whose letters you want for your pending application in the future. If you have a prehealth advisor/committee, you also should factor their role or assistance if you do gaps. You should be talking with them and career services advisors about what you should consider and how to get there.
I agree 100% with my learned colleagues. In a nutshell, bulk up on the ECs. Service to others less fortunate than yourself is always good. Employment is always good.
 
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Jun 11, 2010
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Thank you so much for this! I was very lost and didn't have much guidance. I'm graduating with a double major in Biology and Psychology. I will definitely take your advice as experience and letters are my biggest hurdles right now. After reading many of the other threads I now know that it is my top priority.

If you don't mind, I have another question. I wasn't really planning on going down the research route like MD/PhD, but rather the teaching route. My goal is to become a doctor and teach on the side. Would obtaining a master's still be beneficial or am I being too ambitious and should focus on getting into medical school first?

Thank you guys for helping all of us out!
Focus on getting into medical school.
 
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TheBoneDoctah

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Get into ANY medical school first...then you can start to pave your career path. I would definitely get more EC/clinical experience though. If you do well on your MCAT, with your GPA you have a great shot at getting in and would be a shame not having the clinical resume to back it up.

Another thing to think about is your MCAT. You said you can't take until fall 2021. This is how I did it too, but if I could go back, I would have taken it sooner and applied to the earlier cycle. Having a two-year gap is going to feel like forever to you.
 
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