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What to do during my "year-off"?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by browneyedgirl43, Jun 1, 2008.

  1. browneyedgirl43

    5+ Year Member

    Feb 20, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Medical Student
    I applied to some medical schools and at best have only been waitlisted. Preparing for the worst, I was wondering what are some things I could do (besides re-taking my MCAT) to distinguish myself during my year off that would look good to medical schools when I apply again?
    I've heard some people suggest becoming an EMT or getting my M.S. but I didn't know if anyone else had any other ideas.

    Thanks :)
  2. scowdeva

    scowdeva MS I
    2+ Year Member

    Aug 1, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Medical Student
    I had a year off (this year, my app year) so I did a few things. You can check out my profile if you want a better idea of why I did these things:

    1) Took a full course load of upper level science classes (pathophysio, anatomy w/ cadaver lab, cardio physio, medical microbio, etc) both semesters. This I did to show any adcoms who were tentative about me not being able to handle a tough courseload that I can more than handle it. I had one really low semester made up of upper levels before I graduated, and I didn't want them to think that was my best. I had a 3.94 GPA this last year, with 9 interviews...

    2) I volunteered with two different hospital programs- one of them rural. The only hospital volunteering I had was in an urban center (Lansing, MI) so I volunteered for a semester in a rural hospital. I wanted adcoms to see that I have explored options, and therefore have a better idea of what I want. I also did a semester volunteering for a stroke screening clinic, to give me more clinical experience.

    3) I have been training for a marathon, so I made sure to mention that and the smaller runs I've done to help prepare (10ks and such). If you do ANYTHING that takes up a significant amount of your time, and it doesn't sound horrible to talk about (ie video games, binge drinking, etc) bring it up. They like to know how you spend your time and live your life!

    Basically, what do you think your weakest area is? Is your MCAT super low (less than say 27?). If not, the odds of you getting a higher score are against you, and it's better to try and improve other aspects that you know you can with some time. You can get into med school with less than a 30 MCAT...I promise, as long as the rest of your app is great :) Is your GPA really low? If it is, do what I did and take classes to prove yourself. Take hard stuff that directly applies to medical school, and knock it out of the park. That shows them you have what it takes. If you have little to no clinical experience, get out there now and get involved. You don't have to do just hospital volunteering (this generally is painful). There are free clinics and programs that adore volunteers, and actually will let you take part instead of just filling water orders and fetching for nurses.

    Also, I considered getting a master's in the year off, but I found that there aren't very many 1 yr programs. Those that there were I was definitely not interested in, so really start researching that now. My fiance is applying to masters programs, and I know the ones he was looking at at least, the deadlines have long passed to start this fall. Either way, good luck. Work towards it, and don't give up, and you'll get accepted!
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