Why You Should Take a Gap Year Before Medical School


If you believe that medical school the best opportunity for you, there are some things to consider, and it isn’t just how to get into medical school.

You may have thought about taking a gap year before entering medical school to pursue your dreams! But is taking that gap year worth it?

  1. PRO: You have more time to prep for MCAT

Many students take a gap year to give themselves more time to study and prepare for the MCAT. This can give you more time to sit down and focus on studying for it while preparing for the application process for medical school as well.

  1. PRO: You can do more extracurricular activities

When you decide to take a gap year, you have to plan it out strategically to make the most out of it. This means beefing up your resume for the best medical schools, pursuing more clinical experience and taking on research opportunities. Remember, you are up against students who have given their time volunteering, conducting research, volunteering in healthcare facilities, and much more.

And if you didn’t do well in your classes as an undergraduate, you can take post bac classes to raise your GPA.

  1. PRO: Prevent burnout and have fewer distractions

You have been studying as an undergraduate non-stop for over a decade, and it may be time for that break. This can help you feel more well-rested and set your priorities straight before heading to the more intense medical school.

The free time will also reduce the distractions around you, as compared to balancing college, MCAT, work, among other responsibilities.

  1. CON: It will take longer to be a doctor

Many people opt to not take the gap year as they don’t want to lose any precious time. If you want to become a doctor earlier and are prepared for the stress, then you may skip the gap year.

  1. CON: You may get used to freedom

If it’s been a long time since you had a break, you might end up wanting to stay free without the academic responsibilities! This is a risk, which is why you must stay focused and plan out your gap year strategically to avoid wasting time.

  1. CON: You might grow attached with your job

For those who landed a job during their gap year, you may end up pushing back on your dreams to stay in your current job. Or, you ended up spending more than you could save despite the job, so you don’t have enough for the tuition.

You’ll need to take account your job and expenses, seeing if working during a gap year is worth it and if you are ready to leave once you’re ready to take the MCAT.

Wrapping It Up

Whether or not you’ll take a gap year is ultimately up to you, but it’s important to consider all the pros and cons. See whether you gain more than you lose from a gap year (or vice versa) to help you make the final decision.