What to do during your gap year – Part 2

February 18, 2015

Earlier this week, we talked about the gap year and the fact that in most cases it’s not really a year at all.  Sometimes taking the necessary steps to cover deficiencies in an application may mean starting professional school 2 years later than a student had anticipated.  Like we’ve stated earlier this month; the gap year/s is not the worst thing ever.  If making the changes to take you from being an applicant to a matriculant takes 2 or 3 years it was time well spent.

The things that follow are all things you can do to augment your application. You are basically seeking to fill the deficiencies that may have played in a role in you not being accepted or in making the decision to delay your application.


  1. Post Bacclaureate (post-bacc) Programs

These are programs specifically designed to improve applications for professional school.  These programs cater to those with a less than stellar academic  ( science) record or to those who were not science majors).


Some of the things to keep in mind with post baccalaureate programs are:

– Post-bacc programs cost money

– Some programs offer guaranteed interview at the host medical / dental school

– Post-bacc programs offer academic support to boost academic record

– Some focus on test prep

The key is to know what your program is tailored to. A post bacc program can be rigorous, making time for adequate MCAT / DAT test prep difficult. So you may find yourself needing to sit out two years. I know, I know, that sounds like a scary thought, but trust me its not that long in the grand scheme of the many academic years you have ahead of you J

AAMC Post-bacc Database. Searchable database by location or type of program


  1. Shadow

Set up consistent and regular shadowing opportunity. Ask health professionals at your church or in your family. Check local hospitals and see if they have a shadowing program. This won’t necessarily be easy to do but you have to be persistent and you will eventually find someone willing to let you shadow them.


  1. Mission Work

Remember to consider when you are planning to start medical school before you go overseas. Interviews for medical school usually occur during October/Nov/December/ of the year BEFORE you plan to enter. So, if you are hoping to start professional school in August 2017, you would be doing interviews in October – December of 2016 and January/February of 2017; and so being abroad during that time may make interviewing a challenge.


  1. Work in a health related field

Job options include a scribe, unit clerk/ secretary, phlebotomist


  1. Pursue research

Research is not just limited to the summer. There are opportunities to work in a research lab for an entire year or longer.


Feel free to email me at healthou.org@gmail.com to discuss your individual options. Planning for a gap year can be stressful, but HealthOU is here to help!

Stay tuned for our alumni profile for the month, a gap year success story 🙂



AAMC: What to do during my gap year

International Internship and Gap Year Opportunities (Calvin College)

Benefits of taking a medical gap year

What to do in your year off

Premed Gap Year

What Princeton Premeds did during their Gap Year