Taking a gap year can be a great thing, you may have planned to before staring at medical school, or you may choose to take one if you don’t get in first time round and choose to apply for entry the following year. What every your own personal reason for taking a gap year, treat it as an opportunity to get some fantastic experiences and if needed to make your application even stronger.
I chose to take a gap year and travel
Many students chose to take a year out before starting their university education to travel, and medical students are no exception. If you have decided on this and have your place secured at medical school upon your return the following year, then fantastic! Enjoy every part of your trip, and you never know, you may come across work experience opportunities while abroad, you may be able to make professional connections that will set you in good stead for the future, especially if it is in a specialty area that you have a particular interest in. Even just for the experience, all insights help us to grow as individuals, and our careers are no different, so if the opportunity presents itself, then go for it!
I am taking a gap year to re-apply to medicine
Some students choose to start a biomedical or biochemical related degree and look to apply for graduate medicine, while others chose to take a year out and re-apply in the next application cycle. There is no right or wrong answer to which is the best option, it is entirely down to you, but if you do choose to take a gap year, we have a few tips:
- Reflect – why didn’t you get into medicine the first time? Was it your grades? a lack of work experience? or did you struggle with the interview or admissions tests?
Once you can identify where your application fell down you can start working on how to improve so that your second application can be stronger and get you that place at medical school.
- Plan of action – Whatever the reason may be for not securing your place at medical school, put a plan of action in place so that this time round you will not have this issue. Be it re-sitting an exam to get a higher grade, undertake more work experience, practice more for the UCAT or BMAT, or improve your performance at interview.
- Shadow and Volunteer – Even if this wasn’t the reason you have identified as why your application didn’t secure you a place at medical school, get more experience. Remember at interview they may ask you what you have done in your year off as you haven’t been in education, and it is the perfect opportunity to show how passionate you are about pursuing medicine as a career.