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Uh Career Services Resume – A “gap year” is the time between the end of your undergraduate education and the start of professional school. A gap year can be one year or more depending on individual circumstances. In 2019, 65% of medical school graduates took less than one year.
Admission to professional school is becoming more competitive each year. Therefore, many students commit to a gap year to improve on weak points in their application. Other applicants, however, take a gap year because they are not accepted the first time they apply. In either scenario, gap years allow time to further your education, increase clinical exposure, participate in research, retake the entrance exam, or hone your interview skills. Whatever the reason for a gap year, it’s important to make it as productive as possible.
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You should not assume that you know why you were not accepted and you should confirm instead to the institution about the weaknesses in your application. Most professional schools provide applicants with a post-rejection interview through their admissions office. This interview allows you to find out why your application was passed and the specific areas that should be improved before it happens again the next time.
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It is not uncommon to see many applicants with a gap year between graduating college and applying to professional school. When discussing this time on campus or during an interview, emphasize how you use this opportunity to improve on skills that will make you a better professional school candidate. Be honest; share what you’ve learned and how you’ve grown this time. Admissions committees are looking for thoughtful and mature applicants who have demonstrated that they are striving to better themselves as individuals.
Applicants who may have combined undergraduate and graduate GPAs should consider pursuing post-baccalaureate or major master’s programs. These programs are usually 1-2 years in length. Doing well in these programs prepares you for the earlier years of professional school and exposes you to admissions boards that take hard science content. Most of these programs require the GRE but you can substitute MCAT or DAT scores. Letters of recommendation and application essays are also often required. Carefully review the requirements and deadlines of each program before applying.
Some students have difficulty balancing clinical exposure while taking classes—so, one of the most common weaknesses in the application is a lack of experience in clinical and healthcare settings. Professional schools want assurance that an applicant knows what he/she is getting into, and the more clinical exposure the applicant has, the better. A gap year allows for more time to take advantage of volunteering, shadowing and employment opportunities in order to expand on your clinical experience.
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