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Sarah Franklin

Hello, I will share with you some advice as a medical student who recently went through this process (and made similar decisions). My caveat is that I have never served on an admissions committee, so don't have their specific insight. That being said, my sense of what admissions directors are really looking for is passion, and it really can be a passion for anything (more than just medicine). What they want is something to talk about on your interview day, something that makes you interesting and different from all the other 1000 people who did well and took the same classes as you. In that respect I think taking a semester off could actually be to your benefit, it gives you time to make yourself unique. So really do whatever you like: if you love to travel go backpack somewhere (and maybe start an interest in international health?), or you could stay local and get really involved in a volunteer opportunity (community health?), or do research in a lab or with a professor or doctor (HUGE bonus if you can get a publication for your CV), or work if you need to (a semester at McDonalds could be an insight in to the problems with diet in America). The point is do whatever you want to, just be able to justify it by finding something about it that is interesting and you are passionate about. And it’s OK to have interests outside medicine (probably a good thing, since hearing about the experiences/activities can be boring). Maybe you’ll even be able to get a mentor out of it who could write you a recommendation. Really the only thing you should NOT do is waste that time. It would look bad to have any empty period where you did nothing and learned nothing. Overall though I think this is an opportunity for you (>50% of my class took some time off before med school). So do something cool, something fun, something interesting that you could write about or talk about down the road. Good Luck!

Answered 9 years ago

Sarah Franklin