Being a competitive candidate for medical school is a challenging process. Many students find that completing prerequisite classes, preparing for and taking the mcat, getting hands-on experience in a clinical setting, and having a strong history of community service and engagement is too much to do in three years. Also, trying to complete all of these requirements in three years can interfere with students being able to study abroad – which is an excellent way for students to gain the cultural competence that medical schools are looking for in their applicants.
One excellent solution to this problem is to allow yourself 'gap' time, or time after you graduate to work on becoming the most competitive candidate that you can be. Most gaps are between one and three years and some are much longer! Gap time allows students the extra time to become a stronger and more well-rounded candidate. What students do during their gap time varies greatly. Some examples of gap time actives include working in a clinical lab; working as a CNA or EMT; going into the Peace Corps; becoming a Fulbright scholar; doing Teach for America, CityYear, or Americorp; getting a graduate degree; combining full time work in your major field with part time work as a CNA or EMT; and the list goes on and on! You will find information and links to opportunities that are available now and examples of programs that are ongoing.