The traditional narrative for most high school students has been narrowly focused on a path straight into college almost immediately after graduation. Though many students are still following that path, others are choosing a less traditional route. Many schools, including schools as prestigious as Harvard University, think this break, or a gap year, is a great idea and are even encouraging students to take a gap year by providing a deferred enrollment option for accepted students.
People recognizing the potential benefits of a gap year are acknowledging the simple fact that not all students are the same, and a standardized path for all doesn’t make sense for every student. What if you’re just not ready to commit to a course of study immediately after college? What if you don’t know enough about yourself yet to make that kind of decision? Given that many college students end up changing majors multiple times during their course of study, often extending their time in college as a consequence, perhaps some focused time of self-reflection and discovery is just what many students need.
Gap years aren’t for sitting around and spending time on mindless hobbies. The opportunities, which include traveling, working, or volunteering, among others, can be quite enriching. Students learn much about themselves and what they want to do with their lives from the gap year experience.
High school graduates and even medical students are encouraged to take a gap year between finishing one level of studies and beginning the next. Typically, medical students know they want to work in the medical field, so why take a gap year? A gap year can provide invaluable experience that will prove beneficial for individuals who continue into the medical field. Additional reasons for taking a gap year might include paying down educational debt, taking courses to improve GPA, or even taking focused time to study for the MCAT exam.
If you are a medical student interested in taking a gap year, here are two programs you can consider:
The Leap provides an overseas opportunity for students to gain more experience in the medical field while aiding in areas where medical need is high through medical internships in hospitals in Sri Lanka and Nepal. Working with and caring for the underprivileged will give students the valuable opportunity to see how important their work in medicine truly is.
The Oxford Royale Academy Gap Year Programme provides students with ten weeks of intense medical study and research through their Medicine Gap Year Course. Interns will learn to think critically and build the skills necessary to be successful in medical school.