Taking a gap year...any suggestions are appreciated!

I am a student-athlete going into my second semester of a junior year at a smaller university majoring in Biochemistry. My cumulative GPA from freshman to junior year in order is 3.243 -> 3.603 ->- 3.606 and my cumulative AMCAS GPA in order is 2.642 -> 3.281 -> 3.394. At the moment, my extracurriculars include a summer internship in clinical research, (so far) 3 years as a student-athlete, and time coaching kids in my respective sport during weekends and summers.

I am definitely planning on taking a gap year as I would like to focus on continuing the uptrend in my GPA as well as athletics. Additionally, I don’t think it would be beneficial for me to balance academics, athletics, and MCAT/med school applications simultaneously.

The main area that I would like some input and/or suggestions is how you recommend I use my gap year (either clinical/shadowing experience or post-bac) as well as how I should plan out the MCAT/application timeline with this gap year (or even two if it sees fit).

Any and all input or suggestions are greatly appreciated!


Seems like you need more clinical experience (Volunteering, scribe, emt, etc.). Doing that in your gap year while studying for your MCAT would be good. If you’re fine with DO, you’ll be a target student. If MD, I’d continue to get an upward trend and get your GPA as high as possible.

Take the MCAT as soon as possible without compromising your score (aka. take the MCAT when you’re ready to take it.

I agree with @dy003 about more clinical experience, whether that’s paid or volunteer. I’ve been scribing for 6.5 months and before I started my current job, I was a medical receptionist for 2 years. Working at the front desk taught me a lot about insurance and the administrative side of running a medical practice. However, I like scribing more because I have more direct contact with patients and the doctor. In addition to expanding my knowledge of medical terminology and clinical presentations, I often get to see procedures (I scribe for a urologist) that I likely would not see as a premed. Also, I get to practice my history taking skills when I go over current medication and surgical history.

Although I haven’t taken the MCAT yet, I am going in with the mindset of doing everything I can to be prepared so I only have to take it once.