Please note that this page reflects the opinion of the writer, and that what they "recommend" might not be the best decision for your particular situation. It is highly recommended that you also seek out other testimonies, etc. and make the most informed decision for yourself.

All hyperlinks are colored in blue.

This page is written by Nguyen Le. Last Updated on January 02, 2021.

Legal Disclaimer/Financial Disclosure:
1. I have no financial relationship or support to disclose. All organizations and products mentioned on this page are discussed based on my experiences and my discussion with other Pre-Med students. The organizations and the owners of the products did not contact or sponsor me to be promoted on this page.
2. Unless stated specifically, I do NOT have any endorsement or recommendation for any groups, companies, organizations, or products mentioned below.

For a lot of people, gap years are EXTREMELY BENEFICIAL.

Sure, if you enter medical school straight away, there are a lot of benefits, including: reaching the terminal career at an earlier age, long-term financial stability, no need to find a job/apply to things for gap years, etc.

However, for most people, we are not ready for medical schools by the age of 21/22 for various reasons. For example, some of us couldn’t take the MCAT because school is busy. Some others want to make money first and save up for applications and tuitions. And some want to take a few years off to grow as a person and/or a researcher.

Whatever the reason is, there is one common theme: people need more time to be ready for medical schools, and that is okay. Figure out what you and your application need, have a plan to get what you need, and execute that plan. Better be a few years late than wasting all your time and money to applying and reapplying [on top of having to explain how your candidacy has changed]. Also, it is pretty good to mature a little more [personally and/or professionally] so you can handle all the stress that medicine will throw at you.

Please note that the programs/companies listed below are merely examples that I am aware of for that particular category of activity. This is in no way a form of endorsement for the programs/companies mentioned. Some gap years activities include:

The list is way too long for us to go through it in details. You should spend sometimes checking them out on your own and formulating an idea of what you want to do.

Examples of Special Programs:

  • UCLA/PRIME: 5-year dual degree program focusing on developing leaders in medicine addressing policy, care and research in healthcare for the underserved
  • UCLA/Charles R. Drew Medical Education Program: focusing on transforming the health of diverse and underserved communities
  • UC Davis Rural-PRIME: focusing on producing future physicians dedicated to serving California’s underserved rural community

Example of Dual Degrees: M.D./J.D., M.D./M.B.A., M.D./M.P.H., M.D./Ph.D., Etc.

For some schools, you may be able to apply to a dual degree program AFTER you are admitted. For example, a DGSOM student may apply to the M.D./M.B.A. Program during their 3rd year in medical school. However, for some others, you MUST apply to the dual degree program right at the start. One example includes the M.D./M.B.A. in Health Management at Tufts UniversityAs a result, please be sure to check out the specifics/guidelines for EACH school that you are interested in applying to.