What can I do during my gap year that will look well on a medical school application?

Hello,

I am a premed in her last year of college. I am going take a gap year before medical school.  Due to having a turbulent undergrad, I haven’t done a lot of service hours. This is why I want to take a gap year. I am from the Chicago suburbs if anyone knows opportunities around that area.

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1 Answer(s)

Hi, Jenny,

I’m a current M2 at MUSC College of Medicine. I performed a year of clinical service through the Westmoreland Volunteer Corps in Bethesda, MD. I had a great experience, had several professional development opportunities, had a chance to regroup as a postgrad before med school, and got to enjoy the DC area! The application is open here if you’d be interested: https://www.westmorelandservicecorps.org/index.php

Other great resources for finding a service year are serviceyear (dot) org and the Catholic Volunteer Network – both have searchable databases to help you find a service year program that fits your needs!

I hope this helps, and best of luck to you.

-Alex

Newbie Answered on January 28, 2019.

Hello, I looked at the Westmoreland volunteer Corps that you suggested. It sounds awesome. Coming from a low socioeconomic community service is something that is very dear to my heart. That being said, I would love to hear a little bit more about your experience. Were your financial needs covered by the stipend? What did you do during your clinical hours? Looking back on it, What do you wish someone had told you about this program ?

 

Thank you!!!

on March 8, 2019.

Hi! So sorry I’m just seeing this!

  1. Financial needs: yes, they were met. My position at MobileMed (and all the other positions through the program) reimburse you for your transportation on top of the stipend, and because the church that runs the program owns the house you live in, the rent was about $150/month.
  2. Clinical hours: I did everything from calling patients to confirm/make/break appointments, serving as clinic registrar (checking people in at the desk), doing all the scheduling for the MobileMed-NIH Endocrine Clinic, taking vital signs, and scribing for volunteer physicians including a gynecologist and a plastic surgeon who came in and did minor procedures. Overall, it gave me great hands-on experience in medicine, particularly with all that goes into providing care for underserved populations, and inspired me to volunteer and serve as a board member of the med student-run free clinic.
  3. What to know: I think the program is pretty open about expectations and so forth but I think as an applicant of color you should know that there haven’t been many of us – I was the first black woman in quite a while. The church that hosts the program is very progressive and welcoming, though, despite being in a rather affluent, mostly white area of Maryland just outside of D.C.. If you’re passionate about social justice, the UCC has a long history of activism, so it’s not surprising that they host a program like this. I loved my housemates and had a great experience, but you should know what you’re getting into. I also wish I would’ve relaxed and enjoyed D.C. even more than I did – I had friends from college and close family friends in the area, and I took advantage of all the museums, including the NMAAHC, but due to interviews that fall and working during the day, I often used being tired as an excuse to just sleep in on many Saturdays. I had a wonderful time in the DMV, but now that I’m an M2, I wish I had done even more to enjoy my gap year.

I hope this helps!

on March 26, 2019.
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