Health Professions Advising: Taking A Year Off
Taking a year off after graduation and before matriculation into professional school has become increasingly common among students interested in attending such schools. For students that are interested in taking a year off, all of the same information for traditional applicants applies, but the timeline is extended over an extra year. Events such as completing the entrance exam, completing school applications and attending interviews occurs one year later.
The primary challenge for students who plan on taking a year off is choosing what to do during this extra year. Health professions schools need to see that the applicant kept themselves occupied during this extra year with a relevant activity. Examples include volunteering or working in a clinical setting related to the field of interest or shadowing a professional in the field of choice. It is preferable but not necessary that the activity be related to the field that the applicant is interested in joining (medical, dental, etc...) Typically professional schools will have an essay on their secondary applications specifically for students who plan on taking a year off, to explain what they will be doing during that time. It is important that students are able to describe why a specific experience is significant to them and how they believe that it will help them develop as a person.