Instead of directly pursuing a health professions program after graduation, some students choose delay their application for a year or more.
Historically, health professions students applied to schools after their junior year. Today, as many as 50% of UNH applicants to health professions schools may be seniors and alumni. This trend is seen at many colleges and universities across the U.S. Students who take this time are at no disadvantage in the application process. The important thing is that students apply when they are ready, academically, emotionally, and intellectually to go to their graduate program. Health professions schools admit qualified applicants, regardless of whether they apply directly from college, or whether they wait one year or multiple years before applying. The experience during the interim year or more contributes to a stronger and potentially more successful application. Gap year applicants tend to add a wide range of life experiences and greater maturity to the health profession’s school student body.
Why do students take time off?
What do students do during the gap year(s)?
Gap year activities may include work in the U.S. or abroad in a wide variety of areas such as teaching, research, advocacy, community service, and health care. Activities frequently emphasize philosophies of service to others and enhancing understanding of cultural and societal issues. Some examples are Teach for America, Americorps, City Year, and Peace Corps. Some students may pursue research and post-bacc opportunities. No matter what they are doing, they continue to engage in community and expand their exposure to their fields of interest.