A lot of people ask about taking time off before medical school. The average entering medical student now is 24-25 years old. In college, I personally never considered taking time off before medical school. But having entered straight after my senior year, there are some factors I wish I had considered, so I figured I would share my thoughts.
Going straight through means you’re still in school mode
It was definitely easier to jump right into Fall lectures having just been in school in the Spring. I did hear from a few of my classmates that it was an adjustment getting back to classes at 8 am and studying after having taken a few years off.
Time off can make your application more competitive
Taking a few years off to do research, work, or volunteering helps make you a more well-rounded individual as well as make your application to medical school more competitive. Many students apply multiple cycles prior to entry so a few extra experiences can only help.
Learning to adult first could be nice
I do wish I had some time prior to balancing classes to live on my own – get used to food prepping, make new friends outside of college, budgeting etc. I think the adjustment to med school life would have been a lot easier.
Sometimes I definitely feel way too young, especially when compared to my classmates. I feel like a child accidentally sitting at the grown up lunch table. I think if I was a few years older I may feel more settled and less self conscious.
Overall, it’s a very personal decision. I hope some of my insights help you all in your decision and I’d love to hear your own thoughts!