Medical School and Gap Year Opportunities
“Physicians support and manage the health care of people of all ages. They take medical histories, perform physical examinations, conduct diagnostic tests, recommend and provide treatment, conduct research, and advise patients on their overall health and well-being. While there are many different types of physicians, they can usually be divided into three broad categories:
- Primary care physicians are the doctors patients usually visit most frequently. They treat a wide range of illnesses and regularly provide preventive care, and they also enjoy long-term relationships with their patients. Pediatricians, family practitioners and general internists are primary care physicians.
- Surgeons perform operations to treat diseases and repair injuries.
- Specialists have expertise related to specific diseases as well as body parts, organs, and systems. Cardiologists, oncologists, neurologists, and ophthalmologists are examples of specialists. The Association of American Medical Colleges’ (AAMC) Careers in Medicine website contains information about various specialties in medicine.“
Read more about choosing a medical career, including deciding on a career in medicine, education, lifestyle, and salary on the AAMC website.”
To learn more about gap years, check out the video of our alumni talk on gap years and medical school from October 2020.
Begin your pre-med research with Georgetown’s pre-health studies website, which offers a lot of advice online and in workshops on how to prepare. Also, learn about the Pre-Health Recommendation Committee and the Early Assurance Program (EAP) at Georgetown School of Medicine. In addition, the AAMC provides advice on all topics, including taking the MCAT, what to expect in medical school, getting experience, and the Medical Minority Applicant Registry. In short, you will want to explore Georgetown’s pre-health studies website and the AAMC website in depth.
There are numerous professional associations representing the various specialties in the medical field. See a full list of professional associations on the Meditec website. If you are interested in a particular specialty, go to the association’s website to learn what is important to those working in this specialty and stay abreast of the news and trends within this field.
Last, be sure to read trade magazines, newsletters, and popular websites to keep informed on the latest in science and medicine. Places to start include MedicalNewsToday, ScienceDaily, MedPageToday, and AMA Press Releases.
- To learn more about careers in medicine, read Vault’s guide to Allied Health Care Careers (sign up for free with your Georgetown email address) and Explorehealthcareers.org.
- Check out this YouTube playlist with recordings including Hoyas in Healthcare and an alum sharing her gap year and medical school experiences.
- To help choose medical schools to apply, review U.S. News & World Report’s Top Medical Schools and attend medical fairs sponsored by AAMC.
Gaining Experience and Making Connections
Gaining experience can take many forms, from joining clubs on campus to volunteering to gaining research and clinical experience. It is recommended to gain a wide variety of experience to share on your application, and yet, be careful to balance your academics with these activities.
- Georgetown’s pre-health studies website shares examples of how you might get experience.
- Register on Handshake to search and apply for healthcare-related internships and research opportunities.
- The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) provides advice on ways to gain experience in the medical field before applying, including summer enrichment and pipeline programs.
- For underrepresented college students, the Summer Health Professions Education Program (SHPEP) is a free summer enrichment program focused on you, both academically and in career development, for a successful application.
- This spreadsheet has an extensive list of summer research and enrichment opportunities.
Georgetown offers a number of opportunities for Hoyas to get involved. Joining a school club is an excellent way to learn more about the industry, develop your skills, and get hands-on experience. Some medical-related clubs and councils include the Pre-Dental Society, Pre-Medical Society and Georgetown University Minority Association of Pre-Health Students. Gain hands-on experience on campus with the Georgetown Emergency Response Medical Service (GERMS) or the Hypothermia/Hyperthermia Outreach team.
Give back to the D.C. and campus communities by volunteering with groups such as Project Sunshine Georgetown, Caring for Children with Cancer, Oncology Patient Support, and St. Elizabeth’s Outreach, and Georgetown University Math and Science Hands-On Enrichment (GUMSHOE). Travel outside of the U.S. with GlobeMed or Center for Social Justice Alternative breaks (such as JUHAN Oaxaca) or in the D.C. area with GU Students for Health and Medical Equity (GUSHME) to serve communities that lack adequate access to healthcare and more. For more student club information, visit Campus Groups. Participate in research and get published in the peer-reviewed Georgetown University Journal of Health Sciences or present at the Undergraduate Research Conference.
Also, clinical trials and studies may need research assistants. Visit any research university or review the NIH’s clinical trial website or NIH RePORTER to identify researchers who may need assistants in a research area of interest to you. Both databases allow you to search for NIH-funded research by variables such as location, study area and more. Once you find a study of interest, use the contact information to reach out and ask if they need assistance.
Reach out to Georgetown alumni through Hoya Gateway to speak with alumni about their career paths or ask to shadow them on their jobs. The Cawley website provides helpful guidelines on networking and informational interviewing.
Gap or Bridge Year
You may take a year or two to strengthen your application with a post-baccalaureate premedical program or a year of working in a research, service, or health care setting. Enrolling in a post-baccalaureate program may offer you a chance to strengthen your transcript and knowledge base before you apply to medical school, and can be a good bridge between your undergraduate studies and medical school. Read seven benefits of post-bac programs in this article. AAMC has a directory of post-baccalaureate programs.
If you are seeking short-term work experience during a gap year, Handshake has full-time positions and fellowship opportunities and this spreadsheet provides a list of typical gap year experiences to consider. Click on the tabs to identify opportunities in service, research, and more.
Be sure to visit with your pre-health advisor. If you are not yet on the pre-med email list, contact email@example.com to request access.