Should I take a gap year?

Are you thinking about taking a gap year? Make sure you have a clear vision of what you want to accomplish during this time away from school and plan wisely—a year (or two) can fly by.

Gap year: A span of time between the end of undergraduate education and the beginning of dental school. It can be longer than a year depending on your circumstances.

Reasons to Take a Gap Year

  • To strengthen your dental school application, or reapply.
  • To get your finances in order.
  • To refocus after a busy undergraduate career.

Preparing for a Gap Year

To maximize your gap year, focus on what motivated you to take one in the first place. What are your weaknesses as a dental school applicant, and how can you strengthen them? Meet with your health professions advisor or career counselor, and get feedback from admissions officers at the schools where you plan to apply. Ask them how you can strengthen your application and your ability to be a successful dental professional.

Discussing Your Gap Year during Interviews

Instead of worrying about how your gap year will be viewed by admissions, use your year(s) to prepare how you will describe your experience during dental school interviews. Talk about what you accomplished during your gap year that makes you a better applicant and future health professional. Explain how your gap year experience made you a better person overall. Be honest about how the year affected you beyond working through your dental and professional concerns, and highlight how your experiences strengthened your desire to become a dental professional.

Preparing Financially for Dental School

A gap year is a great time to get your finances in order, especially after incurring costs from undergraduate education. Some decide to use this time to determine how they will cover the cost of dental school.