Join the majority of applicants

Nationally, the majority (over two-thirds) of applicants to health professions schools these days have taken at least one growth year, if not more than that. This not only means that you’re going to be the norm, rather than the exception to it, it also means that by taking growth years, you are joining those who have taken additional years to strengthen their application. While there is nothing wrong with applying to medical school whilst still in college, it could potentially make the competition a bit stiffer, given that you haven't had as much time as some other applicants to gain experience.

If you are still unsure about whether or not you are truly ready to apply, we encourage you to visit our website's Deciding When to Apply page, linked here. You will find some valuable questions for reflection there that can help you to better identify whether or not you feel prepared to apply. If you have any specific questions about how a growth year looks or what to do during your potential growth year(s), we encourage you to make an appointment with an advisor.


If you don't want to take advice from us, take it from our alumni...

Lilia Shen


“I took two growth years and during this time, I worked as a scribe/medical assistant at an ophthalmology practice. I learned a lot about interacting with patients compassionately and being able to listen to their concerns in a way that made them feel heard. Making long-term connections with patients gave me valuable insight into the ways each patient's unique story and challenges can shape their personal healthcare needs. Clinically, I also learned a lot about the roles and responsibilities of a physician. This experience reaffirmed my own desire to become a physician and made me reflect on the ways I could provide for patients in the future.” –Lilia Shen, c/o 2019, University of Rochester School of Medicine

Patrick Clarke


“I took three years total. My first year I worked as an EMT, ED scribe and a health informational management technician. I was looking for more of a challenge, so I moved out to Los Angeles to work as an AmeriCorps VISTA at a non-profit. I also got a second job as an ED scribe in a hospital in Downtown LA. I cannot recommend taking some time off more. I learned so much about myself, what I like, how to survive in unknown situations, and how to take care of myself. It was a wonderful experience and I think everyone should take some time off between undergraduate and medical school.” –Patrick Clarke, c/o 2015, Larner College of Medicine at The University of Vermont

Kwaku Domfe



“I took three years off in between undergraduate and medical school. Upon graduation from UConn, I did a post-baccalaureate program in NYC to take some higher-level science courses and prove my abilities on paper. I got involved with a biochemical research lab and presented posters at the university research day. I also worked as a personal trainer and STEM tutor at that time as well.” –Kwaku Domfe, c/o 2014, SUNY Upstate Medical University

Miranda Abayazi


“I took two gap years before starting medical school. During this time, I worked as a research technician in a lab where we conducted bedside-to-bench research on patients with primary immunodeficiencies. This experience allowed me to learn even more about medicine and develop my bench skills. It was through this experience that I saw how big of an impact physicians can truly have on their patients, which is what solidified my decision to pursue medicine.” –Miranda Abyazi, c/o 2019, Albert Einstein College of Medicine

Moe Uddin



“During that year, I was working at an ice cream shop as well as a private practice physician office to gain more experience. I used that time to realign my goals and strengthen my application.” –Moe Uddin, c/o 2016, University of Connecticut School of Medicine