Gap Year and Postbac Planning

Gap Year Planning

Over 70% of Penn students take 1-3 gap years before attending medical school.  Gap year decisions are based on an applicant’s individual goals and priorities.  Some students use their senior year to strengthen their application, gain additional clinical experience, and prepare for the MCAT.   Penn students take advantage of diverse opportunities in the fields of research, clinical care, healthcare management, teaching or graduate education during their gap year(s).  For a list of rich resources and opportunities, please consult our Gap Year for Pre-Med Students resource and our website page dedicated to the exploration of fellowships and gap year opportunities.


Post-Baccalaureate Programs

There is no singular path to pursuing a medical education.  Some students choose to take courses after graduation to complete requirements or receive additional training.   Post-bac programs generally fall into three categories: Career Changer, Record Enhancement or Independent Enrollment.   Each option offers something different depending upon a student’s needs.

Career Changer programs are for those who have decided to pursue medical school and have not completed any of pre-medical coursework requirements.

Record Enhancement programs allow students to bolster their grades after graduation.

Independent enrollment allows a student enroll in a 4-year university that sends students to medical school and complete classes independently of a structured program.

Consult the AAMC Post-baccalaureate Premedical Programs Database to search according to program type, location, and requirements.  We encourage you to speak with your pre-health advisor to determine which opportunities align with your goals.