How could I best use a gap year before graduate/professional school?

If you choose to take a gap year, be smart about how you use this time. Consider your application package--is there any area that you need to strengthen? Some students choose to pursue a master’s degree or additional science coursework to strengthen their academic record. Other students pursue additional clinical experience in jobs like certified nursing assistant, EMT, or medical assistant to strengthen their experience in healthcare settings. It is useful to meet with your Health Career Adviser to get their perspectives on how to spend your gap year(s).

Post-baccalaureate programs are offered by some medical schools and universities that include courses, research opportunities, and patient contact opportunities. Search for opportunities at these institutions and others: University of Pennsylvania, Johns Hopkins University, Anschutz Medical Campus at Colorado University, Fox Chase Cancer Center, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Weill Medical College, Mayo Clinic.

If you are interested in research, Research Technician or Assistant jobs typically position you in active academic environments where exciting projects are happening. In the area of psychology, you might screen patients for inclusion in a clinical trial or interview them about their mental health. In biology or chemistry fields, you may perform bench research on a biomedical research project. For example, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) offers 1-2 year fellowships for students who perform research with a clinical focus:

Finally, if you are interested in exploring the world and its people, consider the option below:

Health Corps
Health Corps Coordinator Interns serve as a resource in high need US high schools. They teach wellness classes that promote proper nutrition, increased activity, positive relationship choices, reproductive management, and other healthy behaviors.