taking a year off

Michi Shinohara mshinoha at u.washington.edu
Thu Jan 30 07:14:16 EST 1997

Trina Roberts wrote:
> A query...
> When taking a year "off" between undergraduate and graduate study, is it
> better to apply and defer, or not apply at all, or apply and then ask to
> reactivate the application a year later, or something else?

I was in a fairly similar situation when I graduated in '94, except I
wasn't sure whether I wanted med school or grad school.  I decided to
try research for a while, and decide.  Well, I actually ended up taking
3 (or 4!) years off, but am finally motivating to continue.  My
suggestions are 1) get letters of recommendation written now if
possible, while your professors still know you (unless you are fairly
close, and can contact them later and they'll know who you are!) and 2)
if you haven't already, take the GREs soon.  I waited a year and a half
after graduating to take the MCATs, and it was pretty miserable because
I had to study a lot!  Taking time off was definately the right thing to
do, though, because I learned that I don't want to solely do research! 
Plus, it may be the last time you have for a while to have fun and not
have to worry about taking your work home with you!  Good luck!


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