Allopathic and Osteopathic Medicine - Activites for a Glide Year

If you are planning to apply the same summer that you graduate, then you will have a year in between graduating college and beginning medical school. In recent years approximately 47% of those who matriculated into medical school, had at least one year prior to starting medical school. This year is sometimes referred to as a “gap” or “glide year. This time can be used in many ways, however it is important to be strategic in how you might use it.
During this "glide year" you will be filling out secondary applications, going to interviews, and continuing to gain health care relevant experience. You need to keep your foot in the door of the medical field in order to show your continued interest and dedication. If your gpa is an area of concern, you can consider taking additional courses in upper-division biology and/or chemistry. This is particularly important for applicants who may have remaining pre-requisite courses to complete and/or less competitive GPAs. It is important to keep in mind that you can update medical schools with your grades, but your primary application will still reflect your courses taken only up unitl the summer you apply. If you want to boost your gpa for your primary medical school application, then consider taking courses and waiting until you are finished with them to apply. That way you can apply with your highest possible gpa. Particularly useful subjects include:

  • biochemistry
  • cell biology
  • genetics
  • molecular biology
  • neurobiology
  • physiology
  • anatomy
  • microbiology
  • histology
  • statistics

Get a job in order to support yourself, pay for application fees, finance travel to interviews, and pay off educational debts. If you can find work in a clinical health care area, or biological/medical research environment you may strengthen your medical school application.
If you are fortunate enough not to need to work or you have additional time, volunteer work in healthcare or research could also strengthen your application. There are many programs out there which vary in concentration, length, and time commitment.
Below is a list of organizations to consider for “glide year” experience. Keep in mind that deadlines are set very far in advance, so plan early!!!

American Cancer Society Internships

American Public Health Association Internships


AmeriCorps: AmeriCorps State and National

Amigos de las Americas

AMREF Health Africa
Building Bridges Coalition
California Health Jobs

Cedars Sinai

Celiac Disease Foundation

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


Children’s Hospital LA, Saban Research Institute

Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute

Church Health Center Internship Program

Citizen School

City Year

Community Health Corps

Cross Cultural Solutions

Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratory Fellowship

Emerging Leaders Program

Genomic Health

Global Health Corps

Government Clinical Trials

Healing Hearts Across Borders

Health Communications Internship Program

Huntington Hospital Preceptor Program

Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation: Fellowship

Ibis Reproductive Health
Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation: Fellowship
International Health Opportunities through AMSA

International Volunteer Opportunities

LA+USC Hospital

Mayo Clinic Internships

MD Anderson Cancer Center
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Mending Kids International: Medical Mission Trips

Mission Neighborhood Health Center

National Institute of Mental Health (Research Assistant)

National Institutes of Health

Physicians for Human Rights

Presidential Management Fellows Program

SCOPE Program (Stanford and Santa Clara Valley area)

Scribe Americas

Scripps Mercey Hospital

Somos Hermanos

Standardized patient - Contact local medical school for more information
Travelers Summer Research Fellowship

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

U.S. Schweitzer Fellows Programs

U.S. State Health Agencies

UC Davis Pre-medical Surgical Internship

UCSF Women's HIV Program
Visions in Action
World Association of Non-Governmental Organizations
Wellstone Fellowship

World Health Organization


Be sure to keep the PH Advisor apprised of your plans. Make sure your e-mail address is current with the PH Advising Office so you are receiving informational e-mails which often contain job postings and additional glide year opportunities.

Check out our Volunteer page for additional lists of clinical and non-clinical opportunities