Your Pre-Dental Planner
Should You Take A Year Off?
Some students, for various reasons, opt to take a year off before entering graduate school. However, this is not usually the case with dental students, who generally go directly to dental school. Still, deciding to wait is a personal choice and thus there is no right or wrong decision. The most important thing is that you ask yourself exactly why you want to wait.
After 4 years of college and hundreds of stressful tests, papers, and projects, most students say they are exhausted and need some time off from the world of education. This is both a normal and understandable sentiment.
But the summer might be able to cure this malaise. Remember that you still have 3 to 4 months before school would start, which could be a substantial amount of time to recuperate. Depending on your financial situation, you could travel a bit and only work part time somewhere far removed from academia or your field of study. If you are certain that dentistry is for you and your only reason for delaying dental school is that you are tired, it is probably best to attend following your senior year. Dental schools expect that everything you have learned as an undergraduate is fresh in your mind. The longer you wait, the fainter the material will grow.
Nonetheless, there are some good reasons to postpone entry. If you did not get into any schools that you would seriously consider attending, using a year to improve DAT scores, gain experience, or enhance your resume may be a good idea. If you are unsure about your desire to pursue the career or field altogether, this also may warrant some time off to contemplate your decision.
Dental school requires a ton of personal motivation and commitment. If these elements are missing and you are not completely devoted to your studies you may find it hard to succeed. Perhaps a year to reflect will revive your passion for dentistry, help to clarify your goals, and fuel the needed effort.
If you do chose to take a year off know that you should be prepared to explain the reasons for your decision, what you learned during your year (or more) off, and how it enhanced your knowledge, experience, and candidacy.
Taking a year off is a big decision. Don't make up your mind before you think about your reasons for wanting to do so. Weigh your options carefully and do what is best for you.