Impact on Application
The Premedical Committee strongly recommends that your cumulative averages (science and overall) be in the competitive range before you study abroad. For example, over the last few years, students accepted to MD-granting medical schools in the United States have had mean science GPAs in the 3.5–3.6 range. If you are in this “competitive range,” then studying abroad will simply add an interesting aspect to your application.
However, if your GPAs are lower (e.g., 3.3 and below), then studying abroad may (relatively speaking) “hurt” your application in that it takes away from a semester of work here at Boston College. When admissions committees at health professions graduate schools evaluate applicants, they tend to rely heavily on coursework taken at an applicant’s home institution. Indeed, it is often difficult for them to evaluate courses taken abroad, so if your GPAs are not quite competitive, you might give serious consideration as to whether you should study abroad.
In this situation, if you still choose to study abroad, you probably should delay your application until after senior year or later. This would give you time to take additional science electives senior year and/or at a post-baccalaureate program.
While you are studying abroad, you may want to consider becoming involved in volunteer work (medical or otherwise). Time spent volunteering abroad would expose you to a health experience in a foreign country and would certainly show the health professions graduate schools that your desire to help others for a living is indeed genuine.