Two summers of fellowship research and the better part of two years during the school year working on undergrad thesis, a few publications (not first author) with a first author currently under review, international research project and volunteering (but not a \\\"medical mission trip\\\", I actually cared about the things we were doing and didn\\\'t just do it to put it on my app), leader of volunteer group, shadowing my research mentor in clinic, lots of independent travel, working as a patient attendant in the hospital, taught a class.
My advice (not that I\\\'m qualified to give it at all) would be to not do anything that you aren\\\'t interested in or dedicated to, and if you aren\\\'t busy doing cool things that interest you, then you are wasting your time during an incredibly valuable time of your life. If you justifiably believe the cost of MCAT courses is steep, just get old course materials and talk to people to lend you stuff. If you\\\'ve got moderate self-discipline, the classroom courses are pointless and prey upon the feelings of inadequacy and hyper-competitiveness of pre-meds to extract money (according to my friends that took them). If you do want to pay, just go for the online materials and bust your ass for a few months. I burned an EK Audio Osmosis from the pre-med advisor, and a few friends let me use their login info to access the Kaplan online study materials/practice MCATs. I avoided spending anything on studying, but if you want to do that you have to hustle and use your resources. I\\\'m not trying to toot my own horn, rather give you my take and experience on it.
Take my thoughts for what they are worth (I haven\\\'t officially been offered admission anywhere yet), it doesn\\\'t apply to everybody. And seriously, take a year or more off. Learn something, become a better person. Send me questions if you have any.