Your years of college have prepared you for a career in medicine. Now it’s time to find the right medical school. The choosing of a medical school can be one of the most important decisions you make for your future. It may determine the path of your entire medical career. Here are a few things to consider when choosing a medical school.
Obviously you want a school that has a great reputation, one that scores high on rankings of medical schools and is known to produce quality doctors. But there is much more to a school than just reputation. Know what kind of medicine you want to practice and find out if the schools you are considering have a reputation for quality education in that kind of medicine. Are you more interested in medical research or direct care of patients? You need a school that has a similar philosophy. If you are not happy at a school or it is not providing you what you need, it will be very difficult for you to complete the program in a reasonable amount of time, if at all. If this happens, you could be wasting valuable years that you will need to become a doctor. Even if you are in the greatest program in the country, your reputation will not benefit if you fail to finish.
You also want to be realistic about where you are likely to be accepted. Time is of the essence, and you don’t want to waste time researching and applying to schools that are unlikely to take you on. Any listing of top medical schools will show you the MCAT scores and GPAs required for acceptance, and the average scores of accepted students. Take these statistics into consideration when deciding where you will apply.
Consider the physical location of the school. You will spend many years in your pursuit of a medical career, and you want to be sure you spend those years in a tolerable location. Medical school can be taxing and challenging, and your physical environment must be one that is pleasant to you if you are going to give yourself the maximum chance to succeed.
Consider the cost of the school. Medical school can be a financial drain as well as an emotional one. Be sure you can afford whatever schools you are considering attending. Be sure you will be able to get the loan you need to pay for that school, if necessary. If you will be in residence near the school and away from your home, consider the cost of living expenses as well.
Most of us know some medical professionals, whether they are friends, relatives, or the family doctor. Consult with them as to the best path to take in regards to medical school. They are sure to have some helpful suggestions and may think of things to ask yourself when you are deciding that you had not even considered.
Your medical school choice will decide your future for many years to come. Don’t leave this decision to chance. Use the tips above to make the most informed choice possible and give yourself the best opportunity for a prosperous medical career.