If you’re looking into medical institutions, it means you already have the grades and passion for medicine. Well, congratulations! You’ve made your first step to turning your dreams into reality. However, there are other vital decisions you need to make, such as the medical school to go to and the medical program to undertake.
Unlike before, medical schools are competitive, and you must be an outstanding student to join the top institutions. According to Statista, there’s a total number of 28,337 medical graduates in the United States in 2021, and you have to be utterly determined to be one of them.
To choose the best school, you must consider whether you want to get into one of the schools that sent you an offer, leading universities, or the most accessible schools near you. It may seem like a hard decision, but it’s not, so long as you have a set of criteria to help you. That said, here are seven tips to help you make that big life-changing step:
1.Do Your Research
So, you heard fellow students mentioning some of the best medical schools they’d like to attend and decided to apply just because you want to have familiar faces in class. Well, that’s a mistake. Your friend has probably researched all medical schools before applying to one, and so should you.
Don’t be the person who moves with the crowd—dedicate your time to researching the best medical schools that offer the best medical programs. Look into their culture, reputation, and how many successful and fulfilled medical professionals attended the school. Remember, you’ll spend many years in the school you choose. Thus, selecting the best is crucial.
Moreover, every medical school has unique requirements, as Medical Aid shows in their detailed guide to entering New York medical colleges. Keep in mind that every school is different and has its unique mission and goals, and not all are compatible with your goals, ambitions, and needs.
2.Consider The Location
The location is also an essential factor to consider when choosing your dream school. It could be your hometown or halfway through the country. However, you must evaluate whether or not that’s the best choice. Don’t just do it to spite your strict parents or to prove a point because this is a life-changing decision that may have a significant impact on your life.
When deciding on the location, consider factors like the commute and the overall cost of living. Consider a school that’s not far from your area of residence because you wouldn’t want to spend hours in traffic moving from one place to another and end up late for class. Also, some areas are more expensive to live in. However, some schools offer student finances to help you cope, but you should put only some of your hopes in that basket. It’s better to consider a region you can afford with or without the school’s help.
3.Examine Their Programs And Clinical Approach
Consider the multiple programs each shortlisted university offers before settling for one. Check if they match your needs and the time it takes to complete.
The clinical approach or the teaching style of the school also matters as it’ll help you prepare for a medical career. It may be one of the vital factors determining the future of healthcare, which is something you want to be a part of.
The main clinical approaches to look at include the following:
- Traditional approach: In this approach, you’ll have to go through a few pre-clinical studies before starting your clinical years.
- Integrated approach: You jump directly into your clinical and preclinical studies from the beginning of your first year. You may also work with patients from the start instead of waiting for your residency.
- Problem-based learning: A PBL is an approach that allows you to learn through group projects and tasks.
- Inquiry-based approach: This approach allows you to interact with specific life scenarios, ask questions, and research the same.
Therefore, you should choose the best approach for you and look into schools with the best resources for the program.
4.Check For Intercalating Options
Some schools will give you a year to take an intercalated bachelor of science degree (BSc) in a different program, where you can expand your knowledge on medical-related courses. It’s an excellent chance to grow your career, but it may add another year to your study program. Therefore, it’d be best to research the schools with such programs. If you want to take this route, settle for one that includes it in their program, but if you don’t, look the other way.
5.Review Their Admission Criteria
To get into your choice of school, you must meet their admission requirements. For one, you must pass the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT)l the pass mark varies from school to school. Also, you must complete prerequisite programs with science subjects, such as physics, biology, chemistry, and mathematics, or behavioral disciplines, such as English.
6.Understand Their Shortlisting Policy
Different schools shortlist applicants in various ways, some of which include the following:
- BioMedical Admissions Test and University Clinical Aptitude Test (UNCAT)
- Through the personal statement you delivered on your application
- Using the roles and responsibility form
- By checking your work experience or remote volunteering programs
Thanks to technology, you can find the criteria used by each university in your list through their official website.
7.Consider Your Finances
Medical schools are pretty expensive, especially if you don’t have a scholarship. Alongside your tuition, you’ll also have to cover some expenses related to your practical studies. Therefore, ensure you choose a school with reasonable charges and scholarship options.
Medicine is a fast-growing field with high enrollment and graduate rates. You need to be so keen in your selection to get into one with the program you want. If need be, attend symposiums conducted by different schools. Wherein you may pick up one or two things that’ll help you with your decision. It may be challenging to choose a medical school, but this guideline will help you get started.