With the prevalence of chronic diseases on the rise in many parts of the country, demand for qualified physicians has gone up. That demand coupled with already high pay for medical professionals has led to a wave of students applying for medical schools.
If you count yourself among those that are trying to get into medical school, first and foremost, congratulations! The process of committing and applying to schools is no small feat and we commend you on taking the leap.
After you’ve applied, depending on what schools you’ve been accepted into, you’ll be faced with the question of which school you should choose. Below, our team outlines a few pragmatic how to choose a medical school tips that’ll increase your odds of getting paired with the right institution.
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1. Check Admission Requirements
This is something that you’ll want to look at before filling out applications and something that you’ll also want to re-reference after you’ve been accepted. Admission requirements are objective things applicants need to complete in order to be considered and ranges of proficiency typical applicants fall into that are eventually accepted.
Before you apply, knowing admission requirements will help you determine if filling out an application is worth your time (if you don’t meet admission requirements, you’ll be rejected). After you apply, reminding yourself of how hard it is to get into the school will give you an idea of how qualified your peers will be.
Generally speaking, opting into schools with strict admission requirements will benefit you in your career.
2. Inquire About Licensing Exams
After you graduate from medical school, you’ll need to take insurance exams in order to prove to the medical board that you’re ready to become a practicing physician. If you can’t pass your licensing exam, no matter how well you did in school, you can’t become a doctor.
For that reason, one of the primary how to choose a medical school considerations that you should keep in mind is how well a school prepares students for exams. You can figure this out by asking your admissions contact how their student body fairs on getting licensed after graduating.
If you’re seeing low passing rates for students that have been out of school for 3+ years, you may want to pick a different program.
3. Understand Residency Placements
While you’re working on your medical degree, you’ll need to get a residency at a doctor’s office or hospital to round out your resume. It’s nearly impossible to jump-start your career as a physician without attaining a residency.
Most medical schools have connections that will help facilitate student’s residency placements. Other’s do not.
We recommend picking a school that makes the process of getting a residency as simple as possible.
4. Campus Culture and Resources
Medical school is arduous. In order to be successful, you’ll want to make sure that you’re learning in an environment that is both comfortable and supportive.
Those factors fall under what is called “campus culture”.
You can learn about campus culture by spending some time on campus prior to accepting an admission offer. Talk to students, audit classes, talk to administrators about what tools the campus provides to help students succeed.
The more invested a campus seems in helping you grow as a person and as a professional, the more you should consider accepting their admission offer.
5. Is the School Accredited
This is perhaps the most important how to choose a medical school factor. Given the popularity of medical professions, a lot of private schools have started popping up that are not accredited by the state.
If your school is not accredited, your degree may be void in the eyes of prospective employers.
There is nothing worse than spending years of your life and thousands of dollars on a degree that isn’t worth the paper that it’s printed on so always inquire about a school’s accreditation.
6. Know What The Rate of Graduation Is
Finding the perfect medical program is often about finding an institution that offers a good balance of challenge and support to ensure student success. Sometimes, schools double down on the challenge part and skimp when it comes to offering the assistance that students need to succeed.
This disposition leads to below-average graduation rates.
You may be an above average student, but we recommend looking at a school’s graduation rate before accepting their offer. If it seems below-average, you may want to boost your odds of being successful by picking another institution.
7. See If the Program Offer Opportunities You’re Interested In
If you’re interested in medical research, you’re going to want to find a program that offers opportunities to explore that facet of medicine. If you’re interested in being a brain surgeon, you’ll want to make sure that your program offers course work that can help you down that path.
No two programs are created equal. Understand what opportunities each one offers and determine how well those opportunities align with your aspirations.
8. Speed of Completion
The rate in which you complete your medical degree is a deeply personal thing. To make sure that you have options as to how fast or slow you can finish your education, understand what your prospective institution deems acceptable.
Some schools offer flexible completion tracks and honor credits from eLearning institutions like Scrubs Continuing Education while others will require you to stick to a specific schedule on their campus or they’ll drop you.
We recommend picking a program that’s as flexible as possible.
9. Check the Price Tag
At the end of the day, if one school is offering you scholarships that’ll knock 50% off of your education and another school isn’t, you’ll want to give the cheaper school extra consideration.
Paying back tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in student debt is no joke. Do what you can to bring that cost burden down.
Wrapping Up How to Choose a Medical School
We hope that our 9 tips above add clarity to your how to choose a medical school question. If you keep them in the back of your mind and trust your gut, we’re confident that you’ll be treating patients in no time!
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