Pursuing a career in medicine is one of the prestigious paths to take. Considering the shortage of doctors, becoming one is life-saving and lucrative. Aside from that, it’s also fulfilling that you’d be graduating as one of the best medical practitioners around.
But after taking premed courses as well as consulting premed experts and other websites, the question you’d most likely ask is, what medical school can equip you with all you need to help the new world? While the choice is left to you to make, this post shares seven factors you need to take into consideration when making that choice.
State Versus Private Schools
You need to know that not all state schools accept non-resident applicants. Although some do, they’ll mostly charge more on every expense you have to cover.
So, you should carry out a Medical School Admission Requirement (MSAR) research to find out the requirements for a non-resident applicant. You should also ask questions for clarification as not clearly understanding the requirements may hinder your application process. If you find a state school too limiting for your liking, consider alternatives.
As for private medical schools, the terms and conditions are usually the same for residents and non-residents. However, you still need the research to avoid policies that’ll limit your pursuit.
Average GPA/MCAT Cut Off
Most institutions have a mark they expect you to reach to qualify as their student. While it’s been argued that schools with higher cut-offs are better, there’s an average you’re expected to meet. If a school expects a 75% performance that covers English, Chemistry, Organic chemistry, and Biology, and you have a 55% performance rate, it might be futile to apply for those schools. So, it’s also best to know the cut-off mark ahead of time and prepare for it.
The School’s Reputation
To an extent, an institution’s reputation can make or break opportunities for you. Hence, you could search for medical school rankings and how they fare in the public’s opinion. If a school is respected and well-known because of its achievements, there’s every chance you’d also be respected as long as you do your homework. The respect and admiration you gain will help you get good residency placements and even job opportunities.
If a school becomes popular for consistently producing the best practitioners in a specialized field, such as cancer, it’ll win the respect and admiration of the public. But that doesn’t always establish its expertise in oncology, for instance.
Therefore, you should look beyond the spotlight on which a school stands to see its strength in the area you want to specialize in. Some factors to consider in this process include
- Quantity of qualified doctors relevant to your field.
- Quality of graduates relevant to your field.
- Quality of facilities relevant to your field.
Average Performance Of The School’s Students
There are two areas you need to consider to understand the average performance of students in your chosen school. In the US, these areas are:
- The percentage of students that make it through the United States Medical Licensing Exam (USMLE).
- The percentage of students accepted for residency.
Some schools are theory-based, while others are practice-based. So, some offer retargets to help you pass residency interviews and even send recommendation letters to boost your chances of being accepted. Others may feel as if your grades come first.
By finding out the average performance of the school’s students, including the residency opportunities, you’ll know how much effort the school puts into helping its students succeed.
Your Interests And The Schools Mission
Depending on your interests, you may prefer independent research over medical community services or the other way round. To ensure your interests are met, study each school’s mission to see if they align with your expectations. If a school’s mission is centered on serving the public, there’s a possibility you might not have many opportunities for independent research.
Beyond the admission process and reputation of the school, you should also consider various factors as they’ll directly impact your total cost. Some other factors may include tuition fees, school’s location, transportation, housing, and even books and miscellaneous fees. If not checked, you may end up spending three to four times more of your budget in managing them. This means you’d be left with little or nothing to invest in your career dream.
No matter how passionate you are at building a world-class medical career, the institution that molds you will significantly determine how well you achieve that goal. Take your time for this process, pay attention to details, and make the right choice.