Which medical school should I apply to? Aspiring medical students spend a lot of time just thinking about how to choose a medical school and which medical school to apply to.
That’s why in this post, I’m going to give you four things to consider before you make your ultimate choice on where to start your training to become a doctor.
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Today we are going to talk about how to choose your ultimate destination when it comes to medical school and whether it actually matters.
I’m going to give you four things and they’re going to be personal to every single person, so there’s no one right or wrong way.
These four things to consider if you want to know where you should apply to medical school should help you make your final decision.
Four Things To Decide Your Future Medical School
#1 Thing To Consider: Price
The typical debt after four years of med school is anywhere from $180,000 to $200,000 depending on when you’re reading this post.
That’s before interest starts kicking in, which mostly starts to occur during residency!
Thus, it could shoot up to $300,000 to $400,000 overall when you’re done paying off your med school loans.
It does matter which school you pick because two schools with roughly similar calibers or reputations can have a drastic difference in price tag.
To give you an example, there’s an Ivy League school out there which a lot of the people respect because of it’s an amazing education.
However, it cost roughly $63,000 per year in tuition alone! That doesn’t include the costs of living or the cost of your board.
So $63,000 can come out to basically $250,000 over four years!
In comparison to other medical schools, such as the institution where I went to, it’s roughly cheaper at a little more than $20,000. So, four years of medical school will only cost you around $80,000 to $90,000.
If there’s isn’t much difference in terms of caliber or reputation of education, I would say you should pick the latter.
Needless to say, it’s going to depend on your life goals which we’re going to talk about shortly.
The price tag is obviously not the only thing you should be considering.
But when you have to face a difference between expensive school and a cheaper school which you equally like, probably you should go with the cheaper school to make your future financial life a little bit easier.
But let’s talk about some of the other things you should consider on where to apply to medical school.
#2 Thing To Consider: Board Scores
Like it or hate it, your step 1 score or your board scores can really determine your life’s trajectory.
step 1 is probably the most important exam you’ll take in the history of your medical career and it really does dictate what kind of physician you can become.
If you have big dreams like if you want to become a dermatologist or a plastic surgeon, you should aim for excellent scores.
So, if you’re deciding between two schools and one clearly has a much better board score, you probably should pick the one with the higher board score.
Essentially, their curriculum and education are going to help you do better on exams. Most likely they have smarter students too!
Look at the board scores because that can give you an idea of what doors of opportunity will be open for you if you also put in the hard work.
Schools publish this all the time!
If you see a school with a low score (anything below 220 or 225 being the average), that’s probably something you should hesitant about.
Know that the average every year continues to go up!
In the same way, the competitiveness for the competitive specialties and even normal specialties also continues to rise.
Thus, put yourself in the best position.
Look at the price as well as the step 1 and Step 2 scores to help yourself when it’s time for residency.
#3 Thing To Consider: Future Goals
The third tip on how to choose a medical school is what people tend to get at the very start. That is, looking at what your future goals and ambitions are.
You may not know them yet. But some of you may already have a clear idea of what kind of doctor you want to be or where you want to live.
So let’s break them down one by one. First, let’s look at what kind of doctor you want to be.
Let’s assume that you want to do something that’s really competitive such as Derm, Plastics, or Radiation Oncology.
You typically would like to go to a school that has a reputation of matching students into those residency programs.
If you want to go to Radiation Oncology and you realized your school has never matched anybody to a program in that field, that’s probably something to consider.
Obviously, it’s not an end-all-be-all.
Matches will vary from year to year depending on the preferences of that respective class. But you do want to consider whether that institution keeps those doors open for you.
The second part of it is to think about where you want to end up geographically as a resident as well as an attending.
Where you’re going to medical school may help you get into a certain residency program.
Take me as an example who is from Texas. When I try to go to an institution outside of the state, it’s going to be really hard because they know that students from Texas like to stay in Texas.
Unless I had a tie (family reasons or maybe I went to college in one of the states), it will be very hard for me to convince an outside institution that I would want to actually move.
If you want to go to the west coast but have no ties in the place, you could still go look into a medical school on the west coast. Then again, consider the price as well as future aspirations and board scores.
Keep geography in mind because it’s where your trajectory may be heading.
You may be able to help yourself if you can put yourself in that medical school earlier rather than later.
#4 Thing To Consider: Where Will You Be The Happiest
The last part is really the most important consideration on how to choose a medical school. That is, where your general happiness is.
How is the location? Are you around family or friends? Are you around activities that you can do?
If you’re an outdoorsy person but you’re living in a flat terrain area, that may not be the best for you.
Consider everything put together!
Ask yourself, “Am I going to remember my medical school experience as a positive experience or just as four years of stepping stone to my medical education?”
If you’re in the latter, you are not taking the right move!
You want to make sure that you enjoy where you’re going to school and you remember the experience that developed you into a better doctor.
I love my medical school because I purposely picked it!
I thought it was going to give me the best chance to enjoy my four years while also developing into a great physician.
In the same way, make sure you consider your happiness as well as future happiness. Also, take in the other things that we talked about: price, board scores, and future goals and aspirations.
Put them all together and you’ll probably have a few leftover choices when it comes to medical school.
I hope that I helped you make the decision a little bit easier of where you should apply to medical school.
I would like to help you succeed in medical school as well. So here are a few resources that I, myself, used when I was in med school.
These will help you not just study harder, but study smarter and more effectively.
Hungry for more tips? I got you covered!
If you enjoyed this post, I’m sure you will like the following posts as well. Check them out!
Thank you for reading! See you in the next post!
Take care guys…