If your ultimate dream is to be a doctor, nurse, or any healthcare professional, your very first step towards this type of career is applying to medical school. This may sound like an easy step, but picking your medical school is a massive decision. Not only are you choosing from hundreds of options, but you also need to ensure you pick a school where you truly excel and enjoy the course. Most importantly, you’ll be committing four or more years studying into this school, so you must pick a university where you’ll feel happy and at peace.
For your guide, here are six things you’ll need to consider when choosing a medical school:
1. Medical School Cost
Medical schools are very costly, considering that some of the most expensive fields of study are taught in these schools. Thus, you’ll need first to consider the cost. Take your time to research your preferred schools and find out how much is the tuition fee for each. You may also check out this medicalaid info or other reliable resources enlisting the most expensive med schools in the state and see if one of them is within your budget or financial capability.
Keep in mind that the cost of medical school doesn’t only revolve around the tuition fee. There are still other ‘hidden costs’ which you’ll need to consider such as the area’s cost of living, medical books, food, and more. Knowing the cost will help narrow down your school selections and help you create a financial plan beforehand on how you’re going to cover the expenses.
2. School’s Geographical Location
Another factor to consider is the school’s geographical location. Some of you may prefer studying near your hometown while others would love to try and explore schools on the opposite. Or perhaps, you’d like to be studying in a small town or a university within a big city. Your location preferences can also help narrow down your medical school options.
3. Required Admission Tests
With the shorter list of medical schools you have in hand, you can start assessing yourself whether you want to take the two major admission tests or just one. University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT) is a selection process used by some medical schools in the UK, New Zealand, and Australia to assess a student’s behavioral and mental abilities useful in the medical industry.
Meanwhile, Biomedical Admission Test (BMAT) is part of the admission processes of some medical schools to test the knowledge and skills that the student must have to be part of the medical field. Some medical schools may only require you to take and pass UCAT while a few would need both results.
Once you have the results from the tests, you can use the scores to guide you on which medical school you have a greater chance of qualifying and getting an interview. For example, if you got high scores in your UCAT, you can pick those medical schools that accept students within your score.
4. Types Of Medicine Courses
For starters, there are two types of medicine courses: traditional courses and integrated courses. Some medical schools focus on offering traditional courses wherein students are taught in the classrooms during the first and second school years. Then, they’re moved and introduced into a clinical setting during their third or fourth year. On the other hand, some medical schools offer integrated courses in which students are taught both by clinical and classroom settings right from the beginning.
You might be surprised how your chosen course type can influence your learning experience. Remember that some students learn best in the classrooms while others need to be placed in a clinical setting in order to fully grasp the topics and medical problems. Overall, make sure you choose the medical school with the course type that suits your learning style to avoid future regrets. You can do more research on the list of school options you have and find out their course types.
5. Types Of University
Generally, there are two types of universities: city-based and campus-based. Campus-based medical schools are built within a gated community, creating a small university town. All the university buildings are within the borders, giving the students a sense of a clean and more organized student community.
Meanwhile, city-based medical schools are university buildings located in the city. This means the school wouldn’t be as exclusive as the former, making the overall area look busier and more populated. Your preferred type of university may not be connected to whatever field of study you’d like to pursue. However, the type of university will directly affect your learning experience, so make sure you include this in your considerations.
6. Overall Atmosphere
Despite all the advanced research you’ve done to the list of medical schools you have, the best way to get an authentic feel of your chosen school is by going there and personally feeling the overall atmosphere. Seeing the students, teachers, buildings, and the school as a whole will give you an overview of how you can see yourself as a medical student in that particular school for the next four to six years.
There’s no such thing as the perfect medical school, but there will always be the best school fit for you. So, let these tips and considerations help you narrow down your choices and bring you closer to the best school that’ll take you to your dream career.