High School Students: Prepare Today for Your Career as a Doctor

Are you a high school student?  Do you dream of a career in the medical field?  If so, this article is for you.  Many high school students know that they’d like to be a doctor one day, but many of them don’t realize that the actions they take and the decisions they make right now will make a difference.  There is a misconception that medical school and a career in the medical field are far-removed from high school—and that’s simply false.  In fact, the choices you make today can have a significant impact on your chances of succeeding in medicine.  I frequently speak to high school students interested in the medical field, and below are several important words of wisdom I share with them:

1) Understand that becoming a doctor is not a quick and easy process. Many high school students are shocked to learn that becoming a physician typically requires a minimum of nine years of schooling and training—after high school!  If you do not enjoy academics and cannot stomach the thought of that much schooling, a career as a physician may not be for you.

2) Realize that your studies RIGHT NOW are important. Gaining admittance into medical school is not easy.  Your chances are markedly better if you attend a well-regarded university—and in order to attend such a university, it’s important that your high school grades are impressive.  But even more than the grades you earn, the knowledge you are acquiring today will be the foundation upon which your further studies are built.  Science and math classes are especially important for aspiring physicians.

3) Take every opportunity to improve your test taking skills. The path from high school to a career as a physician includes many tests and exams.  The MCAT, your SAT’s, exams in college and in med school—each of these play an important role in accomplishing your goals.  Many medical students struggle or even fail out of medical school because of their test-taking difficulties, so do not wait until it’s too late to focus on this skill.  The ability to perform well under pressure will go a long way towards helping you achieve your goal of a career in medicine.

4) Choose which college to attend carefully. You may not realize this, but not every college will prepare you to attend medical school.  I’m not just talking about less “impressive” colleges—there are many well-regarded colleges and universities which simply do not emphasize their pre-med programs.  It is important that any school you attend has a record of successfully placing graduates into medical schools.  Before choosing which college to attend, speak to counselors and share your ambitions with them.  They will be able to point you towards the colleges that will best prepare you for a successful career as a physician.    

The path to a career in the medical field is long, winding, and difficult.  The good news for you is that, as a high school student, you have the opportunity to prepare well before many other students have even thought about their careers.  Take advantage of this opportunity and make sure you are doing everything you can right now to prepare for your career as a doctor.

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