Choosing the Right Medical School

You know you want to go to medical school… but how can you be sure to choose the right one?  There are a variety of factors to consider, and each individual comes from a different background and has different needs.  That said, there are a relatively small number of factors to be considered in making this choice… so let’s take a look at them:

1) Academics. To some degree, you will be limited by your GPA and your MCAT scores… but most students still qualify for a wide range of schools.  It’s important to select a school that will be challenging enough to stimulate your intellect and keep you interested—but you don’t want to be overwhelmed, either.  There are other factors to consider here as well—for instance, do you want a school that emphasizes primary care, medical research or a chooses a general, well-rounded approach? There are pro and cons to each.

2) Location. Do you want to stay relatively close to home?  Do you want to live in a city or in a more rural area?  Can you handle snow and ice all winter long?  The answers to these questions and more will dramatically narrow your options and help you close in on the perfect choice.  Don’t make the mistake of believing that “location doesn’t matter, because you’ll be in class all day long anyway.”  It’s just not true—you are going to spend years at your school, make sure it’s in a location that you are happy with!

3) Finances. How are you planning to pay for medical school?  Is your family contributing, do you have savings, or are you going to take out loans?  Figure out how much money you can afford to spend and borrow—and choose your school accordingly.  Don’t fall in love with a school you can’t afford… because you’ll be sorely tempted to compromise your finances!

There are a variety of factors to consider when choosing a medical school, but few are more important than location, academics, and cost.  Make sure each school you consider meets your criteria in these areas—and you can be sure that the decision you make will be the right one.  Good luck as you make this decision and prepare for an exciting journey!

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