So You Want to Be a Doctor: Tips for High School Students

“What do you want to be when you grow up?”  For many high school students, the answer to that question is “a doctor!”  If you are interested in a medical career, you probably know that the path to becoming a doctor is long and demanding.  In addition to receiving your undergraduate degree, you will typically need to spend another four years in medical school.  However, that doesn’t mean that there is nothing you can do now to prepare.  I recommend several steps whenever I speak to high school students who are interested in the medical field.  Here they are:

1) Talk to doctors and others in the field. Many students think that they want to become doctors… only to realize, often many years into their post high school studies, that they aren’t willing to make the commitment any more.  The best way to avoid this scenario is by talking to as many medical professionals and medical students as you can.  Ask them about their experience and seek advice whenever possible.  You may find out that becoming a doctor requires more work than you are willing to commit—or you may find yourself more excited about a medical career than ever.

2) Keep those grades up! One constant throughout your journey to becoming a doctor is the importance of strong grades.  Not only will good grades in high school help you make it into the college of your choice, but the study skills and habits you develop will serve you well for your entire career.

3) Do your research. There are many potential paths to becoming a doctor—but which is best for you?  Do you have a specific college in mind that you are hoping to attend?  What about a specific medical school?  If so, research the requirements for each institution so that you have the best possible chance of succeeding.  If you are unsure of your future plans, now is the time to research your options and begin plotting your course.  If you need help, I’d be glad to speak with you about it!

Yes, as a high school student, you are facing many years of schooling before you can become a doctor.  However, that doesn’t mean there is nothing you can do today to prepare.  Take advantage of any opportunities to speak to medical professionals, keep your grades up, and do your research… and you’ll be well positioned to make your dreams come true!   


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Dr. Toote was amazing. Until today, I thought only the grades necessary to get into medical school. Now, I realize that grades are only the tip of the iceberg and my story is what it’s all about. S. Monter Kingsville, Texas

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