Medicine, is it the right career for you?
Are You Sure You Want to be a Physician?
Becoming a physician is a noble and rewarding profession, but it may not be for everyone. We have all been on the receiving end of health care, but how many of us would be good at, or enjoy, providing health care?
Here are some general guidelines for whether medical school is right for you:
• Can you commit to long hours of studying for many years?
• Do you handle stress well?
• Do you have the stamina for 10 years or more of long hours of exhausting, intense training?
• Are you motivated by helping and serving people in all walks of life?
• Are you prepared to sacrifice your social and family life for your chosen career?
• Can you afford the high costs?
• Or are you prepared to be in debt by up to $200,000 before you start your medical career?
• Are your grades good enough to get into medical school?
• Are you fairly certain you can maintain your academic achievement?
If you answered yes to the questions above, you may be a good candidate for medical school. Another way of determining if you want to pursue a career as a physician is by volunteering or working in a variety of health-care settings. This will enable you to have a better understanding of the health-care delivery system while affirming your desire to be a part of it. Most medical school admission committees will expect you to have experience in, and knowledge of, health-care principles.
Prepare Now for Your Future
The rigors of a medical school curriculum are well-known. For this reason, it is important that you challenge yourself academically in high school. College prep courses along with a solid foundation in math and the natural and physical sciences, will prepare you for college courses that are required for medical school. Additional liberal arts courses (English, computer science, history, foreign language) are strongly recommended.
It is important you be a well-rounded applicant, so take advantage of participating in extracurricular activities at your school. These activities can help you develop important communication, leadership and time management skills.
Choosing a College
Choosing the right undergraduate college is an important decision. Are you unsure of what college to attend? When you choose a college, you are making an investment in your future, so choose carefully.
Consult independent college guide books and make formal visits to college campuses through their admissions offices. Discuss your options with your parents and guidance counselor to get their perspectives. If you do all of this, you'll know what you're looking for in an education and will choose the school that is right for you.
There are a number of public and private undergraduate schools with curricula and resources to prepare you for medical school. While the options are many, here are some things prospective medical students should look for in an undergraduate institution.
- Gaining acceptance to medical school is difficult. Choose a college that offers an undergraduate major that will provide you with a satisfying career should you not gain admission to medical school right away, or at all.
- Does the college you are considering have an overall solid academic reputation? Is it strong in the sciences? Does it have good laboratory facilities?
- Does the school have a premedical adviser who can provide you with academic guidance and information on medical schools?
- Choose a school that fits both your academic and social needs.