Medicine is a highly competitive but excellent field. Those who wish to serve humanity opt for this field. Many prospective medical students are always tied between choosing the right medical schools.
They wonder how much their choice of school will impact their future career as doctors. Also, many pre students are confused by the new med school ranks published by some authorities in this internet age.
These new ranks make the pre-medical students so nervous, and they start to wonder if success is aligned with the school’s reputation. This has caused many to ask.
Does it matter where you go to medical school?
No, during selection by the national residency match program (NRMP), the school a candidate, attends is a remarkably low priority during the decision-making process. The most important thing is to understand and absorb the material taught and perform well when evaluated on exams or in front of preceptors.
However, it is best if you were keen on the medical school you choose. Its curriculum, extra curriculum activities, living environment, faculty, and support should be excellent.
The learning environment cultivated by the school is the most significant factor to your success. It should specifically prepare you for a career in medicine.
Factors Considered By NRMP
The NRMP looks at several essential factors in a residency candidate. Your medical school of choice should be able to help you attain the best results across each metric.
1. Accreditation of the medical school
This is the essential requirement of each medical school. The national bodies should accredit the medical school. It should focus and invest in quality medical education.
Its facilities should be able to give its students the chance to practice medicine anywhere in the world. The NRMP cannot accept any qualifications from a non-accredited university.
2. USMLE Step 1 score
It has almost always been the number one criteria when it comes to selection. The medical school you choose should be able to help you get a great score.
It can do this by offering good programs such as individualized learning programs. An individualized learning program will help the school in identifying your strengths and weakness. It will then develop better systems that will help improve your study habits.
The school should have standardized lectures; they will help you to obtain the necessary information. This will boost your scores and give you an upper hand during selection.
The knowledge acquired in step-1 is vital to anyone who wishes to practice medicine. You should be ready to demonstrate the knowledge when required to. Be it during a licensing exam or any other stressful activities.
3. USMLE Step 2 scores (CK and CS) scores
To pass the step 2 CK exam, you should get honors in one or two shelve exams with a minimum score of 230. First, your medical school should allow you to proceed to step 2 after completing step 1 immediately. Waiting will make you forget what you learned during step one.
It should use the clinical subjects’ exams (shelf exams) to assess individual educational achievements in specific topics. The assessment should be done to subject areas in every core discipline. It provides the students prepare for future success on the step 2 exams.
Students who need extra time to study are also identified through their shelf performance. This ensures they are well prepared to excel in their first attempt.
The medical school should provide you with career guidance. It should touch on many other areas of professional development and teach about the residency selection strategy.
4. The Deans letter/MSPE
During residency selection, a more robust and personalized letter highlighting your strengths is a gem. A letter from the dean shows that you are certified and prepared to offer your services to other people.
The medical school should have an individualized relationship with its student to know them better. It should create a unique environment that enables bonding within and outside the school.
5. Letter of recommendation
A good recommendation letter highlighting your achievement is essential. It offers you bargaining power. It also shows how prepared you are for the medical job.
6. Personal statement
It is one of the critical elements to success in the match. It entails several things, such as your extra curriculum activities. The medical school should provide additional opportunities for extra clinical training through events like medical mission works etc.
How To Choose The Right Medical School
1. Number of students that pass the USMLE
You have to score good grades on the licensing exams to practice medicine and secure residency. A medical degree with bad scores is useless.
As an applicant, you have the check how the students perform on these tests. It is a reflection of how well they teach and prepare for the exams. Medical students must take three tests; two of the tests are done in medical school.
2. The number of graduates who get into a residency program
It’s almost impossible to become a doctor without a medical residency. It would be best to look at the rate at which the students have passed into the residency program. It will help you judge whether the school provides quality education.
Also, check the specialties in which most students get into the medical residency. It’ll offer you an insight into whether the school is the right option for your thing.
3. The strictness of admission requirements
Most students apply for medical schools using some application service like AMCAS or OSMAS.
Each medical school has its expectations from the basic requirements. Great schools have set the minimum number of credits they expect to have in chemistry, physics, biology, and English.
Although most medical schools haven’t set the exact cut-off points for acceptable MCAT and GPA scores, you should research individual school grades for accepted students. The information is released yearly by the association of American colleges (AAMC)
4. Accreditation of the school
Most students do not look at the accreditation while selecting a medical school. All medical schools in the USA and Canada are expected to meet some standards.
If you intend to study medicine in a different country, look into the school accreditation. That’s if you would want to practice medicine in the USA.
The educational commission for medical graduates (ECFMG) insists that from 2023. It’ll only allow graduates to practice medicine in the USA if they attend schools accredited by an agency that’s approved by the world federation of medical education
5. The number of students that graduate
Getting into a medical program is not a guarantee that you will get a medical degree. You have to find out how many students finish medical school. Also, find out the reasons why others drop out.
In the United States, the average graduation rate is 83%. Therefore you have to be skeptical about the programs that cannot meet this benchmark.
6. Cost of the program
Education is an investment and not just a purchase. You have to check the cost of their programs and choose the university that matches your financial capabilities.
For financial support, abstain from loans. Instead, consider the specific medical school scholarships. The scholarships might cater for the partial or total cost of the tuition for a student.
7. It should have opportunities that can develop your interests
Each school has its specific programs. Some can offer great research projects and leadership positions, while others cannot.
Take your time, think about what you intend to achieve in life, your goals. The select a medical school that will nurture and helps you pursue your interests.
Some Of The Medical Schools
Getting into a medical school is challenging and competitive. This is because the career opportunities for graduates are limitless.
A medical career begins with you choosing the program the fits your needs. As a student, you should consider its location, tuition, school size, and test scores.
1. Yale school of medicine
It’s located in new haven, Connecticut. It’s one of the oldest universities in the USA, established in 1701. Its medical school was started in 1810. Its medical school has a population of around 180,000 residents.
Their medical programs are great, and they do produce wholly crafted medics. Their medical school is near the city and its shopping centers, museums, and restaurants.
2. University of Virginia School of medicine
It’s located in Charlottesville, Virginia. The school has a rich history while offering great and modern research and medicine.
The university always appears on the US News ranking of great medical universities due to its remarkable research and primary care.
3. Stanford university of medicine
It’s located in Stanford, California, and was established in 1908. Formerly, it was under the University of Pacific as the medical department. It has undergone several improvements, from buildings to curriculum.
The new building gives it a modern look, with its primary focus is on the biomedical revolution. The new school includes new laboratories and has a very conducive teaching and learning environment. This has ensured collaboration between clinicians and research scientists.
The new buildings have unique features that can accommodate new technologies, open and streamlined laboratories.
4. University of South Carolina School of medicine
It’s located in Columbia, South Carolina. Medical school was started in 1973. It has local partnerships with the local medical centers and hospitals such as Lexington medical center, Dorn Veterans administration medical center, etc. This gives its students quick opportunities as interns in these local hospitals.
5. University of Cincinnati College of medicine
It’s located in Cincinnati, Ohio, and was established in 1819. It covers 900,000 square feet and houses medical sciences, laboratories, and medical laboratories.
The University Of Cincinnati College of medicine is an exceptional one. The first heart-lung machine and polio vaccine was created there.
When it comes to selecting the medical school you attend is not an essential factor for residency program directors. This is a good thing for the medical fraternity.
There are several great physicians from different medical schools. Each physician comes with his/her own unique experiences and perspectives.
Most factors that are considered important in residency success come from within you. Your great attributes are highlighted on your recommendation letter, good USMLE scores, etc.
These personal achievements are shaped by the school environment, faculty that taught you, and the experiences that were made to you by the school.