When choosing where to study medicine, students often are most focused on how they’ll answer questions asked of them by school recruiters and admissions screeners. But just as important are the questions that students themselves should be asking. After all, it’s incumbent on both to determine good fit.
So, when visiting your prospective schools, consider asking these three top questions:
What sets your curriculum apart from others and what kinds of students thrive here?
All accredited US medical school curriculums must adhere to rigorous standards set by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME). Still, medical schools do enjoy some amount of space to tailor curriculums to their individual educational goals. For instance, some programs rely heavily on problem-based learning while others stick to the traditional lecture format. Further the length of the preclinical curriculum can vary from less than a year at schools like Columbia University in New York to two years-plus at more conventional schools to the new 20-month preclinical curriculum at New Hampshire’s Dartmouth College.
How does this school define a “great physician?”
Find out what types of careers that graduates from your prospective schools have pursued after finishing medical school. Some medical schools focus on creating great clinicians while others tend to produce exceptional researchers and still others turn out innovative minds that lean toward industries like biotechnology.
What unique clinical experiences are available to students?
Does your chosen school work with a particular population of patients? For example, some schools specialize in disadvantaged urban or rural populations, or ethnic/cultural populations such as Native Americans. Other unique elements – hospital affiliations, the number and types of elective rotations, and whether the school allows for multiple away electives if it doesn’t adequately reach your areas of particular interest.
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