Saturday, May 21, 2011

Factors to Consider in Choosing A Medical School

On Becoming a Doctor: Everything You Need to Know about Medical School, Residency, Specialization, and Practice
It is known that choosing a medical school is a difficult decision to make as there are many factors to be considered. Many would ask what are the important factors that should be considered in choosing a medical school?

One such factor to be considered is the reputation of the medical school. How are the graduates of a prospective school doing in their respective field or specialty? Are they also getting accepted as residents or trainees in prestigious hospitals or institutions? What is the performance of its graduates overall in the physician licensure or board exams? Does the school have a high passing percentage in these board exams? What is the medical school ranking in the board exams? What are the top medical schools in terms of board exam performance? What is the reputation of the school in terms of research? Information regarding board exam performance of recent years can easily be searched in the web while information regarding research can be obtained in the websites of the respective medical schools. It is also suggested to research other information from other independent sources.

The type of curriculum of the school should also be considered. It is because certain students find it difficult to adjust to a certain curriculum. Generally, there are two: the traditional curriculum and the Problem-based learning curriculum. The applicant should ask, "Is the prospective school following the traditional curriculum which is lecture-based and subject based? Or does it follow the Problem-based learning curriculum which is integrative in approach and small group discussion-based." In the latter curriculum, there are no separate subjects and cases are used as triggers for the discussion.

Other factors to consider are the environment and the facilities. Does the prospective school offer a good environment conducive for studying? Does it provide the facilities needed for a comprehensive training of a medical student? What hospitals is the school affiliated to? Does it provide enough cadavers for the study of Anatomy? How is their biochemistry laboratory and physiology laboratory? How about the microbiology and histology laboratories? Does the school have plenty of specimen slides for all the students? One can ask feedback regarding all of these from students in the higher year levels.

Tuition is sometimes a limiting factor for choosing a particular medical school. For example, tuition ranges from 70,000 pesos to more than 100,000 pesos per semester in the Philippines. It is usually the schools outside urban areas that offer the lower tuition. However, most medical schools offer scholarships through their alumni or other groups.
Lastly, the location and the proximity of the school to the applicant's residence or boarding house should be weighed. Many students prefer that their school be near their dormitory or boarding house because they do not want their precious time for study wasted on commuting especially during examination time. Travelling via public utility vehicle is unpredictable as one may be stuck anytime in a traffic jam. Some would also prefer that their school be near bookstores, inexpensive eateries and internet shops.

And while you are trying to figure out what school best fits you based on the factors mentioned, make sure to take the corresponding admissions test because it is a requirement for all medical schools. Try to get a high score on it as some schools require a higher percentile rating for them to accept an applicant.
Good luck on your medical school hunt.

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