3 Things to Know Before You Go to Medical School

If you are currently enrolled in an undergraduate program and are thinking of going to med school in the future, there are a lot of important things to consider. Deciding to become a doctor is one of the most momentous decisions you will ever make. Following this path could mean up to 10 years of intense learning, with a four-year medical graduate program followed by up to six years of residency and a possible fellowship. In addition to the time commitment and dedication you’ll need to go through the program, you’ll also have to consider the costs that are involved. It’s estimated that the four years of education will average around $185,000 for in-state tuition and an incredible $260,000 if you attend a private institution. These facts, along with the endless hours worked during residency, present an immediate challenge to those considering this path.

3 Things to Know Before You Go to Medical School

Set Up Financing

Ideally, you’ll be able to get some scholarships or awards to pay some of your medical program tuition. Certainly, with the rigorous nature of the training, you won’t be able to work many hours at a part-time job so that avenue is not a helpful financial solution here. One of the best ways to finance the high cost of your medical graduate education is through private student loans. A variety of private loans are offered through financial companies, banks and credit unions. By applying for and taking out these loans, you can pay for your advanced training now and make the loan payments over time.

Get Experience in the Medical Field

Becoming a doctor is not for everyone. When you are going to get an advanced medical degree, you are about to make the biggest commitment of your life. Before choosing this path, it’s important to make sure that this is truly the profession you want. One of the best ways to do this is to work in the health care field during your undergraduate years. This will not only give you valuable insights into what’s ahead in life, but will also be a positive factor when your application for school is being reviewed by the admissions committee. One of the best ways to gain experience is to take the time to job shadow some doctors and other professionals. You can also volunteer at a local hospital or clinic and gain valuable insights as you work with the staff. Alternatively, you might consider volunteering as an EMT or becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA).

Choose an Undergraduate Major That Is Perfect for You

Everyone knows that your GPA is a critical element that will be reviewed by the admissions committee. Amazingly, for doctors, the recommended grade point average is 3.7. Many students also think that it’s best if your major is in pre-med or the Biological Sciences. Candidates who were accepted to medical school actually come from a variety of majors and backgrounds. While Biological Sciences predominates, the physical sciences, social sciences and humanities are also well-represented. What is most important is that you excel within your major, show an in-depth interest in your field of study and enroll in courses that truly challenge you.