If you want to become a doctor in America, you must attend medical school. Each school has its own amenities and special programs to help you succeed as a future physician. The med school you choose could directly affect your chances of landing the residency of your choice.
8 Residency Tips for Med School Applicants
So, how do you know which medical program is right for your future? What questions should you ask before indebting yourself to a long-term program?
8 Tips for Choosing a Medical School That Meets Your Residency Goals. Photo by Vidal Balielo Jr. from Pexels.
Here are eight tips to help you make an educated decision about which medical school to attend:
1. Don’t Rush Choosing a Medical Specialty
It’s not necessary to choose a specialty before choosing a med school. Residencies are very competitive. Slots are limited. So, sometimes it’s best to choose your medical specialty based on a combination of three factors:
- Your career goals
- Your medical interests
- Residency availability
These days, the number of med school graduates in the US exceeds that of residency slots in many medical specialties. You never know what will be available to you when the time comes. So, stay open to more than one to keep your options flowing.
2. Ask About Shadowing Opportunities
Some schools provide opportunities for shadowing early on… maybe even during the first year. This gives you even more time to sample specialties you’ve always dreamed about, as well as those that never crossed your mind.
So, be sure to ask the medical school when you’ll be allowed to start shadowing. And find out which specialties they deal with during shadowing opportunities.
3. Ask About Career Advisement
Unlike many other industries, career advisement is crucial from the very beginning when studying to become a doctor. You want a school that provides career advising from your first year to your residency. Find out how they help students find physicians to shadow. Do they help with personal statements? And what types of clinical rotations do they provide?
4. Find Out About Faculty Support
How much and what type of support does the faculty provide for its students. Do they write letters of recommendation for outstanding, deserving students for potential residencies? Have fourth-year students landed good residency opportunities thanks to faculty speaking on their behalf?
5. Inquire About Student Connections
For medical students, much of the learning experience comes from those who are years ahead of them. It’s important for first-year students to build strong bonds with upper-classmates, including med school graduates. These connections help you build a valuable professional network filled with people with knowledge about residency interviews. So, make sure the medical school you choose encourages these types of bonds.
6. Do They Provide Residency Interview Prep?
Make sure the school provides some type of preparation services for residency interviews. This could be anything from professional coaching to mock interviews with actual physicians. Find out how they prep their students for these life-changing interviews for future doctors.
7. Will You Be Given Time for Residency Interviews?
Clinical rotations are vital to your career as a physician. Missing days could get you kicked out of the program. Be sure the medical school you choose allows you to take time off for residency interviews. After all, landing that perfect residency is a primary goal when choosing a med school.
8. Find Out About Students’ USMLE Scores
A medical school’s average student scores on board exams are very important. You don’t want to attend a program with a history of low-scoring students. Also, find out how the school helps its students prepare for the USMLE Step 1, Step 2 CK and Step 2 CS exams. These days, the best residency programs require that you pass all three of these boards before even considering interviewing you for a residency.
Get Residency Interview Prep
MedSmarter provides residency prep courses using the ERMI teaching method. Come to our Suwanee, Georgia campus and learn how to interview for your residency from board-certified physicians. Learn at your own pace through live lectures or take our online residency interview prep course.
Our program has a good track record for helping medical students land good residencies in the specialties of their choices. Let us help you prepare for your residency interview, so you can concentrate on the next phase in your medical career. Click the button below to learn more.