How To Choose Between Medical Schools / Medical Programs

Congratulations! If you are in the position to chose between medical schools it means you are in the envious position of holding numerous acceptances. This it the time to celebrate. But it is also the time to think carefully about this decision as it will impact not only the next four years of your life, but also your future medical training.

Quality of Education

The quality of education at all U.S. medical schools is superb, but some schools have a greater “reputation” in the field of medicine and some schools tend to produce graduates that excel in certain areas. If you are plan on going into academic medicine or a highly competitive field then reputation and clout of a school should certainly enter into your decision. If you plan on taking part in rural medicine or global health initiatives you want to select a school that has programs geared towards these endeavors.

Educational Modalities

Some schools have very lecture based curricula. Others utilize small groups while still others combine the two. If you do not learn well through lectures or if you hate working in small groups, you want to look carefully at how much of these activities are incorporated into each school that you are considering. You might also want to look at how long you spend in preclinical training, what early clinical exposure is available and if as systems based curriculum is used.

Location, Cost of Living, Family

Yes many lofty minded premeds think that personal factors like family and cost of living should come second to perceived prestige of a school and might tease you for even thinking about these things. The truth is, those premeds are immature and have no concept of the real world or might have unlimited financial resources that you do not. All U.S. medical schools are strong programs and it is not wrong to consider the amount of debt you will accrue, proximity to family and your ability to flourish in a given location when selecting a school. Your friends who are laughing at you now will realize just how wise you were when they grow up and realize it is not worth sacrificing your happiness to attend a school that is only marginally better than another school in a different location, especially given the high amount of students that remain in the same location for residency training and who ultimately form relationships with those they meet while in medical school. Ask current students about their lives and if they are satisfied with their training on the revisit weekend, I guarantee you will not regret it.

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