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Lives of Doctor Wives: Medical Schools...How Many? How Do We Choose?

Monday, February 4, 2013

Medical Schools...How Many? How Do We Choose?

The decision to head on to medical school is the easy one.  Then comes the application.  Whether you apply to MD only, DO only or both, the application process is filled with much stress, anxiety, anticipation and at the end…relief! 

With 141 MD schools and 29 DO schools in just the United States, applying to all of them would break the bank!  The hardest part thus far in the process, is choosing which schools to apply to and how many.  You can Google “how many medical schools should I apply to?” You can check out Student Doctor Network, but there really is no right answer.  Applying to only 1 or 2 probably isn’t the best bet.  But then again, there are people out there who apply to only 1 school and get in.  I once read somewhere that the average applicant applies to 15 schools. 

It’s important to realize too, that with every application comes a secondary application.  Some schools screen for secondaries and only send them to select applicants.  In my experience, most schools just automatically send secondaries.  Each secondary usually was a few more essay questions and more general information plus a fee of $20 up to $150. FOR EACH ONE!  There were a few dream secondaries that were just fill in the blank information.   So if you apply to 20 schools that have secondaries that are $100…you’re in for another $2,000!  Just something to keep in mind.

Here is what is important to remember when applying…of course this is my list so your ‘important things’ might differ.

·         Location.  Can you handling living there for 4 years? Is it close to family? Is it far from family?

·         Ease of Travel.  Can you get to and from an airport without driving for 8 hours?

·         Weather.  I hate the heat.  Some hate the cold or the rain.  Definitely something to think about.

·         School Mission.  Do you want to do research?  Make sure your school choices offer research. 

·         Size.  Do you want a small campus or a large campus?  Do you want a class of 300 or a class of 50?

·         Public Schools.  Do you have kids?  If so, you might want to check out local school districts
·         Job Opportunity.  Do you have a career and want to find a job at your new home?  A marine biologist might struggle if your move from the West Coast to Kansas.  But then again, I don’t know.  J

·         Cost.  Even though student loans are accessible, do you care if you pay $40,000?  $60,000? Cost might be a factor.

·         Relationships.  Do you already have relationships built at a specific medical school?  Do you know an instructor?  Is anyone in your family an alumni?  Those might make a difference.

·         Religious Affiliation.  Many private schools are associated with a religion.  Are you comfortable with that?  If not, that school may not be the place for you.

·         Public or Private?  State schools tend to take most applicants from their state.  Being from out of state and banking on a state school, may not be the best plan.  Not to say it doesn't.

·         Cost of Living. The financial part of medical school is hard.  It’s expensive and often times involves moving to a new place.  Checking out cost of living might weight heavily for you, as it did us.  Being able to rent a 4 bedroom house for $950 compared to a 2 bedroom apartment for $1500 made a difference when we chose schools.

This by no means is a full list of anything and everything you should consider.  It’s just main points that I thought of along the way. 

The journey to just get into medical school is stressful and full of anxiety.  But trust me, that first “yes” from a school will make it all worth it!



Blogger ixp said...

Another big consideration, looking back, would have been whether the school's practice is to give tests every week or once/twice a semester. Makes a big difference in lifestyle!

February 5, 2013 at 11:11 AM  
Blogger JohnandBlanca Wilson said...

Love this post! Very helpful. Much to consider and this certainly helped me narrow it down.

February 6, 2013 at 5:48 PM  

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