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What is the best route for me to take to achieve my goals and reach my full potential?

I really want to go into medicine but worry about the cost of school and I do NOT want to graduate with hundreds of thousands of dollars in student loans. I also don't know how to choose my under grad school and worry that if I don't pick the right school it will be harder to get into med or vet school. Is there a way to look online at what classes/schools are recognized by medical schools?
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Todd’s Answer

You are very wise to be concerned with cost and loans, as this can affect the situation you find yourself in when you get out of school, and the decisions you make for years to follow. Some strategies other than those suggested already would be to take undergrad courses at a community college and then transfer the hours to the college you will recieve your degree from. Just be sure that the exact school and course will be accepted at the institution you plan to graduate from. The school should be able to tell you, and community college courses are usually much cheaper. Also, look for CLEP or opportunites to place out/get credit for courses by taking a placement exam. I had to do a little studying from the course textbook I bought, but the exam fee & time studying was less than actually taking the class.

Todd recommends the following next steps:

Contact your school of choice (undergrad and eventual Med School) Office of Admissions, and ask them about opportunities and strategies to control costs while attending school. Self educate on the projected cost of education and what you will potentially make on graduation. If you graduate with loans of "X" amount, how long will it realistically take to pay them back?

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Suman’s Answer

Hi Grace. I understand your concerns. However I would not "over stress" about what undergrad school you go to. It is much more important to get excellent grades (and do well on the MCAT) at whatever school you enter, as opposed to the name of the school itself, although of course I can't deny that name recognition has some effect.

Your worry about cost is very understandable. Both undergrad and medical schools can vary greatly in terms of cost. You should pay attention to the academic quality of both, but there are definitely "good" schools that cost much less than other comparable schools. Some details:

1) I went to Baylor College of Medicine in Texas; my brother went to Yale Med. He ended up owing a lot more money in loans, but there was no significant difference in our test scores (USMLE) or eventual residency placements. We both did pretty well.

2) When you actually become a doctor, you will realize that no one cares where you went to medical school (although they might be interested in your residency or fellowship). That being said, yes - residency programs will care where you went to medical school to varying degrees. But in my neurology class at UCLA, we had a broad mix, and some of the most excellent residents were from less "famous" schools. Again it is most important to just excel wherever you are.

3) Finally, keep in mind your eventual earning potential as a doctor...including what kind of doctor you wish to be. (Average salaries by region and type can be looked up on the internet). This tends to soften the blow of loans, at least to some degree.

Good luck!