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What are the important things I have to do in high school if I want to learn medicine?


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John’s Answer

Hi Christi,

Thinking about a career in medicine? I highly recommend trying out some medical experiences in high school before committing to a pre-med track. Many of my high school friends who hoped to go into medicine ended up changing their major during college when the pre-med courses got too difficult.

MEDICAL EXPERIENCE THAT IS AVAILABLE TO HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS
Doing a medical internship, summer program, or community service project in high school can help you decide if medicine is the right track for you before you waste time and money going pre-med in college. There are lots of ways to get a taste of it's like to work in medicine. In my opinion, the best time to do this is over the summer. You have the most free time during the summer, and there are more experiences available. There are many summer medical programs and summer medical internships for high school students across the country. These opportunities range from research experiences to in-hospital experiences. Some of these programs and internships charge you a fee to attend, some are paid for, and some even pay you to attend. If you'd like to get experience during the school year (on weekends and after school), you should consider shadowing a doctor or volunteering at a hospital. Volunteering and job shadowing are both great ways to participate in medical experiences at your local hospital. You can do them during the school year or the summer. Also, both opportunities are free!

What's the difference between volunteering & job shadowing a doctor? As a hospital volunteer, you'll have to apply (and likely interview) to be a volunteer (along with getting a TB test and filling out paperwork). You'll attend a hospital volunteer orientation and be assigned a specific "job" at the hospital, such as assisting the nurses or assisting hospital visitors in navigating the hospital. As a volunteer, you'll be required to commit to volunteering for a certain number of shifts per week. You also may have to commit to volunteering for six months or more.

HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST MEDICAL EXPERIENCE CHRISTI
Job shadowing is a shorter experience and much less formal. You can shadow a doctor for as little time as a few hours or a day or two. While shadowing, you follow a doctor around while they go about their normal activities. They may ask you to help them with basic tasks (grabbing a chart or taking notes), but probably not. You'll be there to see what a doctor does in their daily routine to determine if it interests you. To sign up to be a hospital volunteer, apply through the hospital's website. If you're having trouble locating the hospital's website or contact information, check with your school academic advisor. They may have a connection to the local hospital or might know another student who has volunteered or job shadowed there and who could help you get involved.

UNIVERSITIES LOVE TO SEE THESE KIND OF EXPERIENCES ON YOUR COLLEGE APPLICATION
Colleges mainly look for extracurriculars that show your commitment, passion, and ability to handle responsibility and leadership. Job shadowing isn't a great experience for your college application because it's not enough of a commitment if you only do it for a few days. On the other hand, volunteering at a hospital is a great extracurricular activity for your college application because it shows a commitment to medicine. The summer programs and internships are also great experiences for your college application because they show that same interest in and commitment to medicine. Also, many of these programs and internships are competitive, and colleges know that. If you're accepted into one of those programs or internships, colleges will view it like you won a prestigious award.

Christi, always make sure to research a program or experience before you commit to it. Doing so will help avoid a bad experience (such as a program that's not very hands-on or volunteer work that's mostly grunt work). Whatever you're interested in doing, try to find another student who did it previously and ask them about their experience. For the programs, get in touch with the program coordinator to see if they can put you in contact with a program alum you can speak with.

I Hope this was Helpful Christi

Thank you so much for your response, it was helpful. Christi D.

Your Welcome Christi, It was my Pleasure. The real opportunity for success lies within the you and not in the career, so build your own dreams, or someone else will hire you to build theirs. John Frick

Thank You Christi. There is no royal road to anything. One thing at a time, all things in succession. That which grows fast, withers as rapidly. That which grows slowly, endures. John Frick

Thank You Avegail. Alone, we can do so little; together we can do so much. John Frick

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Avegail’s Answer

In addition to studying hard, an important skill to have in medicine (and probably any career you have) are your soft skills, your social skills. Learning how to actively listen, empathize, and effectively communicate is so important if you choose a path where you're working in a team and/or speaking with patients frequently.

I recommend reading "How to Win Friends & Influence People" by Dale Carnegie.

Thank you for your response and the suprising thing is that I have already that book and I f ound it very interesting, and again thank you. Christi D.

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Julietta’s Answer

Hi Christi!

If you're interested in Medicine, or any career path really, it is important to start making strides during your high school days. Remember, colleges look at not only your high school transcript, but also your involvement in the various activities both within your school and outside of school. Get involved, meet new people and don't be afraid to try something you haven't tried before. Its all about what you do now that will make a difference when you begin applying to colleges. I always tell everyone to join a sports team, participate in student council or the debate team. If you want to focus on medicine as a possible career path, join some science clubs at school, participate in any volunteer activities you can. Many local hospitals accept volunteers from high school so look into that. Also, work hard in your classes and try to work towards honors classes if you can. If you put in the extra effort now, it will without a doubt make you stand out on the college applications.

Thank you so much for your response , it was helpful. Christi D.

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Dan’s Answer

Just learn how to learn. All the subjects that you have to study for may seem irrelevant in medicine but it's not the subject itself that you're trying to learn, it's the ability to learn. At the same time, the more you know the better you are as a human being which all plays into medicine.

Hi Dan, can you go into detail on learning how to learn. How would a student go about doing that? Gurpreet Lally

Figure out an efficient way to study that works for you. That’s the key. Once you do, you practice it by studying and doing well in school. Start this habit in high school and further advance it in college and it will continue to evolve to get you through whatever academic challenges await you. Dan Nguyen, DO

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Steve’s Answer

I would recommend you take advanced (Pre-AP) science and match courses in high school, and work hard to achieve excellent grades. Be sure to shadow a doctor in the field you have interest in for a day or more. Work with your school counselor to research the top colleges that have high-placement rating into medical school, like Austin College in Sherman, Texas. Know you will change your mind on the field of medicine that you wish to pursue, and do not worry about that in the early days.

Thank you for your response. Christi D.

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Steve’s Answer

I would recommend you take advanced (Pre-AP) science and match courses in high school, and work hard to achieve excellent grades. Be sure to shadow a doctor in the field you have interest in for a day or more. Work with your school counselor to research the top colleges that have high-placement rating into medical school, like Austin College in Sherman, Texas. Know you will change your mind on the field of medicine that you wish to pursue, and do not worry about that in the early days.

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Estelle’s Answer

Take math and science classes and make great grades. Study for the college entrance exam. Getting into medical school is about dedication and effort. If you can do well in college, you will be really well prepared for medical school. In the US, to apply to medical school, you need a bachelor's degree. Any 4-year university should suffice.

Pick a college that suits your personality and a major that interests you. You will need to get good grades in college in order to apply for medical school. At the medical school I attended, the average GPA is reported to be 3.85, so even one or two B's can hurt your chances of acceptance.

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Richard’s Answer

Take as many AP or IB courses in high school. You have a lot of years of education in front of you and getting college credit in high school can save you time and money.


During high school, apply to college. In the US, to apply to medical school, you need a bachelor's degree. Any 4-year university should suffice.

Thank you for your response. Christi D.

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