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does it matter what college you go to if you want to be a doctor?

Hi Karoline! You already got a Lotta great advice so let me add this one thought: the professors and people that you meet at school you will know your whole life. Here are some things to think about. 1. Do some research on the professors what they study and what the research basically what they’re excited about and see it lines up with you interests. 2. Look at the LinkedIn profiles of graduates. What experiences did school set them up for? Are these the kinds of folks you want as peers? 3. See if you can attend an alumni event as a fly on the wall or perhaps do an informational interview with a few graduates. This is another great way to get a sense of a school! Good luck! Rachel L. Schechter

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John’s Answer

Karoline the short answer is that it depends.

Most medical schools don't really care where you did your undergrad, only how well you did there and how you performed on the MCAT. If you're trying to decide where to go for undergrad, I would recommend that you consider factors such as finances more than how med schools are going to view the name on the diploma. Med school is ridiculously expensive. You can expect to take on a minimum of $150,000 in student loan debt over the 4 years. Double this for the top tier private schools. The less debt you rack up in undergrad, the better off you're going to be.

Being certain that you want to pursue a career in medicine can be a huge help when it comes to planning your college course schedule. There are a lot of prerequisites for medical school—general chemistry, organic chemistry, biology, physics, etc.—so it’s in your best interest to think about them sooner rather than later. Just don’t let course requirements keep you from pursuing other classes that catch your attention. Many medical students obtain their bachelor’s degree outside the biological sciences.

Most doctors will tell you that medical school was far more difficult than their undergraduate education. Dr. Williams certainly thought so. This is why it’s essential to figure out how you best learn new material. It will likely make the transition to medical school a bit easier. Developing solid study habits isn’t just about performing well during medical school. Since continuing education is a requirement for physicians, having good learning strategies can help set the stage for success throughout your entire career.

One of the most daunting medical school application requirements is the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), a rigorous exam. Medical schools scrutinize MCAT scores considerably when reviewing applications, so you truly need to put your best foot forward. That means you need to start studying as early as possible.

Students know they need to gain clinical experiences like shadowing physicians for applications. But you might wonder exactly how much is enough. Truthfully, the only real guideline is to get as much experience as you can. Also consider the breadth of your experience. Gaining a substantial amount of experience can also help you determine whether medicine is truly right for you. It’s not all about glory and pulling off impressive procedures. It’s also worth remembering that shadowing isn’t the only way to gain exposure to medicine. You could also work as a scribe, become a certified nursing assistant, or spending time as a hospice volunteer.

Thinking ahead is a useful strategy for every part of applying to medical school. You need to plan for things like writing your personal statement and securing strong letters of recommendation. Excellent letters can only come from individuals who know you incredibly well—it takes time to build those relationships. Readying yourself for medical school takes time. Even individual application components can take months of effort. The sooner you starting thinking of preparing for medical school as a years-long effort, the better off you’ll be. This is especially true if you have yet to take the MCAT.

You’ve had an MD on your mind from an early age. Becoming a doctor has always seemed inevitable—you can’t picture yourself doing anything else. But while you might feel as though you have quite a ways to go before medical school, it’s not as far in the future as it seems.

Hope this was Helpful Karoline

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Yasemin’s Answer

Hi Karoline! Although some colleges may have more opportunities in research or preparing for the medical field, the courses and anatomy of an applicant matters the most. Keeping your GPA high, (3.7+) and doing well on the MCAT (508+) along with obtaining experience for medicine, in terms of shadowing, clinical, non clinical and possibly research will make the most difference. I do agree with previous answers as well, but remember wherever you may go to for college, it will matter the most to do well as a student and prepare for medical school!

Best of luck!

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Carmelita’s Answer

Hi, I can tell you from my years of school and practice as a physician that I learned that:
1. Your undergraduate school does not matter a great deal unless you really want to get into medical research or academia, in which case, you choose a school where the opportunities may be greater.

2. Your undergraduate major also is not as important as many think so long as you have taken the prerequisite classes to get into medical school. I have heard from the very people who are charged with deciding who gets into medical school that the attention is always given to the more well-rounded candidates. For example, In my graduating class in medical school, we had people who'd majored in music, we had people who wanted to practice medicine as part of a missionary, and we had nurses. I majored in psychology in undergraduate and toxicology in graduate school. So the moral of the story; undergraduate is the time to discover new things and do what you love while you're prepping for med school.

3. Establish good study habits and maintain good grades. Study hard and get a good score on the MCAT.

4. Find and keep friends who are supportive and maybe even become study partners with you. It'll make the journey more liveable.

5. Learn good money management and research scholarships and grants to help pay for college and medical school. As mentioned earlier, you should factor in the cost of the school and your and your family's ability to pay when deciding on the school. Learn to live within your means. For many doctors, even with the best planning, it may still take 20 years to pay off the loans taken to pay for school.

6. Seek opportunities to shadow or intern with professionals are are already doing what you want to do. Even volunteering in a hospital or medical office will help expose you to the day to day rigors and give you a more realistic view of what the job entails.

7. After college, consider joining the military or the National Health Service where your medical education may be paid in exchange for you serving an under-served community later.

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Alan’s Answer

While this is not my area of expertise, I am close friends with many that chose the medical field and so my answer would ultimately be NO.

A good school can certainly accelerate your career and land you prestigious jobs or positions, and I always encourage you to try your absolute best to get into a top program. However, hard work and determination will ultimately decide on how successful you will be. My recommendation for medicine is be to LONG term focused, and not overly concerned with the short term goals like what university or what residency you get.

If you are passionate about medicine and committed to it, then any school can get you to where you want to be. It may take a little longer, it may not be perfect, but it is absolutely doable. There are manor factors like mentorship, research, publishing, that can make you stand out amongst the field.

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Chet’s Answer

Assume you are considering Medicine? Awesome!

I believe it does matter. Although I ultimately did not decide to pursue medical school, my intent and decision making process when selecting my undergrad university definitely revolved around it. What has been said previously about any major being eligible for medical school applications is true, but you need to ensure you are at a school that has a good life sciences program, and ample opportunity and challenge to prepare you for med school.

I have to say that the competitive environment of where I went to school was at times a turn off. Seemed like every undergrad was aiming for medical school and the competitive nature was counter to the caring and empathetic nature I wanted to see myself possessing if I were to be come a physician. That's something that will be unique to the school you select. Size, ranking, reputation, location, etc. are all going to play into the student dynamic and mindset.

Universities with medical schools and teaching hospitals also afford lots of opportunity to learn (via special programs and volunteer opportunities). I would encourage you to consider such a learning institution. Many schools have affiliations with hospitals as well. Any way to build your network is helpful and worth considering.

Ultimately, just like undergraduate universities, there are levels and rankings. If you are aiming for a top 15 medical school, I'd advise that it does matter where you do your undergrad. You are competing for a rare spot with lots of brilliant people so you need an environment that will allow you to explore and mold your own brilliance. It matters if you are at a recognized and respected university where you're being taught by brilliant educators.

That's not to say that all accredited medical schools aren't great places for learning to be a practitioner. Getting into ANY medical school is an amazing achievement. It doesn't come easy and the study habits you build as an undergrad, as well as the environment you put yourself in, certainly have a huge influence on your preparation for med school.

Wish you all the best in your journey!