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What are the things I must prepare for, before going into college/medical school

I'm in my first year of high school and I can't wait to begin furthering my ambition of becoming a neurosurgeon. I want the best advice for that profession.
#givingiscaring #medicine

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John’s Answer

Ana medical school may seem far away, but it’s never too early to start laying the foundation for your future. Taking the steps outlined above will make you a competitive applicant to colleges and, later, pre-med programs. But more importantly, they’ll give you the skills you need to manage the challenges of medical school and become an excellent medical professional in the future.

If you want to begin your pre-med track, you’ll have to start by getting into college. To get accepted into a competitive school, you’ll need good grades in rigorous high school classes. Many colleges expect you to take the most challenging classes available at your school, typically AP and/or IB courses. If these types of classes aren’t offered at your school, colleges will not penalize you for not taking them. However, they want you to make the most of the resources available to you. Excelling in rigorous courses demonstrates that you have what it takes to work hard and excel at the college level. Plus, developing a solid work ethic and good study habits now will benefit you immensely in college and in med school. Of course, you’ll want to especially focus on science and math. Take advanced science and math courses like AP Chemistry, AP Biology, and AP Calculus BC. These classes will give you a solid foundation for many of the courses you’ll be required to take in college and in medical school. They’ll also begin preparing you for the MCAT, a test you’re required to pass for admission to medical school.

Universities want pre-med students with more than just science, math, and leadership skills. They want to know that you’re responsible, dependable, ethical, and honest. They want to know that you’re a compassionate person who will genuinely care about your patients. Basically, strive to be a good person who makes a positive impact on others. Make good choices inside and outside of school, act with integrity, and treat others with kindness. You can highlight these values on your college application through your activities (i.e. volunteering at a hospital or tutoring other students in math and science), through personal anecdotes that you share, and through teacher and counselor letters of recommendation. When it comes to those letters, your teacher isn’t going to say anything that isn’t true, so make sure that your actions in class line up with the impression you’d like to make on college and medical school admissions officers. Being a neurosurgeon can be a difficult and demanding job, and it’s even harder if your heart isn’t in it, so it’s important that you have a genuine desire to help other people and make a positive difference. Neurosurgeons must be assertive problem-solvers who can quickly make decisions under pressure, all qualities shared by good leaders. As you gain relevant experience, strive to take on leadership roles in your extracurricular activities also.

John recommends the following next steps:

Interview — better yet shadow — doctors in different medical specialties in which you think you might be interested in.
Participating in science/math clubs and competitions.
Attending a medical program or science/math related summer camp for high school students.
Applying for a research or internship program for high school students interested in science and medicine.

Thank You Julio. “The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” — William Shakespeare John Frick

Thank you so much! This question really helped! Ana G.

Your Welcome Ana. 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

I too am interested in possibly going to medical school. This list along with your response definitely help with knowing where I am and where I need to be in order to get to where I want to be. So thanks! 😀 Shinah K.

Your Welcome Shinah, Good Luck. According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that 2018-2028 job growth for certified registered nurse anesthetists is expected to increase 17%. Federal legislation has led to an increase in the number of insured individuals; this, along with the expanding elderly population in the US, is contributing to increasing employment opportunities for advanced practice nurses. The average CRNA salary in the United States is $187,400 as of October 28, 2020, but the range typically falls between $172,300 and $204,500. Salary ranges can vary widely depending on many important factors, including education, certifications, additional skills, the number of years you have spent in your profession. John Frick

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Yasemin’s Answer

Hi Ana! Wow I remember my first year of high school, it was definitely a while ago but like yesterday. That being said you still have time but things go quickly as well to where soon you will be applying to college and even medical school (yes, that quick!). I would recommend in high school to do well in classes and get involved in volunteering, clubs and activities. I struggled as a student but in high school after my first year when I really decided that I want to pursue the path of being a physician, I started to work harder and became more disciplined in my studies. I reached out to my teachers and studied after school was over in the library and I was thankful that it paid off especially when I received honor roll my first time ever! You want to do well in high school and have a good GPA and good SAT score for college; for medical school it doesn't matter the college or major you pick as much as how active and dedicated you are as a student. Of course there will be colleges/universities that can be better suited to students especially in the premed field but nonetheless it does fall on the student to do well regardless of the college they enroll in. If you can take AP classes in high school I would recommend them, because this will expose you more to science as well as being able to take the AP exam and get credits for it towards college which can save you money and help you excel more but not taking those classes again. I think beginning to form a strong foundation in science and math in high school will help in college/medical school so definitely this is something to strive for. However, remember classes can get hard and you may struggle, always reach out to your counselors and teachers and ask for help -they really are open to it and even are happy when students reach out! Be sure to have fun by making strong friendships and joining clubs, sports and activities that you enjoy; as long as you are hard working and dedicated the rest will come!

You still have time for college but as a small note to think about check out AAMC.org when in college, this is the site where you will apply to medical school, take the MCAT exam for medical school applications as well as have resources to use to prepare for medical school and applying to it. In college get to know your professors well especially since you will need recommendation letters, do well in classes, volunteer and be active in the medical community with opportunities for premeds, and meet with a premed adviser regularly. They will give more details about the premed route when in college as well as what classes you must take (prerequisites for medical school) and what kind of opportunities medical school looks for in terms of volunteering and shadowing a physician.

Keep working hard!

I wish you the best!

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Estelle’s Answer

Hi, Ana,
Take all the AP and dual credit classes in high school that you can. This will save time and money in college, as you will enter with credits already. Any sciences classes will help prepare you for college level studying (chemistry, physics, advanced biology, anatomy, etc)
I would like to add that setting very specific goals always helped me stay organized a focused. I keep a list even today of short term and long term goals and check them off when completed. For example, I have the things that I want to accomplish today, another list for the week, and a third list for the year, for example. This helps you feel accomplished and reminds you that even when facing lots of work ahead, you have been making steady progress.

Good luck!