It can be daunting to think about going to medical school. It can take over a year, and it might cost several thousand dollars. Even though students might apply during their junior year, they need to consider several things before deciding they are ready to start the process. Assessing your situation before applying can make you a more competitive candidate.
Consider Your Financial Situation
It is expensive to apply to medical school. There are often several fees for each application, and you’ll likely apply to multiple ones. Plus, if you have to interview in person, you may have to travel a distance to the school and pay for both transportation and lodgings. Do a bit of math to see if you have enough money to get through your applications. You’ll also want to consider the price of your education.
Even if you have enough to cover the costs of your applications, you may still find that your savings won’t cover your tuition and textbooks. And for many students, having a job is not an option because of demanding classes. Instead, consider taking out medical school loans to cover tuition, books, and living expenses.
Being Academically Ready
Ensure that you have finished all the prerequisites. Find out what each school you’re considering requires. For example, you might need to take physics, biology, and chemistry. It is good to have these courses finished as soon as possible. Not only do schools want to know that you have the knowledge to do well, but they might also want to see your grades to assess your competitiveness.
Many times, college students can plan their courses to finish the requirements before applying. However, this is a significant consideration for students that might not have a relevant major. So, if you don’t have many of the prerequisites done, you might need to wait a bit longer.
Solid Grades Are Always Important
Look at your GPA and test scores. It’s not enough to just complete the required tests and classes. The grades you got in college, particularly in the required classes, very important to admission officers at medical schools. Test scores are also important.
If your GPA is weak, you might want to consider a master’s or postbaccalaureate program to boost your grades before submitting an application. And if you didn’t do well on the required tests, you might want to take them again before getting ready for medical school. Otherwise, you might not get accepted into a program, and you may have wasted your money the first time.
Think About Extracurriculars
Besides getting good grades and taking the right courses, competitive students should be well-rounded in extracurricular activities. That might include shadowing physicians, getting clinical experience, and doing research. You may also want to look for leadership and community service.
If you don’t spend enough time with extracurriculars or lack in certain areas, you may want to delay your application until you can commit more time. These activities show that you’re committed to medicine and are interested in it. Spending time with them can make you stand out more.