TYLER PRICE, Class of 2003
The first piece of advice that I have for anyone who is considering medical school is to make sure that you have considered all the positives and negatives in pursuing a career in medicine as it is a huge commitment of time, energy and, unfortunately, money for many people. It will all pay off in the end but the journey at times can and will be very tough. I think that difficulty in medical school education, residency and life as a physician is often overlooked by students applying for medical school. Medicine is demanding and will continue to be as medicine has changed dramatically in the past several years, is changing today and will continue to change in the future. There has to be a passion for continued learning within one’s self and an ability to be selfless and giving of your personal time and family time as much will be asked of you as a physician. Medicine has many great rewards and struggles and that is what makes it a very fulfilling and challenging career. So, my first piece of advice is to make sure that self-sacrifice, a daily commitment to lifelong learning, the ability to handle both school and family and friend demands, and a passion for taking care of others are in your mind when considering the decision. The majority of physicians say they are thankful and blessed to have gone through medical school and residency but they often hesitate when asked the question of, ‘’would you do it again?” Don’t get me wrong, medicine is a great career but it is not like the glamour that TV and movies portray.
As for advice on what will help college students matriculate into medical school? Medical schools across the country will use college GPA, honors, awards, and MCAT scores to sift through the thousands of applications that each school receives yearly. So, do well in college, try to obtain a high GPA and study hard and do well on the MCAT. While grades and MCAT scores are important in the process of applying, I have read and experienced firsthand that many schools also look at who the person is. What does this mean? A well-rounded applicant with various hobbies, interests, research, and activities who is an average student is just as likely to get into medical school as the valedictorian. Basic science research, collegiate sports or intramural sports, volunteering more than is expected, and being an active student all the while maintaining a high GPA shows that the student is dedicated and sets that applicant apart. It also shows that the student is driven, is able to multi-task and maybe, most importantly, has interests and a “life” outside of medicine. Medical school and residency are demanding and stressful so being able to show that one can multi-task and prioritize is helpful to any applicant. Another question that many students have is what degree should I get? All medical schools have basic science requirements and aside from meeting those requirements, any degree would suffice. So if you have an interest in business, the arts, music, another language, or any other interests than by all means become as well-rounded as you can. Do biology or chemistry majors have an edge? I would say probably not. It is about doing well in college, performing well on the MCAT, and becoming a well-rounded individual who is able to assimilate all the information in medical school and still have a great bedside manner. Lastly, when the time comes to apply to medical school many people recommend applying to as many schools as you would like to increase your chances. I think that is good advice. Also, applying to both MD and DO schools is no longer looked at negatively as both MD’s and DO’s practice side-by-side in medicine today. And, if you do not succeed the first year in applying, APPLY AGAIN!! Many people become discouraged and choose not to reapply. When you finally do get into medical school you will see that the majority of the students didn’t get in on their first try and so perseverance and persistence are important. Medical school is difficult to get into, so, if at first you do not succeed, try and try again!
Medicine is a rewarding career and good luck in achieving your goal if it is to become a physician!