How Do I Choose a Professional School?

  • Sep 21, 2018

This past summer I was left with the difficult task of deciding which medical school I should apply to. There are so many schools and each one is very distinct from the other. I thought about just applying to all the medical schools in the United States at one point, then realized that the applications themselves are expensive as well. The cost to apply to medical school and choosing the right school tailored for my learning style were two main obstacles I had to overcome. This whole process seemed very overwhelming at first.

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The first thing I considered when choosing Medical Schools was if I wanted to apply to allopathic school (MD) or osteopathic school (DO). I took OST 401: Selected Topics in Osteopathic Medicine, which helped me choose between the two branches of medicine, and I decided to apply only MD. The second thing I considered is if I wanted to stay in-state. As it turns out, out-of-state tuition is typically much more expensive than in-state tuition for public medical schools. I also plan to live in Michigan long-term, so I decided that my first choice for medical school would be somewhere in-state.

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Next thing I considered was which medical schools in Michigan I wanted to apply to. To get a better idea of what these medical schools look for in students, I subscribed to a year-long Medical School Admissions Requirements (MSAR) account. MSAR is an online database that enables you to browse, search, sort, and compare information about U.S. and Canadian MD medical schools. Some of the key data from this website include average acceptance GPA and MCAT score, how much emphasis the school puts on research or volunteering, ethnicity of students accepted, and the home state of students that were accepted. All these factors allowed me to choose four Michigan medical schools to apply to. My next step was to find a few schools out-of-state to give myself some more options. After reviewing MSAR, I decided to send some applications to medical schools in New York, Chicago, North Carolina, and Indiana. I ended up applying to a total of 10 medical schools. Some were right on target in terms of my GPA and MCAT score, while a few were “reach” schools.

One thing to keep in mind through this process is that applying to medical schools is expensive. There is an expense for the common application for MD schools (AMCAS) and additional expenses for each secondary application sent back to a school. I found it very beneficial to save money throughout the summer! There is also a fee assistance opportunity for AMCAS and AACOMAS, (The common application for DO schools) so be sure to see if you qualify so you can save yourself some money.

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At the end of the day, it is your personal decision on what medical school or other professional school you apply to. I found it very beneficial to do my research on the schools I applied to before sending in my common application! This process can be nerve wrecking and tiring; however, keep working hard and do everything you can to apply to the best school for you!

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By Bernie Barden