If you're in high school and are thinking about medical school my advice is very simple: concentrate on getting into college first! This is going to be one of the first steps in a very long process in-order to become a doctor.
Although it never hurts to be knowledgeable about your future goals, so you are doing all the right things by looking into what it means to be a premedical student and learning more about the medical profession.
The biggest challenge for you will be performing well on the SAT/ACT. I think if you put a lot of your time and energy into a College Prep Course it will payoff a lothi. I place a lot of emphasis on standardized tests because you have to think from the view of a college admissions officer.
We are getting applications from students throughout the country/globe who all attended schools which have unique ways of grading their students and calculating their grade point average. One way for us to assess a student's academic strengths is based on standardized tests, because as the name implies they are uniform and gives us a way to compare apples to apples and oranges to oranges.
From this logic you can see why you should do everything possible to do well on the SAT/ACT while in high school.
It is never too early to get started with your test prep because you want to know what you'll be up against. Here's your chance to take a FREE SAT/ACT Practice Test.
As a high school student you need to go to a college where you will excel and feel comfortable. I would never choose a school based only on whether it will boost your chances of getting admitted to medical school. Life happens and you are constantly maturing and who knows what the future has in store.
Once you begin organic chemistry during your freshman year of college, you'll see that there are a lot fewer premeds by the time spring rolls around. Some have decided they would rather be lawyers, investment bankers, business professionals, etc. As you can see if they chose a college based soley on becoming a doctor they would be in a lot of trouble. It may be hard to imagine that you might find out you are not cut out for medicine, but it happens so please attend a college that you like regardless of whether you want to be a doctor or not.
My only word of caution about choosing schools is that medical schools frown upon students who complete their premedical requirements at a community college. You must remember you need to acquire the skills necessary to learn advanced science and compete in medical school and community college is not the best way to shown your intelligence for medical school.
But if finances are a problem and you must attend a community college, I strongly encourage you to complete your premed requirements at a local college or university or enroll in a post-baccalaureate program after earning your degree.
I am sure you are interested in choosing a college/university that does a thorough job in preparing you for applying to medical school. And as always, do not choose a college based primarily on how you think it will affect your chances of getting admitted to medical school. Go where you will be happy, thrive, and comfortable because you only get to do college once.
But on a more serious note I am supplying you with information that I did not have as a high school student myself. There are lots of options for College Admissions Planning, so to help in your decision making process I am including the top colleges/universities which produce the highest number of medical school applicants by race/ethnicity.
his is the most concise overview of the requirements to go from high school to a doctor. Typically, you must have a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university to apply to medical school. Also, you must complete the required courses for medical school and take the MCAT.
Once these requirements are met you will apply to medical school and go through the admissions process which is a lot harder than getting into college. If you are invited for an interview and then admitted to medical school, congratulations you are on your way to becoming a doctor. Don't forget, you still must work very hard during your four years of medical school because you'll need to get into a residency.
A residency is like on the job training of how to be a doctor and starts in July of the year you graduate from medical school with your M.D. Residencies can last anywhere from three to six years. Once they are completed you can get more training in a fellowship or sit for the boards and be licensed to practice medicine. So in a nutshell this is the process of becoming a doctory. As you can see once you finish high school you are looking at anywhere from 11 to 16 years of college, medical school and residency training in total.
Some colleges have special programs which almost guarantee you a seat in their medical school if you meet certain requirements while an undergraduate student. For instance, I graduated from Northwestern University and we have the Honors Program in Medical Education. You apply to this program as a high school student and must take additional subject tests. But if you are admitted you will spend three years as a Northwestern University undergraduate student and then start medical school in your fourth year at Northwestern's Feinberg School of Medicine.
The benefits of this program are you do not have to take the MCAT and you know if you do well in your undergraduate classes you are going onto medical school one year earlier without worrying about going through the stressful application process. But on the opposite, if you don't do well, you may end up sitting in the Dean's office where you can be informed that you did not make satisfactory progress and dropped from the program, but still remain as an undergraduate student.
I think these special programs are good for students who are 100% sure they want to be doctors. I personally, never applied to a program of this kind because you are basically committing yourself to a particular medical school and there are usually restrictions. As I mentioned, you're at a young age and you do not know what life will bring. Some people decide medicine isn't for them, others find out they don't like the school as much as they thought or you meet your significant other and your priorities change.
I don't want to sound like I am bashing these special programs where you can get your undergraduate degree and M.D. in less time because they can be highly rewarding.
You're in high school so don't get stressed out over becoming a doctor, that is for later in life. The main thing which you need to concentrate on is getting admitted to a college or university. Once in college you can work on mapping out an appropriate strategy which will give you your best chances of achieving your goals.
Remember nothing is ever set in stone. Don't be afraid to change your plans, take time off or even go in a completely different direction as it relates to medicine. You need to be sure medicine is in your heart and it is what you want to do.
If things get too tough while in college you can always slow down and perhaps drop premed while in college and pick it up through a post baccalaureate program. But these are discussions for another time.
Right now you're going to enjoy being a teenager, having a lot of options about your future, and doing your best to prepare for PSAT, SAT or ACT! Remember whatever happens in life is not the end of the world, you can always find a way to achieve your dreams and potential whether in medicine or another endeavor.