Traversing the path to medical school can be a stressful feat, especially with competitive applications and financial support necessities. Still, keeping focused during admissions can help ease tension and ensure you have the necessary information.
While the schools select you, you also choose them. Remember to ask several important questions during the admissions process to find the medical school you want to attend. These questions can help you narrow down your options and spend your time focusing on the schools that meet your expectations.
What Are the School’s Credentials?
International medical graduates (IMGs) must obtain certification from the Educational Commission of Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG). ECFMG certification standardizes an IMG’s education and sees if they can enter the U.S. healthcare system. To be eligible for an unrestricted license to practice medicine in the U.S., your school must also be ECFMG-certified.
Medical schools can tell you about their credentials so you can take the proper steps for your future. You can also double-check by searching for their name in the World Directory of Medical Schools. The ECFMG note should be visible in the “Sponsor Notes” section.
If you don’t see it, the school does not have the correct credentials for you to practice medicine in the United States in the future. Med students who plan on working in the U.S. ought to choose a different school.
Where Do They Do Clinical Rotations?
Clinical rotations, or clerkships, ensure that med students get first-person experience working with patients at different health sites. However, The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) has strict requirements some hospitals and clinics fail to meet.
To be able to complete the exam for ECFMG certification, IMGs must do clinical rotations at ACGME-approved hospitals. Without proper experience, med students cannot obtain an unrestricted license to practice in the United States.
How Large Are the Class Sizes?
Parents and teachers have argued for fewer students in a class to help primary school students. The benefits their children would get multiply upon reaching graduate-level schooling.
Larger class numbers can mean that students get left behind, unable to receive assistance or care from the professors. In a smaller class, you can often receive hands-on, one-on-one attention from the experts in your field. When you have questions, you’re more likely to receive an answer from a smaller class.
What Can the School Offer a Med Student?
You may already have a general idea of what the school can do for the student. After all, they offer high-quality education in medicine and various medical practices. What you really want to know is if and how the school goes above and beyond for its students.
For example, IMGs must take and pass the National Medical Licensing Examination (NMLE) or the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE). Med students must complete a three-step exam process, which takes immense time, effort, and studying. Many students try to self-prepare for Step One and fail several times.
A school going the extra mile may have a preparation course for Step One. With detailed educational care, the school can help its students increase their chances of passing pertinent examinations.
Are There Options for Financial Help?
Medical education is exceptionally expensive. Many students don’t have the funds to pay for all years of schooling. As such, you should always check what financial aid options are available to you.
If you attend an international school, you should also look into their financial aid proceedings. It may be different from your own country, and you don’t want to try to get funding with false expectations. Try to benefit from the systems the school established to help students continue and complete their education.
Is It Possible to Speak With Alumni?
One of the best ways to gather information is from graduates who have already been through the process. They will have first-person experience in the studying, lifestyle, and other habits necessary for attending medical school. You can also gain motivation from their success stories and get a general idea of what to expect.
Moreover, you can expect the school to treat you the same way it treats its graduates. If they honor their alumni, keep in contact with them, and offer future benefits, you can see how much they care. If a school abandons alumni, it would be fair for you to expect the program to be of little help.
To look out for your future, you should evaluate the medical school as much as they will evaluate you. A school that works hard to care for its students and build them up for success will be more trustworthy. You can spend more of your efforts pursuing schools that will benefit you in the long run.
For more information about admissions questions for an accredited medical school, call Saint James School of Medicine at 800-542-1553. You can also review other blog posts that discuss topics critical for your future.