Advising a High Schooler on How to Get into Medical School

majahops

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Hey Guys,

So here's the thing. Tomorrow I'm giving a speech to my step-mom's 10th grade class on things they can do NOW to increase the likelihood that they will get into medical school (in a healthy, non-gunner way, of course). Now, we all know the conventional wisdom (e.g. get as high of grades as you can, volunteer early, etc)... but I'm looking for little golden nuggets to tell them to help them out.

Any tips that anyone can give me to communicate to them would be very much appreciated. Thanks so much!

EDIT: SORRY I SHOULD CLARIFY THAT THIS IS A CLASS OF SCIENCE MAGNET STUDENTS
 
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Dissected

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Hey Guys,

So here's the thing. Tomorrow I'm giving a speech to my step-mom's 10th grade class on things they can do NOW to increase the likelihood that they will get into medical school (in a healthy, non-gunner way, of course). Now, we all know the conventional wisdom (e.g. get as high of grades as you can, volunteer early, etc)... but I'm looking for little golden nuggets to tell them to help them out.

Any tips that anyone can give me to communicate to them would be very much appreciated. Thanks so much!
the whole class eh? that is one motivated high school class :laugh:.

Tell them to make sure they have a hobby.
 

alwaysaangel

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Seriously? A whole high school class? Surely only a few of them even want to be doctors and out of those only 1 will actually apply.

But if you really want to advise them tell them they need to find out early what they are passionate about. They need to find something they actually like and a lot of the stuff they do in college should relate back to that. It could be research, underserved communities, working with kids, working with a particular racial group. Whatever. And from there they will have a passion and a running theme in their application. Not only does it ensure that they will always enjoy what they are spending their time on, it also means they'll be excited about it when it comes time to write about it or talk about it in interviews - that type of thing really does make you stand out when it comes time to apply.

More generally (applies to even those not wanting to do medicine) - tell them to do more than just college in college. It will help their sanity and it will make them more well rounded in every aspect - which will help ANYTHING they do after college. Everyone should work or volunteer or join a salsa team, WHATEVER! Just something to keep them busy and to do something other than just college.
 
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Hey Guys,

So here's the thing. Tomorrow I'm giving a speech to my step-mom's 10th grade class on things they can do NOW to increase the likelihood that they will get into medical school (in a healthy, non-gunner way, of course). Now, we all know the conventional wisdom (e.g. get as high of grades as you can, volunteer early, etc)... but I'm looking for little golden nuggets to tell them to help them out.

Any tips that anyone can give me to communicate to them would be very much appreciated. Thanks so much!

EDIT: SORRY I SHOULD CLARIFY THAT THIS IS A CLASS OF SCIENCE MAGNET STUDENTS
Did you look at the high school forum above this one? You might see a few common questions and answers which you can convey to your group.
 
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Sleep your way to the top. Seriously, it's the only way to get ahead in this world. Well, either that or getting good scores, but that **** isn't even guaranteed...
 

GoldShadow

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Hey Guys,

So here's the thing. Tomorrow I'm giving a speech to my step-mom's 10th grade class on things they can do NOW to increase the likelihood that they will get into medical school (in a healthy, non-gunner way, of course). Now, we all know the conventional wisdom (e.g. get as high of grades as you can, volunteer early, etc)... but I'm looking for little golden nuggets to tell them to help them out.
Bolded for great funniness.
 

202781

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Hey Guys,

So here's the thing. Tomorrow I'm giving a speech to my step-mom's 10th grade class on things they can do NOW to increase the likelihood that they will get into medical school (in a healthy, non-gunner way, of course). Now, we all know the conventional wisdom (e.g. get as high as you can, volunteer early, etc)... but I'm looking for little golden nuggets to tell them to help them out.

Any tips that anyone can give me to communicate to them would be very much appreciated. Thanks so much!

EDIT: SORRY I SHOULD CLARIFY THAT THIS IS A CLASS OF SCIENCE MAGNET STUDENTS
I think that I would mention to them to make sure that it is really what they really want to do. Making the decision to go into medicine when you are in HS is kinda early IMO.
 

majahops

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talbo

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getting into medical school from HS might be easier for several reasons I think, if they dont get into the 7/8 year programs that have another shot in college

1. not a lot of ppl apply to the honors program for dual degrees BS/MD, BA/MD etc
2. it is based on high school which is substantially easier than undergrad, GPA n SAT r easier to get in HS
3. it is easier to put urself apart during high school, do shadowing, high school research programs that college offers, etc. in college almost all the pre-meds does the same basic stuff, to put urself a part is quite difficult

i may be wrong but that's what i think
 

majahops

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Welp, I've decided on five. I'm sure people will disagree, but this is what I'm going with. I appreciate the input!

Medical School Admissions:
5 things I wish I had known when I was in your shoes

Understand (don't just memorize) the concepts in your high school science courses
Make sure that you take the time to truly understand the concepts being tested in high school chemistry, biology and physics (if you take it). These same concepts will be taught in introductory college science courses, and having a strong foundation in them now will give you a huge advantage over the rest of the class in college. Actually, believe it or not, the majority of concepts tested on the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) are covered in your high school courses, so pay attention! You'll thank yourself later.
High school grades and SAT scores will not directly affect your chances of getting into medical school
While your high school grades and SAT scores will, in large part, determine where you get accepted into college, medical schools will not ask for, nor be provided, your high school grades or SAT scores. The only exceptions to this rule are 1) if you took an AP course during high school that you got college credit for and 2) a tiny number of medical schools (maybe 3 or 4 out of well over 100) will request your SAT scores.
Don't break rules, and if you do, certainly don't get caught
Whether you know it or not, as a future medical school applicant, your behavior during college will be held to a higher standard. Every year, the medical school aspirations of several unsuspecting premeds are tarnished by some random minor violation they forgot they had several years back. The classic example might be the underage drinking violation. Many college dormitories have no-drinking policies. It's almost tradition for students not to take these policies seriously and drink in their dorms anyway, because seriously, it's college, right? Well, every year a few unlucky premed freshmen get made examples of by getting written up for underage drinking in their dorm rooms. It's usually not until around junior year of college that they realize they will be required to report this on medical school applications. You don't have to be perfect in college, but be aware and be smart.
Volunteer during college
If you think "extracurricular" activities are important for gaining admission to an undergraduate university, just wait until you apply to medical school. Some medical schools won't even consider applicants who had no volunteer experience as an undergraduate college student. Ideally, you should begin volunteering in high school, because it's the right thing to do. However, realize that medical schools don't give you an opportunity to tell them about the extracurricular activities (including volunteering) that you were part of during high school, only those during or after college.
Don't take a course-load that there is a chance you can't carry
You will find many pre-meds taking large course loads (a lot of classes per semester) in hopes of showing medical schools that they can "handle large volumes of information thrown at them at once." You will also find many of these very same pre-meds burnt out, stuck with poor grades or no longer interested in medicine after their first year or so of college. Don't fall into this trap! Only take as many courses as you are confident you can do well in while still having a social life in college. Remember two things: 1) some of the most important lessons the college years have to teach you come far outside of the classroom, but you need to have some free time to learn them in and 2) 4 A's in 4 classes will always beat 4 A's and a 1 B in 5 classes.
 

majahops

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Hey, I made the decision when I was 25, and three years out of college, so I'm with you. However, my stepmom swears these kids are pumped for careers in medicine, and it's right before Christmas/holidays... I just couldn't do the "many of you are in fact ACTUALLY going to end up on wall street, you little blood sucking twerps" speech... Although I SERIOUSLY considered it. hehe

I think that I would mention to them to make sure that it is really what they really want to do. Making the decision to go into medicine when you are in HS is kinda early IMO.
 
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GoldShadow

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I would advise them to remember and relax now and then! I think that is one of the most important pieces of advice I could give to someone, and it's one that I see far too many people failing to do.

Also,
tell them to avoid metal objects
lol.
 

silverlining1

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I agree with the importance of making an effort to get to know your professors - ask them questions, discuss things with them.

I would also say to keep an open mind; take at least a few classes that just seem interesting, even if they aren't pre-med requirements. There might be something you like more, or at least what you learn may inform the way you think and do things in the future.

Shadow doctors, volunteer in hospitals and free clinics - do what you can to 1) be sure that medicine is right for you and 2) demonstrate to med schools that you have put a lot of thought into this.
 

fizzle

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Hey Guys,

So here's the thing. Tomorrow I'm giving a speech to my step-mom's 10th grade class on things they can do NOW to increase the likelihood that they will get into medical school (in a healthy, non-gunner way, of course). Now, we all know the conventional wisdom (e.g. get as high of grades as you can, volunteer early, etc)... but I'm looking for little golden nuggets to tell them to help them out.

Any tips that anyone can give me to communicate to them would be very much appreciated. Thanks so much!

EDIT: SORRY I SHOULD CLARIFY THAT THIS IS A CLASS OF SCIENCE MAGNET STUDENTS
I just get this nagging feeling that high schoolers should be learning to investigate their interest in the medical field to see if it is right for them, not learning how to get into medical school :p
 

p30doc

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The 5 things you picked seem pretty solid, good luck with your presentation!
 

cbrons

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Hey Guys,

So here's the thing. Tomorrow I'm giving a speech to my step-mom's 10th grade class on things they can do NOW to increase the likelihood that they will get into medical school (in a healthy, non-gunner way, of course). Now, we all know the conventional wisdom (e.g. get as high of grades as you can, volunteer early, etc)... but I'm looking for little golden nuggets to tell them to help them out.

Any tips that anyone can give me to communicate to them would be very much appreciated. Thanks so much!

EDIT: SORRY I SHOULD CLARIFY THAT THIS IS A CLASS OF SCIENCE MAGNET STUDENTS
Theres no non-gunner way to tell pre-college kids how to gain a competitive edge in the med school admissions process. If I were you, this is what I would do:

Walk into the class up to the lectern and pick up the textbook for their class. I'd say, "see this stuff?" (they'll nod --- they're in some science magnets class, probably honors students and you just got into med school, they'll think your a god or something)... so they'd nod as I was holding up the textbook and I would proceed to promptly toss it into the nearest waste bin. "Don't spend your life worrying about this garbage too much. Get into college, keep your nose clean, and get in a little trouble here and there. There's a lot of sorry bastards out there who complain how they didn't live their life to fullest because they spent their whole life worrying about the future." Then I'd dip out.

:thumbup: perfect.
 

kernel

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the whole class eh? that is one motivated high school class :laugh:.

Tell them to make sure they have a hobby.
Well I'm screwed. I don't have any friends either! :eek:
 

EastCoastie87

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Tell them to get on SDN as soon as possible and as often as possible. It seems to work for everyone else on here. Oh, wait......
 

talkalot24

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I would say just continue to do well in school, have a life outside of school, get some patient exposure so they can make sure medicine is for them, and also let them know that you don't have to be a science major in order to go to medical school. It seems a lot of premeds don't know that.
 
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deleted74029

Seriously? A whole high school class? Surely only a few of them even want to be doctors and out of those only 1 will actually apply.
Maybe its just random, but I can recall in my high school biology class my teacher asked us what we wanted to be and in a class of about 25 I would say 85% wanted to be doctors. I distinctly remember one guy saying "cause thats where the money is." I still stay in contact with most of them now and I think maybe 2 of us are still applying. The one person whom I was sure would get into med school decided to go work for the CDC instead.
 

Obnoxious Dad

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I believe that most ad coms do care about the rigor of your major and the reputation of the undergraduate institution. However, there are many that don't and are just driven by numbers. To get into one of the schools in the latter category here's what a kid should do:

1) Never go to a "reach" college. Be absolutely sure that your SAT's and/or ACT are higher than the norm at your undergrad. You want to be the smartest person in the room;

2) Don't major in chemistry or physics. Chemistry usually requires P CHEM and that means calculus based physics and that means two semesters of calculus;

3) Make sure the undergrad actually offers algebra based physics that's little more than an MCAT review. Why sweat calculus based physics?;

4) Get a good case of temporary amnesia when you take placement exams after acceptance. You don't want to see anything for the first time in your first semester of freshman year. Why challenge yourself?;

5) Never but never take more than 4 science courses per year; Only take the science courses that are recommended by the easiest med school in your state;

6) Join a bunch of touchy feely organizations that don't take up too much of your time but look good as extra curriculars. Don't join a fraternity or sorority!;

7) Stay out of legal & academic trouble!;

8) Be a gunner but never look like one. Take acting lessons if necessary.:laugh:
 

justdoit31

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1- encourage them to seek out experiences that will make them unique- study abroad, humanitarian missions trips, a non-science research experiences, etc.

2- consider the HS admissions to an BS/MD program???

3- when you do start volunteering early- stick with it! Long term volunteering is more impressive than short term.

4- visit with your professors they are the ones who will write your letters of recommendation

5- PLEASE tell them they can go to medical school without a science degree- I would have chosen another major had I known this was an option but I thought biology was the only road. There are so many cool things to study why sign your life away as an undergrad?
 

justdoit31

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Maybe its just random, but I can recall in my high school biology class my teacher asked us what we wanted to be and in a class of about 25 I would say 85% wanted to be doctors. I distinctly remember one guy saying "cause thats where the money is." I still stay in contact with most of them now and I think maybe 2 of us are still applying. The one person whom I was sure would get into med school decided to go work for the CDC instead.
This reminds me of my first day of college. We had a special biology course that all first-year freshman had to take and the chair came in that day and said, "Who wants to go into medicine, dentistry, or vet med? "

Out of the 48 of us over 90% raised their hand. The chair responded with "Only two of you will make it."

I went home that afternoon and told my mom, "I feel sorry for those in my class because there is only 1 spot left!"

Sure enough I am applying and have been accepted and every other person in that course has either switched majors, dropped out, or decided to just go finish the biology degree and then decide what to do outside of the competitive medicine. -- So 1 of us made it and one of my friends from that class will be applying, most likely DO, next year.
 

majahops

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Please do!!!

Anyone care if I borrow this information? I need to give a presentation to my sister's health class in a couple weeks.
 

majahops

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You pretty much described the path I myself took. hehe

Theres no non-gunner way to tell pre-college kids how to gain a competitive edge in the med school admissions process. If I were you, this is what I would do:

Walk into the class up to the lectern and pick up the textbook for their class. I'd say, "see this stuff?" (they'll nod --- they're in some science magnets class, probably honors students and you just got into med school, they'll think your a god or something)... so they'd nod as I was holding up the textbook and I would proceed to promptly toss it into the nearest waste bin. "Don't spend your life worrying about this garbage too much. Get into college, keep your nose clean, and get in a little trouble here and there. There's a lot of sorry bastards out there who complain how they didn't live their life to fullest because they spent their whole life worrying about the future." Then I'd dip out.

:thumbup: perfect.
 

majahops

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Thanks a lot man, I appreciate the kind comment. I hope it was somewhat informative to them, at least.

The 5 things you picked seem pretty solid, good luck with your presentation!
 

whoisthedrizzle

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I believe that most ad coms do care about the rigor of your major and the reputation of the undergraduate institution. However, there are many that don't and are just driven by numbers. To get into one of the schools in the latter category here's what a kid should do:

1) Never go to a "reach" college. Be absolutely sure that your SAT's and/or ACT are higher than the norm at your undergrad. You want to be the smartest person in the room;

2) Don't major in chemistry or physics. Chemistry usually requires P CHEM and that means calculus based physics and that means two semesters of calculus;

3) Make sure the undergrad actually offers algebra based physics that's little more than an MCAT review. Why sweat calculus based physics?;

4) Get a good case of temporary amnesia when you take placement exams after acceptance. You don't want to see anything for the first time in your first semester of freshman year. Why challenge yourself?;

5) Never but never take more than 4 science courses per year; Only take the science courses that are recommended by the easiest med school in your state;

6) Join a bunch of touchy feely organizations that don't take up too much of your time but look good as extra curriculars. Don't join a fraternity or sorority!;

7) Stay out of legal & academic trouble!;

8) Be a gunner but never look like one. Take acting lessons if necessary.:laugh:
This is very good advice
 

Obnoxious Dad

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This is very good advice
When I posted this my tongue was only slightly in my cheek. My kid could have chosen an easy path to med school but didn't. She went to a tough college, had a brutal major, got a great education but paid a price for it.

She got a good score on the MCAT. However, people with lower scores are getting interviews at schools while she languishes in their hold pools. She does have one allopathic acceptance and will kick butts and take names when she starts because she is ready to go.:mad:
 

Slowpoke

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I believe that most ad coms do care about the rigor of your major and the reputation of the undergraduate institution. However, there are many that don't and are just driven by numbers. To get into one of the schools in the latter category here's what a kid should do:

1) Never go to a "reach" college. Be absolutely sure that your SAT's and/or ACT are higher than the norm at your undergrad. You want to be the smartest person in the room;

2) Don't major in chemistry or physics. Chemistry usually requires P CHEM and that means calculus based physics and that means two semesters of calculus;

3) Make sure the undergrad actually offers algebra based physics that's little more than an MCAT review. Why sweat calculus based physics?;

4) Get a good case of temporary amnesia when you take placement exams after acceptance. You don't want to see anything for the first time in your first semester of freshman year. Why challenge yourself?;

5) Never but never take more than 4 science courses per year; Only take the science courses that are recommended by the easiest med school in your state;

6) Join a bunch of touchy feely organizations that don't take up too much of your time but look good as extra curriculars. Don't join a fraternity or sorority!;

7) Stay out of legal & academic trouble!;

8) Be a gunner but never look like one. Take acting lessons if necessary.:laugh:
this post was major win. found it to be quite hilarious
 

Crazyday

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Maybe its just random, but I can recall in my high school biology class my teacher asked us what we wanted to be and in a class of about 25 I would say 85% wanted to be doctors. I distinctly remember one guy saying "cause thats where the money is." I still stay in contact with most of them now and I think maybe 2 of us are still applying. The one person whom I was sure would get into med school decided to go work for the CDC instead.
Lots of kids want to be doctors in High School. They don't do any research or have any personal experience with the field, so they automatically think 1) prestige 2) money 3) easy = doctor. The most common specialty I've heard is anesthesiology, although if kids knew derms had a better lifestyle, you bet your ass they'd all be saying "oh yea i'm gonna be a dermatologist".
 
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