Attending advice for college selection.

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Here’s my unsolicited advice for all you folks about to finalize your college decisions over the next few weeks. It’s worth what you paid, but advice I gave my own children.
1. Major in something that leads to a career other than medicine in case it doesn’t work out or you change your plans. At least 1/2 my classmates in my science major in college came in thinking premed, most aren’t physicians, almost none actually. You can get to medical school with any degree, but you need a plan B, even if it is only temporary while you regroup and reapply/reconsider. Ancient pre Roman architecture is cool, but …
2. Pick a school where you will be happy for 4 years. Weather, location, size, proximity to family, etc. only you know what’s important to you.
3. Unless you’re going to a top 10 or maybe 20 national university (Harvard, Penn, Stanford, etc.) nobody cares. Your opportunities won’t be very different if you take the initiative to seek them out yourselves assuming you pick a school that is strong in what you are interested in studying.
4. Pick the program that’s the best overall fit for you, and see #3 again. Programs differ, electives differ, study abroad opportunities?, mandatory summer classes?, co ops, etc. really compare what they are offering and put that in the equation.
5. You’re absolutely better off with a free ride at Xxxx State than bankrupting your family and burying yourself in avoidable loans from some fancy private school, that’s probably not even on the #3 list. Have you seen the debt that people are graduating with from medical school? You don’t want any avoidable debt.
6. The 3 most important things in medical school admissions are grades, grades, and grades, then MCAT, then everything else. Pick a major and school where you can be happy and successful. Then be happy and successful.
Most of my attending colleagues at my 5 star medical school didn’t go to elite 5 star colleges. If you didn’t get into Harvard you’ll be fine, and maybe it’s for the best.
Full disclosure, I didn’t follow my own advice, but things were different 30 years ago.
Good luck with your decisions!

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Here’s my unsolicited advice for all you folks about to finalize your college decisions over the next few weeks. It’s worth what you paid, but advice I gave my own children.
1. Major in something that leads to a career other than medicine in case it doesn’t work out or you change your plans. At least 1/2 my classmates in my science major in college came in thinking premed, most aren’t physicians, almost none actually. You can get to medical school with any degree, but you need a plan B, even if it is only temporary while you regroup and reapply/reconsider. Ancient pre Roman architecture is cool, but …
2. Pick a school where you will be happy for 4 years. Weather, location, size, proximity to family, etc. only you know what’s important to you.
3. Unless you’re going to a top 10 or maybe 20 national university (Harvard, Penn, Stanford, etc.) nobody cares. Your opportunities won’t be very different if you take the initiative to seek them out yourselves assuming you pick a school that is strong in what you are interested in studying.
4. Pick the program that’s the best overall fit for you, and see #3 again. Programs differ, electives differ, study abroad opportunities?, mandatory summer classes?, co ops, etc. really compare what they are offering and put that in the equation.
5. You’re absolutely better off with a free ride at Xxxx State than bankrupting your family and burying yourself in avoidable loans from some fancy private school, that’s probably not even on the #3 list. Have you seen the debt that people are graduating with from medical school? You don’t want any avoidable debt.
6. The 3 most important things in medical school admissions are grades, grades, and grades, then MCAT, then everything else. Pick a major and school where you can be happy and successful. Then be happy and successful.
Most of my attending colleagues at my 5 star medical school didn’t go to elite 5 star colleges. If you didn’t get into Harvard you’ll be fine, and maybe it’s for the best.
Full disclosure, I didn’t follow my own advice, but things were different 30 years ago.
Good luck with your decisions!
Excellent advice. If I may add, despite good efforts and hard studying, there is no guarantee one will be accepted to their program of choice. Always have a back up. If you never get accepted to a particular program, hold your head up, shoulders back and tell yourself you gave it your best effort. It is not the end of the world and often its a new beginning.
 
Here’s my unsolicited advice for all you folks about to finalize your college decisions over the next few weeks. It’s worth what you paid, but advice I gave my own children.
1. Major in something that leads to a career other than medicine in case it doesn’t work out or you change your plans. At least 1/2 my classmates in my science major in college came in thinking premed, most aren’t physicians, almost none actually. You can get to medical school with any degree, but you need a plan B, even if it is only temporary while you regroup and reapply/reconsider. Ancient pre Roman architecture is cool, but …
2. Pick a school where you will be happy for 4 years. Weather, location, size, proximity to family, etc. only you know what’s important to you.
3. Unless you’re going to a top 10 or maybe 20 national university (Harvard, Penn, Stanford, etc.) nobody cares. Your opportunities won’t be very different if you take the initiative to seek them out yourselves assuming you pick a school that is strong in what you are interested in studying.
4. Pick the program that’s the best overall fit for you, and see #3 again. Programs differ, electives differ, study abroad opportunities?, mandatory summer classes?, co ops, etc. really compare what they are offering and put that in the equation.
5. You’re absolutely better off with a free ride at Xxxx State than bankrupting your family and burying yourself in avoidable loans from some fancy private school, that’s probably not even on the #3 list. Have you seen the debt that people are graduating with from medical school? You don’t want any avoidable debt.
6. The 3 most important things in medical school admissions are grades, grades, and grades, then MCAT, then everything else. Pick a major and school where you can be happy and successful. Then be happy and successful.
Most of my attending colleagues at my 5 star medical school didn’t go to elite 5 star colleges. If you didn’t get into Harvard you’ll be fine, and maybe it’s for the best.
Full disclosure, I didn’t follow my own advice, but things were different 30 years ago.
Good luck with your decisions!

*This is especially relevant for first gen healthcare/physician prospects.

Beautifully put! Only thing I’d add is to get your feet wet in medicine early in undergrad. As stated, many people come into the sciences as pre-med but fewer matriculate to school. I saw many friends not take a job/volunteer until late into college and then realize that they dislike medicine. It’s a uniquely demanding field; removing your glamorous preconceived notions for the mundane and often morbid reality of medicine early can save a lot of heartache.
 
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