copperp

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Hi, I'm looking into which medical schools to apply to, and I'm not exactly sure about how to find med schools that would be a good match for me (preliminarily). I would like my career to involve research and patient interaction, maybe like clinical trials. Are there any schools especially known for that? Or does it even matter? I know my interests could and probably will change in teh next couple fo years, but that is the most I have to go on...How did the rest of you begin to formulate your list of places to apply?
I have a 39 and a 3.6. Thanks.
 

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copperp said:
Hi, I'm looking into which medical schools to apply to, and I'm not exactly sure about how to find med schools that would be a good match for me (preliminarily). I would like my career to involve research and patient interaction, maybe like clinical trials. Are there any schools especially known for that? Or does it even matter? I know my interests could and probably will change in teh next couple fo years, but that is the most I have to go on...How did the rest of you begin to formulate your list of places to apply?
I have a 39 and a 3.6. Thanks.
hmmm...
 

Homer Doughnuts

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copperp said:
Hi, I'm looking into which medical schools to apply to, and I'm not exactly sure about how to find med schools that would be a good match for me (preliminarily). I would like my career to involve research and patient interaction, maybe like clinical trials. Are there any schools especially known for that? Or does it even matter? I know my interests could and probably will change in teh next couple fo years, but that is the most I have to go on...How did the rest of you begin to formulate your list of places to apply?
I have a 39 and a 3.6. Thanks.
:barf: your post
 

ellia08

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In general:

First thing would be to think about wether you want research or primary care.

Then I would suggest comparing MCAT and GPA to schools avgs to see where you might stand (remembering that these are avgs). Not that I believe in grade whoring but it helps you to realistically know where to start looking in your search.

Think about where you might want to live in the country, public vs private, costs, etc then take a peek at the MSAR (you can get it in the library or on the amcas website) to read up on curriculum. Websites also help.

Then apply. Then realize that nothing was like it sounded in the brochure and that all the schools you thought you'd hate, you love and vice versa.

(school personality is really hard to discover in a brochure, but as long as you are looking in the right general place career goal wise, ie primary care vs research, you'll end up ok. At least, for my sake I hope so.)
 
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copperp

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Ellia, when you say primary care, what exactly do you mean? I thought primary care meant a family physician. If you want to be a surgeon or some kind of specialist, but don't want to do research, would you pick a research school or a primary care school? Also, how would you go about finding a school that has the right balance of the two, aside from using the rankings? I've tried looking up curricula and going to websites, but I'm so lost.

Thanks.
 

MeowMix

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copperp said:
Hi, I'm looking into which medical schools to apply to, and I'm not exactly sure about how to find med schools that would be a good match for me (preliminarily). I would like my career to involve research and patient interaction, maybe like clinical trials. Are there any schools especially known for that? Or does it even matter? I know my interests could and probably will change in teh next couple fo years, but that is the most I have to go on...How did the rest of you begin to formulate your list of places to apply?
I have a 39 and a 3.6. Thanks.
You don't have enough information about yourself yet to be able to make decisions based on research vs primary care, etc., so I would take those out of consideration and make your life simpler.

Choose a school based on where you can get in and the quality of the educational experience it offers, rather than trying to figure out if it will get you to the right place in 10 years, since your goals are vague enough that almost any place will meet them.

Curriculum - Almost all med schools teach the same material in years 1-2. The big differences are whether you have a traditional lecture-based curriculum or one that requires more small-group/problem-based learning. Those of us who hate our traditional curriculum would be learning more and doing much better with a different teaching style. Also, material taught by clinicians and MDs is more likely to be useful and interesting than material taught by PhD researchers with little clinical contact. I would avoid a curriculum that is largely taught by PhDs with little clinical exposure, unless it has exceptional faculty or other outstanding qualities.

Clinical skills - I am a huge fan of getting to work with patients regularly in your first 2 years. We work with a local doctor one afternoon per week, with extra training in physical exam and other skills. You will greatly benefit from developing basic skills for the physical exam (sequencing and patient management as well as actual skills, like finding the tympanic membrane), patient communication, writing notes, etc. BEFORE you get on the wards in years 3 and 4 and are being graded on your abilities in a very high-stress, sleep-deprived environment. Also, clinical work in years 1-2 is a very pleasant break from lectures, and for some students is often a place to shine and feel good about one's abilities.

Clinical rotations - for years 3 and 4, I personally wanted to have a wide choice of rotation sites, to not have to move out of the area (mandatory at some schools), and to be able to choose a smaller site where I could get more one-on-one attention instead of being at the back of a pack of 20 people peering at the patient. People who want to be specialists often want more exotic diseases like you see in university teaching hospitals. This is where a variety is very nice; you can start to find focus during years 1 and 2, and then test it out in 3 and 4.

Research - some schools require research. I did not want to do that, and eliminated those schools.

Location - all-important for anyone who hates rain, cold, heavy snow, endless grey winter days, or humidity. Choose only places that you will enjoy living. Factor in the community of people around you - you need to choose a place where you will be able to find and make friends outside med school and (if you have one) your family/significant other will have a good time.

It may be very important to live close to your own family; if they are older, family members are more likely to get sick and you will need to travel. At least choose a school that has convenient access to a major airport.

I wanted a place where I could afford my own apt, bike to school, not have to worry about crime on campus, etc.. Think about factors like those that might be important to you. Rank in order of priority.

Cost - go to the best school you can afford. Private schools offer much better financial aid than out-of-state state schools, and may be cheaper than in-state. Don't write them off because the tuition looks enormous.

Where you can get in - look at mdapplicants.com to see where people with your GPA and MCAT scores apply and get accepted. Understand that you should apply to at least a couple of dream schools, and a couple that you are pretty certain you can get into. Don't apply anywhere that you can't stand the idea of living.

Rankings - forget the rankings. The data on which they are based tell you nothing useful given what you have told us about your goals. People get sucked in and distracted by rankings. If you want info about particular schools, snoop around and search the allo and other non-pre-med forums.

good luck
 

ellia08

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copperp said:
Ellia, when you say primary care, what exactly do you mean? I thought primary care meant a family physician. If you want to be a surgeon or some kind of specialist, but don't want to do research, would you pick a research school or a primary care school? Also, how would you go about finding a school that has the right balance of the two, aside from using the rankings? I've tried looking up curricula and going to websites, but I'm so lost.

Thanks.

yeah, technically it does mean that but I was just using it (incorrectly) to mean non-research, patient oriented doc--not that all docs arent patient oriented but you know what I mean. (this misusage is probably because I am so into research, sorry for any confusion.)

Surgeon/Specialst schools, hmmm? Well, honestly even in that the question is really what mentality you are going into it with. Do you want to work at a secondary care center or a tertiary center? Are we talking pediatric cardiothorasic surgery or general surgery at a small city hospital? This is more of what I meant: academic center or small town hospital.


Try not to stress too much though. In the end, no matter how much you plan everyone kinda goes into it blind, picking the schools that they think, in general, sound 'not terrible'. You see in the interview which schools you really love. For now, just try to get a general idea of your goals and match them with the cluster of schools that suit as best you can. I would try to help you more, but this isnt really something that I looked at too closely.

Ask around though, talk to people, but in the end (and I really cant emphasize this enough) pick your own schools. You'll pick the right ones.
 

ellia08

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Sorry, just realized that my previous post has to be the least helpfull EVER.

Listen to meow mix. She's right. Plus she broke it down really nicely.
 
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copperp

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Thanks to both of you for helping me. I appreciate the friendly and detailed answers to questions that are probably asked all the time here.