Friday, February 27, 2009

Selecting Medical Schools

US News and World Report?

Joni Krapec, Director of Admissions and Outreach at the University of Chicago Medical School recently spoke to students about how to choose medical schools. I was happy to hear her start the discussion with a critique of the U.S. World and News Report on "Best Medical Schools". So many times students come into our office with a list of the "top ten" medical schools taken from this list. Yet students (and their parents) usually don't consider the relevance of factors used to create this list. For example, research dollars weigh heavily in the US News and World Report ranking of medical schools. But does the fact that one medical school received more NIH dollars than another school last year tell you anything about the strength of the faculty who will be teaching you clinical skills?

Learning About Medical Schools

When you were trying to figure out where to apply to college, you probably had a chance to visit some colleges and listen to admissions presentations before deciding where to submit your application. The process is different for applying to medical school. You won't be offered tours or informational interviews until you are invited for an interview at the medical school. So, in order to make up your list of medical schools, you will want to check medical school websites, seek advice from premedical advisors, review comments from alumni who are now in medical school,(check out our alumni evaluations) and study the AAMC Medical School Admissions Requirement (MSAR) book. Ms. Krapec pointed out that as an admissions director, she is asked to fill out lots of surveys on applicant data. However, she is only required to complete information for the MSAR, which is the official publication of the AAMC. So, if you are using other books on "best medical schools" be aware that the information may be out of date and incomplete!

Jeff and I will be offering a workshop on selecting medical schools March 10th and March 11th, so please feel free to join us at one of these workshops if you are planning to apply to medical school this summer.

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