How To Get Into Medical School
There are a variety of reasons for wanting to go to a Medical School – maybe you want to dive deep into biology and how the human body functions or maybe your interest was piqued while caring for an injured, disabled, or an aged person. There are also others who are drawn to the field solely for the high salary it entails.
But whatever your reason is for wanting to become a doctor, you must have spent long hours searching for a good online medical school to understand the process of getting into it. It is important for you to evaluate the extensive procedures, costs involved, duration of courses, and inherent pros and cons before you decide to commit to this field.
Medical degrees in our country are considered second entry degrees. Thus, direct enrolment into a Medicine Bachelors is not possible. One of the many medical school prerequisites is to get a Bachelor's degree in a related Science subject like Biology and Chemistry for applying to medical school.
The general medical school requirements for the US are:
- High School Diploma
- Undergraduate Degree in Science – 3/4 years.
- Undergraduate GPA of 3.0 minimum
- Letters of recommendation
- Extracurricular Activities
- MCAT exam score – set by each University individually
Some schools have specific pre-med programs that you can opt for as you’ll take the required classes needed for medical school while also preparing for the MCAT exam. While others allow for a 6-year combined training and education program thus imparting a compressed medical and academic education.
Some American Medical schools have included premedical courses as additional requirements, like:
- College Biology, with Lab. work – 1 year
- General College Chemistry, with Lab. work – 1 year
- General College Physics with Laboratory – 1 year or 8 semester hours.
- Biology, Chemistry – minimum 24 semester hours in Humanities
- Mathematics (Calculus and/Statistics) – 1 year or 6-8 semester hours
What is the MCAT?
MCAT stands for Medical College Admission Test. Created by the Association of American Medical Colleges, it is a standardized, computerized, multiple-choice exam that all medical school applicants must undertake. Almost all US medical schools require applicants to submit MCAT exam scores (not older than 3 years) in their University application.
The exam has been designed to assess the applicant’s knowledge of natural and behavioral sciences while demonstrating 4 different scientific inquiry and reasoning skills:
- Knowledge of scientific concepts and principles
- Understanding of scientific concepts and principles
- Identify relationships between closely related concepts.
- Scientific reasoning and problem solving
- Reasoning about scientific principles, theories, and models
- Analyzing and evaluating scientific explanations and predictions
- Reasoning about Research design and execution
- Understanding of important concepts of scientific research
- Reasoning about ethical issues in research
- Data based and statistical reasoning
- Interpret patterns in data presented in tables, figures, and graphs
- Reasoning about data and drawing conclusions from them
A total of 7 and a half hours is necessary to complete the MCAT exam. The main 4 parts of the exam are comprised of:
1.Biological and Biochemical Foundation of Living Systems – 59 questions; 95 minutes.
2.Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems – 59 questions; 95 minutes.
3.Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior – 59 questions; 95 minutes.
4.Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills – 53 questions; 90 minutes.
A combination of passage-based and discrete questions will be asked for each of the first 3 questions while all questions in Section 4 are passage-based.
How long is Medical School
It is a pretty long process, especially because it is a second entry degree. The total duration of you becoming a doctor once you’ve applied to an online medical school varies according to the specialty you choose to pursue later on.
On an average, it takes:
- 3/4 Years – For the Bachelor’s or Pre-med degree
Some common Bachelor of Sciences program include:
- Biological Studies
- Human Genetics
- 4 years – For Medical School
First 2 years: Devoted to learning theory and doing laboratory work. This is the preparatory ground of a prospective doctor’s diagnosis skills and how they treat diseases.
In the second year, medical school students undertake the first portion of the United States Medical Licensing Examination administered by the National Board of Medical Examiners.
Last 2 years: Consists of the clinical experience where students go through rotations at clinics and hospitals, working under attending physicians. This consists of their practical training in medicine.
The second licensing test is issued in the 4th year when the students begin their residency training.
- 3-7 Years – Residency training in a teaching hospital
The internship or clerkship period is known as Residency in the medical field and takes varied time to complete depending on specialty. Residency focuses on practical training in a medical environment as opposed to classroom learning.
- 1-2 Years - Post-residency Fellowships
These are beneficial for the ones looking to sub-specialize like geriatric or vascular medicine, though it takes more additional years to complete.
The first year of Residency coincides with the final medical licensing exam.
Rate of Acceptance Medical schools are getting harder to get into with each passing year. In 2018, the average acceptance rate across 118 ranked medical schools in the country was found to be only 6.8%. The average application acceptance rate of the most competitive medical schools was placed at even a lower 2.4%. Colleges are becoming selective, with higher than average MCAT scores and GPAs becoming a norm. The average GPA for all US MD (Medical Doctor) schools stood at 3.79 in the 2018-2019 cycle while the average MCAT score was 512.0. Mayo. Arizona-Phoenix, Washington State, Missouri, Kansas City, and Central Michigan had the biggest single-year increase in MCAT scores, with an average jump of 3 points. Only 41% of applicants were accepted into a medical school, mainly due to low MCAT scores. The reason why the Osteopathic Medical field is growing at 5% per year. With the equivalent title of a doctor (D.O or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine), students with low MCAT scores searching online medical school should opt for Osteopathic Medical School instead.
Private and Public Medical School Tuition
Medical School costs vary depending on whether you choose an in-state or out-of-state school and whether the college is public or private. Your budget has to cover both tuition and supplies, plus cost-of-living adjustment in your city of choice.
Take a look at the breakdown of average tuition and fees by institution type as per the 2019-2020 school year. The reports are from the Association of American Medical Colleges.
Average Private School Costs
Tution: $55, 337
Health Insurance: $3,4000
- Non-Resident/ Out-of-State
Health Insurance: $3,366
Total: $62, 289
Average Public School Costs
Tuition: $32, 520
Health Insurance: $2,486
Health Insurance: $2,540
So, there’s a more than $24,000 price difference between an in-state public school and an out-of-state private school cost.
Over 4 years, one is expected to pay anywhere from $150,444 for an in-state public school to $247,660 for an out-of-state public school.
You’ll need smart planning and budgeting while opting for a medical school of your choice, so as not to bear the brunt of expensive student loans that take years to clear off. The advantage of the medical profession is the high median salary of at least $208,000 plus various loans, grants, scholarships, and exchange programs that you can utilize.
Why choose Medical School studies?
The advantages of going to medical school cover personal fulfillment plus financial incentives for the future.
Potential for High-income
A physician takes home a whopping $313,000 annually – much more than an average Joe. And that’s just the starting cap. Doctors from different specializations take home even a bigger number. According to a Physician Compensation Report from 2019, Orthopedists in the US are the highest-paid ($482,000), closely followed by Plastic Surgeons ($471,000).
With Artificial Intelligence entering the corporate, many jobs are getting phased out. But doctors will never be replaceable as even with automation changing the landscape of the health industry, patients shall always require the human touch. The next decade will witness the baby boomers retiring & with a soaring demand in healthcare professionals - you’ll never have to worry about being out of work.
Flexible Working Conditions
Medical Practitioners can control how, when, and where they work. They have flexible working hours per day/week, enjoy the facility of contract work/temporary work, and can even have other doctors cover their shifts. Telehealth and telemedicine have also made it possible for doctors to work remotely from home or office. If you are considering searching for an online medical school, you also must remember the ability to switch to other specializations or research if you were ever to tire of your practice.
To be a doctor is to do a great meaningful service to the world which goes beyond just saving your patient’s life. Doctors assist patients to get well faster, thus improving their lives. If a cure is not possible, a good doctor helps a patient overcome injuries/handicaps and try & enjoy life in a new light. This makes for a huge difference to patients coping with a new reality as also their families.
Doctors are some of the most revered members of society in any country. In fact, they are seen right next to God in many cultures. They are respected, revered, and are sought after for guidance. Once you become a doctor, people regard you with respect and awe and look up to you as a knowledgeable professional capable of deep insights worth paying attention to.
Is it Worth It?
Not long ago, becoming a doctor was one of the most popular professional choices the brightest minds in the country considered. Getting to go to medical school was an achievement in itself and none would hesitate to take up the amazing opportunity if it ever came their way.
Things have however changed with the changing times, and a rising number of students are contemplating their decision to enter the medical field given the various issues that now plague this once-glorious profession. Lawsuits against malpractice, massive student debts that take decades to pay back, opportunity costs in an ever-changing medical landscape – have all together made attending medical school a decision to ponder over for many.
After you pass out, the life of a doctor can often seem to not be the same as it’s chalked up to be. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why you should give your search online medical school a second thought.
Medical School DebtTuition costs an approx.$50,000 per year. An additional budget must be set aside by you for books, supplies, lab fees, living costs, etc. Unless you and your family are prepared for such costs, you'll end with enormous student loans. 1 in every 2 medical residents has a student loan debt of at least $200,000 while 4 out of 5 are carrying over $100,000 in student loan debt.Long Training Process
Much of your life is spent studying once you dedicate yourself to a medical school. Years of theoretical studying followed by rigorous training can take a toll on people not suited for the same.
4 years of medical school and 3 years of residency training are the basic medical school requirements, with specialists usually spending 15 years before they even start practicing.
You are signing up for a mentally, physically, and emotionally taxing job once you complete your online medical school search. Physician burnout is common with doctors multitasking for long hard hours while carrying the weight of patients’ lives. Stress is inevitable.
50% of physicians report symptoms of exhaustion, frustration, depression, and often a sense of failure.
Strict Compliance Issues The Healthcare industry is under constant scrutiny and a medical practitioner is expected to document everything. Medical school prerequisites consist of the capability to deal with insurance companies and constantly changing government regulations.
Lawsuits Medical Malpractice Center says 15,000 medical malpractice lawsuits are filed each year in the USA. Lawsuit threats must be borne in mind before finalizing an online medical school. Physicians must also pay for medical malpractice insurance even if they are not in the wrong.
After careful consideration of all the matters involved in applying online medical school aspirants think that it's worth it to pursue a medical degree. You'll have to decide for yourself if this is the correct field for you. If you have any quequeriesgarding how to apply for Medical Colleges or how to prepare for MCAT, feel free to contact us to have your questions answered, in detail.