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How to Become a Doctor: What High School Students Should Know about Medical School

Opportunity Yu sat down with Andre Lawson, the outreach and employment coordinator at the University of Nevada, Reno College of Medicine, to talk about the path from high school to becoming a physician.

chance yo: For high school students who are just starting out on this journey to medical school, can you give us a quick summary by becoming a doctor?

Secondly: The short version is that after high school, most students attend an accredited university where they complete a bachelor’s degree. After earning their bachelor’s degree, they will apply to medical school using the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS). Part of the medical school application process is taking the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT).

Once you enter medical school, you will have four years of undergraduate education in medical school followed by higher medical education (GME). The GME is often called the “residency” portion of medical school, which ranges from three to seven years. Once you complete your residency, you can work as a fully paid physician or continue adding specialties. It often takes one to three years to add a major, depending on what you’re studying, also called an associate program.

High School Classes for Premedical Students

chance yo: This was a huge meltdown. I think we’re ready to dig into the details for our high school readers. As a high school student, what classes should I take? What if I’m not sure if I want to get into medical school and I’m trying to find out?

Secondly: High school is the time to find out if a drug is right for you. I encourage high school students to take classes like chemistry, physics, and biology to make sure they love science. The medical school includes a wide range of sciences. If you are someone who does not like science, you will have to find out if medical school is right for you. If those science classes are something you’re not interested in, you may want to steer clear of medicine.

chance u: Are there any other courses that are really important to prepare for medical school?

Secondly: Mathematics. I recommend taking calculus and statistics.

chance yo: Do you think these types of courses have you in common?

Secondly: These classes demonstrate critical thinking skills, you are problem solving. These skills will be displayed throughout the time you spend in medical school.

chance yo: I noticed you didn’t mention environmental science or earth science.

Secondly: When medical schools look at applicant grade point averages, or GPAs, we look at their BCPM. BCPM is the average for Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Mathematics. I encourage students considering medicine to go ahead and prepare by taking a rigorous high school curriculum of Advanced Placement (AP) and/or International Baccalaureate (IB) courses in those subjects I have mentioned.

chance yo: Can you talk about AP or IB credits a little more?

Secondly: You can start earning college credit in high school by taking AP exams. If you took the AP exam in high school and the university you attended for your bachelor’s degree recognizes your scores for college credit, our medical school will also accept them as courses for consideration for admission to medical school. Therefore, I would encourage students who take AP courses in high school, to take AP exams as well.

chance yo: I talked about mathematics and science. What is the importance of configuration? For example, those English language courses? What is the importance of good writing for students?

Secondly: It is also important because students must write personal data for the medical school application process. You will need to write about your experiences and what you did to prepare for medical school in a clear way. Does your statement have a clear beginning, middle and end? So what did you do? What do you know? How do I plan to implement it?

Extracurricular activities that prepare you for medical school

chance yo: Oooh, I like that. what did you do? what did you learn? How do I plan to apply what I have learned? What about extracurricular activities? What should high school students look to be a part of?

SecondlyAnatomy clubs, biology clubs, and medical explorers are available at many schools. Especially medical explorers, they expose high school students to the medical field. If a high school has a neuroscience or science club or an introductory medicine club, most high schools have a sports medicine club. Another organization is Doctors Without Borders, an international organization that provides medical professionals with the opportunity to volunteer in communities in need. MSF’s secondary school division is working to raise awareness and provide funds to help support MSF’s mission.

chance yo: I didn’t realize that was open to high school students.

Secondly: High school students who get involved with MSF can show their empathy and dedication to helping others, which is what it means to be a doctor. It is also an opportunity to take on a leadership role at Doctors Without Borders. There is also HOSA – Future Health Professionals, where high school students are exposed to the medical field and show off their knowledge during HOSA competitions. It’s great for students who are considering becoming doctors or nurses, or pursuing any type of health-related career.

chance yo: And finally, can you give high school students some skills that are also important to becoming a doctor outside of academics.

Secondly: We call these interpersonal skills. The number one personal skill is cooperation.

chance yoWhy is cooperation important?

Secondly: Because you will work in groups. In medicine, you’ll work with other doctors, nurses, and technicians. When you’re a doctor, you’re not always the smartest doctor in the room. There may be a doctor who knows a little more than you in a particular area. So, being able to collaborate on how to best care for your patient is the ideal outcome. Even the main doctor got help from other specialists. A neurologist may need to work with an anesthesiologist or oncologist.

chance yo: You said it well when you made it clear that the end goal is to serve the patient well, and in order to do that you need to rely on the skills of the people who are best suited to the patient’s needs. This is something that I think a lot of people don’t think about. Thank you so much for taking the time to share your wealth of knowledge with us. We would like to support you at Opportunity U to share more medical school insights with our readers.

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