As the seasons change so do the fortunes of aspiring medical students. Some of you, no doubt, are still eagerly anticipating your first interview. The lucky ones are holding acceptance letters in their hands. Congratulations! The hardest part is over but there are still some crucial steps to make once you have been accepted to medical school. Here are five steps I recommend to follow to create a transition that is as seamless as possible!
1. Pay the deposit
Remember, there are two sides of the coin. Your job is to get into a medical school, the adcom’s job is to fill the medical school’s class with eager medical students. Once you are given an acceptance you will be required to pay a deposit to hold your seat. Typically you have between two and four weeks to do so. Basically, it is time to shit or get off the pot!This makes sense, the adcom needs to know whether they need to offer the spot to someone else or not. Yet, plopping down $500-$1000 to hold a seat seems awful exorbitant! Listen to this advice – if this is your first and as of yet only acceptance then you pay that deposit and you pay it happily even if this school sits far down on your list! Do not pass up on a guaranteed seat because you “think” you are going to get into some other more desirable school!
2. Choose the school
Some people only get one beautiful, glorious acceptance and one is all you need! Inevitably, since YOU are such an amazing candidate, you have ended up with a few schools eager to fill their auditorium with your academic prowess next fall. It’s time to pick the school. Here’s what I would consider in order of importance:
- COST OF ATTENDANCE – bar none the most important aspect. It might not seem like it now but when you are on the back-end of it like I am staring at $500,000 worth of education debt it really starts to sink in. You can DO ANYTHING and get into ANY SPECIALTY from ANY MEDICAL SCHOOL. The deciding factor is YOU. Do your future self a favor and pick the least expensive school you can!
- Quality and flexibility of 3rd and 4th year electives
- Associated residency programs
I talked about this more in “Ten Questions You Must Ask During a Medical School Interview”. I encourage you to check it out here.
3. Meet your classmates
Now that you have locked down your final decision on your school and you can exclaim “Class of 2018!!!” fervently from the rooftops it is time to meet the colleagues you will be spending the next 4 years of your life with. You will get to know some of these people VERY well and might even end up marrying one of them (Hi Mrs. Survivor DO!). Most schools will hold some kind of “getting to know you” day in the late Spring which I urge you to attend if at all feasible (I wouldn’t spend mucho $$$ on a plane ticket for it though). Inevitably someone will start a Facebook and a SDN group for your class. You should participate in these groups and identify a potential roommate because your next step is to…
4. Find housing
As I talked about in my previous post money is tight during med school. One of the best ways you can combat this is to find affordable housing and split it with a roommate or two. No one is saying you have to live in the ghetto but the extra $500 or so a month you have in your pocket makes a HUGE difference. A good place to start looking is by talking to the current 2nd years. Many of them may be planning on moving out of their current situation as they embark on clinical rotations and you may be able to slide right in. If this doesn’t work you should ask your school for a list of housing opportunities. People LOVE renting to medical students (we tend to be a bit more responsible than your average Joe) so you should be able to use this to your favor.
5. Enjoy your summer
Your deposit is in, financial aid secured and your move in date is set. It is time to sit back and relax! This doesn’t mean you can completely slack off your final semester of college but you have at least scheduled it to be an easy one, right?! I suggest you work on developing your brachioradialis muscle (aka the beer drinking muscle) to its fullest extent and enjoy the time you have left with your college friends. Do NOT “pre-study”. It is time NOT well spent as you will forget most of what you learn and the rest will be covered in the first several lectures.
Rest. Recuperate. Rock on!