How to Determine the Top Medical Schools by Felix Chesterfield
Rankings, by their very nature, are tough to gauge. Not only is data within the various criteria often subjective and tough to accurately obtain, but often it is the criteria itself that may not be overly applicable to the subject. That is why any magazine or service that claims to have the definitive top medical school rankings should have those rankings taken with a grain of salt. Those definitive rankings do not exist. Rather, at best, the rankings are usually based on the opinions of some well informed and well respected individuals who have neither the time nor inclination to obtain all the data that would be necessary to accurate rate one school against another.
In addition, the rankings that are available are more of a one size fits all approach. However, each individual is different and determining what is the top medical school to meet YOUR needs is a different ballgame altogether. When selecting a medical school, you need to think about what your goals and expectations are along with what makes you excel vs. where you struggle. Different schools are going to rate differently in these categories. Just because a school rates at the top of the USNews rankings does not mean that it will provide you with the best opportunity to become a first rate doctor compared to others. So how does a prospective medical school student figure out what school is best for them? What should they be looking for and what factors might be deemed as more ‘fluff’ compared to others?
The lesson here is for the prospective student to do their homework – maybe more diligently than they even will once they are in school! Investigate the schools that you are interested in thoroughly. There are primarily five areas which should be looked at: atmosphere, faculty, facilities, reputation, and networking connections. The latter of these aspects can actually be gauged through the more respected rankings providers. What they lack in extensive data, they do provide in reputation, even if that is a bit of a self fulfilling prophecy (they rate school based on reputation, thus adding to the reputation of that school). However, the other four aspects can only be determined through a student’s own research. Visit the schools you are interested in. This will give you a good reading on the atmosphere. Talk to current students and ask questions pertinent to you. Talk to faculty members and see if those are the type of teachers that you learn best from. View the facilities and see if the school has classrooms and equipment that will help you hit the ground running after graduation. The last aspect is one of the most important and something that many students never take into account. One of the greatest things that colleges can offer is the opportunity to network that will help you to obtain a position out in the field – which is ultimately the reason for going to college in the first place. At one time, this was tough to determine from the outside. But now, with that invention of internet groups and social media, it is easy to obtain listings for alumni and networking groups to ask them about future opportunities provided by their school.
Ultimately, the top medical school is the top medical school for you. Just like a future diagnosis, obtain all the evidence that you can and determine a course of action based upon your findings.
About the Author
US News Rankings – For Medical Schools
Caribbean Medical Schools Rankings – examples being AUA, AUC, St. Kitt’s, and others.
Top ranked US Schools – like Yale, Harvard, Princeton
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