By Sravani Alla
There are many important factors to consider when choosing the medical school that is right for you. Even though this journey may seem overwhelming, evaluating schools based on some of these factors can provide great clarity as to which program is the best fit for you. When evaluating and researching medical schools, it’s imperative to remain highly organized and create a system that allows you to record your findings to clearly visualize and highlight the similarities and differences between schools. While I was applying to podiatric medical schools, I created an excel sheet that really helped me identify the pros and cons of each program and allowed me to find my right fit at Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona, California.
The First Step
The first step when researching and evaluating podiatric medical schools is to categorize based on what is your dream school, good possibility schools, and safety schools. In order to do so, look for the following: the prerequisite courses for each school, the average MCAT scores, average overall GPA, and overall science GPAs and compare them to your statistics. This will allow you to gauge the likelihood of your admission to these programs and will allow you to rank them accordingly. Another important factor to consider is the pass rates on the APMLE, residency placement rates, and attrition rate. These statistics help to provide important information regarding the effectiveness of the curriculum to prepare you not only for board exams, but also for your clinical rotations, externships, acceptance to residency, and your career post-residency.
Focusing On a Single School
Once you evaluate the statistics, focus on the aspects of the school that allow you the opportunities to develop your professional interests. Ask yourself, “Do you want to attend a school that would allow you to pursue a combined degree?”
Each program will have differences in teaching styles despite the fact that each program will teach very similar information.
Most of the schools have opportunities for students to pursue a combined degree. For instance, if you would like to pursue an MBA along with your DPM degree, Barry University School of Podiatric Medicine and Kent State University College of Podiatric Medicine might be appealing to you. However, if you would like to pursue an MPH, Des Moines University College of Podiatric Medicine and Surgery might be a better fit.
Another important aspect is the structure of the curriculum. Each program will have differences in teaching styles despite the fact that each program will teach very similar information. If you prefer a problem-based-learning focused curriculum, Des Moines University College of Podiatric Medicine might entice you.
Finally, the location also plays a very large role in selecting a school. Since you will be spending the next four years of your life in one school, it is imperative that you enjoy the culture of the city that you will be immersing yourself in and identify the support that it can offer you. For me, I wanted to remain close to my family in Southern California. This allowed me to determine Western University of Health Sciences as my top choice.
I hope that all of these tips will help you to choose the Podiatric Medical School that is right for you. If you would like more information regarding all nine Podiatric Medical Schools and their requirements, please refer to this brochure from the American Association of Colleges of Podiatric Medicine.