Our society has always placed a very high value on gaining admission to a “top school.” In happier times, “top school” referred to colleges, graduate schools and professional schools. Today, for some super-stressed parents, it may mean an elementary school, kindergarten or even pre-K. These parents believe that a “top school” guarantees success and a highly desirable way of life.
Is attending a “top” medical school important to you? If it is, ask yourself why. Besides the names and reputations, what do you know about these places? How compatible are they with your interests, learning style, and personality? Have you considered that “lesser” (for want of a better word) institutions might be far more suitable, or are you mainly concerned with having that great seal of approval stamped on you, your accomplishments, and your intellectual ability?
The point of this post is not to discourage you from setting your sights high, but rather to encourage you to keep an open mind, explore your options thoroughly, and be honest with yourself about your motivation. If you’re in college or about to begin your college career, please don’t allow the goal of getting into particular medical schools to become the focus of the next few years. You’ll have a much richer college experience if you take advantage of opportunities that really mean something to you, as opposed to those which are only a means to an end. In addition, you run the risk of having a lesser medical school experience than you deserve if you don’t get into a top school and allow the disappointment to overshadow and cloud that time of your life.
By Joan Davis, Accepted editor