How did I choose which medical schools to apply to?
I remember the exact moment I told my parents I wanted to be a doctor. I was five years old sitting at the dining room table speaking to them about the medical appointment I had earlier that day. They both looked at me with eyes that only parents know how to make. Their eyes expressed encouragement and amusement, but overall they felt that at such a young age I could not possibly understand the commitment necessary to become a physician.
Looking back, the truth is the decision to become a doctor was the easiest decision I have ever made. The difficult decisions came after graduating from college and being faced with the actuality of how I was going to accomplish the goal I had set for myself at the tender age of five. Let’s face it, applying to medical school has got to be one of the most daunting tasks known to man. I had to answer questions such as: What do I need in order to apply? How much will medical school cost? Where will I go to school?
There are so many factors to consider in finding what medical school to apply to. One needs to find a medical school that fits their personality, allows them the opportunity to become a physician, and is close to their family (or as far away as possible depending on what you prefer). One school’s tuition will be different than another school; be sure to take into account the financial commitment each school will entail.
Some believe that because I went to a Caribbean medical school my decision was much easier. Let me tell you that easy was the farthest thing it was. I first applied to many medical schools in and around my home town. I traveled to different cities and different continents, but I had never been away from home for more than a month. After getting the dreaded rejection letters from some schools and being wait listed at others, I knew that I had to make a decision of either postponing my dream or looking into other options. Picking a Caribbean medical school was no different than looking into ones in the U.S. I still needed to look into cost, location and opportunity. Now, suddenly I was faced with new decisions such as which school would give me the proper accreditation so I could gain residency in the U.S. Also which schools were eligible to provide me US government loans?
In the end I chose Ross University School of Medicine in Dominica, West Indies. I chose a school that met every requirement necessary to accomplish my childhood goal of becoming a physician. It was an experience that allowed me to grow in ways that improved me as a person and eventually helped me return back home to my family. It also prepared me to succeed at the University of Illinois where I did my Pediatrics residency.