key points …
Listen to your heart … know deep in your heart why you’re doing this … as with any vocation.
Major in what you feel called to … what you love … using the gifts God has given you. Don’t major in bio because most people accepted majored in bio (or chem or other science), these may give you a slight advantage during the first two years of medical school but prepare you little if any for the subsequent 50+ years of a medical career (the humanities are going to help you a lot more there – I am thankful every day for all the Benedictine College core classes I took).
GPA and MCAT #’s are very important.
Being accepted to medical school right out of college is less and less common … med schools have many applicants with ‘life experience’ of various kinds they are able to pick from. Be ready to spend a few years doing something else.
Know what you’re getting into … most importantly for your own good … secondarily because this is a key aspect of admission/interview process. Become a health care aid and work at a nursing home. Shadow physicians. Volunteer.
What would you bring to the medical school/practice of medicine that is unique/important? … personal experience with illness? … unique ability/characteristic? …
Do formal and informal mock interviews … get used to talking with doctors.
“Fr. Giussani asked us what a human companionship is, totally human, and to help us understand what companionship is, he said, “The ideal of man is from within man. Any ideal that does not flow from man himself [from his elementary experience, from his need for truth, beauty, justice] alienates him. […] Seeking the ideal, man becomes increasingly himself […]. The ideal of man flows from man himself, constituting his essence.” For Giussani, the point of departure to help us understand is loyalty to our being human persons, with the need we find within for beauty, justice, fulfillment, and happiness. This is the ideal, and starting from here one then recognizes the companions with whom to walk toward the same destiny; the companionship is for man. “If the companionship is for man, it is a phenomenon of relationships among people who help each other go toward destiny, toward the ideal. The misunderstanding lies in inverting the question, making the companionship the dominating term, the dominating horizon, the form dominating man, so that man becomes its slave. Instead of the companionship being for man, it is man being for the companionship.
“The misunderstanding, therefore, lies in this: the companionship can become the total betrayal of the ‘I’ instead of being the road that the ‘I’ travels toward its destiny, the help given to man for walking toward destiny.” The point is not to eliminate the companionship, but that it should be a companionship for man, to help man reach destiny, his fullness, because otherwise it stops being interesting. “A companionship that is for man, and thus is the instrument that accompanies him to his destiny, is a companionship built by man.” For this reason, first we decide in the “secret beginning” what our ideal is, and then we choose our friends. Do you see that it is the opposite of what we often think?! First, we decide where we want to go, then we choose those who decide to go where we are going.”[Fr. Carron – CLU 2011 Exercises pp 63-64 http://www.clonline.org/articoli/eng/TracesCLU1211.pdf ]
So put your heart’s deepest desires first … listen to them – these are the unique talents and abilities you have been given with which to serve others. Then find the community, group, friends to walk with on your journey. For many of us, the biggest (ongoing) mistake is putting the group (task, popular thing) first and not listening to our hearts. [I majored in chemistry in college because I thought that would help me get in med school and do well once I got in. Knowing what I know now, I would have majored in Latin and Greek – these are something I have always had a great interest in … and it would be wonderful preparation to learn the ‘language’ of medicine.]
Balance … prioritize prayer and rest. Remember the first words of The Rule “Listen, my son…”.
Expect a journey not a miracle. Take the journey one step at a time … be open to what God puts in front of you’.
Read anything by Daniel Sulmasy, MD, PhD, OFM … especially his Balm for Gilead.
Many medical schools are developing admission programs that recognize the way to get rural doctors (inner city, minority, etc.) is to admit students from rural areas (inner city, minority, etc.).