Getting a medical degree is one of the top desires of most science students. The reasons are obvious. Doctors are in high demand all over the world. Couple that with the high salary and prestige that comes with it, it is no wonder many science students want to be doctors.
The link between a good medical school and better career prospects is obvious. That is why most science students would give an arm and a leg to get into the best medical schools.
And the best medical schools can be found in the US. For instance, the latest annual ranking of top medical schools in the world has 6 US-based medical schools in the top 10.
However, competition for places is tough. International students normally find it hard to get into medical schools in the US. As a matter of fact, some state universities don’t even admit foreign students because of the high competition for places.
To show how tough it can get, in 2014, the combined number of international students admitted to the numerous medical schools in the US was just 1901. And only 300 were able to matriculate successfully. You can guess that the number to graduate with a medical degree would be less than that.
Another factor contributing to low intake of foreign medical students is the high tuition. It can reach as high as $100,000 per year in some of the best schools.
Even scholarships to attend medical schools in the US are extremely find. In most cases, the best means of funding is private.
However, if you are determined to attend medical school in the US in spite of the hurdles, following the strategies below would be of immense help in your quest.
In the age of the internet where almost every information is available online, it is very easy to get the information you need without too much hassle.
It seems rather obvious that the first thing to do is to research about medical schools in the US. But while researching, make sure you get information about the following
A. Decide where you want to complete your undergraduate work as US medical schools would not admit you direct from high school.
B. Find out all the information relating to finance for your chosen school, including the availability of financial aid for foreign students. The fact is, some schools require you to deposit up to four years of tuition in an escrow account before granting you admission.
The alternative is you have to show proof you have assets worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Even if the schools don’t specifically ask for that information, evidence of that much money may be necessary when applying for an F-1 student visa. This visa is a mandatory requirement for all foreign students,
The best place to get most of the required information is this website. It is a reputable public website with a comprehensive list of how different medical schools in the US define ‘international students‘ and the financial obligations and opportunities they should expect.
Consider obtaining a BSc in the US
Most US medical schools do not admit students into their medical schools straight from high school. One must have a basic science degree first.
As an international student, you would do your chances a great favor if you decide to get a Bachelor of Science degree in the US. US medical schools prioritize a science degree in US colleges over science degrees from universities outside the country.
Another advantage of getting a BSc in the US is that it would aid you in making up your mind after a few years if you still want to study medicine in the US.
MD/Ph.D. programs are a good route to medical school
Getting your Ph.D. in a medically-related science course is another option of getting into medical school for international students.
This is so because these programs are, most of the time, fully funded by the institutions or organizations interested in particular fields of medical research.
Students going through this route must have a very good track record in academic research and must show they are committed to pursuing a career as a doctor/scientist.
To get a list of institutions that offer this path to medical school in the US, the US National Institutes of Health is your best bet.
So if you are determined to get into a medical school in the US, be sure to keep the above information in mind. One good thing though, there is no discrimination in admission standards for either international students or domestic students.
Finally, don’t forget to explore every scholarship options available. Some major institutions like banks have scholarship programs in place for foreign students studying medicine in the US. However, they might require an American citizen to vouch for you.