What to look for in a Medical School

Choosing which medical school to attend is not a decision to be taken lightly.  There are a number of factors which must be taken into consideration, but the importance of these factors will differ for each person.

What kind of course does the medical school teach?

I rank this as ultimately one of the most important factors.  The reason why you go to medical school is to learn, so this tells me that the type of course should be chosen very carefully.  What kind of person are you?  Do you find it easy to motivate yourself to do work?  Do you prefer to find things out for yourself or to be taught them?  Would you like a lot of free time for self learning?  Or would you prefer lectures and classes from 9-5?  Would you like to develop your clinical competencies from the very beginning, or would you prefer to learn the theory first?

Problem based learning is best for those who can motivate themselves to do work and who prefer to find things out for themselves.  For those who would like a little more guidance, but who still like the idea of problem based learning, case based learning is perhaps the best idea.  If you would prefer your day to be more structured, perhaps look into a more traditional style of learning.  This style of course generally involves 2 years of theory first, before moving onto clinical experiences.

What facilities are available?

Does the medical school have up-to-date facilities and everything that you would need throughout your course?  I think personally that it is very important to have a designated medical library, facilities for learning clinical skills, modern lecture theatres and a nearby teaching hospital.

Location

This is a very important factor.  Is the medical school near the hospital, halls of residence and the main university?  Is it in a main city area?  Or would you prefer to study outside of the main city?  It is also important that there are entertainment and social facilities close to the area that you will be learning in and to your accommodation.  You don’t want to spend your whole evening travelling after working hard all day!  

I think that after considering these 3 main points, you just have to go with what feels best to you.  If possible try and get a look around the school and the surrounding area.  You will be spending a lot of time at your medical school, so it is important that you get a feel for your possible choices.  Ultimately, your choice is up to you and where you fell best.