This article is from Yevgeniya Kramchenkova at BeMo Academic Consulting. BeMo is one of the most sought-after academic consulting firms in the world famous for helping applicants with admissions to highly competitive programs and its staunch advocacy for fair admissions. Read and click the links below to gain insights from BeMo on the importance of going to medical school after Covid-19.
Unsurprisingly, Covid-19 has affected the mental health of millions of people across the globe — the uncertainty, isolation, and fear for safety have left many of us questioning our future. The world has been put on hold; and sometimes, it seems that so were our aspirations. The term “vocation” may have lost its relevance in times of uncertainty and necessity, but it’s important to reflect on it today. Professionals in education, law, and service industries are under enormous amounts of pressure. Interestingly enough, one of the most important vocations remained absolutely untouchable in these times, and the question of “why do you want to be a doctor?" is perhaps more relevant than ever. The pandemic has been incredibly demanding of all medical professionals, but physicians have been hit particularly hard whether they are D.O. or M.D.. Today, prestige and money associated with being a physician can be achieved without risking your life and neglecting your family time. The expectations of society, the demands of the research community, and, last but not least, the Hippocratic Oath to do their best to save lives, are tremendous pressures during a worldwide pandemic.
Furthermore, future generations of physicians are faced with a variety of unknowns when it comes to medical school admissions! So much has changed in so little time. So, is this vocation worth all the stress?
The road to getting into medical school begins years before students review their undergraduate college application timelines and submit their college admission essays and standardized test scores. Many aspiring doctors begin their preparations as early as high school as they start participating in extracurriculars, such as volunteering and delivering speeches at student forums and colloquiums. Getting into a prestigious undergraduate school is not enough — even if you get into one of the Ivy League colleges or one of the UC schools, it does not guarantee you entrance into medical school. Throughout your undergraduate degree you are expected to work hard to bolster your medical school profile and demonstrate to admission committees that you are a perfect candidate for medical schools in New York, Florida, Texas, California, the Caribbean, or wherever you choose to apply.
Whether you choose to complete a science major or go into non-traditional premed programs, most students commit an enormous amount of time to devise MCAT strategies, increase their GPA, review medical school rankings, and gain valuable research experience to make them stand out in applications. However, recently, they have realized that the admissions for their dream career may be nothing like what they expected. Along with completing courses and shadowing online, aspiring physicians had to adapt to new modes of video interviews and selection software like AAMC VITA and Snapshot by Altus Suite to ensure the admissions committee that they are the right fit for a career in medicine. Additionally, the changes in MCAT test dates and schedules have thrown a lot of premeds off. In previous years, they turned to Reddit Premed, MCAT Reddit, and Premed101, with the hope to find the most up-to-date information, but these forums have been proven to be unreliable — especially during Covid. Now, they are faced with navigating these difficult challenges on their own.
So, is becoming a doctor still worth it despite the soaring tuition costs and all the added challenges? You bet. This is why we dream — aspirations help us overcome hurdles that seem impassable. Instead of dreading the unknown, research the application components you’re unfamiliar with and seek professional help to get ready. Moreover, these innovations are nothing but carefully disguised old admissions tactics.
These innovations in admissions are only new at first glance. The application process, whether it’s the AMCAS, AACOMAS, TMDSAS, OMSAS, etc., remains the same. And just like every other pre-med student, you will get the chance to find out how hard and long the MCAT is personally. The AAMC is temporarily shortening the exam to just under 6 hours, while the number of scored questions remains the same. There are also multiple administrations per test date to accommodate everyone writing the MCAT.
If you’re applying to one of the medical schools that require CASPer, you will need to know how to prepare for CASPer. Anyone looking to apply to a professional degree is familiar with situational judgment tests (SJTs) like AAMC SJT or CASPer. These types of examinations have become an intrinsic part of the medical school application process. Furthermore, many of the medical school interview formats mimic the SJTs, such as the MMI format. The latter is one of the most popular interview formats for most professional schools. Why? Because it claims to allow the school committee to assess more than your skills and background. They can ask questions about policy related to your field, or ask you to think on your feet during an acting station. Overall, be mindful of your interview format when you prepare for the school’s interview. Remember, perfect practice makes perfect!
Undoubtedly, this pandemic has reminded the world of the tremendous importance of the vocation of medical professionals. Not only are we in awe of physicians, nurses, physician assistants, and other medical personnel working 24/7 to alleviate the pain and suffering of patients affected by Covid-19, but we are also reminded of the vital role medical research plays in keeping our world running. Financial, political, and cultural institutions are at a standstill, while researchers and physician-scientists try to find a vaccine that will get our lives back to normal. While the popularity of M.D.-Ph.D. programs has been steadily on the rise, this pandemic is shining a light on the importance of medical progress for the human condition.
While the professional journey of medical staff is not for the faint of heart, the influence and importance of the medical vocation have never been as evident as they are today. When you're struggling to remember if becoming a medical professional is worth it, remember, what can be more motivating than the chance to make a real difference in the post-Covid world?