With the academic year starting up again, it’s a great time to go on college visits. Students can gain insight into their schools of interest by visiting campus and asking questions in person or virtually. For students interested in health and medicine, inquiries often involve the likelihood of attaining a research position as an undergraduate or the proximity of an acclaimed medical school. If this sounds like you, peruse this list of unique questions and keep it handy for your next campus visit.
Questions to ask students
Nothing’s better than getting firsthand accounts from the people whose shoes you’ll be in eventually. Whether it’s a random student or a tour guide, here are the questions you’ll want to ask.
What is the admission process like for health students?
If you intend to apply to highly competitive programs like BS/MD (which are increasing in popularity), it’s best to know if the odds are in your favor. Find out how many students apply on average, how many are admitted to the program, and what the school is looking for in an ideal applicant. Questions like these can help you determine if you’re a strong candidate while helping you identify your weaker areas.
Are classes mostly discussion or lecture based?
Based on your learning style, you may thrive in an environment that encourages open discussion and debates. In contrast, if you’re a more reserved learner, you may not want to enroll in a class that includes a Socratic circle. Knowing your options can significantly improve your enthusiasm for class and improve your readiness to learn.
Does your institution offer a work-study program?
Though not all colleges and universities offer work-study, it certainly doesn’t hurt to ask. You could possibly assist an acclaimed professor while paying off your tuition, gaining work experience, and expanding your résumé—all while working on or near campus. What more could a future medical student ask for?
What clubs or other opportunities exist for community service?
This is a big one, especially if you want to apply to medical school in the future. Having volunteer and community service hours can significantly set you apart from other applicants and boost your résumé. This also gives leeway to possibly start your own club and show off your networking and leadership skills.
How’s the Wi-Fi?
This question is mundane but oh so important. Ask students about the internet on campus, how reliable it is, and if they’ve encountered any persistent problems. A wimpy connection shouldn’t get in your way of earning an A.
Questions to ask admission representatives
Representatives are an omniscient presence on campus, so don’t shy away from asking them specific questions. Consider the following…
Are there any fields or specialties that are underrepresented at this school?
This may sound like a notable dealbreaker; however, it could benefit you. Many institutions want a well-rounded student body or graduating class, meaning if your intended major or field is underrepresented, your likelihood of admittance could increase in hopes of filling that criterion.
Are the libraries open 24 hours a day?
You never want to see the words “Sorry, we’re closed” at 8:00 pm when you have a rough draft in process and the paper is due the next morning. Returning to your dorm might mean having to listen to your roommate’s bedtime playlist. Simple things like this are often overlooked, so take into consideration whether you need the reassurance of a 24-hour library or other quiet study area on campus.
What internships are available throughout my time at this school?
Internships and experiential learning are so important to health and medicine students. Be sure to specify if available positions are affiliated with the school, as this can decrease competition and increase your chances of landing them. Internships are also incredible opportunities to network. Who knows—after you graduate, your internship experience could be the reason you were hired for a job over another applicant.
Are there special advising services for prospective medical students?
Students need guidance navigating medical school admission and/or alternative employment opportunities. Be sure to ask about campus resources or special programs for those who want to attend medical or graduate school. Sometimes colleges have affiliated medical schools that guarantee admittance if you’ve attended their partner school and concurrent programs.
What percentage of students participate in research projects?
Getting involved in research as an undergraduate can open doors to many accolades that can help you extensively as a medical student and in your postgraduate endeavors. Research also gives you the opportunity to scientifically explore and delve deeper into a topic of personal interest, regardless of whether if it’s a project conducted by an existing group, professor, or independent. Ask about opportunities at your schools of interest and how many students are eligible to participate.
At the end of the day, be sure to make the most of your campus visits and ask as many questions as you can. After all, you’re trying to find your new home away from home to study health and medicine. Connect with current students and engage with admission counselors and reps to get a broad scope of the schools and programs you’re interested in. Take this time to really consider what you’re primarily looking for in your higher education to set you up for the next successful chapter of your life.
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