Applying to Medical SchoolHigh School Students & BS/MDPre-Med Academics

Preparing for Medical School as a High Schooler

High school is the perfect time for students to think about what career path they want to pursue. Your career decision may affect what college you go to, what major you choose, and what extracurricular activities you pursue as a high school student. However, don’t worry if you don’t know what you want to do for the rest of your life as a high school student! People are constantly changing their minds in college and even after college. With that being said, if you’re a high school student and have an inkling to be a physician in the future, there are ways to prepare yourself.

Focus on personal growth and maturity

Many students want specific to-dos for them to pursue so they are on the “right track” for medical school. However, if you’re a high school student, and even as a college student, the best way you can prepare for medical school is to focus on being a mature individual who will one day become a mature, compassionate physician. Although your resume is important even as a high schooler, focus more on building your character. Volunteer, learn to work with others, and develop social skills and compassion. Ask yourself deep insightful questions such as, “What is my motivation for why I do what I do? What is my purpose in life?” These things are important because you don’t become more mature just because of age. Maturity is something that you need to actively work on. And it is self-evident why physicians need to be mature; physicians deal with life and death.

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Learn time management and study habits

High school is the time to build good habits. Many freshmen in college are surprised at how much free time day have. College is much more unstructured than high school. And you can ditch class and not study if you really don’t want to; your parents usually aren’t around. This is why you should learn time management while in high school. Don’t depend on your parents to tell you to study. Start taking ownership over your own schedule. Parents, let your high school children grow in independence as they prepare for college.

Go to a college that matches you

Choosing the “right” college is important. Although it’s almost impossible to perfectly predict whether you will like a school or not, there are 3 main factors to consider. First is whether the school is close to home or not. Many college students need to go to school that is closer to home to access their parents as a support system while other students thrive further away. Second is private vs public school. You get more guidance and personal attention at private schools. If you think you’ll need that, it might be worth the money to go to a private school. Last, consider cost. If you want to become a doctor, you’ll likely be in debt at least $150,000 from medical school alone. You may want to go to a lower-cost college to limit that debt as much as possible.

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Find a mentor

Mentorship is key throughout your life. It is especially important when you’re younger because your mentor can guide you and prevent you from making stupid mistakes. Go find a mentor in whatever way possible. It’s even better if your mentor is a medical student or physician. Your mentor can be an older, wiser family member that you trust. Maybe you can be connected to a family friend. You can search for mentors online whether through a mentorship program or even through a medical school admissions consulting service.

Edward Chang

Edward Chang is the Co-founder and Director of Operations of He graduated from the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and is currently a urology resident at the University of Washington. He also attended UCLA as an undergraduate, graduating with a major in Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology. If you are interested in contributing to, please contact him at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @EdwardChangMD and Prospective Doctor @ProspectiveDr.

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