Unsuccessful medical school applicants face a quandary. What to do next?
A popular option has been the master’s degree in public health. Students figured it was a way to spend a year doing something “health-related.” They could take off for medical school interviews, maybe write a paper or two. But the MPH is too easy a route. It is not enough. Here is what the MPH telegraphs: “I sat down for a year in easy to moderate difficulty classes and passed. I have a broad overview of public health.”
In your second or third year of residency or fellowship, your smartphone will suddenly start buzzing at all hours of the work day. When you answer, a hyperactive-sounding millennial will chirp at warp speed: “HiDr[yourname]! IjustwantedtoknowyouravailabilitycauseIhaveanamazingopportunity60milesfromChattanooga….”
Medical students who did not match into a residency position have a difficult, stressful, and uncertain time period ahead of them, thanks to overzealous funding of new medical schools, an influx of international medical graduates and specialty-switchers competing for positions, and above all a shortage of government-funded training positions.
Here are ten things to do for students in this position.
Financial advisors and wealth managers are not just for rich people or for investing in llama futures and bitcoin loan sharks. Health professionals have complicated financial lives. Huge debts, job search expenses, salary negotiations, moving costs, nanny salaries, high rents and mortgages near the medical center, wedding expenses, and even unforeseen costs like car accidents can make investing and saving for retirement seem decades away, but a wise planner can be a great resource while a veterinarian or anesthesiologist concentrates on her practice. Good financial planners excel at calming their clients down, getting clients sorted out with insurance policies (that they actually need), and making savvy decisions for the future. How does one find that person who is a walking Wall Street Journal/therapist?
Hospital cafeteria food. Malignancy or benign-ness. Patient population seen in the third and fourth years. A medical school interview provides a fusillade of data points to consider, and an applicant can feel overwhelmed. But what criteria actually matter in the long run? Doctors can debate this question endlessly, but here, in no particular order, are the five criteria I believe to be essential considerations when making this all-important decision.