Have you always wondered if you were smart enough to be a doctor? Do you often think about what the qualities of a good doctor are? If you answered yes to either of these questions, you’re in the right place. By the end of this article, you will be able to determine if you are smart enough to be a doctor.
We will not only provide you with common misconceptions about becoming a doctor, but we will also aid you in determining if being a doctor is a good fit for you. Use this information and tips to determine what the next steps are in your career. All you have to do is keep reading for more valuable information.
How Hard It Is Really to Become a Doctor?
It would be a lie if we told you that becoming a doctor was easy. If it were too easy, everyone would be rushing at the opportunity. It is important to remember that doctors do not make high salaries and attend several years of school for no reason. Becoming a doctor is by no means easy, but it is not impossible.
One major stepping stone for becoming a doctor is getting into medical school. Medical school happens after a person has completed four years of an undergraduate degree. This is a needed step before a student can be placed in a residency program.
The Association of the American Medical College provides statistics on the average MCAT scores of applicants to medical schools across the country. Each year this number is slowly increasing. For the 2020 school year, the average applicant had an MCAT score of 506.4; however, the students who matriculated were much higher, with this new average being an MCAT score of 511.5.
Comparing the number of applicants for the 2020 school year, 22,239 students enrolled, with 53,030 having applied. This means that roughly 42% of students were accepted. This number is by no means high, and further asserts the notion that medical schools take only the best and the brightest.
This intense competition is another reason why becoming a doctor is hard. However, there are several things that you can do to prepare.
Can an Average Student Get into Med school?
The answer put simply is yes, an average student can indeed get into medical school. Anything can happen which can affect a student’s academic progress, though that is a significant portion; luckily, that is not the only thing that schools consider when admitting students. There are much more criteria that go into a student’s acceptance. Several other criteria which are considered include the following:
How Are You Spending Your Free Time?
How you are spending your free time is an essential factor when becoming a doctor. Everyone can be book smart, but that doesn’t mean you have the qualities of a good doctor. A good doctor should be well-rounded. Medical schools want to see that you have relevant extracurriculars. This includes things like shadowing and research experience, as well as a demonstration of leadership.
You mustn’t try to overdo it. You should not be the person who attempts to do everything to make yourself look good. It would be best if you did things that you are passionate about and which make you happy. Your activities should show your passion and dedication to things that interest you. Your activities should also show that you are dedicated and passionate about them. It is a school’s preference that you are not switching activities every year.
What Do Other People Say About You?
Your recommendations are also significant for getting accepted into medical school. This allows other individuals to give their unbiased opinions of you and provide evidence to support it. However, this stipulation is not the same at all schools. Be sure to know the requirements for the medical school you are applying to. Most recommendations typically include letters from both science and non-science professors. In addition to these references, you may also need recommendation letters from individuals who can attest to your character.
Like the rest of the application, these letters are crucial. You should be sure that you have provided quality recommendations from individuals who are adequately able to attest to your skill and character. There are certain individuals you should avoid when getting letters of recommendation. These individuals include family members and even members of your church. These are generally bad ideas because they cannot attest to your behavior in a professional capacity.
Another thing you should remember is that you will need to give individuals ample time to prepare your recommendations. You want to make sure these letters are well thought out, and they have put time into them. Remember, you will not see the letter after it’s written; therefore, your reviewer mustn’t feel rushed and put under pressure. It would be best if you gave your reviewers at least two weeks to prepare your recommendation.
How Do I Know if I Really Want to Be a Doctor?
It is vital that this is not the first time that you are thinking about this. Being a doctor takes a lot of blood, sweat, tears, and sacrifice. You have to be book smart and work well with others and be open-minded to new ideas and research. Being a doctor can be an enriching experience, but you will need to prepare yourself for the ups and downs that your academic tenure and career may take you through.
If you ask the doctors around you, you may get a variety of answers to this question. Some may say that feeling inadequate in medical school was never an issue or thought for them. These scenarios can drive a person to become a doctor to search for answers and stop others from feeling similar pain. Their drive may come from something different, like a familial experience or even losing someone close to them.
For others, the drive to become a doctor can be the will to help others and bring fresh ideas to the medical world. Regardless of the reason, every doctor has their why. There is no guaranteed path to knowing if you want to be a doctor. You will need to evaluate your decisions and attempt to find the reason behind becoming a doctor.
After determining that, ask yourself is this enough to sustain you and keep you motivated thru the good and bad times. Though doctors may make great salaries and provide themselves with extraordinary material lives, there is more to being a doctor than meets the eye.
Not only are there several people counting on you to always make the right decision, but you will also have complex patients, times when you are wrong, and days, when you feel like the world is against you. You will have to work with different types of individuals, people who are only on the job for the money and unethical people. These are the days and moments that you will know if you really want to be a doctor.
Do You Have to Be Smart to Be a Doctor?
The answer put simply is no. However, you do need to be ready to learn and able to grow. At the start of your journey, you will likely not have all the knowledge and smarts to become a doctor, but that is okay. It takes hard work and tenacity to get to the level of a great doctor.
6 Misconceptions About Becoming a Doctor
- You need perfect grades to get into medical school. This is one heavily distributed misconception. It’s important to note that many schools have different entrance criteria. There are also opportunities for minorities to have lower GPAs for entrance. Getting a B or even a C isn’t the end of the world and probably will not stop you from getting into medical school. You shouldn’t worry if you are smart enough to be a doctor. With age and experience, your knowledge will grow.
- You will have endless amounts of money. Becoming a doctor does not mean you will have endless amounts of money. After several years of school, you will likely have a considerable amount of student loan debt to begin repaying. Though you will obtain wealth as your career grows, you should expect to have immediate large amounts of money.
- You will always be correct. When becoming a doctor, you must put your ego to the side. Sometimes you will be wrong, and sometimes you will have to take the criticism of others. This does not mean that you are a bad doctor or inadequate compared to your peers. This means you are human, and your work will teach you things and humble you in ways you may never imagine.
- Your life will be perfect. Though being a doctor is often respected and praised on TV sitcoms, your life will not be perfect. Becoming a doctor will not suddenly give you a lucrative job and a great family. You will still need to do the work. Contrary to popular belief, long hours and being on call aren’t considered fun. However, it is something that comes with the job that may force you to make sacrifices in the long run.
- You will never be able to afford medical school. Though medical school is not cheap, you don’t have to be an A-list celebrity to afford to attend. There is more variety available to you than just ivy league schools. There are also several ways that you can work on funding your education. Though federal loans are one of the most popular ways to pay for school, it is not the only way. Students may get scholarships that can come from a variety of sources. These sources can include alumni groups of their school, companies, and more.
- You will never get into medical school without a science degree. This is one prevalent misconception. Medical school does not discriminate between science and non-science majors; however, they are looking for you to have a valid understanding of science concepts and have been dedicated and immersed in your major.
Wrapping Things Up: Am I Smart Enough to Be a Doctor?
If you are still wondering, there is no threshold for how smart you have to be to become a doctor. There are several qualities of a good doctor which don’t involve your GPA or MCAT scores. Being a doctor means that you are constantly learning and looking for ways to grow and get better.
Several misconceptions are floating around about what it means to be a doctor or about becoming one, but these tidbits are just that, misconceptions. If you become a doctor, you will not be instantly rich with several friends and fast cars. On the flip side, you may get to a point where you are financially stable, but you also can expect to have a considerable amount of medical debt.
Though a portion of the debt is inevitable, there will be several signs you should be a doctor if it is meant to be. This profession is not for everyone and should include deep thought before you begin applying to medical school. However, once you take the leap, you’re in for an unforgettable journey that has the potential to be impactful and life-changing.