A lot of students will start interviews soon for this years medical school cycle. But, even before you apply to schools it might be a good exercise to see how many of the following questions you have answers to and what points you may not feel comfortable with.
These questions have been adapted from the AAMC itself with some additions and changes. Keep in mind that this is a pretty thorough list, but a lot of the information can be found online, so be sure to do your research beforehand.
1. Are there any special programs for which this medical school is noted?
2. How are lectures conducted? How do you plan to have them conducted differently due to COVID-19?
3. What are the opportunities for research or community service? What are the policies for taking time off for such opportunities?
4. How do students get assistance if an academic need arises? Are there any types of academic mentorship programs available?
5. Is there flexibility in the coursework (the number of electives) and the timing of the courses (accelerating, decelerating, and time off) during the pre-clinical and clinical years?
6. Are standardized tests used such as the NBME shelf exams?
7. Has this medical school, or any of its clinical departments, been on probation or had its accreditation revoked?
8. What is the academic atmosphere like at this school? Does it err on the competitive/cut-throat side or the collaborative side?
9. How early are students able to expect hands-on learning in a clinical environment?
10. What resources are provided to FGLi students in the form of academic support, covering the cost of materials, and/or providing technology?
11. How are students evaluated academically? How are clinical evaluations performed?
12. Is there a formal mechanism in place for students to evaluate their professors and attending physicians? What changes have been made recently as a result of this feedback?
13. What is the protocol for a relevant complaint relating to comments or accusations of misconduct? Is this procedure optionally anonymous?
14. What kind of academic, personal, financial, and career counseling is available to students? Are these services also offered to their spouses and dependents/children?
15. Is there a mentor/advisor system? Who are the advisors—faculty members, other students, or both?
16. How diverse is the student body? Are there support services or organizations for ethnic/cultural minorities, LGBT students, and women?
17, What financial systems are in place for a financial emergency?
18. Tell me about the library and extracurricular facilities (i.e., housing and athletic/recreational facilities). Is designated study space available?
19. Are students required to have a laptop? Will students be provided a laptop or ipad device?
20. What type of clinical sites—ambulatory, private preceptors, private hospitals, rural settings, international—are available or required for clerkships? Does this school allow for students to do rotations at other institutions or internationally?
21. How new/up-to-date are the current facilities? Are there any plans to renovate or make changes?
22. What is the current tuition and fees? Is this expected to increase yearly? If so, at what rate?
23. Are there stable levels of federal financial aid and substantial amounts of university/medical school endowment aid available to students?
24. Are there students who have an “unmet need” factor in their budget? If so, how do these students come up with the extra funds?
25. How much aid is, on-average, dispersed to low-income students?
26. Are there services/staff available to assist students with budgeting and financial planning?
27. Does this school provide guidance to its students and to its graduates/alumni, on debt management? Does it require loan training and management courses?
28. Is there an office or person that students can ask about repayment or forgiveness programs?
29. What medical school committees (e.g., curriculum committee) have student representation?
26. Are students involved in (required or voluntary) community service?
27. What opportunities are there to be involved in community service on campus?
28. How active is the student council/government? Are there other active student organizations?
29. What is the student medical insurance coverage and what is the cost to students?
30. Is there an established protocol for dealing with student exposure to infectious diseases?
31. Does this school provide, or does the student pay for, vaccinations against Hepatitis B or prophylactic AZT treatment in case of a needle-stick or accident?
32. Is disability insurance provided to cover exposure?
33. Is there a school honor code? Is there a grievance process/procedure? Are the students involved i.e. honor council?
34. May I see a list of residency programs to which this school’s recent graduates were accepted?
35. What resources or infrastructure does this school have for helping students place into their preferred residency program?
36. Is there a trend of higher success for certain medical specialties as opposed to others ?
Questions to Ask Yourself
37. Does this school have strengths in the type of medicine (primary versus specialized care, urban versus rural practice environment, academic medicine versus private practice) that I will want to practice?
38. Would I be happy at this school for at least the next four years?
39. Does the location work for me and my future plans? How affordable is housing in the area or nearby? Is there reliable transportation?
40. Is this the most efficient option for getting my medical education?
Questions to ask current students
41. How would you describe the campus atmosphere? What attracted you to this school?
42.If you could improve something about this school, what would it be and why? Is there anything that you wish you had known about this school when applying?
43. What are your thoughts on the grading policy at this school and the way that classes are structured? Do you think that faculty and school administration are receptive to student concerns?
44. What advice would you have for a student starting school here that would set them up for success?
Questions to Ask Faculty Members
45. What do you consider to be the most unique aspects of this institution? What do you consider to be the strengths of the program and the teaching method?
46. Which courses, if any, utilize PBL (problem-based learning) and are there plans to implement or change courses to include this?
47. What are some ways that this school integrates inter-professional or interdisciplinary education?
48. What is the patient population like at any of the affiliated hospitals? Do you have any courses or programs that could potentially help students learn about this patient population, that may not have been exposed to this type of patient population in the past?
49. What kind of special support services (academic, personal, etc.) would I have access to at this institution? Do you think that current support services are adequately meeting student needs or is there a plan to expand any services?
50. How much flexibility is there in the coursework and in the timing of the courses? Do instructors here have an “open door” policy?
Feel free to use this list as a rough guide of some starting questions to consider when thinking about different medical school options!