Becoming a doctor and going through the rigors of medical school takes enormous commitment. One thing that medical students need to consider is how to choose and get into a specialty. This choice can be made as early as the first year. There are ways to make it easier for students.
- Honestly Assess Skills And Motivation:
Students who know their strengths and weaknesses, as well as why they want to go into medicine, will be more able to narrow down their search. What skills do they excel at? What lifestyle do they want? These questions are a good start.
- Get Experience In The Preferred Specialty:
When a student lands upon a contender for their future specialty, a good way to know for sure is to get firsthand experiential knowledge of that specialty. This can be done via specialty clubs or shadowing physicians in their field of interest. Externships are great opportunities for learning and networking.
- Research The Specialty’s Culture and Growth Potential:
Each specialty has its own culture. How the physicians work, what’s expected of them, and who will be drawn to a particular field. For example, some fields are more saturated, and some fields may see more female or male doctors enrolling. A bit of preliminary research will show what to expect.
- Have A Backup:
Students may develop a strong desire to choose a certain specialty. That’s good, but there may be a chance that due to unforeseen circumstances, their first choice is no longer an option for them. It’s a prudent idea to gain exposure to numerous specialties, so they are fully aware of all options and have a solid contingency plan. Having a solid academic record and strong recommendations can also help in competitive specialties.
- Be Authentic When Applying To Residencies:
A significant part of getting into a chosen specialty involves being diligent in the application process. Students should make their applications truly meaningful, personal, and individual. They should have a solid reason for choosing their program and specialty that they can relay to those who will be reading their applications. Authenticity and passion are hard to fake, and it does students no favors to simply write what they think they should say.