Applying to Medical School in Texas

Texas residents, and others who aspire to be physicians are fortunate enough to have, at their disposal, quality training institutions for some of the lowest tuition and fees in the country. Exact prices vary slightly from campus to campus, but the fact remains-if you can get in to medical school here, you can afford to pay for it (or rather you WILL be able to pay for it out of future earnings).

In the Texas medical school application process, there are essentially two tiers, or two levels of education. The first tier consists of Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, and the University of Texas Southwestern, Medical School located in Dallas. These are the most competitive and prestigious medical schools in the state (and roughly equivalent to each other on both criteria). If you have a 4.0 GPA and a 40 on the MCAT than you can study wherever you want to. You might want to go to one of these prestigious medical schools. As to which you should choose, it probably depends on where exactly you want to go with your career. Which school has the strongest departments in the fields you are interested in? Which school can best suit your needs? A visit to each school will allow you the opportunity to discuss your plans and interests with potential mentors. The guidance counselors and visits to each school will help you make this decision.

The second tier consists of the remaining five medical schools in the state: The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, The University of Texas-Houston Health Science Center, The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, Texas Tech Medical School in Lubbock, and Texas A&M Medical School in College Station/Temple. All of these schools offer a quality medical education as well provide students with job training and placement. Although they are slightly easier to get into (though it’s never real easy to get into Medical School) and less prestigious than the two elite schools, they are still just as good.

All of these schools are probably pretty much equivalent in competitiveness and reputation. However they each have slightly different characters and areas of strength. For example, A&M is reputedly a good choice for those interested in rural medicine, and UTMB-Galveston trains flight surgeons for the space program. Therefore, if given an opportunity to choose between the programs available, it is best to get to know all the campuses and what they offer as best you can make an informed decision. All too often, students choose to go to Galveston because they want to live on a beach or to Houston or San Antonio because they want to live in a big city, only to discover that as a medical student they don’t have any time to spend lying out on a beach, or spending nights out on the town.

The other option you have is the Orthopedic School in Fort Worth, Texas. There are many people who swear that Orthopedic Medicine is a better healing philosophy than traditional western medicine and they may be right. Unfortunately the truth is the Orthopedic School is slightly less competitive than the other medical schools and the degree it offers holds far less prestige. D.O. graduates may very well be equally skilled in treating patients and healing diseases than their M.D. counterparts, and I have known many people who have gone to orthopedic school insisting that the more holistic approach is better for general patient health. Still, these people throughout their careers have to deal with the assumption that the D.O. after their names means that they couldn’t get into medical school-whether it is true or not. If you strongly feel that this is the path for you, by all means go ahead and take it, but be aware of this (and who knows, 10 years from now the “stigma” attached to this type of degree may not exist anymore).

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