Encouraging high-achieving high school students to enter into the medical sciences typically involves exposing them to the opportunities that exist in these areas. Organizations like the National Academy of Physicians can help educate these students about experiences that may help them choose a scientific career. Mini-medical schools are one example of a way that high school students can learn about medicine, medical school, and what this career entails.
What Is a Mini-Medical School?
Many hospitals, medical schools, and research institutions offer educational opportunities for high school students to learn about medicine. These programs require an application and/or a recommendation from a physician or a school counselor for admission. Other programs may require admissions essays and possibly an interview as well.
The students don’t have to already be interested in medical school or a medical career to attend one of these courses; however, it is important that they have some interest in science since the goal is to steer high-achieving students in that direction.
Lecture Series vs. Mini-Medical School
There are lecture series that occur around the country where doctors and scientists provide informative lectures to the general public about health topics. That is not the same as a mini-medical school. The National Institutes of Health notes that mini-medical schools have a curriculum that covers basic science and broad bio-medical topics and not specific health issues. These lectures build on each other and the participants are expected to attend each lecture, unlike talks aimed for the general public. Mini-medical has more of an educational – or classroom-like – atmosphere and the other lectures are informational.
Different Mini-Medical School Programs
There are more than 70 of these programs in the United States. Some of them last for one day while others have several lectures over several months. Other programs include hands-on opportunities for the students to learn something about the medical field – either in clinical situations or in the lab. A few programs offer a residential component – like the University of Rochester or the University of Georgia — where the student spends time living on campus with a strict schedule which exposes the students to a variety of medical topics. Drexel University College of Medicine offers several mini-medical school and mentoring programs for high school and college students who are interested in the medical field. The University of Kansas has developed a DVD kit that high school teachers can use to expose their students to science topics.
The costs of these programs vary; some lectures are free, but other programs may be more expensive. There is often financial aid available for students who need it and who are especially interested in the program and in medicine in general.
Each of the mini-medical school situations serves the same goal – exposure. To learn more about the path to becoming a physician, visit us at www.FutureDocs.com or check out our Facebook page www.facebook.com/futuredocs.