This article has been updated to provide the greatest relevance & timeliness for our readers. It was originally published August 2017.
As prospective medical students consider their options for where to go to med school, many wonder how much their choice will actually impact their future as a doctor.
Each year, the National Residency Match Program (NRMP) residency director survey demonstrates that the school a candidate attended is a remarkably low priority in their decision making process. In the most recent report findings, a candidate's medical school didn't even make the top 20 factors when considering an applicant for an interview invitation!
On its surface, the NRMP survey implies that whatever medical school you choose to attend is irrelevant; as long as you absorb the material and can perform when evaluated on exams, in front of preceptors, etc., that's all that matters.
However, it's crucial to consider that while, on the surface, it may look like your medical school doesn't matter, the learning environment cultivated by that school, and how it has specifically prepared you for a career in medicine, can be the single biggest factor in your success.
Medical students don't thrive in a vacuum. They need a curriculum, faculty, support structure, living environment, extra-curricular opportunity, even a student body, that is shaped to help them succeed. A school doesn't just provide information, it should help students develop on a personal level into the sort of physician a residency director wants on their team and, ultimately, caring for their community.
In this post, we'll examine factors that the NRMP does consider to be important factors in a residency candidate and how the medical school you attend can help to cultivate and improve your results across each metric.