It is not uncommon for a parent to want to go into the medical field after having and raising a child. Many people put off higher education in order to care for their child, and during so find that a medical profession would suit both their preferences and lifestyle.
However, as with any higher learning, the combination of long classes, labs, tutoring, and homework means that free time is limited. Some parents find themselves in positions of having to choose to put off schooling again or find support to care for their child.
So how does a parent find a way to start and continue their medical education while still being involved in their child’s life?
Finding the Best Medical School for Working Parents
The first step is to research what medical schools in your area offer the program you want to pursue. Once you have narrowed down the schools that offer what you need, start assessing them. The best point to begin is to narrow down the schools to what is located closest to you – traveling far means more time away from work and home. Try to choose three or four schools near your workplace or home.
Next, research online the reviews for each school. Check for the following:
- What previous/current students have to say about their experiences.
- Average price for yearly tuition.
- The quality of the teachers and their lesson plans.
- Former students who mention their post-grad job status.
If you don’t see any huge red flags, such as very low ratings, call each school and make an appointment to see an advisor. Remember, the advisor’s job is to get you to enroll no matter what – so come prepared with questions, firm standings, and if needed – a friend for support.
Assessing Each School
Once you are speaking with an advisor, make it clear you are a working parent. Some important questions to ask are:
- Do you offer any certified child care?
- What percentage of students here are parents or working parents?
- How flexible are the schedules to accommodate for parents?
- What is your rate of students who discontinue here? What are their primary reasons?
Collect as much information from each advisor and school you can. Remember: Don’t fill in your phone number or address on anything (to avoid spam calls), and instead get the business card of the advisor.
Decide Based on What Works Best for You
After you have all your information gathered, begin writing out pros and cons of each school. Since your priority is to stay in school while working and being a parent, these should be the most weighted factors. Once your list is finished, have yourself and a trusted friend or family member look over the choices with you.
Don’t worry about time at the moment – take as long as you need to be 100% sure of your choice. Once you are positive, call your advisor and let them know you would like to enroll. Then you can get started on your medical career path while maintaining your outside responsibilities.