If You Have a Disability, These 4 Tips Can Help You Get In Medical School

Special needs students

Getting into medical school is hard to everyone applying. It can be even more of a challenge for students with special needs. Throughout the education process, there are options available. There are schools for students with learning disabilities and places where students can receive special needs education help.andnbsp;

When people think about schools for students with learning disabilities, they may not think of medical schools right away. US News and World Report has published a piece to help special needs students get into medical school. Despite the challenges involved, about 3% of all students in medical schools around the United States have admitted having a disability, according to data from a Journal of the American Medical Association study. This was published in December 2016. Many believe the 3% is a number that is much lower than the actual number of these students who are in medical schools. Students are often hesitant to report learning disabilities, psychological problems, ADHD, and other disabilities they may have. This is too bad because schools are required to help students with disabilities if they know about them.

  • Tell the medical school about your disability. Again, medical schools are not considered to be schools for students with learning disabilities but that does not mean that if you want to be a doctor and have a learning disability that this option is closed off to you. When you tell the medical school about your disability, they have to make accommodations to help you. All institutions of higher learning have disability officers and medical schools are no different. The school wants to help but the questions they ask may be discouraging. Do not give up. Some of the accommodations they made provide include longer times for test taking, they may put you in a distraction-free area to take exams, or other help may be provided, depending on your individual needs. These accommodations can include help when it comes time to become board certified in your medical specialty of choice.
  • Do not stress over any re-evaluation the school may ask for. It is not uncommon for a medical school to want to evaluate your disability. If you attended schools for students with learning disabilities or have documentation from the undergraduate school you attended, you may not have to go through this but if you do, you have documentation and you should have no problem. Just make sure you attend any meetings or interviews they schedule for this purpose.
  • Be careful if you think you are not going to want to let the medical school know about your disability. The can have consequences that may not be immediately clear. When you are in medical school, you may find that you need access to some of the same accommodations that you received if you when to one of the schools for students with learning disabilities or what you were able to get while you were getting your undergraduate degree. If you have not told the school early enough, they may no longer be under any obligation to help you. Moreover, if you need extra time to take an exam, you did not get it, and if you did poorly as a result, it is impossible for them to go back and help you with extra exam time for a test you have already taken.
  • Look for the school that is in the best position to help you. You should ask the schools to which you want to apply if they can accommodate you. Every school has their own way to do things and these can even change from semester to semester (they are always upgrading and changing things like the technology they use). There may also be some limits on the accommodations they can make so understand that any that need to alter their curriculum will not be made. The Journal of the American Medical Association notes that the accommodations that can be most easily made are during the science class part of the medical training but that this becomes harder for medical schools to do as training progresses to the clinical part in the third and fourth years.