When choosing a college, remember that there is no perfect college. There is only what is right for you. Some of the factors to consider are:
- Academic reputation
- Distance from home
- Location - rural, suburban, urban
- Academic programs - quality of faculty, facilities, advisors; choice of majors; number of pre-meds, percent of pre-meds accepted to medical school.
You may want to select a college that has a medical school as part of the University. In the end you will know what is right by what your gut tells you.
College life is not just grades and studying. Your college experience should be one of the most exciting and enjoyable times of your life. The good friends and good times from college are some of the fondest memories I have. After all this is where I met my wife. Having fun is very important. However, you must have the discipline to know when to stop. Remember, chances are you have moved away from home and are living in a dorm and have more freedom now than ever before. However, with this freedom must come the wisdom to act responsibly for your own sake.
In college you must learn how to manage your time. This is a skill which will be invaluable as a medical student and for the rest of your medical career. Some things that are just deadly time killers such as video games and TV should be curtailed significantly or banished altogether.
The courses you take in college (especially science courses in this case) are infinitely more difficult than you can imagine. If you do not take the time to study you will not do well enough to get into medical school. It's that simple. It is possible to do well and have fun- I did. However, it is a balancing act that must be mastered. Going to the library to study is not synonymous with studying. Many people go there and waste time.
A major decision you must make early on in college is choosing a major. There are no required majors for acceptance into medical school. The most common major is biology. However, medical schools accept students from many backgrounds. Sometimes it is better to have a major outside of the usual so that your application is more unique. Some medical schools are looking for more diversity and want some students with liberal arts degrees. However this places more emphasis on how well you do on the courses required for medical school admission. Whatever major you choose should be something you enjoy. However, you should also take a wide breadth of courses to experience other fields because it may be your last opportunity.