Shadowing a Doctor

March 20, 2014

Based on long-standing tradition, Harvard is committed to making educational opportunity accessible to all. This institution has an impeccable reputation for welcoming deserving students from any corner of the world, from all ethnic, cultural and religious backgrounds and from across the economic spectrum. Over the past few years medical students from the UK have shown a growing interest in studying at Harvard medical school. The good news is, despite its very stringent standards, it is possible to gain an entry into this prestigious medical school.

Time for a global health tutorial Getting yourself into a Harvard frame of mind

The US system in general and at Harvard in particular look for a broader range of interests and pursuits in applicant as compared to British medical schools. To them, it is not just the academics that matter. They want to know what else you are capable of outside of the confines of school.

If you are looking for admission into Harvard medical school, their primary aim is to identify students who have a passion for medicine, are committed to helping others and who will make a marked difference in the medical field as opposed to someone who is just looking for a way to earn a livelihood. It’s not difficult to tell the difference. When you send in your application, Harvard authorities will look for the little things you’ve mentioned or failed to mention. Have you spent any time at all doing any actual medical work? Shadowing a physician, volunteering at any kind of health care organisation or doing a medical placement in a developing country are just some of the things that will show your commitment to medicine and will add weight to your application. At Harvard, true passion for medicine and clinical experience are what sets successful candidates apart from those who get turned down.  

Student-Teacher relationships at Harvard

One of the more distinctive features of this institution is that there is the lack of a formal teacher-student relationship. In addition to the weekly school timings, professors often spend time with students before or after class, over meals in the school’s residential dining halls or at specially scheduled meetings in the residences of House Masters. Over the course of a year, students work closely with faculty members on their own or their professors’ research. The opportunities for formal and informal relationships with Harvard faculty are plentiful and immensely rewarding. 

The Affordability Question

Many students hesitate to apply to Harvard even if they think they have the necessary credentials only because they presume that an institute as prestigious as this would be out of their financial reach. However, this is a misconception.

According to Harvard’s financial aid policy, all aid is awarded on the basis of demonstrated financial need. Harvard’s policy has always been to admit the most deserving and talented students regardless of their ability to pay. Towards this end, the school has a generous financial aid program. They choose students based on merit and then offer them funding packages based entirely on demonstrated need, not merit. There are no athletic, academic, or other merit-based awards. Over the past decade Harvard’s scholarship aid has increased considerably to meet the growing education fees.