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Thomas Sprys-Tellner ’15 Hosts Med School 101

On Tuesday, March 19, 2024, Thomas Sprys-Tellner ’15 hosted a Med School 101 workshop for Catholic Central High School students interested in attending medical school after graduation. 

During his visit to CC, Sprys-Tellner gave a PowerPoint presentation to sophomores, juniors, and seniors who signed up for the event during homeroom. He discussed various topics related to medical school, including how to prepare and what to expect.  

"Catholic Central played such a huge cornerstone in my development as a student and a person and launched me into my career in medicine. I wanted to come back and share that with other people so hopefully they can use some of the things they learn here and follow in a similar path down the line," he stated.  

Sprys-Tellner, who is currently pursuing Emergency Medicine at Wayne State University, discussed the different types of specialties available to students. He explained in detail what students should expect during their years as a pre-med student.   

“Remember there is no required major for medical school. There are people with various undergraduate degrees who enter medical school,” he stated.  

He discussed the required classes each year and the time it takes to prepare for the MCAT.  

“When you’re looking at undergraduate schools, be sure to find their pre-health advisor and meet with them to help you get on track. When you’re an undergraduate, experiences will be a big part of your medical school application. Be sure to volunteer, do internships, and gain work experience in healthcare or non-healthcare. Your pre-health advisor can help you with this,” Sprys-Tellner recommended.  

He also talked about the importance of doing research to find what area of medicine you want to go into.  

"During that undergrad time and now, take time to explore healthcare and make sure it's something you really want to do. There's a lot of things within healthcare you can do and not all of them require medical school." 

Sprys-Tellner also talked about the benefits of taking gap years, explaining that more people are taking a year off before going into medical school to make sure it’s what they want to do.  

He discussed what medical school would look like for students, stating that the first two years are pre-clinical and the last two years are clinical. He explained that there is a big board exam at the end of the pre-clinical years that’s either pass or fail (no letter grade) and final exams are sprinkled in throughout the school years.    

“People explore what specialty they want to go through during their second two years, like a junior doctor. You still have tests during the third year, so after working the whole day, you'll go home and study. It's a lot of work. Expect to take a board exam again at the end of your third year. That one gets a letter grade. At the end of your third year, the goal is to apply for residency,” Sprys-Tellner stated.  

He concluded his PowerPoint presentation with a summary of the general layout of medical school, stating that students will spend four years in high school, four years in undergraduate, one or more gap years, four years in medical school, and another three to seven years in residency, depending on the type of medicine they go into. He explained that after residency, students can also do a fellowship to get even more training in their specialty.  

In total, Sprys-Tellner explained that to be a full doctor, it takes anywhere from 15 to 21 years, but it’s worth it if that’s what you want to do.  

“There are times in your first and second year when you're busy and stressed, but during your third and fourth years, you get to make a difference in patient's lives. It's worth it. It's a lot of time, money, and hard work, but it's something you can find a lot of fulfillment in,” he stated.  

Sprys-Tellner stated that the best thing students can do now to prepare for medical school is to do well in their classes at Catholic Central.  

“CC is going to give you an excellent start to make sure you're ready for college. Get involved so that when you write an application, you can talk about your experiences. Shadow doctors and get healthcare experience to see what they do on a day-to-day basis,” he stated. 

He recommended students investigate becoming an EMT for job experience, stating, “EMT school is six to eight months, then you basically have a job through undergrad. Also, look into becoming a tech. Explore other healthcare fields. There are so many things you can do. Make sure being a doctor is what you want to do or if there is another brand of healthcare you want to go into,” he recommended.  

“Start to look into colleges now,” he advised. “You can go to medical school from any four-year college. They don't care so much about where you go to college. Go to the one that's the best fit for you. They care more about what you do there. Get letters of recommendation, get to know professors, and go somewhere you can get involved. Talk to pre-health advisors at each school to see what they can do to help you. Look into their science programs. Get their medical school placement rate to see if it works for you. Just go where the best fit is for you, get the most out of your four years.” 

He also shared helpful websites for students who may want to explore medical school. 

One student asked how CC compared to medical school. Sprys-Tellner stated, “I would say that CC prepared me really well for undergrad. I was more prepared than other kids I was in school with. But it's different in that you don't have that eight hours per day in class and homeroom routine. During undergrad, you have fewer classes but you're doing more work outside of class. You don't have as much support, so you have to be good at managing your time. You're going to have a lot of freedom, so you have to have time management. Determine your schedule and how you're going to fit med school into that. CC is going to prepare you really well. Visit the college reps in the fall. Now is the best time to try things out.”  

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