To go to one of the three medical schools in South Carolina, you will need to understand what they are looking for in an applicant. This goes beyond ; every medical school has its own priorities, needs, wants, and areas of interest that will propel your application to the top or bottom of the heap.
The three schools are the Medical University of South Carolina College of Medicine (MUSC), and the University of South Carolina School of Medicine, which has schools in Columbia and Greenville.
Read on to receive an overview of preferred applicants, the best academic and non-academic credentials to have, and the types of doctor that you can become going to one of South Carolina’s exceptional institutions.
Please note: although we have made every effort to provide the most accurate information, admissions information changes frequently. Therefore, we encourage you to verify these details with the official university admissions office. You are responsible for your own results. BeMo does not endorse nor affiliate with any official universities, colleges, or test administrators and vice versa. If you see an error here, please notify us with the updated information, and we’ll send you a FREE copy of a BeMo ebook of your choosing! You can receive our Ultimate Guide to Med School Admissions, our Ultimate Guide to MMI Prep, our Ultimate Guide to Medical School Personal Statements & Secondary Essays or our Ultimate Guide to CASPer Prep! Please email us at content [at] bemoacademicconsulting.com with any corrections, and we’ll arrange to send you your free ebook upon confirming the information.
In-State vs. Out-of-State
South Carolina’s medical schools are public institutions, with state support, and as such are looking for students who have close ties to South Carolina. Students living in South Carolina have preference, therefore.
For instance, MUSC’s acceptance rate for in-state students was 22.84%. Fewer people are applying in this category, so the rate goes up.
International students will find South Carolina the most daunting. In recent years, international students barely had a presence at all. Their numbers are almost at 0%, with only one international student getting in – in Greenville – against the number of applicants, which was 41.
Close ties might also include having grown up or lived in South Carolina; having parents, grandparents, or in-laws who live in South Carolina; attending school or working in South Carolina; or being related to faculty or staff at a school itself. If you aren’t a resident, but you do have ties to South Carolina, you can receive this edge.
The School of Medicine Greenville at the University of South Carolina has the highest rate of acceptance amongst out-of-state applicants, and although that rate is still only 1.18%, if you are out-of-state and applying anywhere, you could play the odds.
Students who are international must still have a green card; only residents are allowed in the programs in South Carolina. Again, Greenville is the school of choice here, admitting one international student – out of six international applicants.
For Out-of-State Students
These schools do prefer applying students to have a deep connection with South Carolina, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to have been born there. You might have family, friends, or a history with the state that isn’t born-and-raised. Whatever it is, you can articulate this in your application to note your South Carolina connection.
Consider any connection you might have while filling out your application. As long as the connection is something like a South Carolinian friend, or a period in your life when you lived there – even if you moved away later. Make sure the connection is deeper than “loving” South Carolina in an abstract way, or saying that you’d like to visit South Carolina. Deep connections can’t have that much overlap with vacation travel plans. On the other hand, if your family took regular vacations in the state and you consider it a second home, or a place you’d like to move to, that could be a prime detail to add to your application.
Still not sure where you want to go to medical school? Check out the infographic below:
As something to keep in mind: Greenville has greater percentages of its students’ specializations in OB/GYN and General Surgery.
Each of the three schools takes a different tack when approaching their curriculum.
Columbia’s match rates for primary care specialties is higher than the national average. Columbia saw 44% of their students in primary care against the national average of 39% - a significant jump. If primary care is your area of choice, Columbia is matching strongly in that category.
Generally-speaking, Greenville has a very high match rate, achieving 99% or even 100% in recent years.
MUSC’s primary care rate is still higher than Columbia. MUSC’s rate is 48.5%.
While it is true that primary care is the most common match – although not the majority – that doesn’t mean a prospective shouldn’t take note of South Carolina’s unusual rates here. The fact that multiple schools in South Carolina have an above-average match rate in primary care indicates that for a student looking for experience in primary care, a South Carolina school will be appealing.
Getting into medical school can be difficult. Check out these tips:
Finding the perfect medical school is a balance of many, many factors. South Carolina’s medical schools offer a variety of opportunities and experiences for all students, but particularly those who have roots or close ties to South Carolina itself.
1. What is AMCAS?
AMCAS is the American Medical College Application Service. It is a centralized application-processing system that allows you to apply to multiple schools at once. It streamlines the application process and notifies you of results.
2. What is Early Decision?
Early Decision (ED) is a program as part of AMCAS that allows students to find out if they have been accepted to their school-of-choice sooner – by October 1st. The only catch is that you can only apply to one school using Early Decision, and must not apply to any other schools until you hear back from your Early Decision school-of-choice.
The program does allow for time to apply to other schools. Early Decision might be something you are looking to consider if you have one school that is a clear above-all-others choice, ED can demonstrate your commitment and keen interest to the admissions board.
3. How many schools should I apply to?
We recommend between 8-10 schools.
If you have strong ties to South Carolina, it might be good to start with the three we have discussed above.
4. How much is tuition?
The Greenville and Columbia schools of the South Carolina School of Medicine have similar rates: just over $44,000 USD for in-state students (varying slightly between the two). Greenville’s out-of-state students will pay $88,874 and Columbia’s $89,080 USD.
MUSC has lower rates: $27,511 USD for in-state students and $47,117 for out-of-state ones.
5. How do I know which schools are best for me?
Ultimately, only you can make those decisions because only you know your exact circumstances. is a tough decision, but a personal one. Still, there are some ways to think about it that might help you make the right choice for you.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, however, the best start to the process is to figure out what are your ultimate goals. What kind of physician do you want to be? What do you value most in an education? Where do you want to end up, including literally – physically?
Knowing what you want will show you which schools you should apply to, since you’ll be able to find close matches to your goals.
For example, if you know that you want to be an ER doctor, find schools – like Greenville – that will give you a good grounding in emergency medicine or have high match rates with emergency medicine.
There are a lot of factors to consider, of course, and a lot of schools to look through, but once you know what’s most important to your future success, you can start to screen for it.
7. I’m not from South Carolina. Do I have a chance?
As mentioned, there are other ways of having a connection with South Carolina other than just being from there.
8. What are the chances of getting in to one of these schools?
It varies from school to school. These are competitive institutions, however, so expect competition.
MUSC’s admission rate was 4.44% in a recent year.
Greenville’s admission rate was 2.81%.
Columbia’s rate was 3.2%.
Those numbers are obtained by taking applicants and the first years’ cohort numbers, but you might want to keep in mind that acceptance numbers vary from category to category.