Have you tried to research this topic yourself? You google the topic and up pops top pre-medical schools, forums, and blogs all trying to steer you in different directions. The standard list of ivy league schools dominates searches. Advice from doctors, students, and advisors giving their opinions flood your computer screen. Read this blog. Take this test. Consider this advice. Click here for a list of the top pre-med schools. So much information leads to misdirection and before long you’re overwhelmed with click-bait articles and are no better off than when you started. Having been in your shoes many years ago, I remember the pressure of trying to decide not only your next 4 years but your next 4 years after that and the next 4 after that. Choosing your pre-med school can feel like a monumental decision. Let’s declutter this problem together.
Your Top Schools
Everyone has their dream school. The place they would want to be if they could get. You might even have a list of schools your interested in. That’s a great start. Finding places you want to be is crucial. Med schools evaluate everyone's GPA and MCAT so having impressive scores is much more important than where you got them from. Choosing a school you are comfortable with and where you can find academic success should be key to your decision.
Checking to see what schools offer in terms of academic advising and staff support should be considered. Schools with reputable faculty can be vital in helping you network. They make sure you take the correct courses and work with you for years. Knowing if a school offers advising is important. Some schools have specific pre-med counselors. I had both a pre-med and academic advisor both which gave me countless tips and valuable advice. Don’t underestimate the importance of having a pre-med advisor. They can be influential in helping you get into medical school.
Attempting to research a school’s admission statistics can be arduous. Not all schools post this information. Some display it proudly on their university homepage. 85% acceptance rate into medical school! Our rate is higher than the national average! Listicle after listicle displays schools that are “top pre-med school” but with very little data confirming these claims. Curious as to how these numbers were calculated, I jumped into the depths of the internet. Expecting to find a concrete answer, I was disappointed to find that it is subjective.
Schools calculate this number differently and can adjust the numbers to falsely raise their rate. The university might only count the students who actually applied to MD schools and not DO or international schools. What does that mean in terms of statistics? They can do what they want. They can only count the students who got in; ignoring the droves of students who start out as pre-med freshman year. It can skew the data. It falsely implies that if you go to University A and are a pre-med student you have an X% chance of getting into medical school B. When I even think back to my own university experience, it felt like everyone was pre-med. By my sophomore year, that number was halved. When senior year came around, a handful of us were still pursuing medical school. You might be thinking if you can’t rely on admission statistics what should you base your decision on? I’m glad you asked.
Location, Location, Location
Where do you live? Where do you want to live? These are tall orders, especially when you’re young. Let’s simplify a bit. Location is important for a number of reasons. Tuition can vary by in state or out of state residence (more on money in a minute). Proximity to a good hospital system can be great for shadowing and networking. Nearby medical schools can be advantageous for meeting faculty early and making connections. Finding a school that has an early acceptance program to a nearby medical school is something to look into. Overall life quality is important. Will you be happy studying here? 4 years is a long time so make sure you are happy where you are. Find a balance between a reputable school and somewhere you would like to live. When you are not studying, your life outside the classroom is just as important. The extracurriculars you choose, the volunteer opportunities you will have access to are all things to consider when choosing a university.
The dreaded dollar sign. Money shouldn’t dictate your choice, but it does. Something to consider here is a little thing called the cost to benefit ratio. Where can you go for the cheapest amount of money but still get the best education? Look at scholarship opportunities. File your FAFSA early so you know what you are working with. The path to becoming a doctor is long and expensive. Save money where you can. Many colleges offer in-state tuition to its residents drastically cheaper than the out-of-state cost. Check out the universities in your state. See which ones have associations with medical institutions.
Next search the cost of living in the area. Use these factors to pick your top pre-med schools. This self-accumulated data will be a better reflection of your wants and needs when choosing a school than falsified statistics and articles urging you to go to expensive schools. Where you go to school isn’t as important as what you do when you are there. If you go to a school that’s too expensive and you don’t have money for books or food, your academic performance will suffer and makes getting into medical school that much harder. Now if you go to a university where you enjoy the area and the environment and you excel academically and are involved in the community and have loads of extracurriculars, you will be on your way to a top-notch application.
List of Unique Opportunities for Pre Med Students
With so much information about all these schools, it can be hard to sort through and find something that speaks to you. I have taken another deep dive into the internet to find different options for you. Something you might want to consider is early acceptance programs. Many schools have the option of securing a spot in their medical school based on your undergraduate performance. Some even offer it to high school students. There are even programs where you don’t need an MCAT score. Each school is different in their requirements and the year of school you need to be to apply. These schools have dedicated faculty, are by major hospital systems, and some let you earn your degrees in less time which saves you money. These are just some programs to consider because of the unique opportunities they offer. It is in no particular order, but just some schools to check out when trying to find the right fit.
- Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (ISMMS) offers early acceptance to college sophomores and no MCAT required. Application information available here.
- The University of Toledo has no MCAT requirement and is open to students in their junior year of undergrad. Application information available here.
- University of Florida has an early acceptance program to sophomore and is a 7-year program. Click here for their program info.
- University of Rochester's program does not require the MCAT but will ensure you early acceptance to their medical school if you meet their requirements which can be found here.
- SUNY Upstate has an early assurance program but you will need to take the MCAT. Requirements found here.
- Wake Forest offers an early acceptance program to students. You will need to take the MCAT. Info here.
- Drexel has an early acceptance offer to students. Program info here.
- Penn State offers an early acceptance program. Details found here.
- Brown is the only Ivy League school to offer a program which lets you earn a Master's in Public Health or an MD/ Ph.D. program in 8 years. Program info here.
- Northwestern has a unique 7 year. Program information here.
So What are the Top Pre Medical Schools for Students?
So the question what are the top pre-medical schools should be rephrased to what pre-med schools would be at your top. What is the best pre-med school for you? Choose something that fits your needs. What you do at school and how your preform is more important than where you went. Select a school that will let you be the best student you can be. Weigh each factor carefully and make an informed decision. Pick the school that is the top school for you not what a blogger chooses. Still undecided? BeMo is here to help.
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