Choosing a Medical School

choosing a medical school

Perhaps the most daunting and important decision a prospective medical school student will face is choosing which school they wish to attend. A number of factors have to be taken into consideration when researching schools, such as location, costs and quality of education.

While sifting through all the information available can be overwhelming at times, it’s critically important to keep a level head while choosing a medical school. It’s also important not to get too caught up in medical school rankings. While often produced by reputable publications, medical school rankings change from year to year and often do not tell the entire story of a school.

Choosing a Medical School: The Application Process

The application process students endure while choosing a medical school can be extremely costly and time-consuming. The Association of American Medical Colleges estimates that students apply to an average of 15 schools through the American Medical College Application Service. While that number may seem high, it’s actually recommended that students apply to 15-20 different schools. Applying to any more can raise red flags in the eyes of institutions.

Applying to schools in the state you live in gives you a distinct advantage over your out-of-state counterparts. According to Johns Hopkins University, a large portion of state schools have less than 15% of their student body come from another state. Staying in state can also help save money, as in-state tuition costs are generally much lower.

Choosing a Medical School: Requirements

A number of academic requirements must be met before you can ever start choosing between medical schools in the United States. While each school has its own unique set of requirements, the easiest way to get a general overview of medical school admission requirements is by visiting the AAMC’s page for medical school admission requirements for US and Canadian medical schools. For a one-time fee, this comprehensive page provides prospective students with everything they will need to know, including information about new schools, application dates, deadlines and much more.

Choosing a Medical School: Combined Programs and Specialty Schools

For those looking for combined undergraduate and M.D. programs, there are a number of schools that offer them across the country. These schools include:

  • Alabama School of Medicine
  • UConn School of Medicine
  • University of Florida School of Medicine
  • University of Miami
  • Boston University School of Medicine
  • University of Nevada
  • Brooklyn College and SUNY Downstate Medical Center
  • Siena College and Albany Medical College
  • Villanova University and Drexel University College of Medicine

You can view the full list on the AAMC’s website.

Specialized medical schools can help you zero in on one particular area of health care. According to the U.S. News and World Report, some of the top specialty medicals schools and their area of expertise include:

  • University of Washington – Primary Care, Family Medicine
  • UPenn – Pediatrics
  • Johns Hopkins University – Internal Medicine
  • Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai – Geriatrics
  • Harvard University – Women’s Health, Drug and Alcohol Abuse
  • University of California-San Francisco – AIDS

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