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What are some of the best premed schools? (that don't have insane acceptance rates)

I am a junior in high school currently compiling my list of colleges I'm going to apply to next year. I want to be premed, and hopefully get into medical school one day. I've been doing a lot of research lately, and I learned that choosing a good school for premed is actually really important -- schools with more opportunities, better student to staff ratio, etc. #high-school #college #university #premed #medicine #science #medical_school #doctor


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Mary Jane’s Answer

I have worked with hundreds of premedical students and in my opinion, it's not the college that you attend as much as what you make of your time there. You obviously do want to attend a college that has strong science programs so that you get a good foundation academically. If there are a lot of students studying in the sciences who are going on to graduate and medical school, the school is probably going to offer you a solid premedical education. Do they have tutoring on campus in case you need help with your science courses? Is there a writing center to help if you need to improve your college writing skills? How accessible are the professors? Do students know them? Can students go to office hours and get help with material? Do they form relationships with mentors and advisors? The later things are important for letters of recommendation for med school. It's true that for some students, a smaller school is better because the classes are taught by professors whom they get to know very well and with few grad students, the undergrads have more access to research opportunities. Other students thrive in a large college environment and certainly many people go onto medical school from their large state flagship university -- if it's a campus with a med school, sometimes that offers more opportunities for things like shadowing, volunteering, or working in a clinical setting to gain experience...but you are probably competing with more undergrads for those opportunities. At a very small school or a very rural area, opportunities may also be limited so you may need to do more of your service activities and shadowing in the summer. There are always pros and cons. Ultimately, it's really about how you learn best and the type of environment where you're most comfortable.

The other thing to consider is whether the school has a pre-health advisor who can help you understand the process of preparing for and applying to medical school. The pre-health advisor often runs special programs and workshops, can help you with editing essays for your med school application, and help you prep for interviews. Some schools use a committee to write letters for med school applicants -- for those schools, find out if everyone who requests a letter receives one or they only send letters for the top students. Are students ranked and only those with a certain GPA get help or do they help everyone working towards med school?

Beyond that, be sure to look at the campus culture. Most schools usually have more clubs and activities than any one student can participate in, so look to see if there are groups to join who are doing things you enjoy and are passionate about -- not just medicine, but in other areas of your life and community. Are the premed students active in clubs or do they stay locked in their rooms studying all the time? Are students engaged in community service (med schools will expect you to show a dedication to service)? Do premed students have the ability to shadow during the school year? How hard/easy is it to arrange that, both in terms of timing and transportation? If you want to study abroad, are premed students encouraged to study off campus? How many of them actually do it? Meet some of the professors and students -- do you like them? Can you imagine yourself living and working with them for four years?

In the big picture, there is no "best" college for going on to med school. Students get into med school from a huge variety of undergraduate schools. Ultimately, it's about what you do during college and how well you can talk about those things. For instance, it doesn't matter if a college has dozens of tutors for organic chemistry if you never go talk to them and get C's. If you don't make any effort to build relationships with your professors, your letters of recommendation are going to be generic. If you don't volunteer or shadow and you can't talk about how the things you did in college will make you a competent, compassionate physician able to serve a diverse community, it really doesn't matter if your degree comes from the most prestigious school. Don't get caught up in guessing what med schools will think is "the best". Look for a school that offers enough support and opportunities for you to become the best version of yourself.

Good luck! It's an exciting time!

Thank you so much for this detailed response! This was very helpful, I will keep all of this in mind. Athena R.

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Lindsay’s Answer

There are none! There are schools that say that their medicine department is best, but honestly, your undergraduate career doesn't matter. All 4-year institutions are essentially the same. Now, if you choose to go to a community college, that's where things might change. Community colleges have a stigma of being easier, so if you attend community colleges for some classes, medical schools might definitely look at that and wonder why you chose to take those at an easier institution. That being said, it honestly doesn't matter where you go for your Bachelor's degree. As long as you do well and can show that you can be a good medical provider through your personal statement, interviews, etc, then you will be good to get into any medical school. Medical schools don't care if you've gone to an Ivy League or not. They just care about your experience there, GPA and your MCAT score. In fact, many medical students will tell you just take the easy way out. Do the easiest major so you have time to focus on the pre-reqs, and go to an "easier" school so that your GPA will be more competitive.

Thank you so much, I will keep this in mind! This was very helpful. Athena R.

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