Finding the right pre-med school for you is one of the most important choices you'll have to make on your way to becoming a professional medical practitioner, and it's also one of the decisions you'll have to make first. Going to school to become a physician will directly affect the possibilities and networks of support available to you both during your time as a student and later on in your professional life. The USA is home to a vast number of excellent undergraduate programs; thus, the application procedure for colleges and universities in these states can be time-consuming and challenging. This article contains a ranking of the top pre-med schools in the United States that was compiled by our team.
What is Pre-Med?
A pre-med college program is one in which students commit to taking a particular set of classes before applying to medical school. These classes are considered prerequisites. Your pre-medical experience should ultimately prepare you for a more significant aim: enroll in medical school. A pre-med curriculum offered by an appropriate educational establishment will guarantee success in all four crucial aspects of admission to medical school:
- Getting a good grade point average.
- Obtaining a good score on the MCAT.
- Developing significant interests and building a solid resume are two critical steps.
- Submitting an application, which should include essays and letters of recommendation, and attending an interview.
Considerations to Make When Choosing a College for Pre-Medical Studies
Your grade point average is essential in medical school. It would help if you were looking for universities where you have a good chance of doing well since a high-grade point average is more significant than class rank when it comes to the application process for medical school. This is because most medical schools evaluate prospective candidates based on their academic performance using a statistical model that considers their grade point average. To get into medical school, having a grade point average of 3.5 and ranking 18th in your class at one college is often a poorer combination than having a grade point average of 3.9 and ranking 35th in your class at another institution.
You should still try to be one of the top students in your school, even if your grade point average is often more important than your rank. Most college courses are assessed on a curve, and a high-grade point average indicates being towards the top of the curve. For instance, you would be in a much better position with a 3.95 at Bates College instead of a 3.35 at Princeton. You might also benefit from avoiding schools with grade deflation (very difficult curves) and choosing ones with mild to high-grade inflation instead (easier curves).
The prerequisites for your major will be just as crucial to your ability to attend medical school as your science GPA. A challenging course load is required to verify a high-grade point average; having a high GPA in an "easy" major won't get you very far.
It is also crucial to highlight that you should, in most cases, make an effort to avoid attending the flagship institution of your state. Many students who excel academically but cannot attend top-tier institutions due to a lack of financial resources or an extensive extracurricular history join one of these universities instead. Therefore, it will be much more difficult for you to obtain As in your pre-med courses.
Score on the MCAT
A high score on the MCAT is another requirement for admission to medical school. You should seek a college that offers courses that would adequately prepare you for the test, and you should attend that college. The majority of schools' pre-med programs will introduce students to the scientific concepts that will be on the MCAT. It would be beneficial, though, if you also made sure that your college has robust sociology and psychology programs and general education English classes that emphasize critical reading techniques. If you go to a school that focuses on strengthening these other aspects of the MCAT, you will receive a significantly higher total score.
Letters of Recommendation and Participation in Extracurricular Activities
To have a decent resume, it is not enough to stuff your CV full of activities and honors that are generally impressive. As a possible application to medical school, it is essential for you to participate in activities that are personally significant and pertinent to your goals. You should have significant experience caring for patients, preferably through shadowing or formal internships; however, volunteering is acceptable if you cannot locate either of those opportunities. Biology-specific or medical research is also essential to include on your resume. In addition, working or volunteering in the community you live in might be advantageous. Make an effort, if at all feasible, to gain experience by working with people from various socioeconomic situations. This may be a useful experience for answering essay and interview questions.
Being at the top of your class comes with several benefits, one of which is the ability to fill up your CV with the appropriate activities. If you are one of the top students in school, your professors and the other professionals who advise students in the health professions will make it simpler for you to access greater prospects.
When selecting a school, you should give careful consideration to its location. A college located in or next to a city with a thriving medical industry, such as Pittsburgh, Raleigh-Durham, or Houston, will have significantly greater employment options. You will boost your chances of acquiring meaningful experience in patient care and research if you have access to prominent hospitals and private enterprises.
Again, being at the top of your class is the most important factor in obtaining positive recommendation letters. You will easily gain the attention and favor of your teachers, employers, and lab directors if you are a large fish in a relatively small body of water.
The decision to pursue a degree in medicine requires a significant time and financial investment from the student and their family. The average cost of four years of medical school is $200,000, which is why many families are looking for ways to save costs during undergraduate studies. The good news is that the best institutions typically provide generous financial aid packages and make at least some support available to families whose annual family income does not exceed $200,000. Beyond that, you should probably steer clear of flagship state institutions due to the competitiveness element discussed before. You can consider private schools, particularly those with generous merit aid packages.
Everyone can't pursue a career in medicine. Even for the most dedicated and enthusiastic students, the ten to twelve years of commitment required for school, residencies, and fellowships can be challenging. If you're not entirely sure what you want to study by the time you apply to colleges, seek ones that let you quickly alter majors and programs without requiring you to submit a new application to the school itself.
In these circumstances, you might want to consider applying to the most selective university you can; this way, whether or not you are on the pre-med track, you will attend an exceptional school.
Best Pre-med colleges in the U.S.
Now that we have gone through all the necessary and vital information about the USA's pre-med courses let us look at the best colleges to which you can aim to get admission.
2. Washington University in St. Louis
3. Amherst College
4. Northwestern University
5. Rice University
6. University of Pennsylvania
7. Duke University
8. Brown University
9. Harvard University
10. Stanford University