For someone interested in applying to a medical school after undergrad, would you recommend large public schools like UCs or small private colleges?

2 Answers

SpanOne Staff Points0

Based on the data provided by the Association of American Medical Colleges, the medical school acceptance rate for applicants from many large public universities is lower than the national average acceptance rate. For example, in 2014, the overall acceptance rate for UC San Diego (UCSD) medical school applicants was 33%, while the national average was 43%.

As a highly ranked research university, with a strong pre-med program, you would expect the acceptance rate for UCSD to be above the national average. We believe there are two things at work:

  1. GPA: Given the competitive nature of the student bodies at large public universities, especially the students in pre-med classes (and to some extent grade deflation at some of these public universities and/or grade inflation at some of the peer private colleges), on average it is challenging to keep the GPA up.
  2. Number of medical school applicants: In 2015, there were 961, 819, 783 and 782 medical school applicants from UCLA, UC Berkeley, UT Austin and the University of Michigan respectively. So the pool of medical school applicants is relatively very large at the public schools. At the top three UCs (UCLA, UC Berkeley, UCSD), 52% of the medical school applicants were Asian.

If you're set on going to a medical school, especially the U.S. medical schools, large public universities may not be the right fit for some students. Putting aside the financial/cost aspect, private colleges and liberal arts colleges with strong pre-med programs may be better suited in certain cases.

In addition to US medical schools (M.D.), there are other options: Osteopathic (D.O.) medical schools in the US, medical schools in the Caribbean, and other countries.

If you are applying to college as a pre-med student, contact us to connect with a college counselor who is an expert at navigating the college application process for pre-med students.  


Erik Bertelsen Points0
In the end, regardless of the "name" of the college, how well one performs and how well one does on the medical school standardized entrance exams will be the most important factors considered by the med school admission committee. As a result, it seems to make sense to choose a school where you are likely to be successful, and of course there are many factors that can impact that. In addition to objective factors like grades and test scores, the degree to which those writing in support of one's application, actually knows the student and can write convincingly on their behalf will also be important considerations. In light of this, a smaller school or a school where a student is likely to stand out may tip the scale for them.

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