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:
- 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.
- 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 US medical schools, large public universities may not be 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 Caribbean and other countries.
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