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Are you considering pursuing a medical degree? It’s not too early to start planning. The decisions you make now in high school can impact your career later.


If you do know that you want to be a medical doctor while you’re still in high school, you should look for colleges that can prepare and equip you to meet the rigor and demands of medical school. Along with the curriculum, consider:


  • Rigor of school and education
  • Size of the school and accessibility of services
  • Type of the school (liberal arts college or research university)
  • Success rate of med school applicants


You should also take a look at the class makeup of top medical schools to see where the student completed their undergraduate educations. That can help you gauge the success rate of the undergraduate colleges for medical school applicants.


Keep in mind that many institutions want to build diverse med school classes, so while they often prepare students well for medical school in the undergraduate arena, you can’t depend on attending the same school for your next degree. In other words, don’t assume you’ll have a leg up at Johns Hopkins because you went there for undergrad.


Most schools—even the best pre-med schools—don’t have a specific pre-med major; instead, they have a program or pre-med track. In those cases, look at majors such as chemistry or biology, since school with strong pre-med tracks will probably have strong science and math departments. If you do choose a pre-med track, the school will most likely denote a pre-med advisor to ensure that you meet your requirements and stay on track.


Here are some of the best pre-med schools  in the United States. (Note: This list doesn’t include seven- or eight-year BS/MD programs, such as Brown’s PLME.) This is list is by no means comprehensive, and schools appear in alphabetical order; they are not ranked. Med school acceptance rates (the percentage of med school applicants from that school who were accepted by at least one medical school) appear where the information is available.



Duke University

Duke boasts a high 85% acceptance rate into med school. As with most colleges, Duke doesn’t have a pre-med major; instead, undergraduates are assigned advisors, who mentor students through the med school application process.



Harvard College

With a 95% med school acceptance rate as of 2012, it’s no surprise that students clamor to be pre-med at Harvard. Harvard also offers plenty of opportunities for students, including the Harvard Premedical Society. Students can also gain clinical experience at nearby affiliated hospital.

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Cornell University

Cornell offers many opportunities for pre-meds through the Health Careers Program. Students may receive specialized advising, guides, and other resource. Of students with a GPA of 3.4 or higher, 71% percent are accepted to med school.



Johns Hopkins University

Pre-med students, who comprise a large portion of undergraduates at JHU, have many research and clinical opportunities within arm’s reach, including numerous Johns Hopkins Hospital location. The school has an advising track for pre-med students, and boasts a med school acceptance rate of 80% with five years of applicants’ graduation.



Northwestern University

Northwestern’s pre-med advising programs make it a strong college for future doctors. The college offers many programs and opportunities for pre-meds, include the Peer Health Exchange, which trains students to teach high school health courses to students who lack access to health education at their schools.



University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

One highlight of UNC-Chapel Hill’s pre-med offerings is the Medical Education Development Program (MED), a summer program that prepares students for the challenges of medical school.



University of Pennsylvania

UPenn has a 76% acceptance rate for students who apply to medical school. It also has a strong pre-health advising program and offers a special Summer Pre-Med Enrichment Program for Underrepresented Minority Students.



University of Washington

There are many extracurricular options for pre-meds at UW. One of the best public schools for pre-meds, it’s an affordable option for in-state students who want to receive a great pre-med education fro one of the best pre-med schools.



Tips for Pre-Med Students

Tip #1: There are plenty of other top schools with strong pre-med tracks aside from our best pre-med schools  list, so don’t dismiss a school just because it’s not on this list!


Tip #2: While you’re in college—and even before—take advantage of opportunities available: Join related extracurriculars, volunteer at a local hospital, and look into resources for pre-meds at your school.


Tip #3: You’ll need to maintain a strong GPA for med school admissions, so develop good studying habits now.


Check out CollegeVine’s other posts:


Deciding Between a Liberal Arts and Professional Major

A Complete Introduction to BS/MD Programs


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Laura Berlinsky-Schine

Laura Berlinsky-Schine

Senior Blogger at CollegeVine
Laura Berlinsky-Schine is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University, where she majored in Creative Writing and minored in History. She lives in Brooklyn, New York and works as a freelance writer specializing in education. She dreams of having a dog.
Laura Berlinsky-Schine