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10 Best Non-Ivy League Schools for Pre-Med

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You may be surprised to learn that many of the best pre-med programs for med school hopefuls are not limited to schools within the Ivy League. In fact, some of the best pre-med programs in the country can be found at liberal arts colleges! Today, we’ll be discussing the best pre-med programs and what makes these programs so fantastic.


How We Made This List


Before we get into the list, it is important to realize that pre-med is a track rather than a major. Pre-med students take a set of prerequisite classes to be eligible to apply for medical school. However, this is not the same as a college major. Students on pre-med tracks are able to major in anything, however majoring in the sciences remains the most common major for pre-meds.


Rankings on this list are determined by several factors, including medical school acceptance rates, GPA, MCAT prep, patient care experience and research experience. BS/MD programs are not included on this list, however, there are several options for students interested in that path.


Best Non-Ivy League Schools for Pre-Med


7 out of the 10 best schools for pre-med are non-Ivy League. These include: 


  1. Harvard*
  2. Duke University
  3. University of Pennsylvania*
  4. Washington University in St. Louis
  5. Rice University
  6. Stanford University
  7. Northwestern University
  8. Brown University*
  9. Amherst College
  10. Case Western Reserve University


(*) denotes Ivy League.


To avoid redundancy, we’ll be continuing the list of the best pre-med schools starting with the 11th best school on this list. 


1. Georgetown University


Location: Washington D.C.

Acceptance Rate: 15%

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1370-1530, 31-34

Undergraduate Enrollment: 7400


Georgetown University offers a wide array of research opportunities through the Georgetown University Research Opportunities Program (GUROP), where students can conduct research alongside faculty members. Many opportunities can also be found at the Georgetown University Medical Center. Students can gain clinical experience through volunteering at the Georgetown University Hospital, joining the Georgetown EMS (GERMS), and working at several partner clinics around D.C.


Learn more about Georgetown University and what it takes to get accepted.


2. Emory University


Location: Atlanta, GA

Acceptance Rate: 19%

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1350-1520, 31-34

Undergraduate Enrollment: 7000


Emory’s pre-health advising supports students through workshops, events and small sessions to prepare students for the medical school application process. The university offers many research opportunities and even allows students to get course credit for research. In order to teach students the fundamentals of research, some research opportunities at Emory require students to also enroll in a course while conducting research. The university also offers a fall and spring research symposium where students can present their work to peers and mentors. 


Learn more about Emory University and what it takes to get accepted.


3. Swarthmore College


Location: Swarthmore, PA

Acceptance Rate: 9%

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1380-1550, 31-34

Undergraduate Enrollment: 1500


Swarthmore College offers robust one-on-one advising with pre-med students. The college partners with the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Jefferson University Hospital, and the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania to offer volunteer experience for students. If students are interested in research, the college offers many opportunities to work alongside faculty and even summer research grants. 


Learn more about Swarthmore College and what it takes to get accepted.


4. Johns Hopkins University


Location: Baltimore, MD

Acceptance Rate: 11%

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1450-1560, 33-35

Undergraduate Enrollment: 6000


Johns Hopkins has an entire “pre-professional” office dedicated to helping students pursue graduate opportunities of all types. Besides many strong undergraduate research programs, Johns Hopkins provides many opportunities for clinical experience through volunteer work across Baltimore. Additionally, the university has many student organizations dedicated to learning about the health profession including a chapter of Alpha Epsilon Delta, Hopkins Organization for Pre-Health Education, and the Women’s Pre-Health Leadership Society (WPHLS). Many of these organizations allow students to network with physicians at Johns Hopkins Hospital.


Learn more about Johns Hopkins University and what it takes to get accepted.


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5. Vanderbilt University


Location: Nashville, TN

Acceptance Rate: 10%

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1450-1560, 33-35

Undergraduate Enrollment: 6800


Vanderbilt offers solid pre-med advising and like many research universities, has a robust research program. The Vanderbilt Undergraduate Clinical Research Summer Internship, for example, is a unique program that allows undergraduates to conduct research with a professor and while also working at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. The university also offers many undergraduate pre-med organizations and clubs that are geared towards certain STEM majors. The proximity of the Vanderbilt University Hospital to the university allows students to form connections with physicians as well.


Learn more about Vanderbilt University and what it takes to get accepted.


6. Tulane University


Location: New Orleans, LA

Acceptance Rate: 17%

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1350-1490, 30-33

Undergraduate Enrollment: 7900


Tulane University leads the country in groundbreaking medical research, and the university encourages students to become as involved as possible. Many students are involved in research in the Cell and Molecular Biology department and are eligible to apply for prestigious summer fellowships to continue research. The university also has 11 pre-med societies with different focuses, ranging from autism awareness to international and public health focus to the university-wide student-run EMS.


Learn more about Tulane University and what it takes to get accepted.


7. Bowdoin College


Location: Brunswick, ME

Acceptance Rate: 10%

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1360-1610, 31-33

Undergraduate Enrollment: 1800


Bowdoin College has an impressive medical school admissions rate. In 2015, 91% of Bowdoin College students who applied were accepted to medical school, and the annual acceptance rate is 87%. Students who conduct research with professors are eligible to apply for a fall research award, or the college also provides smaller awards of $800 monthly for student research.


Learn more about Bowdoin College and what it takes to get accepted.


8. Miami University


Location: Oxford, OH

Acceptance Rate: 75%

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1200-1380, 25-30

Undergraduate Enrollment: 17,300


Miami University has a unique pre-med program because it actually offers pre-medical studies as a “co-major.” This means that students in this major take classes to explore careers in medicine and learn all about the pre-health application process through coursework. Students are also offered special advising to find research opportunities that suit their interests. The university also offers many independent research opportunities and 16 pre-health student organizations.


Learn more about Miami University and what it takes to get accepted.


9. Bates College


Location: Lewiston, ME

Acceptance Rate: 18%

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1290-1460, 33-34

Undergraduate Enrollment: 1800


Bates College encourages pre-health students to conduct research and offers many opportunities for students to do so. Research can occur through a senior thesis, an honors thesis, independent research, or through many of the seminars or specific research courses that Bates offers. The college also has a Health Sciences society for students to learn more about careers in healthcare. 


Learn more about Bates College and what it takes to get accepted.


10. Williams College


Location: Williamstown, MA

Acceptance Rate: 13%

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1410-1550, 32-35

Undergraduate Enrollment: 2000


Williams College has many unique pre-med programs only for Williams students. For example, the college has an alumni sponsored fully-funded internship program where students can work in a field of their choice. Additionally, over 200 students conduct summer research at Williams, and students can apply for internships at the Whitehead Institute, Harvard Stem Cell Institute, and Marine Biology Laboratory which are specifically designed for Williams students. 


Learn more about Williams College and what it takes to get accepted.


If you want to learn more, check out our complete list of all of the best pre-med schools.


What Are Your Chances of Acceptance?


Are you an aspiring pre-med and want to know your chances of admission to these colleges? Check out our chancing engine! This tool will help you understand your chances of admission at colleges with pre-med programs and allow you to filter schools that match your personal criteria such as location, major, or diversity.  Best of all, the calculator is completely free!



Short Bio
Juliette is a senior at Cornell University studying Industrial & Labor Relations. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, running, drinking coffee, and exploring different hiking trails in Ithaca.