Finding the best pre-med school for your situation and needs is important to becoming the doctor that you want. But “the best” isn’t always the same for every student.
Of course, going to almost any fully accredited undergraduate school (not a community college) will let you apply to medical school. The real question is which schools give you the best chance at getting accepted into medical school.
Most schools do not offer a specific “pre-med” major (and, frankly, you don’t want to be a pre-med major to get into medical school), but most schools have pre-med track that ensures you take all the prerequisites. Given that you can get all the prerequisites at almost any college, how much difference does the exact college you go to matter to your med school application?
Defining the “best” pre-med schools
What does “best” mean, when applied to pre-med schools? What criteria add up to equal a status of “best”? While it is true that you will rarely find a school offering purely medical preparation, you will find schools that have reputations for getting more students into medical school (see best medical schools).
For instance, while MIT is a world-renowned school, it doesn’t send as many students to medical school as Princeton does. The University of Florida, the University of California at Los Angeles and the University of California at Berkeley also send an incredible number of pre-med students on to medical school each year. Therefore, the best pre-med schools can be defined as those who have a reputation for sending the most students on to medical school.
Understanding “the best”
Keep in mind that the best schools for you might not be the best for someone else. The best pre-med schools in the nation offer several things for the prospective student:
- High-quality classes and coursework designed to prepare you for the MCAT and life in medical school.
- A reputation for results, as the schools listed above can attest.
- A strong program in the topics that interest you – whether that is science, philosophy, math, music, engineering or another subject.
The most important thing is to find a pre-med school that fits you, your needs, your personality and your drives. Never base your decision strictly upon a list of the “best” schools. Rather, it is useful to know if schools don’t place students in medical school, or if a large fraction of a school’s premeds get accepted into medical school.
The best pre-med schools will fit a number of needs, other than just coursework and a reputation for sending students to higher schools of medicine. Remember that the most successful medical school applicants are those who follow their passion, not those who necessarily hue to the well-worn path of a “traditional” pre-med.