Best pre med schools in illinois

Last Updated on May 25, 2022

Pre med schools in illinois are medical schools that prepare students who want to build a career in the medical field. Some refer to it as a preparatory school for students going on to pursue an MD or Doctor of Medicine degree in a particular medical field. So, whether you want to be a family doctor, obstetrician, surgeon, psychiatrist, neurologist, etc. you must go through pre-med school.

What premed school does is that it builds student’s foundational knowledge of the medical field and prepares them for the medical part they want to follow. A premed school may also be referred to as undergraduate study and although you may be given a bachelor’s degree you cannot practice with it until you go to med school and obtain an MD.

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Picking a College as a Pre-Med: Factors to Consider


Your GPA is very important when it comes to med school. A strong GPA supersedes class rank or position so you should be looking for colleges where you can perform well. 

Most medical schools follow a mathematical formula to assess students. This formula takes in the numerical value of GPA. For example, having a 3.9 GPA and ranking #35 in your class is better than a 3.5 GPA and being #15 in your class for the sake of getting admitted into medical school.

This does not mean that you shouldn’t aim to be amongst the brilliant students on campus. GPA is important, but class rank shouldn’t be left out. Most college classes are graded in such a way that being at the top of your class gives you a high GPA. For example, it’s better to have a 3.95 GPA at Bates College than a 3.35 GPA at Princeton. Moreover, narrow down to schools that have moderate to strong grade inflation and avoid schools that have grade deflation.

Science GPA plays a vital role in med school admissions, and at the same time, the rigor of your major is very crucial. A high GPA in an “easy” major won’t be enough; a rigorous course load will still be needed to validate a high GPA. 

Additionally, you should generally avoid your state’s flagship university because they have many academically competitive students who didn’t have the financial means or extracurricular activities to attend top-tier universities. So getting As in your pre-med classes will be a lot harder.

MCAT Score

A good MCAT score is also important for medical school admission. Look for a college with a good curriculum that will teach and prepare you well for the MCAT exam. MCAT science materials are covered by most colleges through their pre-med classes. However, also ensure that the college you choose has good sociology, psychology, and general education English classes that cover in-depth reading techniques. The college that reinforces these other MCAT components helps a student perform much better in MCAT.


Med school requires financial commitment for a student and his/her family. Most families will prefer to save money on undergraduate studies so they can afford to pay $200,000 throughout the four years of med school. Luckily, top-tier colleges usually offer at least some assistance to families with under $200,000 per year in household income and grant great financial aid. There is a lot of competition in flagship state schools so it’s not recommended you apply to those. Explore private schools that offer a strong merit aid package.


Pre-med school and medical school combined require 10-12 years of commitment to school, residencies, and fellowships. This can be very hard for even the most passionate and brilliant students. If by the time you apply you’re still unsure, apply to schools that will easily allow you to switch majors and programs without you applying internally. So you might want to apply to the most competitive school possible and get admitted to a good school regardless of if you’re on the pre-med track.

Premed college admission strategies

Strategy 1: Demonstrate an interest in and aptitude for math and science, in and out of the classroom

As a premed student, your child’s main focus will be on math and science courses. Though it’s not required, many premed students choose a science major.

Even if your child doesn’t major in the sciences, they’ll likely be doing research or volunteer work to prepare for a medical career. To get ready for science-heavy learning in college, it’s a good idea to demonstrate ability in the sciences in high school: your child should take science AP classes offered by their school and participate in extracurricular activities like science Olympiad, robotics teams, competing in the Intel science fair, or pursuing other clubs, teams or competitions at school.

Strategy 2: Seek out volunteer and research opportunities

Conducting research, shadowing a physician, or volunteering at a hospital look impressive on an application. These activities demonstrate to admissions committees a serious interest in the medical profession.

Volunteering, research, or shadowing can also help your child get a sense of what interests them and what they might want to pursue in college. This can help focus your child’s essays, and also help them get specific about which research opportunities at which institutions might appeal to them. Many colleges and universities offer summer programs for high school students, such as the Medical Youth Science Program at Stanford, or the prestigiousResearch Science Program at MIT.

Strategy 3: Demonstrate fit by mentioning specific opportunities

Your child should explain why they think they’d be a good fit for this particular school in their ‘Why us?’ college essay. They should think about this broadly.

Your child can and should mention specific premed opportunities that the college or university offers. Maybe Stanford appeals because they’ve grown up in the shadow of the Bay Area’s innovation centers and hope to be a part of life on the inside. Or maybe Pepperdine’s Summer Research Program in Biology really interests them.

Your child should also think about the other ways in which they’d contribute to the college or university community as a whole, beyond premed requirements. What are some of your child’s other interests, talents, or extracurricular activities? How will they take advantage not just of the school’s premed opportunities, but also the rest of their liberal arts offerings?

For instance, if your child is interested in attending the University of Southern California, maybe they’re excited about the possibility of double-majoring in cinematic arts and biology and spending a summer working in a medical television show’s writer’s room. Or perhaps they’d like to pursue global public health alongside their research into basic sciences, and are interested in augmenting their studies through Berkeley’s Integrative Science study abroad program.  

Strategy 4: Develop and demonstrate work ethic and study skills

It might seem like a no-brainer, but the premed track involves long hours studying and a lot of multitasking.

In their application, it’s a good idea for your child to highlight their dedication to the things they do inside and outside of the classroom. They should show commitment to projects and activities, even if those projects and activities aren’t necessarily science related.

Say your child stays late every night at school rehearsing for plays, or spends hours researching debate briefs, or passes weekends laying out the school paper. Maybe they went above and beyond the requirements for a history class presentation the same week they organized their campaign for class president. These things are worth mentioning: all require discipline and follow-through and display the drive necessary to meet the demands of being premed.

  • Biological Sciences and Human Biology: More than half of med-school applicants study biological sciences during their undergraduate years. Majoring in biology means that your major requirements and pre-med requirements will overlap significantly. That being said, studying science exclusively can be intense and exhausting. If you major in biology on the pre-med track, you may want to carefully select a unique minor or interesting elective courses to avoid burnout. 
  • Physics, Chemistry, and Other Physical Sciences: Just like the natural sciences, the physical science major courses typically overlap with the pre-med requirements. Though the coursework will differ slightly, the risks and benefits of physics and chemistry are about the same as those of biology.
  • Psychology, Economics, and Social Sciences: Social science applicants make up about 10% of medical school admissions. The requirements for these majors have some overlap with the pre-med requirements, but students will need to spend most of their elective units completing pre-med courses. 
  • Philosophy and the Humanities: Humanities majors are less popular for pre-med students because they leave all pre-med requirements to be completed with electives. This will take planning on your part and will require clear communication with your advisors. That being said, humanities graduates who pursue medicine may be more personable and well-rounded than students who exclusively focus on the sciences. Philosophy is a popular major for pre-med students in the humanities.
  • Math, Statistics, and Related Majors: While math majors are not actually a popular major for pre-med students, they have the highest MCAT scores and GPAs of all applicants and thus, typically have favorable positioning in medical school admissions.

Best pre med schools in illinois

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10. Wheaton College (Wheaton, IL)

With a 71% acceptance rate for medical and dental schools, Wheaton provides pre-health tracks to help students fulfill their prerequisites for their majors. Students will have the opportunity to specify their intended career paths, which will assist them in personalizing their academic experience. 

With an emphasis on personalization, students will have access to support and career planning services. One-on-one advising is offered to help students throughout their coursework and internship opportunities. 

Students applying to this program can also expect to find resources for the medical school application process, such as mock interviews with medical professionals in the area. 

A unique feature of the school is the Health Professions program, which allows students to learn about current issues within the healthcare field. Students can discuss and shape their medical career paths based on this insightful forum. 

9. Augustana College (Rock Island, IL)

Augustana College has a medical school placement rate above 50% for its students, preparing them to enter a diverse and in-demand industry. With a foundation in sciences, Augustana equips students with a well-rounded experience before entering the medical field. 

Utilizing the local partnerships in the area, students can gain real-world experience at nearby hospitals, clinics, and care facilities. With access to fully equipped resources, undergraduate students can experience a glimpse of medical school with laboratories dedicated to anatomy, genetics, cell biology, and physiology. 

Through research assistantships, students can build their experience and portfolios with notable institutions. A summer internship at the prestigious Texas Medical Center in Houston is offered exclusively to pre-med students. 

The program also encourages students to pursue their studies in non-medical-related fields. Subject areas that expose students to cultural awareness and communication skills can make for a more promising and well-rounded medical school candidate. 

8. Illinois Wesleyan University (Bloomington, IL)

Leading in the highest acceptance rate with 80% for pre-med graduates, Illinois Wesleyan has a wide selection of pre-med tracks. Pre-med is not offered as a major but instead a track of listed courses that prepare students for their intended medical career path. 

With over nine listed specializations, students can prepare themselves for the future medical tracks they plan to pursue. The school emphasizes that students choose a major of their interest, whether that relates to the healthcare field or not, as they have a better chance of excelling in those courses. 

A foundational part of the program, students will have the opportunity to shadow healthcare professionals to assess the area of focus they’re interested in. If aligned, students may be able to secure internships at the institutes they shadowed. 

7. Dominican University (River Forest, IL)

Known as a leading pre-med institution, Dominican University is well equipped with the resources and technology to help students achieve a career in medicine. Students will get exposure to cutting-edge technology and receive precise one-on-one advising to build their path towards their dream medical school.

Personal advisors assist students in building a personalized academic plan. Whether it’s through courses or internships, students can expect to build a professional resume of medical experiences. 

For students pursuing a path towards dentistry, the school has cultivated a program specific to following this track. Advisors are available to not only help students prepare to take the MCAT, but for the DAT as well, which stands for the Dental Admission Test.

With state-of-the-art labs and equipment, students will acquire the most recent experience as pre-med students. 

6. DePaul University (Chicago, IL)

While many schools have traditional four-year pre-med programs, DePaul University offers students options as to how they can complete their prerequisites. Students can build a pre-health track that meets their academic needs.

For students with exceptional academic marks, the Pathways Honors program was established to provide exclusive resources. Students within this program will gain access to the Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science and the internship opportunities offered at the institution. 

With the Accelerated Degree option, pre-health students have the chance to complete their studies within three years. By partnering up with other accredited medical institutions in the state, students receive streamlined paths towards their desired healthcare professions. 

Regardless of the degree program pre-health students choose, the school is committed to assisting students to build their knowledge and experiences towards a career in the healthcare field. 

5. University of Illinois at Chicago (Chicago, IL)

For students interested in attending the University of Illinois at Chicago for pre-med, they must declare an educational goal as an internal selection for their academic plan. These goals accompany the majors selected by students and are designed to support their pre-professional careers.

These educational goals allow for advisors in the pre-med track to assist students in curating an academic plan that aligns with their objectives. Students will be alerted when opportunities and resources within their educational goals are made available through periodic academic newsletters. 

4. Loyola University Chicago (Chicago, IL)

The pre-health program at Loyola University is dedicated to assisting students on their paths to medical professions. Even though the school doesn’t offer a specified pre-med major, it does carry a unique set of programs to prepare students to apply to medical school. 

The Early Assurance Program (EAP) was designed to prepare undergraduate students attending Loyola to secure a spot at Loyola’s Stritch School of Medicine. Students who apply to EAP can receive early admission and get a head start in exploring the opportunities made available to pre-med students. 

For more traditional paths, the Pre-Health Professions Advisory Committee assists Loyola students and alumni in their pursuit of applying to medical school. The committee provides essential resources to help first-time applicants along their journey. 

Recently matriculated undergraduates who are interested in applying to medical school can apply to the Post-Baccalaureate Program. This program is designed for students to complete the science prerequisite courses needed to apply to medical school. 

3. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (Champaign, IL)

Ranked 4th in the top 20 best pre-med programs in the country, students at the University of Illinois have the option to major in molecular cell biology as a pre-health major. As an MCB major, students looking to pursue pre-med, and other pre-health-related tracks, will be equipped with the necessary prerequisites before applying to the medical school of their choice. 

MCB students will have access to the Pre-Health and Professional Mentorship Program, where students are paired up with alumni from the MCB program. Students will be able to receive insights and guidance from healthcare professionals from the program throughout their academic journey. 

As a part of extracurricular opportunities, students can apply to internships, job shadowing, and volunteer positions through the program’s extensive network. With a 4-year pre-med guide laid out, students have a clear path to follow on their journey to medical school. 

2. Northwestern University (Evanston, IL)

With Northwestern being a leading institution in the medical field, students have many pre-health track options to choose from. Each track is paved with incredible resources, advisors, and coursework. 

Having a framework to assist any student along their pre-med journey, Northwestern has organized itself as the ultimate resource for those curious about joining the medical field. Students can explore traditional and alternative paths to medical school that fit their interests.

Similar to many schools on this list, Northwestern is dedicated to providing students with hands-on experiences in the healthcare field. These experiences fall under five categories: research, shadowing and clinical, non-clinical, summer programs and post-graduation programs. 

Another experience offered by the school are student groups. Pre-med students with similar interests are highly encouraged to connect and share opportunities and insights regarding the application process. 

1. University of Chicago (Chicago, IL)

With an emphasis on the timeline, the University of Chicago urges students to consider their four years as a roadmap to prepare them for the medical school application process.

A year-by-year guide shows students which courses to build into their schedules as the prerequisites needed for their respective fields of interest. 

Unique to the school, students have the chance to apply to the Accelerated Medical Scholars Program.

In partnership with the Pritzker School of Medicine, students accepted to this program in their third year would have the opportunity to begin medical school the following year.

Top 10 Pre Med Schools

1. Harvard College

Location: Cambridge, MA

U.S. News Ranking: 2

Acceptance rate: 4.5%

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1460-1580 SAT, 33-35 ACT

Undergraduate Enrollment: 6,788

Harvard college is located in Cambridge, MA, and has some of the smartest students in the world, numerous Boston medical facilities, and groups.  Harvard offers a lot of invaluable teachings to its pre-med students. The college’s grade inflation is rampant, and the median grade is an A-. It’s first on our list of best pre-med colleges.


2. Johns Hopkins University

Acceptance rate:  4.9%

U.S. News Ranking: 9

Undergraduate enrollment: 6256

Johns Hopkins is one of the most reputable medical schools and an institution for medical research. Its solid reputation has been maintained throughout the years.

The university’s med school is affiliated with a teaching hospital considered one of the best in the US.  A student at Johns Hopkins has the opportunity to use a variety of clinical and research facilities. Additionally, it is where the International Medical Aid was founded and is currently a stellar NGO that provides pre-med internships to anyone lucky to join.

Johns Hopkins University has an advising program track for their undergraduate pre-med students that include group meetings, personal appointments, and a variety of other programs designed to help anyone who aspires to be a student of med-school to succeed. Undergraduate pre-med school students can also build their resumes through well-organized, student organizations.

There is a total undergraduate enrollment of 6256 students at Johns Hopkins University.


3. Duke University

Acceptance rate: 7.8%

U.S. News Ranking: 10

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1500-1560 SAT, 33-35 ACT

Undergraduate Enrollment: 6,682

Duke is a very academically competitive college located in Durham, NC. It boasts a high 85% med school acceptance rate and students have access to a wide variety of resources, such as personalized advising to research and internship opportunities. This is provided by Durham and Duke’s prestigious School of Medicine.

4. Columbia University

Columbia university acceptance rate 2021: 5.8%

Undergraduate enrollment: 6,245

Columbia University offers a sample pre-med course curriculum that is meant to assist you in meeting the minimum applications set for medical school applications. The university also has top-notch services, designed specifically to advise pre-med students, and assist them in getting and maintaining a competitive edge. This edge will be required when you finally decide to submit your medical school application and get admitted

Columbia’s Medical School is ranked 31st when it comes to primary care and 6th best medical school based on research. A pre-med advisor is assigned to an undergraduate of this university which gives an opportunity to gain immensely from informative meetings that have the Premedical Committee as a sponsor. You’ll have relatively easy access to various hospitals and clinics that offer countless opportunities for you to benefit from research and clinical experience because Columbia University is also conveniently located in NYC.

Columbia University’s total undergraduate enrollment is 6,245.

Unfortunately, just like Stanford, Columbia University doesn’t avail stats on the number of their graduates that eventually have successful admission into med school yearly.

5. University of Pennsylvania (UPenn)

Acceptance rate: 7.7%

U.S. News Ranking: 6

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1460-1550 SAT, 33-35 ACT

Undergraduate Enrollment: 10,183

UPenn is one of the best pre-med schools in the USA, and it boasts up to a 76% med school acceptance rate. The university’s core pre-med courses and suggested courses emphasize all aspects of the test to prepare students well for the MCAT. Facilities like the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia are nearby so UPenn is an excellent location for pre-med students.


6. Washington University in Saint Louis (WashU)

Acceptance rate: 14%

U.S. News Ranking: 19

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1480-1550 SAT, 33-35 ACT

Undergraduate Enrollment: 7,751

Washington University in St. Louis, MO offers pre-med students access to MCAT prep classes, mock interviews, writing workshops for med school applications, two local hospitals, and a four-year advising program. WashU provides constant hands-on assistance and meaningful research to ensure that their pre-med students are on the right path.

7. Rice University

Acceptance rate: 8.7%

U.S. News Ranking: 17

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1470-1560 SAT, 33-35 ACT

Undergraduate Enrollment: 3,978

Rice University is located in Houston, TX, and provides a database of internship opportunities, relevant research, and pre-med advising orientations. Moreover, Rice’s Joint Admission Medical Program helps Texas students from low-income families to pay for med school. Houston has large hospitals that provide research and volunteering opportunities.


8. Stanford University

Acceptance rate: 4.4%

U.S. News Ranking: 6

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1420-1570 SAT, 32-35 ACT

Undergraduate Enrollment: 7,087

Stanford University is located in Stanford, CA, and offers various extracurricular and research options to their undergraduate students. Sophomores, juniors, and seniors have the opportunity to shadow doctors at Stanford Hospital, Palo Alto VA Hospital, and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital through their Stanford Immersion in Medicine Series (SIMS) Program. It’s one of the best pre-med colleges in USA.


9. Northwestern University

Acceptance rate: 9.1%

U.S. News Ranking: 9

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1450-1540 SAT, 33-35 ACT

Undergraduate Enrollment: 8,231

Northwestern is located in Evanston, IL and it offers pre-med students access to a wealth of resources through the school’s Health Professions Advising. This includes local shadowing opportunities and MCAT advice/training to GPA calculators. Northwestern completely prepares its pre-med students for med school.

10. Brown University

Acceptance rate: 7.1%

U.S. News Ranking: 14

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1420-1550 SAT, 32-35 ACT

Undergraduate Enrollment: 7,043

Brown University is located in Providence, RI. It offers pre-med students lots of resources such as clinical experience and volunteer opportunities, to get experience in the medical field. Students also get the opportunity to get hands-on experience working with Brown EMS as an EMT.

Brown is a great option for students who want to complete medical school science course prerequisites while pursuing a non-STEM major. There’s an open curriculum; no general education requirements are required, and students can take any course they want, as long as they finish their major requirements.

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