Last Updated on December 28, 2022
Looking for the best medical schools in the country? Well, you are definitely in the right place because we have taken the time to find top private colleges for premed so that we can share them with all of you.
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Private Universities For Pre Med
College rankings are helpful when starting your college search, but no ranking list is perfect since there’s no way to come up with an officially objective system that applies to all students.
In an effort to be as transparent as possible, I’ve compiled this list of the best pre-med schools using the factors described above.
Keep in mind that all of these schools are all stellar options, and the ranking numbers themselves aren’t particularly important. What matters more is how these schools might or might not fit your college criteria.
Now, let’s take a look at the best med schools!
Harvard’s Office of Career Services estimates that 17% of any one of its classes will apply to med school—that’s a huge fraction of the student body! Pre-med applicants with a 3.5 GPA or higher had a 93% acceptance rate to med schools in 2013, whereas average acceptance rates that year were about 42%.
Harvard College offers a peer pre-med advising program in which students are assigned a pre-med tutor sophomore through senior year.
Harvard University houses the #1 ranked medical school in the US and also boasts extremely strong biological sciences departments. There are several affiliated teaching hospitals nearby, too (which are great for both research and clinical experience).
2: Johns Hopkins
Johns Hopkins is well reputed as a very highly ranked med school and medical research institution, which means you’ll have numerous research and clinical opportunities. You’re sure to have access to impressive resources, as the university is affiliated with one of the best teaching hospitals in the country.
Undergraduates at Johns Hopkins follow a pre-med advising program track (which isn’t a major). This advising track includes individual appointments, small group meetings, and other special programs designed to help aspiring med school students succeed. The school also has many health-related student organizations, which also provide opportunities for undergraduates to build their med school résumés.
Stanford isn’t just a top-ranked college—it also houses a top-ranked medical school. Special pre-med advisors are available to discuss ideas, plan your coursework, help you visualize your long-term objectives, and give you options for gaining experience in the field. They also offer internship opportunities for undergraduate students, which can help you get clinical hours and stellar letters or recommendation.
The pre-med community at Stanford seems especially organized and cohesive. The Stanford Pre-Medical Association offers lots of information and resources to students, all in one place. Unfortunately, however, there aren’t good statistics about how many Stanford graduates make it into medical school every year. But since Stanford has world-class degree programs, you can bet that number is pretty high.
4: University of Pennsylvania
UPenn’s Perelman School of Medicine is one of the best in the US; access to this med school means tons of research opportunities. But don’t just take my word for it! In 2020, 80% of Penn students who applied to med school were accepted—that’s well above the national average of 44% that year.
The school also offers a pre-health advising program to guide students through fulfilling pre-med requirements and successfully applying to medical school. Also, certain majors (like engineering) have a pre-med focus to help prepare you for the next step of your med school journey.
Columbia is home to a top ten med school. As undergraduates, though, students are assigned a pre-med advisor and attend informational meetings sponsored by the Premedical Committee. Columbia’s convenient NYC location also guarantees easy access to countless clinics and hospitals, giving you plenty of opportunities for clinical and research experience.
Additionally, Columbia provides pre-med students with a sample course curriculum to help them meet the minimum requirements for med school applications. This handy sheet—along with the top-tier advising services offered at the university—can help you get an edge on the competition when it comes to medical school admissions. Unfortunately, though, Columbia doesn’t release statistics on how many of its undergraduates are admitted into medical school each year.
best pre med schools in california
- University of Southern California (Los Angeles, CA)
University of Southern California
Sitao Xiang, USC VKC building, CC BY-SA 4.0
The University of Southern California’s Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences provides prospective medical students with its Office of Pre-Health Advisement. The office serves current students and alumni who decide to apply to medical school after graduation.
At USC, the Office of Pre-Health Advisement fosters collaboration among students and with faculty, creating a community of health-focused learners. Curriculum planning, selection of major and minor, application review, access to volunteer opportunities, and personal support are all furnished by the Office of Pre-Health.
Once students are in the application process, the Office of Pre-Health holds workshops on interview skills, writing a personal statement, and other topics designed to assist students in maximizing their approach to their med school application.
Located right in Los Angeles, USC is a big-city school drawing on a rich pool of resources on and off campus. With core research facilities in Neuroscience and Cell and Molecular Imaging, USC Dornsife offers many options for a pre-health candidate.
The Experiential Learning Program at USC can provide all kinds of social, professional, and academic experiences relevant to pre-health students. Studying abroad represents independent thought, cultural sensitivity, and maturity to medical school application readers, and hand-on learning experiences paint a candidate as capable and self-aware.
The USC Dornsife/Keck Student Shadowing Program gives pre-health students a chance to shadow actual physicians and other health care providers. This opportunity provides crucial mentorship, insight, and experience for future medical students.
- UCSD (San Diego, CA)
UCSD School of Medicine
TritonsRising, UCSD Biomedical Library, CC BY-SA 4.0
The University of California San Diego offers guidance for students planning medical school applications through their Career Center, where the Pre-Health program supports students in separate professional paths. Medicine, dentistry, optometry, nursing, veterinary medicine, physician’s assistant – multiple career options have their own advisory tracks.
UCSD Pre-Health helps students plan the application process, study for entrance tests, even plan financing. Step-by step mentoring keeps students on track for graduation and on to professional programs.
Like many schools, UCSD recommends a gap year between undergraduate coursework and most medical programs.
Events and workshops help students make connections, find work opportunities, and find support from peers during the application process. Students can get help with specific tasks, like creating CVs and cover letters.
Pre-Health encourages students to use self-assessment tools, like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, as a way of determining how best to present their talents and abilities through their written applications and interviews.
UCSD has a highly-ranked undergraduate program and an excellent teaching hospital where students can find opportunities for practical experience. There are strong departments in popular undergraduate majors like Microbiology, Pharmacology, and Psychiatry, along with less common but relevant choices like Infectious Disease.
- UCLA (Los Angeles, CA)
UCLA Medical Center
Biochemistry2016, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, CC BY-SA 4.0
UCLA’s Pre-Health Services supports undergraduates preparing for medical school with academic counseling, checklists, sample schedules, and separate counseling for non-science majors.
An entire year of step-by-step preparation happens before the application, including workshops and interview preparation.
Like many schools, UCLA strongly urges students to gain experience in health fields before applying to any health science program.
Pre-Health breaks down at least eight ways to gain that experience, facilitating clinical volunteer work, research opportunities, training and certifications, and shadowing programs. The quality and quantity of experience options at UCLA show how layered and complete the Pre-Health support really is.
UCLA’s Pre-Health details useful plans for the gap year strategy so many medical schools favor. Through Pre-Health Services, UCLA med school candidates might pursue formal or informal post-baccalaureate programs to bolster their appeal to their top medical school choices.
Often ranked the top public university in the U.S., UCLA has the advantages of a large public university with the classroom experience of a smaller college: more than half of UCLA’s classes have fewer than 20 students.
Over 1,000 student organizations, a world-class research hospital, and a beautiful coastal location make it a strong choice for a pre-health undergraduate experience.
- UC-Berkeley (Berkeley, CA)
Firstcultural, UC Berkeley Wheeler Hall and Library, CC0 1.0
The University of California-Berkeley calls its pre-health advising program a pre-professional path, rather than a major.
Like most schools, Berkeley urges potential medical school candidates to major in a subject they will excel in.
Cal Berkeley stresses maintaining a rigorous course load and a strong GPA while also showing an interest in helping others through volunteer work. Because the school has many pre-health students and a wide array of science programs, there are numerous ways to participate in research, gain clinical experience, and connect with other future health care professionals in over 50 health-related campus organizations.
Former Cal Berkeley Pre-Health students do well when applying to medical school, with over half of first year applicants placing in a program. Statistics are even better, around 65%, for students who take a year off before applying.
The first public university to be named the number one school in the country by Forbes, Berkeley delivers an elite-level education with a lower price and the resources of a large research institution.
- Stanford University (Stanford, CA)
King of Hearts, Stanford University from Hoover Tower, CC BY-SA 3.0
Almost every school advises its students interested in medical school to focus on a rigorous undergraduate course of study in a subject they can approach with enthusiasm. At Stanford University, students can take a course on how to be happy. This skill might be one of the most important to acquire while planning for medical school.
Stanford ranks in the top ten colleges nationwide. Its programs in Biomedical Engineering and Biotechnology are among the best in the country. It’s highly ranked for service learning and internships, also crucial for pre-health students.
For Pre-Health students, Stanford has a Pre-Med Association for each class year. Students meet with Pre-Health advisors individually through the Stanford Academic Advisory Program.
A mock interview specialist is also available to guide students through the medical school interview process.
An essential feature of Stanford’s program is its shadowing opportunity, the Immersion in Medicine Series. Students can shadow physicians at Stanford Hospital, Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, and the Palo Alto VA Hospital.
Stanford’s advice mirrors that of most other pre-health programs on this point: medical schools want to see a particular motivation to help people through medicine.
Test scores, science coursework, research credits can all help, but students with the best chance of success are the ones who find a way to engage with people in a clinical setting, developing interpersonal skills, and demonstrating an interest in others.
Best Non-Ivy League Schools for Pre-Med
7 out of the 10 best schools for pre-med are non-Ivy League. These include:
- Duke University
- University of Pennsylvania*
- Washington University in St. Louis
- Rice University
- Stanford University
- Northwestern University
- Brown University*
- Amherst College
- Case Western Reserve University
(*) denotes Ivy League.
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.
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.
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.
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.