Here is a list of the hardest medical schools to get into and the things that can help increase your chances of getting accepted by one.
Technically, the hardest medical schools to get into are also the best medical schools in the world. You can know this when you do a bit of research. It is exceptionally hard to get into their medical programs ad this is because of how prestigious their academic offerings are. They want only the best of the best, therefore, tend to raise the bar higher.
And what I mean by “raising the bar higher” is that their academic admission requirements are tough, the acceptance rate is really low – about 4% or less – and they can be very expensive.
Normally we all know that medical schools are hard to get into, no matter which university it is. Medical programs are just the hardest programs in the world to get into. And this is because of what you’ll be dealing with – life – therefore only academically sound students are selected.
However, the acceptance rates of some medical schools are higher than others, going as high as 30-40% and they are excellent schools too. We have published an article on medical schools with a high acceptance rate, check it further below in the recommendation section or just use the table of contents below for easy navigation.
Why Some Medical Schools Are Hard to Get Into
The reason why some medical schools are hard to get into is because of the large number of applicants. There’s been a high interest in the medical field among high school graduates and the demand for medical education is “near an all-time high” as described by Dr. Robert Hasty, the founding dean, and chief academic officer of the Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine.
This high interest in education in the healthcare field has led to an increase in the number of med school applications. Therefore, med schools had to reduce their acceptance rates and make the academic requirements to gain entry very tough.
Another reason why it is hard to get into med school is that there is a shortage of medical schools. New medical schools aren’t opening up fast enough to meet the demand of applicants for health care education. The old ones that are still operating have to meet up this high demand.
Also, the new medical schools that are opening aren’t located in places with doctor shortages, such as in rural areas and developing countries.
Medical schools are tough to gain entry and they deliberately make it so. It is designed this way to ensure that selected applicants have the capability of passing tough medical courses and endure demanding clinical training. Thus, high standards are kept in place so that only the best and brightest students are selected.
How to Increase your Chances of Getting into Medical School with Low Acceptance Rate
Medical schools with low acceptance rates still admit hundreds of students annually and this may get you wondering “how exactly were these particular students able to cut” or “what did they do to make them get accepted. Many other questions could be running through your mind.
What these students did is that, aside from being academically outstanding, they did things that increased their chances of getting accepted.
Here is a list of things you need to do to increase your chances of getting accepted into the best medical schools or the ones with low acceptance rates.
- It is no common knowledge that you need to be exceptionally bright, academically, to apply for med school. Proof of this should show in your high MCAT score, high school GPA, and pre-med school performance.
- A very important thing is to get medical experience before you apply. Job shadow with medical practitioners and put it on your resume. This is even more valued than a high MCAT score. Med schools value students with practical skills.
- Demonstrate your practical science knowledge by doing research projects while in pre-med and put it on your application. Med schools research-oriented value students.
- Do some community service, engage in an after-school curricula activity or volunteer in an organization.
- Select a major you will excel in, that is while doing premed. You may want to major in Biology, Chemistry, or an unexpected field like Engineering, Music, English, and Classics.
- Send out applications to multiple med schools to increase your chances of getting accepted.
- Prepare well for interviews and write intriguing essays or personal statements.
- Apply early so that your application can be carefully reviewed.
Follow all of these to increase your chances of getting accepted into any of the hardest medical schools to get into listed below…
Hardest Medical Schools to Get Into
1. Kaiser Permanente Bernard J. Tyson School of Medicine
The Bernard J. Tyson School of Medicine is the medical school associated with the Kaiser Permanente health system and is located in Pasadena, California. It is ranked No.1 by US News & World Report as the hardest medical school to get into. Its acceptance rate is just 1%
The med school started in 2020 and for its first year admitted only 50 students but had the highest number of applicants in the US for that year. There are only three departments here – Biomedical science, clinical science, and health system science.
The institution owns medical facilities in Los Angeles to train students in clinical matters and equip them with practical skills. A student’s academic achievements, experiences, milestones, and personal attributes are greatly considered in selecting applicants.
2. New York University – Long Island School of Medicine
This is one of the hardest medical schools to get into and one of the medical schools with the lowest acceptance rate at 1.2%. This is a med school with more than 30 departments and divisions spread across a wide array of medical programs. Through these departments and divisions, graduate medical education, residencies, and fellowships are offered.
For the class of 2024, only 24 students were accepted out of more than 4,000 applicants from the United States. The mean MCAT score is 517, meeting this score and having high involvement in community service, research, and clinical experience can get you accepted.
3. Florida State University College of Medicine
The Florida State University College of Medicine is the medical school of the Florida State University located in Tallahassee, Florida. Degree programs offered are M.D., Physician Assistant, Ph.D., M.S., B.S., residency, fellowship, and special programs. It was established in 2000 and is one of the hardest medical schools to get into with an acceptance rate of 2.1.
The school has six departments which are:
- Behavioral sciences & social medicine
- Biomedical sciences
- Clinical sciences
- Family medicine & rural health
There are also other divisions, centers, and institutes such as the Interdisciplinary Medical Sciences, Graduate Medical Education, Autism Institute, Center on Patient Safety, Center for Brain Repair, etc. Through these departments, centers, divisions, and institutes, FSU College of Medicine delivers medical education training in many healthcare fields.
FSU College of Medicine uses the following to evaluate applicants:
- Course load and undergraduate rigor
- Post-baccalaureate course work
- Service and volunteer record
- Shadowing and knowledge of the medical field
- Research activities
- Likelihood of practicing within the State of Florida
- A minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.3
- A minimum MCAT score of 498
- And degree of “fit” concerning the mission statement of the school.
Meeting all of these before applying will increase your chances of getting accepted.
4. New York University Grossman School of Medicine
NYU Grossman School of Medicine is one of the medical schools in New York University. This one is not the same as the one above but is both affiliated to the same school. Grossman was founded in 1841 in New York City, United States and it is also one of the hardest medical schools to get into.
Aside from being among the hardest, it is one of the best medical schools in the US and the world as a whole. It was recently named by US News & World Report as the second-best graduate medical school of 2022. The med school offers innovative medical programs allowing students to combine health programs with other departments such as the MD/MBA program.
An applicant’s academic and leadership achievements alongside their life experience and service to others are considered before accepting students.
5. The University of Arizona College of Medicine
The University of Arizona College of Medicine is the medical school of the University of Arizona located in Tucson and was established in 1967. This med school is one of the hardest medical schools to get into having an acceptance rate of just 2.3% but you can still get in if you do the right things and at the right time too such as applying early and achieving high academic scores.
The med school houses just two departments, Basic Science and Clinical Departments, through which undergraduate and graduate medical teaching and training programs are offered. There are 23 specialist programs offered through these departments. Some of them include physiology, pharmacology, surgery, urology, anesthesiology, and medicine.
Applicants are welcome to apply to the traditional MD program, MD/Ph.D. the dual degree program, pre-med, honors, and accelerated pathway program. The school looks for applicants with professional and personal strengths, solid foundations in the sciences, appreciation of the humanities, respect for ethics in personal and professional life, critical thinking and complex problem-solving skills, as well as, a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 and an MCAT of 498.
6. Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine
This is one the hardest medical schools to get into and just like the one above has an acceptance rate of 2.3% and is highly competitive among applicants. This medical school is a unique public-private partnership between a research university and a health care institution.
There are four “value domains” – Basic Science, Clinical Science, Research, and Health System Science and Interprofessional Practice – in the school that is interwoven throughout the four-year curriculum which drives the educational goals and objectives and trains, educate, and develop students in basic and clinical sciences.
It is hard to get into this medical school but since some applicants were able to get in, then you can too, and here is a list of things you need to do.
- Sample a broad range of academic disciplines
- Explore one or more areas of in-depth research
- Engage in activities that demonstrate your spirit of discovery and inquiry
- Exhibit the potential to be a leader in the medical field
- Demonstrate advanced problem-solving skills in areas such as community service, humanities, education, biomedical research, or the arts.
7. Stanford University School of Medicine
Stanford Medicine, as it is commonly referred to, is an allopathic private medical school established in 1908 in Stanford, California, United States. It is one of the best medical research schools in the world and also one of the hardest medical schools to get into. It is known for offering prestigious academic offerings to make its students the world’s best.
Stanford Medicine offers a wide range of medical specialist programs leading to MD, Ph.D., Master, and other Dual degrees. Aside from its medical program, Stanford has been known to be very competitive and has one of the overall acceptance rates. The acceptance rate for its medical program is also 2.3%.
Students with exceptional academic performance, leadership abilities, passion for their interests, and capability of bringing enthusiasm and creativity to their work are recruited by Stanford University School of Medicine.
8. Dr. Kiran C. Patel College of Allopathic Medicine
This is the medical school of Nova Southeastern University (NSU) Florida and it is also one of the hardest medical schools to get into. Thousands of students apply to this school annually but only 50 are always selected, the best and brightest applicants who aced the tough admission requirements.
Aside from an excellent academic record, community service, medical experience, and involvement in extracurricular activities, what sets the selected students aside from others is their leadership abilities and that they are independent self-starters passionate about medicine. Before applying to this medical school, ensure you aren’t lacking in any of these.
9. Georgetown University School of Medicine
GU School of Medicine is a private medical established in 1851 in Washington, D.C., USA. With an acceptance rate of 2.7%, it is one of the hardest medical schools to get into. It has such high and rigorous selection standards that barely a hundred applicants are accepted out of the thousands that send their applications here.
To get accepted here, you need to do things that will increase your chances. The school selects students based on academic achievements, character, maturity, and motivation. Your entire academic record, MCAT performance, interview, and letters of recommendation will further be evaluated.
Prepare well for the tests and interviews and keep your academic records high, also, get recommendation letters from a professional physician that you have worked with. All these will increase your chances of getting accepted.
10. David Geffen School of Medicine
This is the medical school of the University of California, Los Angeles, popularly known as UCLA. It is a prestigious school in the United States offering a wide range of academic programs in teaching and research leading to different career paths.
Its medical school, the David Geffen School of Medicine, is the last but not the least of our hardest medical schools to get into. Normally, UCLA is a competitive school to get into but the medical school screening is even more rigorous, tougher, and competitive. It is among the top 10 medical schools in the US, therefore, receives thousands of applications annually.
Its acceptance rate is 2.8% which is low but you can still get in if you meet the following basis for selection:
- Undergraduate record
- MCAT scores
- Letters of recommendation
- Graduate record (where applicable)
- Life experiences include research, volunteerism, clinical, work, leadership, publications.
- Admission interviews
This brings an end to the list and details of the hardest medical schools to get into. These schools may be hard to get into but they are among the best in the United States and the world. Their academic offerings are internationally recognized and students from all over the world compete to get a spot and enjoin in their world-class education.
To put you ahead of the competitors, this article listed and explained the things you need to do to increase your chances of being considered and getting accepted into their medical programs. Meet up with those evaluations and you will get accepted.
Are Canadian medical schools easy to get into?
According to acceptance rates, Canadian medical schools can be easy to get into compared to the ones in the US. The acceptance rates of some Canadian med school is between 3-10% and that is a bit higher.
What country is hardest to get into medical school?
The hardest country to gain admission into a medical school is the United States followed by Canada. Their academic requirements and basis of selection are tough and rigorous, accepting 20-100 students annually out of thousands of applicants.
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