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Medical School Guide: Categories of Medical Schools

To easily decide what schools you should apply for, you may want to divide the number of schools you plan to apply into quarters and rank them on their relative appeals. The first quarter should include schools where you never expect to get accepted but would attend instantly if you did. Some examples of these schools are:

  • Harvard Medical School
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • University of california -- San Francisco
  • Yale University
  • University of Chicago
  • University of California, Los Angeles
  • Duke University
  • University of California, San Diego

The second quarter should include the very competitive schools like:

  • Baylor College of Medicine
  • Boston University
  • Indiana University
  • Loma Linda University
  • Ohio State University
  • University of California, Davis
  • University of California, Irvine

The third quarter includes strong (competitive) schools such as:

  • Dartmouth Medical School
  • Health Sciences University, Portland
  • Saint Louis University
  • University of Colorado
  • University of Connecticut
  • University of Kansas
  • University of Southern California

And the final quarter includes all the rest.

When applying, you should take equal portions from each quarter. This will help increasing the odds of acceptance and maybe giving some nice surprises. You should also read the statistics on acceptance rate for each school in the AAMC's "Medical School Admission Requirements"

Some other questions you should consider in deciding which schools to apply for are:

  • Do you like the location of the schools?
  • What are the clinical and research facilities like?
  • How is the education delivered?
  • What about housing and health benefits?

When getting a decision of how many schools you should apply for, don't let financial matter interfere you although the expense for application for many school can be trivial. Remember that $1,000-5,000 expense for you applications is not much in comparison to your total expense in medical school ($60,000-100,000 or even more). So, if you are a strong student, you should apply to no fewer than ten schools. And in general, it is good idea to apply for 20 or even 30 schools. The larger number of school you apply, the greater acceptance chance you have.


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