Best Pre Med Schools

Updated on January 2, 2024

Pre-med refers to the coursework that undergraduate students complete in preparation for applying to medical school. Selecting the right pre-med program and undergraduate institution is an important first step on the journey to becoming a doctor.

Here are 10 of the top pre-med schools based on academics, research opportunities, acceptance rates to medical school, and more.

Harvard University

  • Location: Cambridge, MA
  • Rating: 10/10
  • Acceptance Rate: 5%
  • SAT Range: 1400-1600
  • Tuition: $53,949 per year

Harvard is world renowned for its competitive admissions and exceptional academics. Its top-tier pre-med program feeds graduates to elite medical schools around the country. Students have access to cutting edge research opportunities and gain clinical experience at Harvard’s affiliate hospitals.

Johns Hopkins University

  • Location: Baltimore, MD
  • Rating: 10/10
  • Acceptance Rate: 9%
  • SAT Range: 1450-1560
  • Tuition: $57,920 per year

Johns Hopkins is known for its outstanding pre-med program built on a foundation of research and active learning. Over 90% of students participate in research, often resulting in published papers and presentations. Strong letters of recommendation from JHU faculty go a long way during the med school application process.

Washington University in St. Louis

  • Location: St. Louis, MO
  • Rating: 9/10
  • Acceptance Rate: 14%
  • SAT Range: 1450-1560
  • Tuition: $58,950 per year

WashU has top-ranked medical school acceptance rates, with around 80% of applicants matriculating to med school. Undergraduates receive strong advising, research opportunities at the med school, and clinical experience through volunteer programs. The academics are rigorous but collaborative.

University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill

  • Location: Chapel Hill, NC
  • Rating: 9/10
  • Acceptance Rate: 24%
  • SAT Range: 1310-1500
  • Tuition: $36,000 per year (in-state)

UNC Chapel Hill has an excellent medical school acceptance rate. Its dedicated Office of Pre-Professional Advising and unique Pre-Med Peer Mentoring programs provide strong support. Research is central and undergrads often co-author studies.

Brown University

  • Location: Providence, RI
  • Rating: 9/10
  • Acceptance Rate: 7%
  • SAT Range: 1420-1570
  • Tuition: $63,388 per year

At Brown, undergraduates receive individualized advising tailored to their interests. An open curriculum allows flexibility to prepare for med school applications while exploring passions through research and community engagement. Nearly 20% of students participate in health-related research.

University of Chicago

  • Location: Chicago, IL
  • Rating: 9/10
  • Acceptance Rate: 6%
  • SAT Range: 1460-1570
  • Tuition: $63,556 per year

The University of Chicago’s rigorous pre-med program places over 80% of applicants into med school, due to strong advising and research skills. UChicago directly partners with the Pritzker School of Medicine for unique opportunities like writing med school application essays.

Vanderbilt University

  • Location: Nashville, TN
  • Rating: 8.5/10
  • Acceptance Rate: 9%
  • SAT Range: 1450-1570
  • Tuition: $55,876 per year

Vanderbilt’s strong medical school acceptance rate stems from personalized pre-med advising, research across sciences and social sciences, and hospital volunteering. Students apply successfully to both allopathic and osteopathic medical schools.

University of Virginia

  • Location: Charlottesville, VA
  • Rating: 8.5/10
  • Acceptance Rate: 24%
  • SAT Range: 1340-1530
  • Tuition: $27,000 per year (in-state)

The University of Virginia is the number one public university for graduating pre-med students who successfully matriculate to medical school. Supportive faculty provide research and shadowing connections at UVA’s top-ranked Medical Center. Academics emphasize critical thinking skills.

Case Western Reserve University

  • Location: Cleveland, OH
  • Rating: 8/10
  • Acceptance Rate: 29%
  • SAT Range: 1350-1530
  • Tuition: $59,822 per year

At Case Western, small class sizes allow for close collaboration with professors who become mentors for medical school applications. Students undertake impactful research, volunteer often at Cleveland Clinic, and grapple with social determinants of health.

University of Pittsburgh

  • Location: Pittsburgh, PA
  • Rating: 8/10
  • Acceptance Rate: 60%
  • SAT Range: 1300-1470
  • Tuition: $19,080 per year (in-state)

Pitt offers exceptional value by combining strong academics with affordable in-state tuition. Students gain clinical exposure at UPMC hospitals and research at Pitt Med school labs. The faculty support med school preparations while engaging students on topics like healthcare equity.

Frequently Asked Questions

How hard is it to get into pre-med?

Getting into a pre-med program at a top undergraduate institution can be very competitive, although success rates vary. Acceptance rates among the schools profiled here range quite a bit, from just 5% at Harvard to 60% at Pitt. SAT scores are typically 1400+ for the most selective colleges.

What major is best for pre-med?

There is no single “pre-med major” – medical schools accept students from all majors! Choose something you’re deeply interested in while completing the core pre-med prerequisites like biology, chemistry (through organic), physics, math, and English. Top majors are Bio, Biochemistry, Neuroscience, and more.

Do med schools require research?

Research experience is not an absolute requirement but is strongly recommended by most medical schools. Working in a professor’s biology or chemistry lab allows pre-meds to demonstrate interest and aptitude for medical science. Research also leads to valuable faculty recommendation letters.

How important are extracurriculars?

Medical schools look for pre-med students who demonstrate a commitment to service through volunteering, activism, and leadership. Common activities include hospital volunteering, peer health education groups, crisis hotlines, tutoring, and fundraisers. Show your compassion!

What percentage of pre-meds get into med school?

Around 60-70% of students who apply to medical school ultimately matriculate. Success rates are higher (up to 90%+) from top pre-med programs. Strong MCAT scores, GPAs, research, and service boost your changes. The med school application process can take 1-2 cycles.

Should I take a gap year before med school?

Taking at least 1 gap year before medical school is increasingly common and worthwhile. Over 50% of students take time off for more clinical exposure, research, Arrowhead paper editingservice MCAT prep, travel abroad, and just recharging before the intensity of med school training.

How do I pay for pre-med and med school?

Pre-med and medical school costs can be daunting but loans, scholarships, and campus work-study provide access for all backgrounds. Many state medical schools (VA, UNC, Pitt) offer strong value and primary care loan forgiveness programs incentivize doctors in underserved areas.

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Rohit Mittal is the co-founder and CEO of Stilt. Rohit has extensive experience in credit risk analytics and data science. He spent years building credit risk and fraud models for top U.S. banks. In his current role, he defines the overall business strategy, leads debt and capital fundraising efforts, leads product development, and leads other customer-related aspects for the company. Stilt is backed by Y Combinator and has raised a total of $275M in debt and equity funding to date.