As an aspiring doctor, you will want to make sure that you receive the best education. Enrolling in a competitive pre-med program can unlock the many doorways towards fellowships and employment. But the first step on your new journey relies on the university you choose to attend. You may find yourself lost or feeling overwhelmed while researching pre-med schools. But the truth is you shouldn’t stress yourself out because there are many remarkable pre-med programs. We know you probably have the right instincts to find an appropriate pre-med program, but Test Prep Score can still help. To help you narrow down your list, our college admission experts gathered a collection of universities with the best pre-med programs in the United States.
Pre-med describes the educational track an undergraduate student pursues before becoming a medical student. Contrary to what some people think, pre-med is not a college major but rather a term to let others know your career aspirations. For example, you can still declare a major in Finance or History even if you stick to the pre-med route. But as a pre-med student, you still need to complete required undergraduate courses and satisfy the pre-requisites that med schools set. In general, most medical schools will require applicants to take the following classes:
Keep in mind that the courses listed are merely the minimum requirements for a pre-med student. That’s right—you will still have to take additional courses to fulfill your major and minor requirements.
Harvard University boasts an elite pre-med program with approximately 6,788 undergraduates enrolled. According to Prep Scholar, nearly 17% of Harvard undergrads choose the pre-med track each year. Furthermore, students have a 93% acceptance rate to medical school if they earn a 3.5 GPA or above. The tuition strives to be affordable; a 2021-2022 four-credit undergraduate course costs $1,920 ($480 per credit). Today, Harvard ranks as one of the best medical schools in the U.S. and has famous medical school alumni like Pulitzer Prize winner Charles Krauthammer.
Having earned worldwide recognition for its research institution and medical school, John Hopkins, University built a resounding reputation for its pre-med program throughout the years. Johns Hopkins has a total of 6,265 enrolled undergraduates, and the select students on the pre-med path have access to a variety of research and clinical facilities.
Pre-med students use an advising program track with group meetings, personal appointments, and other tools to alleviate stress. Furthermore, the university offers a summer internship program from May 29 to August 6, 2022. Students gain knowledge and skills in research, scientific experimentation, and more under the supervision of mentors. All pre-med students will participate in career development activities, networking events, and research discussions.
Coming in at No.6 on the 2022 list of Best Colleges ranked by U.S. News, Stanford University is nothing short of exceptional. With only 7,087 undergraduates enrolled, Stanford offers specialized pre-med advisors to help students with course management, discuss goals, and visualize future career paths.
Furthermore, the pre-med program at Stanford University also extends internship opportunities that help students earn clinical hours and letters of recommendation. One of the oldest, largest, student-run organizations on campus, The Stanford Pre-Medical Association has built a community known for its networking, support, and organization.
Nicknamed UPenn, the Perelman School of Medicine is one of the best higher education institutions in the United States. As a member of the Ivy League, UPenn has a selective admission process with only 10,183 or so undergraduates. Luckily, undergraduate students already enrolled in UPenn have a greater chance of earning an acceptance letter into the pre-med program.
International Medical Aid reported that 76% of UPenn pre-med students have a higher acceptance rate than the national average of 46%. Like other schools with top-ranking pre-med programs, UPenn also offers a pre-health advising program that guides students through completing pre-med requirements and successfully applying to medical school. Along with guidance from advisors, the Penn Pre-Medical Association (PPMA) is a student-run organization aiming to unify pre-med students. The organization works to guide students academically, socially, and personally so pre-med students can rely upon one another.
Home to approximately 6,245 undergraduates, U.S. News ranks the pre-med program at Columbia University as one of the Top 10 in the country. Nestled in the heart of New York City, students enrolled in the pre-med program have seamless access to medical clinics and hospitals for hands-on experience. Moreover, Columbia University ensures students have a competitive edge when applying to medical school through a sample pre-med course curriculum. Aspiring medical students have three possible options for completing the pre-med curriculum–a traditional sequence, a part-time sequence, and an accelerated sequence. The school’s services, personal advising, and curriculum continually work to help you reach your career goals.
The elite medical programs on this list are from private universities with one exception—The University of Washington. With a whopping 32,099 undergraduates enrolled, Washington offers one of the best pre-med programs in the nation. As an undergraduate, you’ll have access to UW Medicine and its programs. So, if you prefer a larger public school with extensive resources—like advising and mentoring—then Washington may be the appropriate choice for you.
While the University of Washington is much larger than private schools (like the University of Pennsylvania or Stanford University), students won’t have to worry about getting lost in the crowd. The qualified team of academic advisors and pre-med career coaches employed at the University of Washington will work diligently to help set you up for success—whether that translates to better grades or securing competitive internships. Furthermore, students can join organizations like the Student Health Consortium and Alpha Epsilon Delta to connect with other students on the pre-med track.
Students in Duke’s pre-med program have a 70 to 80% chance of enrolling into medical school, according to Duke. Health Professions Advising is available to all undergraduates throughout their time at Duke. You can explore the different programs at Duke’s School of Medicine including the Doctor of Medicine Program, Medical Scientist Training Program, Physician Assistant Program, and Occupational Therapy Doctorate Program.
For first-year students, pre-med advising focuses on preparation, course requirements, and exploring internship opportunities. Moreover, Duke University offers an array of unique opportunities for students like studying abroad. There are also several summer undergraduate research opportunities in STEM, healthcare, and medicine.
Only a 20-minute drive from Duke University, UNC is a larger higher education institution with approximately19,355 students enrolled in various undergraduate programs. A noteworthy aspect of UNC is their Medical Education Development (MED) Summer Program. Sponsored by the North Carolina Schools of Medicine and Adams School of Dentistry, and the State of North Carolina, MED is an incredible, yet challenging educational opportunity for hard-working individuals who may need extra preparation for pre-med school.
The program seeks to find highly skilled candidates, particularly underrepresented students, to compete for admissions into the nation’s best health professional schools. Offered over the summer for nine weeks, MED has two primary goals. First, MED analyzes thought processes, learning skills, studying habits, and testing abilities. Next, they work to build better foundations for which to grow. If you wish to become a physician but feel underprepared for medical school, this may be a smart place to start.
Ranking in the Top 20 colleges in the country, Northwestern University gives students the attention they need with a student-faculty ratio of 6:1. Also, 77.7% of its classes have fewer than 20 students. The university has a plethora of resources including MCAT training, advisors, and shadowing opportunities. On-campus, students have the opportunity to join student-run organizations like the Undergraduate Pre-Medical Society which strives to create a sense of community amongst students interested in careers in medicine.
Cornell’s undergraduate acceptance rate to medical school is 20-30% higher than the national average, which is roughly 43%. As a pre-med student, you’ll explore their Health Careers Program which provides you with career guidance, advising, and an evaluation committee. The Health Careers Evaluation Committee (HCEC) is a group of Cornell’s faculty and staff who serve and assist undergraduates, especially when they are in the medical school application process.
Dedicated academic advisors will deliver one-on-one guidance and career planning while renowned health professionals discuss possible career paths. More importantly, pre-med students will gain exposure to clinical experiences, service experiences, research opportunities, and other scholarly activities.
The pre-med search can be a daunting task if you don’t know where to start. If you’re aspiring to enroll in medical school, any of the universities above are excellent choices, as well as many other schools not listed. So, if you want to open an acceptance letter from any of these prestigious schools, you must focus on your grades, internships or fellowships, philanthropy opportunities, and the MCAT exam!
If you struggle to choose a pre-med program or need help preparing for standardized tests, visit Test Prep Score to browse an array of qualified tutors and premium test-prep services.