Easiest Medical Schools to Get Into
Medical school prepares students to become doctors and improve the health and lives of other people. Working in medicine is often rewarding and lucrative.
Getting into medical school is difficult. The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) reports that only about 42% of applicants matriculated in 2020-2021. Many qualified applicants are rejected each year because not enough medical schools exist to meet the demand for a medical education.
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Medical school is expensive and time-consuming. The AAMC reports that the average medical student graduated with around $207,000 in debt in 2020. Medical students usually finish school in about four full-time years.
New physicians receive supervised training in their medical specialty during residency, which lasts 3-8 years. Residency is often followed by a 1- to 3-year fellowship.
This guide explains what it takes to get into medical school. We also provide a ranked list of the easiest medical schools to get into to help you decide where to apply.
What Are the Admission Requirements for Medical School?
Low acceptance rates make getting into medical school extremely difficult. Even the easiest medical schools to get into only admit highly qualified applicants. Getting into medical school is much more challenging than gaining admission to most other undergraduate and graduate programs.
Medical school admission requirements vary but usually include a minimum undergraduate GPA, completion of prerequisite courses, letters of recommendation, and minimum test scores. Medical schools also look for extracurricular, volunteer, research, and clinical experience.
All medical school applicants need a bachelor's degree from an accredited college, but each institution chooses its own pre-med course prerequisites. Applicants usually need one year of biology, two years of chemistry, and one year of English, according to the AAMC.
Medical school admission requirements sometimes include competency-based exams instead of specific courses. Others require lab, volunteer, or shadowing experience.
Many undergraduate students major in a biological science field to increase their chances of getting into medical school. However, medical schools consider all applicants who complete the required prerequisites equally, regardless of their major.
Applicants may improve their chances of getting into medical school by participating in extracurricular activities. Although not typically a requirement, participation in extracurricular activities can be a window into an applicant's personality and values.
Medical schools want empathetic, ethical students with leadership, interpersonal, and communication skills. The way you choose to spend your time outside of class can help admissions committees better understand who you are and what you care about.
Extracurricular activities can also be an excellent way to get clinical, research, or volunteer experience.
Letters of Recommendation
Medical school admissions committees usually require letters of recommendation. Students should ask for letters of recommendation from undergraduate professors, pre-med advisors, or the pre-med office at their school. Choose someone who can speak to your strengths.
Medical schools require applicants to maintain a high undergraduate GPA. Schools consider overall GPA, science GPA, and non-science GPA. Each institution decides how much weight to give each type of GPA. According to the Princeton Review, medical school enrollees held an average overall GPA of 3.71 in 2017-2018.
The easiest medical schools to get into may have lower minimum GPA requirements than the more competitive institutions.
Applicants must take the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), a standardized test that indicates their preparedness for medical school. The MCAT asks questions geared toward determining students' scientific knowledge and analytical skills. MCAT prep books can help students study for the exam.
According to the American Medical Association, the average MCAT score for students who attended medical school in 2018-2019 was 511.2.
The Computer-based Assessment for Sampling Personal Characteristics (CASPer) is a situational judgment test many medical schools use to evaluate applicants. The exam assesses traits that physicians should possess in order to be successful. These include collaboration, communication, empathy, and equity. Not all medical schools require the CASPer test.
Most medical schools in the U.S. accept first-year applications through the Association of American Medical Colleges's American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS). Using AMCAS lets students apply to multiple programs by filling out just one primary application.
After submitting a primary application, applicants also complete secondary applications for each medical school they are applying to. In these secondary applications, students can specify why they are interested in the specific schools.
AMCAS collects all of the application information students submit and passes it on to each school.
Tips for Getting Into Medical School
Get Medical Experience on Your Resume
Improve your chances of getting into medical school by gaining medical experience to put on your resume. Although not a prerequisite, getting medical experience shows admissions committees that you are serious about pursuing a career in medicine.
Participate in Research Projects
Undergraduate research experience is essential for applicants interested in a career in medical research or academic medicine. Research experience can help you differentiate yourself from applicants without it.
Volunteering to help others in your community demonstrates character and integrity, both important traits for those who pursue careers in medicine. Applicants can volunteer to gain experience in medical settings and determine their career goals.
Choose a Major You Will Excel In
Prospective doctors do not need to major in biological science in order to gain acceptance to medical school. Medical school admissions committees recommend students choose an undergraduate major they genuinely enjoy and can do well in. No matter what major you choose, the American Academy of Family Physicians recommends you enroll in biology, math, chemistry, and English courses.
Apply to Multiple Schools
Applying to more than one school can increase your chances of acceptance. But, make sure to only apply to medical schools where you meet the admission criteria.
Study Early and Often for the MCAT
Although medical schools consider a prospective student's entire application, MCAT scores are critical. Familiarize yourself with everything the MCAT test will cover, and then plan a study schedule. Many students take practice tests to track their progress.
Don't Skimp on Extracurricular Activities
Medical school admissions committees often prefer applicants with extracurricular activities on their resumes. Students who participate in a variety of activities while maintaining high GPAs demonstrate good time management skills and a strong work ethic.
Be Ready to Explain Why You Want to Be a Doctor
Students with clear, compelling explanations for why they want to become physicians can increase their chances of getting into medical school. Many programs require applicants to submit a personal statement. Try to write a unique, honest essay that the admissions committee will remember.
How Do I Choose a Medical School?
Consider each medical school's academic focus and whether it aligns with your career goals and interests. Schools may concentrate in areas like research, primary care, or specialty medicine. For example, students who want to practice emergency medicine can benefit from choosing a medical school with a strong focus on this specialty.
Applying to medical schools where you do not meet the admissions criteria is often a waste of time, money, and effort. Research specific requirements for each institution before beginning the application process. The easiest medical schools to get into usually have less stringent admissions criteria.
Going to medical school is not cheap. According to the AAMC, medical students paid an average tuition of $33,490 for one year at an in-state, public university in 2021-2022. Attending a public medical school where you can pay in-state tuition is typically more affordable than medical school at a private or out-of-state institution.
Students should consider location when choosing a medical school. Where you go to school can drastically impact your cost of tuition. For example, attending an in-state, public school is usually more affordable than attending an out-of-state or private medical school. Where you study also impacts the clinical and research experiences available to you.
Accreditation is a process by which schools demonstrate that they meet minimum educational standards. In the U.S., even the easiest medical schools to get into must be accredited.
Look for MD-granting medical school programs accredited by the AAMC's Liaison Committee on Medical Education. Medical schools that offer doctor of osteopathic medicine (DO) degrees must hold accreditation from the Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation at the American Osteopathic Association.
Easiest Medical Schools to Get Into
How We Rank Schools
At BestColleges, we believe a college education is one of the most important investments you can make. We want to help you navigate the college selection process by offering school rankings that are transparent, inclusive, and relevant for students. For this ranking, we compiled a list of medical schools that are historically less competitive and used college acceptance rates to create a ranked list of the easiest medical schools to get into. We hope our approach helps you find the school that's best for you.
Frequently Asked Questions About Medical Schools
Is medical school hard to get into?
Yes. Getting into medical school is a very competitive process, and most people who apply do not get in. According to the AAMC, 53,030 students applied to medical school during the 2020-2021 academic year, but only 22,240 enrolled. This means that only about 42% of med school applicants matriculated. Even students who meet all admissions criteria and are excellent candidates do not get in. Medical schools cannot accept every qualified applicant because they lack the necessary spots to meet the demand. See our ranked list of the easiest medical schools to get into to increase your chance of acceptance.
How much does medical school cost?
Medical school costs vary. Going to an in-state, public institution usually costs less than attending a private or out-of-state medical school. According to the AAMC, medical students paid an average tuition of $33,490 for one year at an in-state, public university in 2021-2022. That adds up to $133,960 for four years of in-state, public medical school, not including room and board or other fees. Medical students at private, in-state schools paid an average of $56,630 a year during the same period. Don't forget to consider other potential expenses while in school, including books, supplies, and transportation. The AAMC found that the average medical student graduated with around $207,000 in debt in 2020.
How many years does it take to complete medical school?
Medical school usually takes around four full-time years to complete. This does not include residency, where new physicians get advanced training in their chosen specialty. Depending on the specialty, physicians spend 3-8 years as residents. Many specialties and subspecialties also include a 1- to 3-year fellowship following residency. When you add together the required education and training, it usually takes seven years to become a practicing doctor. It is not uncommon for future doctors to spend more than a decade completing all their medical training. Physicians also must complete a four-year undergraduate degree before they can even apply to medical school.
What medical schools have the highest acceptance rates?
Getting into medical school is easier at schools that accept a larger percentage of total applicants. The most competitive medical schools have the lowest acceptance rates, while the least competitive medical schools have the highest acceptance rates. To find the medical schools with the highest acceptance rates, see above for our ranked list of the easiest medical schools to get into.
What is the easiest doctor to become?
One straightforward, objective answer to this question does not exist. It depends on each person's individual skills, strengths, and preferences. What seems like an easy specialty for one person will not be the same for another physician. That said, some specialties welcome more physicians or require fewer years of post-graduate training than others. Less competitive specialties to consider include family medicine, pediatrics, and psychiatry. Other potentially easier options include physical medicine and rehabilitation, anesthesiology, and emergency medicine. Consider avoiding the most competitive specialties, including orthopedic surgery, plastic surgery, and radiation oncology.
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BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.
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