How to Choose Which Medical Schools to Apply to

  • Dec 18, 2017

I am currently in the medical school applicant pool for the class of 2022. The order of importance of these factors can vary depending on your preferences, but these are the factors that I considered when choosing schools to apply to, in this order of importance.


Mission Statement

In my opinion, this is the first thing you should look at when considering which medical schools you should you apply to. For example, I know that I am dedicated to being a primary care physician in underserved areas. I applied to schools who had the same goals, and whose mission statements clearly stated their commitment to the underserved. You want to be a good fit for the school and you want to make sure that the school is a good fit for you. Therefore, applying to schools with the same missions as your own gives you better chances of getting accepted, according to mutuality.



This is more of a personal preference filter. On one hand, in-state tuition is cheaper than out-of-state tuition for public schools. For private schools, the costs are usually the same for in-state and out-of-state applicants. On the other hand, if you are like me, you want to stay closer to home so you can be close to family, so can choose to apply to closer schools. In my case, 60% of the schools that I applied to are in the Midwest, but only 25% are in Michigan.


Outreach Programs  

If you love doing community service, and you plan to continue that service as a medical student and a physician, then the kind of outreach programs a school has is an important factor to consider. If you like doing things such as mentoring or revitalizing the community, then it is good to apply to schools that have those kinds of programs. This will be a good talking point for interviews and will allow you to continue doing the things you love.



As stated above, in-state tuition is cheaper than out-of-state at public schools, but the costs are the same for in-state and out-of-state students at private schools. If you are worried about paying for medical school and the amount of debt you may be in, then the cost of attendance can help you rule out schools that you do not want to apply to.


Number of students

If you know you want a smaller class for a more personal and close-knit experience, then this is an easy way to quickly filter schools.


Grading System

The grading system of a school can affect how competitive the environment of the school is. For example, a Pass/Fail system might be less competitive because the “Pass” criteria can be a range of percentages. However, if the system included Honors/High Pass/ etc., then this might be a bit more competitive because students will strive for that Honors title. You can use this information to figure out which systems you will best fit into, and apply to schools with that system. 


By: A'Jah