If you’re planning to apply to medical school, you have quite a few options, so you’ll need to dedicate some time to determining which school is your best fit. Fortunately, organizations like U.S. News & World Report rank everything from real estate to educational programs. You might find what this site has to say about your schools of interest quite interesting, but check your facts before you get too far in.
Fact: Rank is based on more than a vote.
The methodology of the ranking system is extensively detailed and is based on numerous indicators. The site explains:
The medical school research model is based on twelve indicators and the primary care model is based on seven indicators.
Four of the data indicators are used in both the research and primary care ranking models. They are the student selectivity admissions statistics (MCAT, GPA and acceptance rate) and faculty-student ratio. The medical school research model factors in research activity; the medical school primary care model adds a measure of the proportion of M.D. graduates entering primary care specialties.
Here‘s a more in-depth look at the process.
Fiction: School #1 is the most selective.
It’s true that the medical schools at the top are the most competitive — but the rank doesn’t correlate to the likelihood of being accepted. For instance, in the 2019 rankings that were calculated this year, Harvard is the top medical research school. Meanwhile, the most difficult school to enroll in is Stanford University, which ranks as third in that category. If you’re nervous about applying to one of the top ranked schools, check with your advisor to help you make the decision. It may turn out that your dream school isn’t as out of reach as you perceive it to be.
Fact: Full access doesn’t come free.
You may be fine with basic information about a program or you may want to know more details. If you’re the latter, you’ll have to pay for unlimited access to list details. U.S. News provides:
- Application deadline and fees
- Faculty to student ratio
- Amount of faculty
If you purchase Medical School Compass Access, you’ll also get:
- Average MCAT scores
- Residency popularity information
- Admissions policies
- Contact information
If you end up receiving multiple acceptance letters from medical schools, it’s beneficial to do any extra research you can to determine which program is right for you.
Fiction: If it’s not on the list, it doesn’t exist.
Some schools don’t care to be ranked. According the U.S. News 2019 report, 177 accredited schools of medicine and osteopathic medicine were requested to fill out a survey. Only 124 institutions responded, which means about 30 percent of the programs didn’t take part in the official ranking. Before you start reconsidering schools on your list, you may need to begin your own research.
Rankings are a great way to help you decide which schools are a great match and to learn about schools you never considered before. Just be sure not to rely on only the rankings to make your final decision. Take the time to dive in and learn as much as you can from peers, professors and advisors to determine your best-fit program.