Applying to medical school sometimes feels a little like trying to win the lottery. Students can do really well on MCATs, have a high GPA in their science courses, have a decent committee letter and lots of clinical volunteer experience, and still not get into any school where they’ve submitted an application.
In 2020, medical schools received 25% more applications than the previous year. A normal annual jump is about 3%, so recent interest has made getting into medical school even more of a challenge.
Of course, Harvard Medical School and Duke Medical School have really selective admissions departments with low rates of acceptance (3.3% and 4%, respectively), but surely a good student applying to a few safety schools will get in someplace, right?
It doesn’t always work out that way. In fact, it’s more the other way around.
In 2020, over 53,000 candidates applied for admission to medical school, and only 22,239 actually enrolled in medical school.
The elite school acceptance rates don’t seem quite as out of line when you know that getting into a good state medical school with a decent research hospital presents almost as much of a challenge.
Most medical schools start the admissions process with eligibility screening through the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS) portal. From there, secondary processes and interview policies vary.
Each program looks for certain personal qualities, often related to the school’s mission. Many programs favor residents within the state or region.
A candidate who doesn’t stand out among the applicants at one school might be precisely who another kind of department is trying to find, so most academic counselors advise applying to a diverse group of medical schools.
And apply early, since most schools offer admission on a rolling basis. Once a candidate makes the best case for admission with the grades, scores, and transcript they have, it’s best to get that package in front of a wide range of admissions departments in order to find a successful fit.
These accredited schools offer excellent training and a variety of professional opportunities. According to data published by BEMO Academic Consulting about medical school acceptance rates, these programs have the highest rates of acceptance in the country. Several take only in-state applications, so be sure to check each school’s requirements.
10. Augusta University Medical College of Georgia (Augusta, GA)
Augusta University houses the main campus of the Medical College of Georgia, part of the University of Georgia system. This large public medical school features extensive state-of-the-art research facilities, laboratories, and training facilities across the state.
The Medical College of Georgia dates back 200 years as the place for postgraduate medical education in Georgia, training small-town doctors to researchers at major hospitals. A satellite campus in Athens at the University of Georgia was recently added to the program.
The program offers a broad-based curriculum, with 30-40% of graduates going on to practice primary care. Three educational pathways for MD students give some flexibility for students to prepare for a variety of careers in medicine, including dual degree programs and residency preparation.
MCG uses the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS) for the first phase of the application process. MCATs and CASPer test grades, along with other required information, should be submitted there.
Tuition for in-state students is a bit under $15k per semester, before fees and living expenses. Out-of-state tuition is closer to $29k per semester.
The overall acceptance rate for MCG is 7.42%; Georgia residents have a success rate of 17.8% against an out-of-state success rate of .38%. Georgia residents can apply to the MD program via Early Decision, as long as they meet program requirements.
The internal medicine residency program takes place at AU Hospital, as well as the VA Medical Center, giving residents a variety of clinical experience. Medical fellows at MCG specialize in fields from cardiology to infectious disease.
9. University of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Medicine (Memphis, TN)
The Health Science Center at the University of Tennessee is another regional center established near the turn of the century in order to provide doctors for an underserved region. The school’s mission stands today, with the addition of a global component through groundbreaking research.
UTHSC has almost 50 different programs, including the MD, combination MD/PhD, and MMS-PA Physician Assistant degree through the College of Medicine. The school boasts a 97% graduation rate and a 94% first-time pass rate on boards.
The program provides medical service to the area through clinics in Memphis, Nashville, Chattanooga, and Knoxville, where candidates complete clinical rotations in different kinds of settings.
Interested applicants complete the AMCAS common application first; once verified, candidates complete the UTHSC College of Medicine secondary application. The selection committee looks at prerequisite course performance, MCAT scores, and previous medical experience as indicators of preparation for the program. Basic educational costs per year for in-state students is $34,566 for the MD program and $22.924 for the PA program.
Given the school’s mission to provide doctors to the region, no more than 10% of any incoming class may be made up of non-Tennesseans. The in-state admission success rate is 20.7%; the overall admission rate is 7.7%.
8. Eastern Carolina University Brody School of Medicine (Greenville, NC)
East Carolina University’s Brody School of Medicine is an excellent choice for candidates interested in family practice. The program ranks at the top spot for percentage of graduates choosing family medicine among North Carolina Medical Schools, and at number two among medical schools nationally.
The curriculum integrates clinical experience through rural clinics and outreach to underserved communities in eastern North Carolina. Basic and clinical skills training is supplemented with health systems science coursework.
Brody’s Distinction Track programs give exceptional students a way to pursue their medical missions alongside guiding faculty mentors.
These tracks, including service-learning and health system transformation, pave the way for future doctors to make substantive contributions to the community, research, and the broader field of medicine.
Interested applicants should submit through AMCAS; Brody’s requirements for application include MCAT scores and a projected completion of an undergraduate degree by matriculation. Standard prerequisite courses include a mix of science and humanities coursework, but also include statistics.
At present, Brody does not consider out-of-state applicants, having accepted no non-residents for over 25 years. The acceptance rate at BSOM is 8.05%, and 44% of the most recent cohort are reapplicants.
7. Louisiana State University School of Medicine (New Orleans, LA)
Louisiana State University’s Health Sciences Center houses multiple graduate and professional programs in health and medical fields. Through its School of Medicine, candidates can pursue an MD, dual degree programs, and a primary care program with rural and urban focus options.
Clinical rotations take place not only at the hospitals associated with the main campus in New Orleans, but also at LSU-affiliated institutions in Baton Rouge and Lafayette.
The overall admission rate for LSUHSC’s School of Medicine is 5.17%, but candidates are accepted at a 25.1% rate in-state. In-state tuition and fees come to nearly $33k before living expenses, but the school offers many need- and merit-based scholarships.
LSUHSC, like most schools, starts the admissions process through AMCAS application. For students with weaker GPAs still hoping to become doctors, LSUHSC offers the 32-Hour policy: the school will consider a GPA based only on 32 hours of post-baccalaureate coursework in STEM courses.
The admissions committee weighs candidates’ backgrounds and regional connections as part of the evaluation process, looking for indicators that the candidate will be motivated to practice in underserved and rural communities as the school’s mission requires.
6. University of Nebraska Medical Center School of Medicine (Omaha, NE)
The College of Medicine at the University of Nebraska admits 130 new students a year to its growing program. Its Omaha campus is situated among some of Nebraska’s top hospitals and clinics, as well as a state-of-the-art simulation facility.
The campus is also home to the Monroe-Meyer Institute for the study and treatment of developmental disabilities.
UNMC offers a different structure within its MD program, presenting science course material and clinical topics in core subjects rather than the traditional department-based structure. Small group learning sessions supplement clinical rotations and lectures.
The admissions process begins with AMCAS, as with most medical schools. Eligible candidates receive a secondary electronic application; from those applications, some candidates will be asked to interview.
Prerequisite courses follow the standard pattern of science, math, writing, and humanities studies, but UNMC also requires calculus or statistics. Without fees or living expenses, tuition comes to $17,681 for residents of Nebraska.
The in-state admission rate for UNMC is 38.5%, while the overall admission rate is 8.3%. Like many state-funded programs, UNMC maintains a mission to provide medical education and care for Nebraska residents, but this program also accepts out-of-state candidates.
5. University of Kentucky College of Medicine (Louisville, KY)
The University of Kentucky is home to six health science colleges on the same campus. Its College of Medicine, founded in 1960, offers a combination of high-tech tools and small-group learning environments within its innovative, transdisciplinary program.
Each cohort of new students is subdivided into learning communities, or “houses.” Grouped with faculty mentors, these communities support one another throughout the medical school process.
Candidates apply first through AMCAS; once verified, candidates receive a secondary application on which they rank their campus preference. Kentucky offers an MD at four different locations.
Annual tuition and expenses for in-state students in the Class of 2025 will be over $67k, but Kentucky offers a tuition guarantee, meaning that annual tuition rates will stay the same for a student throughout the four years of the program.
With highly-ranked hospitals and clinics throughout the state, Kentucky offers access to diverse clinical experience. Their record of NIH funding also provides opportunities to participate in vital medical research.
4. University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine (Kansas City, MO)
The University of Missouri Kansas City’s School of Medicine is known for its accelerated BA/MD program, graduating doctors in six years instead of eight. Four-year MD programs are offered at their campuses in Kansas City and St. Joseph.
Students complete clinical training at six leading Kansas City hospitals. with opportunities to work in rural outreach settings as well. Moving away from a competitive model of instruction, UMKC encourages collaborative learning.
Interested candidates apply first through AMCAS, and eligible applicants will complete secondary materials. The mandatory prerequisite coursework list is short, but grades of B or better are required.
Students enrolled in undergraduate programs at many Missouri schools may apply to the Medical Scholars program for early admission to UMKC’s MD program. The program’s acceptance rate is 8.82%, with a 28.2% rate for in-state students.
3. Mercer University School of Medicine (Macon, GA)
Mercer University School of Medicine welcomes future medical professionals who share their goal of providing health care for rural and underserved communities, especially in Georgia. Located in Macon, the school is one of the newest on the list, founded in 1982.
Two centers dedicated to addressing rural health needs are located at Mercer. The school has broken ground on a new south Georgia 4-year MD campus in Columbus, offering the latest in technology in state-of-the-art facilities.
More than 80% of Mercer’s School of Medicine graduates practice in rural or underserved areas of Georgia. Early patient care experiences and a problem-based curriculum give students critical thinking skills and necessary tools for broad-based practice.
Mercer’s acceptance rate is 10.7%. Applicants must have maintained Georgia residency for an entire year before applying. Early Assurance and Special Consideration programs offer alternative paths to admission for accepted undergraduates at Mercer and at Decatur’s Agnes Scott College.
2. University of Puerto Rico School of Medicine (San Juan, PR)
The School of Medicine at the University of Puerto Rico provides a broad-based MD curriculum and clinical training to graduate doctors with the flexibility to serve in a variety of clinical research settings. Improving the quality and scope of health services in Puerto Rico is the school’s mission.
The curriculum follows the traditional medical training structure, with two years of introductory science study followed by two years of clinical rotations and specialty training.
The typical coursework requirements for admission apply, but candidates should consider that fluency in both Spanish and English is also required for admission to the medical school. Screening through AMCAS provides the first step in the application process.
The School of Medicine at the University of Puerto Rico has a 14.13% acceptance rate; the rate is 25.3% for Puerto Rico residents.
The university estimates annual medical school attendance costs at a little over $50k for residents of Puerto Rico. Joint MD/PhD programs are offered in partnerships with programs at Yale, the University of Texas, and the Mayo Clinic.
1. University of Mississippi School of Medicine (Oxford, MS)
Driven by the statewide shortage of doctors, the School of Medicine at the University of Mississippi plans to graduate a thousand new MDs by 2025.
The School of Medicine at Mississippi currently requires 35 hours of shadowing and a list of required courses. But the school’s admissions task force has recommended dropping course requirements in favor of more flexible admissions evaluation.
Mississippi favors residents of Mississippi in the application process, but any U.S. resident may apply for admission. The current acceptance rate of 38.6% represents in-state candidates only, however.
Before they arrive on campus, the program pairs new first-year students with second-year mentors as guides for entering the program.
Generous scholarship opportunities exist for students interested in a career in rural practice. Estimated annual attendance cost varies between just below 60K and close to 70k; out-of-state tuition can nearly double that amount.
As the medical center at the university is Mississippi’s only academic medical facility and only Level I trauma center, many graduates work with UMMC in their subsequent careers.