Chicago is among the best cities to attend medical school, a premier health sciences capital packed with highly-ranked schools and affiliated medical centers.
Although the medical schools on this list are the best in Chicago, they are also among the best in the nation. With well-rounded curriculums and extensive opportunities for experience in the real world, these medical schools attract students from across the nation. Whether students attend medical school at a well-known university like the University of Chicago, or at a “hidden gem” university such as Midwestern University, they will get a top-tier education under the tutelage of esteemed doctors, surgeons, and medical professionals.
So, how are these medical schools classified as some of the best?
There are many different factors to take into consideration when contemplating which medical schools to apply to. Today, we are ranking schools based on their position in the US News Top Medical Schools – Research list.
When considering which schools are the best for studying medicine, students must consider statistics like average GPAs, MCAT scores, and acceptance rates, along with other factors such as the opportunity to work in affiliated medical centers.
First, we will discuss medical schools in Chicago and their exact ranking. Afterwards, we will provide insight on what it takes to get accepted into these schools.
7. Rosalind Franklin University Chicago Medical School
The Chicago Medical School (CMS) at Rosalind Franklin University is a private, nonprofit medical school in North Chicago. CMS has always been a unique medical school, as it was one of the first professional schools to admit women and minority applicants long before most professional schools did this.
Currently, CMS continues to be unique with its large focus on community service and community participation. At CMS, community service is considered a natural and necessary element of medical education. The Interprofessional Community Clinic, which was established by members of the class of 2016, is a great example of this dedication to community service, as it is a free clinic that provides low-income and underserved residents with healthcare services.
CMS is a competitive medical school for admission. The entering class of 2020 had an average GPA of 3.61 with an average MCAT score of 511.
6. Midwestern University Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine
The Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine (CCOM), which is part of Midwestern University, is a private, non-profit medical school that focuses solely on osteopathic medicine. Midwestern has held an unusually high influence in the world of osteopathic medicine; its graduates account for nearly 13% of all practicing osteopathic physicians and surgeons in the United States!
CCOM also boasts some impressive alumni, including Richard Scheuring, a NASA flight surgeon, and James N. Weinstein, the current senior vice president for Microsoft Healthcare.
The curriculum at CCOM focuses on discipline-based learning, and students are trained to provide patient-centered care while working successfully with other healthcare professionals. The school also runs several clinics for students to gain clinical experience, such as the Midwestern University Multi-Specialty Clinic, which includes a dental institute, a family practice clinic, a speech and language institute, as well as an optometry clinic.
CCOM has a 15% acceptance rate, along with an average GPA of 3.6 and an average MCAT score of 508.
5. Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine
The Stritch School of Medicine at Loyola University is a Jesuit school located at the heart of the Loyola University Medical Center. Clinical skills are highly prioritized at Stritch School of Medicine, with first and second-year students given the clinical background necessary to succeed in their clerkships and residencies in their later years of schooling.
Along with this strong clinical background, Stritch School of Medicine emphasizes professionalism, as well as treating the human spirit. This is achieved through the school’s unique curriculum, in which the first two years are completed in “blocks” that focus on a single class, as well as strong mentoring programs and small group learning.
The Stritch School of Medicine can be quite difficult to get into, with just a 3.8% acceptance rate. Additionally, the average GPA is 3.72 and the average MCAT score is 510.
4. Rush University Medical College
Rush Medical College, of Rush University, was one of the very first medical colleges in the state of Illinois, and was actually chartered two days before the city of Chicago was chartered!
The curriculum at Rush Medical College was recently transformed into a “system-based” curriculum, in which each organ system is examined individually through anatomy, biochemistry, and other subjects of study. Additionally, preclinical years are graded solely as pass/fail.
Rush Medical College boasts a national ranking of #58 by US News for Best Medical Schools: Research, as well as an extensive list of accomplished alumni. Robert Holbrook Smith (AKA Dr. Bob) who co-founded Alcoholics Anonymous, as well as James B. Herrick, a physician who was the first to describe sickle cell anemia, both graduated from the school. Additionally, David J. Peck was the first African American to receive a Doctor of Medicine from an American School, which he received from Rush Medical College.
The average GPA at Rush Medical College is 3.63, with an average MCAT score of 509 and an acceptance rate of 3.8%.
3. University of Illinois College of Medicine
The University of Illinois College of Medicine has four locations in the state of Illinois, and the Chicago location is in one of the world’s largest medical districts. This prime location allows students to gain vast clinical experience, and first-year students at the school accompany physicians on rounds and take patient histories. Across the four locations, there are 75 residency options available across a wide range of fields.
The faculty at the University of Illinois College of Medicine are known for their groundbreaking research, so it’s no surprise that the school is ranked by US News as the 55th best medical school in the nation for research.
Additionally, approximately 17% of physicians in Illinois are trained at the school, which means it has a long list of established alumni. Julius B. Richmond was a former U.S. Surgeon General, and Olga Jonasson, a pioneer in kidney transplantation, was the first woman to chair an academic department of surgery.
The University of Illinois College of Medicine has a 7.4% acceptance rate, with an average GPA of 3.8 and an average MCAT score of 512.
2. Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
The Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University is a prestigious medical school with an equally prestigious medical center. Northwestern Memorial Hospital is the primary teaching hospital for the medical school, which is ranked as the 10th best medical center in the United States and the number one in Illinois by US News. Additionally, another of the school’s medical centers, the Shirley Ryan Ability Lab, was ranked first in the nation for rehabilitation.
The curriculum at Feinberg School of Medicine was updated recently to create a more “learner-centered” education, which is designed to better serve students’ individuality and provide stimulating learning opportunities that are best suited to them.
The school has produced multiple Nobel Laureates, as well as an incredible list of alumni who have become medical school presidents, MacArthur Fellows, and world-renowned medical professionals, so it’s no surprise that it is ranked #18 nationally by US News.
The Feinberg School of Medicine has an acceptance rate of 7.09%, as well as an average GPA of 3.9 and an average MCAT score of 519.
1. University of Chicago Pritzker College of Medicine
The Pritzker College of Medicine, part of the University of Chicago, is an extremely prestigious medical school, and was also the very first medical school to hold a white coat ceremony (which is now an international tradition).
The University of Chicago Medical Center is the primary teaching hospital for the Pritzker College of Medicine, and the hospital is ranked by US News as the third best hospital in Illinois. This gives students incomparable clinical experience.
Additionally, Pritzker was ranked by US News as #17 in the nation, just above the previously mentioned Feinberg School of Medicine. Of course, such a prestigious school produces prestigious alumni, and among them are Robert Gallo, who helped discover HIV, and Joseph Ransohoff, who advanced the field of neurosurgery and founded the first neurosurgical intensive care unit.
Pritzker is quite a difficult school to get into, with an acceptance rate of 4% and an average GPA of 3.84. Additionally, the average MCAT score is 519.
How to Get Accepted into Medical School in Chicago
Gaining admission into medical school in Chicago is no small task, as six of the seven medical schools in the city have acceptance rates of 15% or less. The top-tier programs like Northwestern and Chicago have even lower acceptance rates.
To gain admission into medical school in Chicago, students are going to need scores in the ninetieth percentile or higher. For the top three schools, a student may need to be in the ninety-fifth percentile to achieve acceptance.
However, getting into medical school is, in fact, bigger than, just grades and test scores. Let’s talk about a few factors that may favorably play a role in your admission.
Medical Experience and Goals in Chicago Area
Time and time again, schools are looking for students who have experience working with people in the geographic location of the medical school, and Chicago is no different. Demonstrating a commitment to serving patients in Chicago or Illinois could be a huge plus on your application. This can be done through internships, job experiences, and other kinds of community service benefitting residents of Chicago.
However, it is impractical for many students to have preclinical experience before college in the Chicago area. In this case, it is a good idea to discuss in your college essays and your application a desire to become a medical doctor to serve the city of Chicago. Taking this angle in your essays for medical school is especially smart, as it now makes sense to a school why you are applying for their program specifically.
MCAT and GPA Scores
For most medical schools in Chicago, you will likely need to acquire the ninetieth or ninety-fifth percentile for MCAT and GPA.
For example, the University of Chicago accepts, on average, a candidate who has a remarkable 519 MCAT score. Keep in mind the MCAT score is out of a total of 528 points, meaning there is very little room for error when it comes to taking the MCAT score as it relates to gaining admission into a Chicago area medical school.
The average GPA for acceptance at the same medical school is 3.84, which is a 93.5 “A” average. It goes without saying at this point: maintaining impeccable grades during undergraduate study is essential for admission into the top medical schools.