What is Pre-Med?
Pre-med is a college track made up of specific courses that you agree to take as prerequisite courses for medical school. Students can major in any field they want but will have to take all of the required pre-med courses and four-yearly on the pre-med track.
Top Ranked Pre-Med Schools
#1 Harvard College (Cambridge, MA)
Acceptance rate: 4.5%
U.S. News Ranking: 2
Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1460-1580 SAT, 33-35 ACT
Undergraduate Enrollment: 6,788
Harvard’s Office of Career Services estimates that 17% of any one of its classes will apply to med school—that’s a huge fraction of the student body! Pre-med applicants with a 3.5 GPA or higher had a 93% acceptance rate to med schools in 2013, whereas average acceptance rates that year were about 42%.
Harvard College offers a peer pre-med advising program in which students are assigned a pre-med tutor from sophomore through senior year.
#2 Duke University (Durham, NC)
Acceptance rate: 7.8%
U.S. News Ranking: 10
Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1500-1560 SAT, 33-35 ACT
Undergraduate Enrollment: 6,682
Not only is Duke one of the best universities in the nation, it also offers a robust pre-med program. Students get plugged into the pre-med advising program as soon as they walk on campus, and they also have incredible opportunities including health-centered study abroad programs and hands-on research experiences.
The med school acceptance rates for Duke undergrads are phenomenal—according to Duke, 70-80% of its college students get into med school, which is nearly twice the national average. This likely has partly to do with the fact that Duke hosts a top-15 medical school.
#3 University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, PA)
Acceptance rate: 7.7%
U.S. News Ranking: 6
Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1460-1550 SAT, 33-35 ACT
Undergraduate Enrollment: 10,183
UPenn’s Perelman School of Medicine is one of the best in the US; access to this med school means tons of research opportunities. But don’t just take my word for it! In 2018, 76% of Penn students who applied to med school were accepted—that’s well above the national average of 43% that year.
The school also offers a pre-health advising program to guide students through fulfilling pre-med requirements and successfully applying to medical school. Also, certain majors (like engineering) have a pre-med focus to help prepare you for the next step of your med school journey.
#4 Stanford University (Stanford, CA)
Acceptance rate: 4.4%
U.S. News Ranking: 6
Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1420-1570 SAT, 32-35 ACT
Undergraduate Enrollment: 7,087
Stanford isn’t just a top-ranked college—it also houses a top-ranked medical school. Special pre-med advisors are available to discuss ideas, plan your coursework, help you visualize your long-term objectives, and give you options for gaining experience in the field. They also offer internship opportunities for undergraduate students, which can help you get clinical hours and stellar letters or recommendation.
The pre-med community at Stanford seems especially organized and cohesive. The Stanford Pre-Medical Association offers lots of information and resources to students, all in one place. Unfortunately, however, there aren’t good statistics about how many Stanford graduates make it into medical school every year. But since Stanford has world-class degree programs, you can bet that number is pretty high.
#5 Northwestern University (Evanston, IL)
Acceptance rate: 9.1%
U.S. News Ranking: 9
Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1450-1540 SAT, 33-35 ACT
Undergraduate Enrollment: 8,231
With a top-20 med school, Northwestern offers lots of research and clinical opportunities. It helps that the school is located in a bustling urban area. Unfortunately, there’s no available info on pre-med acceptance rates to medical schools for students at Northwestern. However, Northwestern does publish a list of medical schools that its graduates have been admitted to in the past five years, which includes top programs like Harvard’s and Columbia’s medical schools.
Northwestern also provides pre-med students with tons of resources, many of which are available on the school’s pre-med advising website. These advisors help students with everything from choosing courses to applying to med school. Pre-meds are also welcome to schedule individual meetings or stop by during drop-in hours, meaning you’ll get plenty of hands-on help.
Source: Harvard.edu, Stanford.edu, Northwestern.edu, UPenn.edu, Duke.edu, PrepScholar