Non-Ivy League Schools for Pre-Med

Photo of pre-med student in a lab coat using a microscope
December 12, 2022
Career Path for Non-Ivy Pre-Med StudentsBest Non-Ivy League Pre-Med SchoolsFAQs: Non-Ivy League Schools for Pre-Med


Reviewed by:

Mary Banks

Former Admissions Committee Member, Columbia University

Reviewed: 4/14/22

Trying to find a non-ivy league school for pre-med can be difficult with all the choices. Keep reading for a breakdown of the best non-ivy league school for pre-med programs.

Have you always dreamt of becoming a doctor but not sure you will get into those overly exclusive Ivy League schools? Luckily, many non-Ivy League schools have some of the best pre-med programs in the country.

To help you wade through the overwhelming amount of information, we have come up with a list of the best non-Ivy League schools for pre-med. We will cover what a pre-medical program is all about and then detail some of the top programs in the country.

This quick guide to the best non-Ivy League schools for pre-med will give you the information you need to get into these programs and give you an idea of what to expect once you’re there. 

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Career Path for Non-Ivy Pre-Med Students

Pre-medical, also known as pre-health, programs are undergraduate education tracks that help you prepare for medical school. The main thing to remember is that “pre-med” isn’t a major, but rather a set of courses that are designed to help you with the next steps of becoming a doctor.

Pre-med schools aim to help their students get into medical school. They will make sure you take the right prerequisite courses to apply to med school and then guide you through the application process.

Some of the programs have been placed under the banner of pre-health, meaning they will assist students who want to get into any graduate health program. These programs all have the same final goal: to help students get into very competitive programs. You will be expected to take certain courses, have volunteer experience and have a lab or clinical experience.

By reading through the below school-specific information, we hope you have a better idea of where you might want to go.

Best Non-Ivy League Pre-Med Schools

Now that you know a bit more about how a pre-med program works, we can start looking at specific schools. This section will give you general information about the schools and their pre-med programs. By the end, you should have a good idea why these are considered the best non-Ivy League pre-med schools. 

Northwestern University

Founded in 1855, Northwestern University is located in Evanston, Illinois, just north of Chicago. According to their mission, “Northwestern is committed to excellent teaching, innovative research and the personal and intellectual growth of its students in a diverse academic community.”

Northwestern has three different campuses, 21,000 students and over 500 student organizations and clubs. The university is committed to diversity and global engagement.

Entering students will need an SAT score between 1450 and 1540; and an ACT score between 33 and 35. That being said, Northwestern strives to “create a culture in which all students can thrive.” 

Northwestern Undergraduate Premedical Scholars Program (NUPSP)

The NUPSP is designed to help students get into medical school, and you should look into it if you are considering the program. To enter the NUPSP you have to apply at the end of your sophomore year and will only be considered if you have taken the necessary prerequisite courses.

You must also have a GPA of 3.7 or higher and show dedication to the medical profession through experiences like volunteering at the local health clinic. NUPSP also requires you to have counselling sessions with a Northwestern University advisor and a premedical adviser.

That being said, if you can get into the program you will then be eligible to gain early MD or MSTP acceptance to the prestigious Northwestern Medical School. So, if you are really keen, and your grades are good enough, this might be the best option for you.

Georgetown University

Described as “a leading research university with a heart,” Georgetown University is located in beautiful Washington D.C.

Since opening its doors in 1792, Georgetown has been committed to social justice and upholding the idea of not just teaching minds, but rather teaching the whole person. This philosophy is the reason why they offer events like the ESCAPE retreat, an overnight experience available to first-year students that encourages them to relax and unwind. 

For those who want to attend Georgetown University, you will need to satisfy several admission requirements including having an SAT score between 1380 and 1550 and an ACT score between 31 and 35. 

Georgetown University’s Pre-Health Studies

Georgetown’s Pre-Health Studies program is similar to Northwestern’s. They offer this program to students who have already done their first two years of university and completed the necessary prerequisite courses.

Since Georgetown has its own medical school, they can provide high-quality education for anyone looking to attend one of the best non-Ivy League pre-med schools. They have an Early Assurance Program (AOP) that allows students who achieve high marks to have early acceptance into their medical school. 

For students who are not 100% sure about becoming a doctor by their second year of university, Georgetown also offers a post-baccalaureate pre-med program. Students will need a GPA of 3.2 and be able to show dedication to medical studies through volunteer work.

This program takes roughly 15-24 months to complete and will allow you to focus your energy on getting into the medical school of your choice. For more information on how to build a strong Georgetown application, check out our college guide.

John Hopkins University

Johns Hopkins University was founded by a wealthy philanthropist of the same name and first opened its doors back in 1876. As America’s first research university, Johns Hopkins offers some of the most innovative research facilities in the country. 

Photo of red and white building and clocktower at Johns Hopkins University

Students at Johns Hopkins come from diverse backgrounds and can participate in campus life by joining one of the 400 student organizations and clubs. The Homewood Campus is located in the heart of Baltimore and has “blossomed into a hub of social, cultural, and economic activity.”

When it comes to test scores, students applying to Johns Hopkins would need 1480-1570 on their SATs and 34-35 on their ACTs, based on previous years.

That being said, Johns Hopkins University has recently decided to waive standardized test scores due to COVID-19 for students hoping to enter in the fall of 2023, 2024, 2025 or 2026; so there’s no need to submit SAT or ACT scores. 

Johns Hopkins University’s Pre-Health Program

As one of the best medical schools in the world, it is no surprise that John Hopkins University is one of the best non-Ivy League schools for pre-med.

Johns Hopkins’ pre-health program is designed to prepare you for a career in health professions such as:

Johns Hopkins has high expectations of their students but will also provide them with the best resources needed to fulfill their career aspirations. This is what they call the Hopkins Advantage:

If you’re applying to Johns Hopkins, find out how our experts recommend improving your Johns Hopkins application with our guide to the university.

Emory University

Emory University opened its doors in 1836 in beautiful Atlanta, Georgia. Emory is dedicated to providing outstanding education to its students, and for those in pre-med, it boasts “one of the world’s leading health care systems.” Emory University has a diverse population that can participate in everything from arts and cultural events to varsity and intramural sports.

Students who are applying to Emory University will need to meet the institution’s test requirements, for SATs you will need to score between 1380 and 1530 and 31 and 34 on the ACT. 

Emory University’s Pre-Health Advising Program

Emory University takes a student-focused approach to education, making their program very popular among students interested in careers in healthcare, not just medicine. 

The following are some of the different healthcare careers you can be pursuing when entering this program:

Emory University takes a holistic approach to help their students, meaning they look at everything the student does to make sure that they are well rounded. This approach is not only evident in the admissions process, but also in the various requirements Emory sets to help their students achieve their goals.

For example, before starting the program, students must have what they call a Holistic Review and Mandatory Check-In so that the advisors know what areas they might need help with. 

Rice University

Formally known as The Rice Institute, Rice University was formed in 1912 and resides in Houston Texas. Rice is a leading research university, with a clear-cut mission and values, that “aspires to path breaking research, unsurpassed teaching, and contribution to the betterment of our world.”

Rice is famous for its connection to NASA; the two institutions started collaborating on research in 1959. It was the first university to establish a “dedicated space science department in 1963.”

Photo of brown and white building at Rice University

When it comes to test score requirements, those looking to attend Rice University after graduating high school, will need an SAT score between 1460 and 1570 or  an ACT score between 34 and 36. 

Rice University's Pre-Health Professionals Program

Though this program is open for many different aspiring health professionals, Rice University emphasizes both medical school and dental school hopefuls. Since they have a connection to The Texas Medical Center, they have become one of the best pre-med non-Ivy League schools.  

Rice University will also offer pre-health advising to help freshmen learn about the program before they are actually eligible to apply. Rice also offers a Freshman Health Professionals Advising Orientation that can help you figure out exactly what courses you will need to take and what they can offer you once you’ve decided to apply. 

Within the program, Rice helps facilitate networking opportunities through their Big Owl/Little Owl Program (BOP) which allows undergrads to connect with current medical school students and physician mentors. This is meant to help students understand the larger issues within the medical profession and let them ask questions in a relaxed atmosphere.

Case Western Reserve University

Case Western Reserve University is located in Cleveland, Ohio and was formed in 1967. The university is made up of two higher education facilities: Western Reserve College and Case School of Applied Science.

By combining the schools, Case has become one of the leading universities in the nation. The student body is very diverse with 5,792 undergraduate students that represent 90 countries.

Case Western Reserve offers over 100 undergraduate programs and 160 graduate programs. They also offer seven online master’s degree programs along with many online courses.

To attend Case Western Reserve University you need a SAT score between 1340 and 1520 and an ACT score between 31 and 35. 

Photo of pre-med student using a microscope at college

Case Western Reserve Pre-Med Program

If you didn’t already know, Cleveland is home to some of the most well-renowned hospitals and research centers in the world. By entering the Case Western Reserve Pre-Med Program you will be able to volunteer and work with people at the top of the medical community, making the program easily one of the best non-Ivy League schools for pre-med.

CWRU also offers an exclusive Pre-Professional Scholars Programs (PPSP) which allows undergraduates admission into CWRU and conditional admission into the Case Western Reserve Medical School. This means that you will be able to study at CWRU for both undergrad and medical school.

CWRU values academic achievements and research-based volunteering. These will be emphasized when you study here and should be something you are interested in if you want to attend Case Western Reserve University.

FAQs: Best Non-Ivy League Schools for Pre-Med

Still have questions about the best non-ivy league schools for pre med? Here are a few answers to the most frequently asked questions. 

1. Does it Make a Difference if the Pre-med School you Choose has a Medical School?

Though going to a university that has a medical program has its advantages, it is not necessary to exclude schools that do not. You want to focus more on what the school offers, what you are looking for in the entire university experience. Make sure you will be happy at the school, then everything else will be easy.

2. Do I Have to Be a Science Major in Order to Do Pre-med?

Most pre-med schools will allow you to major in any subject as long as you take the mandatory prerequisite science and math courses for medical school. Keep in mind that pre-med is not a major, so you can pick any subject you like to study along with the science courses.

3. How Do I Choose Between Two of the Best Non-Ivy League Pre-med Schools?

Try to choose the school that you feel you will be the most comfortable in. If you are able, schedule a campus tour so that you know what it might be like to attend that school.

4. Do I Have to Take Pre-Med in Order to get into Medical School?

Technically you do not have to do pre-med in order to get into medical school, but it gives you a better chance of getting in.

5. What if I Change my Mind About Going to Medical School?

It is okay to change your mind. The training and courses you take in pre-med will be useful in any path you choose. 

Final Thoughts

Figuring out which university to go to can be difficult, but hopefully, this information has helped you narrow down your choices. These truly are the best non ivy league pre-med schools so take your time to decide and we are sure you find success.

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