The 10 Best Pre-Med Schools in the US

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February 23, 2023
The 10 Best Schools for Pre-MedFAQs: Best Pre-Med Schools


Reviewed by:

Mary Banks

Former Admissions Committee Member, Columbia University

Reviewed: 02/23/23

The path to becoming a doctor starts with going to college for pre-med. A top school for the pre-med degree will ensure you succeed in medical school and beyond. 

Are you dreaming of becoming a doctor? The first step is gaining admission to a reputable pre-medical program. Any of the best pre-med schools will guarantee a great pathway for your doctorate. If you meet the requirements, with a solid GPA and competitive application, you’ll have a good chance at acceptance.

Any school here is a smart pick for starting the journey into the medical field, regardless of their placement on the list. However, because of how competitive they are, you’ll want to confirm you have the best possible application. Listed below are the top pre-med schools and their admission requirements.

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The 10 Best Schools for Pre-Med

Each of the following schools amounts to one of the best pre-med schools you could attend in the U.S. However, many of them stand out as Ivy League or equivalent schools, making them incredibly competitive and difficult to get into. Consider adding them to your list of the best possible pre-med schools to apply for.

Only some schools have a dedicated pre-med degree. Students interested in pre-med should research each school’s program carefully. Below you’ll find the answers to the question: “what are the best pre-med schools?” 

Harvard University

Ranking: #3 in U.S. National Universities

Location: Cambridge, Massachusetts

Acceptance: 4%

In-state tuition: $52,600 per year

If your first choice is Harvard University, you’ve picked a great school for pre-med. The university offers a flexible Harvard premedical program designed for students to earn the pre-med requirements they need at their own pace.  

As one of the top colleges in the United States, Harvard is the number one option for a pre-med curriculum. Harvard is also among the hardest to get into Ivy League schools, a group of private colleges in the northeastern United States famous for an extremely competitive application.

If you’re looking for a great college for undergrad that will fulfill pre-med requirements, you cannot go wrong with Harvard. Note that Harvard is also a need-blind college, which is great for students looking for an affordable school.

Harvard’s applicants should focus on the following to have a strong application. 

For first-year Harvard applicants, the deadline for early decision is November 1st, with notification coming out mid-December. The deadline for regular decision is January 1st, with notification coming out by the end of March. 

Johns Hopkins University

Ranking: #7 in U.S. National Universities

Location: Baltimore, Maryland 

Acceptance: 3.5%

In-state tuition: $60,480 per year

Johns Hopkins University is renowned for its school of medicine. With their pre-health advising, Johns Hopkins can set you on the fast track toward medical school. If you want to jump into their program, you’ll have a boost by being an undergrad.

Below are the Johns Hopkins University admission requirements and application information. The requirements for a strong application should include the following.

Johns Hopkins has two rounds of early decision applications. The deadlines for them are November 1st and January 3rd. Decision release comes out December 16th for round one and February 17th for round two. The regular decision deadline has the same January 3rd date but releases a month later, on March 17th. 

Johns Hopkins is the best answer for a non-ivy league option for a pre-med school. The university is considered one of the Ivy Plus Schools, a private college that rivals any Ivy League school.

Stanford University

Ranking: #3 in U.S. National Universities

Location: Stanford, California

Acceptance: 4%

In-state tuition: $19,231 per quarter 

Stanford is a great school for students looking to start pre-med. While they lack a set pre-med program, they offer guidance through pre-health academic advising to better prepare students and alums planning for medical school.

Below you’ll find admission requirements and application information for getting into Stanford. First-year applicants to Stanford need the following to be competitive. 

The early action deadline for Stanford is November 1st, with the release by mid-December. The regular decision deadline is January 5th, with the release in early April.

The University of Pennsylvania

Ranking: #7 in U.S. National Universities 

Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Acceptance: 4.4%

In-state tuition: $56,212 per year 

The University of Pennsylvania offers great pre-med courses. While working with an advisor, you’ll plan the academic core classes for med school and your overall degree.

Below you’ll find the application information for the University of Pennsylvania. Since The University of Pennsylvania is an Ivy League school, be prepared for a competitive application. The following checklist will help first-year applicants.

Early decisions for U of Penn deadlines on November 1st, with release in mid-December. Regular decision deadlines are on January 5th, with a release in April.

Columbia University

Ranking: #18 in U.S. National Universities

Location: New York City, New York 

In-state tuition: $65,524 per year

Columbia University is another example of one of the best pre-med schools for students working towards a career in medicine. The Ivy League university offers a Postbac Pre-med curriculum program designed for graduates who need the prerequisites for med school to take those classes with undergrads.

Below you’ll find general admissions info at Columbia University. First-year Columbia applicants can increase their enrollment chances by focusing on these application requirements. 

The early decision deadline for Columbia is November 1st, with the decision coming out in mid-December. The deadline for regular decisions is January 1st, with the decision coming out in April. 

Duke University

Ranking: #10 in U.S. National Universities

Location: Durham, North Carolina 

Acceptance: 6.3% 

In-state tuition: $62,941 per year

Any student looking for med school will find Duke University a great choice as one of the best pre-med schools. With the help of the Duke Office of Health Professions Advising, students can make their schedule to help fulfill all the pre-med requirements they need for medical school.  

While getting into Duke may prove challenging since It’s a prestigious Ivy Plus school, the following application inclusions are important to help you stand out. When you apply to Duke as an undergrad, focus on these key parts of your application. 

The early decision for Duke has a deadline of November 1st. The release comes out in mid-December. The regular decision has a deadline of January 3rd, with a release by early April.

Northwestern University

Ranking: #10 in U.S. National Universities

Location: Clarkston, Illinois

Acceptance: 7%

In-state tuition: $20,797 per quarter 

Northwestern University offers a unique Undergraduate Premedical Scholars Program that gives students their pre-med requirements before accepting them directly into Northwestern’s medical school. If Northwestern is your dream among the best schools for pre-med, consider applying. 

Consider these Northwestern application requirements the most important.

The application deadline for early decision is November 1st, with a release in mid-December. Regular decision applicants face a January 2nd deadline and will hear back by late March.

Cornell University

Ranking: #17 in U.S. National Universities

Location: Ithaca, New York 

Acceptance: 9%

In-state tuition: $62,456 

Cornell is a great Ivy League university for pre-med. While they don’t offer a major, their pre-health resources and advising will set you on the right education track for pre-med. You can then focus on any of Cornell’s 40 majors for your undergrad degree.

Below, you’ll find the top requirements for getting into Cornell. 

  Cornell’s early decision deadline is November 1st, with a release in mid-December. Their regular decision deadline is January 2nd, with a release in early April.

UNC-Chapel Hill

Ranking: #29 U.S. Colleges Nationally

Location: Chapel Hill, North Carolina 

Acceptance: 19%

In-state tuition: $26,118 per year 

When looking for the best pre-med schools, consider UNC-Chapel Hill as a great option. UNC offers a top-ranked public university to help you meet your pre-med requirements. With their health professional’s advice, you’ll succeed in medical school. 

Listed below are the most important first-year application requirements for UNC. 

UNC-Chapel Hill's deadline is on October 15th, with the admission decision back on January 15th. UNC's regular decision ends on January 15th, with your decision back on March 31st. 

Washington University at St. Louis

Ranking: #15 in U.S. National Universities

Location: St. Louis, Missouri 

Acceptance: 13%

In-state tuition: $59,420 per year 

The University of Washington, another of the best pre-med schools, can fast-track students toward a medical degree. Students can take the pre-med undergraduate class requirements through the Washington University pre-health program while earning their bachelor’s. 

Below, you’ll find admission information for the competitive WashU application. Following Wash U’s application guidelines for applying students should help you improve your admission chances. Focus on these requirements. 

Students can apply for early decision until November 1st. Applicants will hear back by December 16th. The second round of early decision goes until January 1st, with an admission response by February 16th. Regular decision deadlines are on January 1st, with response release on April 1st.

FAQs: Best Pre-Med Schools

Below, you’ll find common questions about pre-med schools and their application process. 

1. What College Has the Best Pre-Med Program?

The college that has the best pre-med program in America is Harvard University. The quality of education while on a pre-med focus for your science degree sets Harvard apart. If you’re looking for a medical school after, Harvard is also a great choice if you reapply.

2. What Is the Easiest Pre-Med School to Get Into?

The easiest pre-med schools to get into are any with the highest acceptance rate, but they won’t be the best. Most of the best pre-meds schools have extremely low acceptance rates because of their competitive applications. The easiest Pre-med schools to get into are the less popular and prestigious schools.

Students should apply for the pre-med college that fits their GPA with the best pre-med track, not because it’s easy. 

3. What Is the Hardest Pre-Med Major?

Of all the science and health majors you can take while fulfilling your pre-med requirements, majoring in chemistry is considered the hardest. Most students trying to qualify for pre-med pick a science major because their pre-med core requirements fit best into a science degree. Chemistry is the most difficult science degree to take.

4. Is Majoring in Pre-Med Worth It?

Pre-med is worth majoring in if you intend to become a doctor. However, most schools only offer pre-med as a series of required college classes to prepare and qualify you for medical school. The courses are part of a science degree, like biology or chemistry. You’ll need knowledge from specific courses to pass the med school exam. 

5. What Are the Best Non-Ivy League Schools for Pre-med?

Since they are extremely competitive, Ivy League schools may not be achievable for some. Here are some great examples of non-Ivy League schools for pre-med:

These schools provide a quality of education equivalent to Ivy League schools.

Final Thoughts

Pre-med is not a college major. It is a list of required college classes you must take to prepare for the medical school exam. With them, you will meet the requirements to attend medical school. To qualify for med school, students need guidance to meet their pre-med class requirements from a reputable college.

Finding a great school for pre-med is an important step toward becoming a doctor. The best pre-med schools offer the highest quality of education for the classes that medical schools want to see on your transcript. Any top pre-med schools will provide the knowledge students require for med-school.

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