If you dream of becoming a doctor, the first step is to apply to a medical school. But medical school admission requirements are no joke, and it’s tough to get in. So one of the first questions on your mind is probably: “How many medical schools should I consider?”
While you may already have determined a particular school you wish to join, it is never wise to put all your eggs in one basket. It is advisable to apply to as many schools as possible to increase acceptance chances.
The average number of medical schools to apply to
There is no perfect number of medical schools to apply to. However, as to how many schools to consider, the recommended average is between 16 and 20 schools. Applying too few programs results in too few interviews and vice versa.
Apply to medical schools where you are confident you have a realistic chance of getting an acceptance as possible. Consider the following factors to make the application more strategic:
- The Medical School’s Acceptance Rates and admissions statistics
- School’s Mission Statement
- Application fees
- Financial aid and tuition costs
- Conditions for out of state applicants where applicable
How to increase your chances during the medical school application process
It is advisable to spread your application across three types of schools: target, reach, and safety schools.
The target schools are those you comfortably qualify for. These are the schools where your GPA, MCAT, and other application requirements are a perfect match. The safety schools are those you over qualify for. In a nutshell, your application exceeds their expectations, so you have a higher chance of being accepted. On the other hand, the reach school is a prestigious program with average metrics that exceed your application.
With a reach school, you are never too sure about how the admission committee will receive your application. With some luck, you could have the exact background and experience they are looking for.
It is advisable that 50% of your applications go to target schools, 25% to safety schools, and 25% to reach schools. For example, if you apply for 16 programs, eight should be devoted to target schools and eight to reach safety schools.
Factors to consider when applying to medical school of your choice
There are several considerations to consider when making a school list and deciding which medical school to apply to. When researching schools, reach out to people in programs of your interest and visit the target schools in person to get a feel of the people, campus, and locality. Some of the factors to consider include:
Acceptance rate: Research the school’s acceptance rate to determine the best chance of acceptance. Leverage AAMC’s MSAR database to do your research about the medical school application process and other requirements such as the GPA and MCAT score as well as the cumulative and science GPA.
Tuition and fees: Medical school tuition and fees vary from one school to another. While some programs are offered free, others charge $20,000 to $90,000 a year. Most medical schools also charge out-of-state and international students more than in-state students.
Location: The location of your preferred school is another important consideration. Location determines the cost of living, the fees, and the tuition charges. In state schools and those in rural areas have lower cost of living. You should also decide where you are comfortable living for the entire period of your studies. State schools offer the best in terms of location.
Reputation and ranking: The school’s reputation and ranking determine its available resources, quality of training, funding, and technology. It also gives you an idea of how competitive it is to get into medical school.
Specialty: Choose a medical school that offers courses that align with your personal special interests in medicine. While most schools provide a range of courses for the students, some schools focus on specific specialties such as surgery or family medicine.
FAQ: How Many Medical Schools Should I Apply to?
Is applying to 30 medical schools too much?
The AAMC reveals in 2019; there were a total of 896,819 applications submitted by 53,371 applicants, with an average of 17 applications per applicant. Applying to between 20 to 30 schools is advisable, depending on the factors guiding your application. We advise students to apply to many medical schools if they are re-applicants or if they are concerned about the strength of their applications including a lower gpa and mcat scores.
Should I apply to 50 medical schools?
When it comes to medical education, applying to fewer schools usually means you have a lower chance of realizing your dream. So with that in mind, it may be feasible to apply to as many as 50 medical schools. Usually, the maximum number of schools an applicant may complete meaningfully is about 50. However, the AAMC reveals the median number of secondary applications completed is 17. Applying to too many schools may be taking on too much, and speaking yourself too thin.
When is it advisable to apply to more medical schools?
If you are worried about certain aspects of your medical school admissions process, apply to as many schools as possible. Some of the scenarios that indicate you apply to to as many med schools as possible include:
- GPA 3.5 or lower
- MCAT score below 510
- Lack of extracurricular activities
- Mediocre letters of applications
Does the location of the medical school determine my application?
Yes. The location of the medical schools could influence the average number of applications to make. Typically medical schools in California, New York, and other popular areas tend to receive the most medical school applicants. Because these are competitive locales, restricting your list of schools in these areas could affect your chances of getting accepted.
What is considered as a target medical school?
Target medical schools are those where your GPA and MCAT match or are close to the metrics for accepted students. It is advisable that you devote at least 50% of your primary application and secondary applications to target schools, 25% to safety schools, and 25% to reach schools.
How many schools should I apply to?: AUAMED experts can help
Choosing the specific schools to apply to can be a time-consuming and rigorous undertaking. You start conducting research on schools long before you begin your application process to get enough time to assess your options objectively.
At the American University of Antigua (AUAMED), our admissions experts can help you choose the dream schools for you and guide you through the medical school applications process. AUAMED medical school accepts both Canadian and American students.
Undoubtedly, both U.S. and Canadian med school acceptance rates are extremely low, and going to AUAMED is beneficial because once you graduate, you can move back and do your residency in Canada or the U.S! Contact us today to make your application.