best pre med schools

Best Pre Med Schools

If you’re interested in a career in medicine, attending one of the best pre-med schools is a critical first step. By selecting one of the top pre-med schools, you can lay the foundation for a successful career in healthcare. The best pre-med schools offer a comprehensive education with rigorous coursework, experiential learning opportunities, and personalized mentorship from experienced faculty.

In this article, we will provide you with an extensive guide to the best pre-med schools in the US. We’ll discuss the essential factors you need to consider when selecting one of the best pre-med schools. Specifically, we’ll review the best majors for aspiring pre-med students and discuss the typical pre-med requirements. Additionally, we’ll provide the latest information about college admissions processes at some of the best colleges for pre-med students. We’ll also highlight the top 25 best pre-med schools out of the top 100 pre-med schools.

Each of the top pre-med schools have their own strengths. As you consider your college list, you should think critically about each of these colleges.

Attending one of the best pre-med schools will set you up for success in the medical field. At each of these schools, you’ll access boundless opportunities that will help you prepare for medical school. In this article, we’ll help you decide which of the best colleges for pre-med is right for you.

What is “pre-med”?

If you’re interested in pursuing a career in medicine, you may have heard of the term “pre-med.” So, what is “pre-med”? Even at the best colleges for pre-med, “pre-med” is an educational track, not a major. Pre-med students follow this track during their undergraduate studies before applying to medical school or following another path.

Overall, it’s important to note that pre-med isn’t a specific major. However, some of the best pre-med schools offer pre-health majors.

Essentially, pre-med is a set of courses and requirements that students must complete to prepare for medical school. Pre-med tracks are designed to help you fulfill the course prerequisites for medical school. Generally, even at the best colleges for pre-med, the pre-med track doesn’t reflect requirements for other health professions. Some of the best pre-med schools, however, also have more specific pre-health tracks that help students bolster their skills in various disciplines.

Internships and career shadowing

In addition to coursework, the best colleges for pre-med often provide extracurricular opportunities like internships and shadowing. Different schools approach pre-med tracks in different ways. At many of the best pre-med schools, students can consult dedicated advisors for help with the path to medical school. We’ll expand on some of these advising programs later, along with navigating what it means to be pre-med.

By completing a pre-med track at one of the best pre-med schools, you’ll be prepared for medical school and beyond. However, keep in mind that medical college admissions are very competitive. You’ll need to perform well in your pre-med courses and maintain a high GPA to be considered a strong candidate.

Can you go to med school without pre-med?

best colleges for pre med

Many students wonder if they need to choose a pre-med track as a freshman in college to get into top medical schools. The short answer is no, but you do need to fulfill a series of necessary requirements to attend med school. In other words, you don’t necessarily need a health-related major as long as you complete all pre-med course requirements.

At the best colleges for pre-med, pre-med requirements include biology, chemistry, physics, math, psychology, and sociology. Keep in mind that flexibility between your major and your pre-med courses will depend on your college. Especially at top pre-med schools, pre-med is a lot of work. As a result, students often choose health majors to focus on maintaining a strong GPA in their pre-med classes.

No need to hurry

In some cases, you can extend your studies beyond your initial intended graduation date to complete pre-med requirements. This will also depend on which college you attend; even the best colleges for pre-med may have differing policies. Alternatively, you can complete pre-med requirements in a dedicated post-baccalaureate program or at a community college.

Even if you attend one of the best pre-med schools, low grades can keep you out of medical school. So, don’t try to cram all of your pre-med courses into your senior spring. Take your time, and seek out advising and other resources available at your school as early as possible.

Attending one of the best pre-med schools can certainly help you achieve your goal of becoming a doctor. These schools offer dedicated advising programs, strong academic resources, and opportunities for hands-on experience in the medical field. By attending one of the best pre-med schools, you can access the resources necessary to prepare for a career in medicine.

You can explore many of the best pre-med schools using our College Search Feature! But, if you’re not sure where to start, keep reading for our featured list of the top 25 pre-med schools.

What is the best major for pre-med?

When it comes to choosing a major for pre-med, many students wonder what to major in. While there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, majors within the life sciences are often considered the best choices. At the best colleges for pre-med, many students choose to major in biology, biochemistry, or neuroscience. These majors typically cover the required coursework for medical school and provide a strong foundation in the natural sciences.

However, it’s important to remember that medical schools consider a variety of factors when evaluating applicants. Your GPA, MCAT score, extracurricular activities, and personal statement are all crucial components of your application. Therefore, when deciding what to major in, it’s important to choose something that you’re passionate about and in which you can succeed.

It’s also worth noting that it is possible to pursue a pre-med track while majoring in a non-science field. For example, some students major in psychology or sociology while taking the necessary science courses as electives. This can provide a unique perspective and skill set that may be advantageous in the medical field. Advisors at the best pre-med schools can guide you through this path if you choose.

Ultimately, the best major for pre-med is one that aligns with your interests and allows you to excel academically. By attending one of the best pre-med schools, you’ll have the support to succeed in your chosen major. While researching the best pre-med schools, reliable sources like U.S. News and other rankings can be a jumping-off point for thorough searching.

Why is biology the best major?

best pre med schools

At the best pre-med schools, biology is often a favorite major for pre-med. With its focus on the natural sciences and coverage of many medical school prerequisites, it’s no wonder why. In addition to preparing you for the MCAT, biology lab and coursework can also provide you with analytical skills. These will serve you well throughout your medical education and career.

Still, as stated above, there is no one “best” major for pre-med students. Indeed, at the best pre-med schools, taking pre-med courses as electives is entirely possible. When choosing a major with pre-med in mind, don’t forget about your own interests.

When considering the best pre-med universities for you, think about what you want to get out of your college experience. Do you want to pursue multiple interests and study a variety of disciplines? Or do you want to focus primarily on your pre-med coursework? Depending on your answers to these questions, the best pre-med schools may be different for you.

When researching the best pre-med schools, it’s important to consider factors such as location, size, and academic offerings. For instance, schools like Brown, with its Open Curriculum, provide the flexibility to pursue other interests while completing pre-med requirements. So, if you want interdisciplinary coursework, the best pre-med schools for you may give you room to explore. Thus, as you refine your criteria, you can start thinking beyond simple rankings for top pre-med schools. 

What GPA do you need to get into pre-med?

Generally, there isn’t a specific GPA required to get into top pre-med schools. However, the best pre-med universities are elite institutions with extremely competitive college admissions. Average admitted students at the best pre-med schools usually have very impressive high school grades.

Four or five years later, your college GPA may also make or break medical school applications. Different medical schools have different average GPAs for their admitted students. For example, medical college admissions at the best pre-med schools like Harvard, Johns Hopkins, and Washington University in St. Louis have average undergraduate GPAs of 3.9, 3.94, and 3.86, respectively. Baylor College of Medicine has a slightly lower average GPA of 3.81.

It’s important to remember these averages as you pick the best colleges for pre-med and apply to medical schools. While a high GPA isn’t the only factor that medical schools consider, it can certainly make a big difference. By attending one of the best pre-med universities and maintaining a strong GPA, you’ll be better prepared for your future medical career.

Which university has the best pre-med program?

best pre med schools

When researching the best colleges for pre-med, it’s important to remember that pre-med itself is not a major. With that said, most students who are interested in medical school focus on courses in biology, chemistry, and physics. Thus, you may wish to research the best biochemistry schools or schools with the best undergraduate biology programs. This can give you a sense of what some of the best colleges for pre-med are.

While there isn’t a definitive ranking of the best pre-med schools, there are some widely recognized top pre-med schools. In this section, we’ll look closely at some of the best biochemistry schools and best colleges for pre-med. Let’s start with an in-depth look at Harvard University, well-known as one of the best pre-med schools.

Pre-Med at Harvard University

One of the best pre-med universities is Harvard University. Harvard is known for its academic rigor and its high standards, and it’s universally lauded for its pre-med resources. For instance, Harvard has dedicated advising and resources for pre-med students, as well as events and access to hospitals and research opportunities.

Harvard admissions grants pre-med students access to support up to and through the medical school application process. Students can attend workshops on personal statements and interviews, as well as participate in research and clinical experiences. Furthermore, they have access to top-notch hospitals and research facilities where they can engage in internships and shadowing opportunities.

Harvard Extension School

Additionally, Harvard Extension School offers a post-baccalaureate program for students from all undergraduate backgrounds who did not fulfill pre-med requirements during college. While most Extension School courses do not require an application, the pre-medical program does.

While Harvard is one of the top pre-med schools, there are many other universities with strong pre-med programs. We’ll discuss the best colleges for pre-med schools later, but know that there are other top pre-med schools. As always, you should remember that the best pre-med college for you depends on your individual needs and goals.

In summary, while Harvard is regarded as one of America’s best pre-med schools, it’s not the only one. The best pre-med schools for you depend on factors such as academic rigor, access to resources, and research opportunities. By researching thoroughly, you can choose the best college for pre-med that aligns with your aspirations.

Typical Pre-Med Requirements

top colleges for pre med

When planning a pre-med track, it’s important to know what courses are typically required. In general, most medical schools will require at least:

General Pre-Med Requirements

  • One year (or two semesters) of biology, chemistry, and physics
  • One year of organic chemistry
  • One semester of biochemistry
  • One year of English
  • One year of math
  • Behavioral sciences (not all schools)

Of course, the specific requirements will vary depending on the medical school you are interested in attending. It’s crucial to research the requirements for the schools on your list as well as any “encouraged” coursework.

For instance, Harvard Medical School encourages students to complete coursework in behavioral sciences. When searching for the best pre-med schools, look for schools with the best undergraduate biology programs, or the best biochemistry schools.

Expect lab work

Students should expect lab work across most, if not all, of these disciplines, especially at the best pre-med schools. While fulfilling these pre-med requirements can be challenging, they can also be rewarding. Completing pre-med requirements at the best pre-med schools can provide you with a strong foundation for success in medical school.

College admissions at top pre-med schools can be intensely competitive. Accordingly, getting in can open countless doors, so you should work hard as you apply to the best pre-med schools. While medical college admissions can seem daunting, the best pre-med schools will prepare you with rigorous coursework. By seeking out the best pre-med schools, you can ensure that your coursework aligns with med school requirements. 

Top 25 best pre-med schools

Our list of the top 25 best pre-med universities highlights institutions with strong programs in the sciences. As aforementioned, there isn’t a definitive ranking for the best pre-med universities due to it not being a major. Therefore, the top 100 pre-med schools lists usually consider the best undergraduate biology programs and the best biochemistry schools. 

The following 25 schools out of the top 100 pre-med schools are exceptional in their preparation of students for medical school. These schools offer advising, research opportunities, access to hospitals, and more. Regardless of the specific major or program, pre-med students at these schools have the resources and support needed to succeed. There are some schools like UCLA that have outstanding pre-med support but aren’t on this list. Indeed, no list will cover every school—check several sources to get a full picture of pre-med programs.

Our list includes some of the best pre-med schools in Midwest states, and from coast to coast. For instance, we have the best pre-med schools in Texas and the best pre-med schools in North Carolina. We also look at the top pre-med schools in New York, the best pre-med schools in California, and more. 

Top pre-med schools

1. Harvard University

best pre med schools- harvard

Placing high on the best medical and best pre-med schools in U.S. News rankings, Harvard has no pre-med major. However, it has dedicated advising available for students aiming for medical school and health professions. Harvard also has world-class programs in biology and biochemistry. Students have the opportunity to engage in research, and Harvard’s location provides access to plenty of nearby hospitals. Additionally, Harvard Medical School is one of the best in the country, and it’s one of the Ivy League universities. 

2. Duke University

best pre med schools- duke

One of the best non-Ivy League schools for pre-med, Duke is home to one of America’s best medical schools. While the Duke acceptance rate is low, the institution has a variety of resources for pre-med students. Duke also offers students the chance to pursue various study abroad programs with a medical focus. Students seeking top pre-med schools with study abroad opportunities may be interested in Duke.

3. The University of Pennsylvania

best pre med schools- upenn

UPenn provides advising to pre-med students through their Office of Career Services. From pre-med requirements to studying for the MCAT, UPenn students can get help. As one of the Ivy League universities, UPenn also helps students who might require a post-baccalaureate program to meet all requirements. Several UPenn majors also offer a pre-med track, though this isn’t strictly necessary for medical school.

4. Columbia University

best pre med schools- columbia

Another Ivy League school and one of the best pre-med schools, Columbia also has no pre-med major. Regardless, you’ll be able to complete all requirements in a variety of majors. Columbia also offers advising for pre-med students. Additionally, they work with individual students to help them complete any remaining pre-med requirements after graduation.

5. Johns Hopkins University

best pre med schools-johns hopkins

JHU is one of the best pre-med schools and has one of the nation’s premier medical schools. Once they’ve impressed Johns Hopkins admissions, undergraduate students have ample opportunities for research and engagement. Johns Hopkins admissions provide a specific track designed to prepare students for medical school through individual meetings, group sessions, events, and more.

6. The University of Chicago

best pre med schools- unchicago

UChicago admissions provide pre-med students tailored support through their cohort programs, which help students explore various health professions. UChicago admissions are tough, corresponding to its strong reputation for medical school admission—UChicago students are accepted at nearly twice the national acceptance rate. While UChicago admissions can be daunting, CollegeAdvisor can help you firm up your application before the deadline

7. Boston University

best pre med schools- boston university

BU provides a lot of dedicated support for pre-med students, who span many Boston University majors. Students pursuing a pre-med Boston University major can consult the BU advising office on medical school applications, research opportunities, and more. BU also provides specific guidance and advising for students interested in other health professions. With a large selection of Boston University majors, students can enjoy exploring the breadth pre-med has to offer. 

8. The University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill

best pre med schools- unc chapel hill

UNC-Chapel Hill has a variety of Specialized Training Tracks available for students interested in medical disciplines. They also support students from across a variety of UNC majors aspiring to medical school through a nine-week intensive program. With its location in North Carolina, UNC provides students with access to the mid-Atlantic region.

9. Stanford University

best pre med schools- stanford

Stanford has a world-class medical school and excellent programs across the sciences. Stanford is home to a specific Pre-Medical Association designed to support students as they prepare for medical school and beyond. Their advisors help students find internships, plan their courses, and gain research experience.

10. Georgetown University

best pre med schools- georgetown

Georgetown is home to one of the best medical schools in the country and provides tailored advising for pre-med students. Georgetown also offers guaranteed admission to their medical school to certain high-performing students. In other words, they can attend medical school at Georgetown without taking the MCAT.

11. Cornell University

best pre med schools- cornell

Cornell houses a dedicated Health Professions Advising Center designed to help students find a fitting pathway in the medical field. While Cornell has no specific pre-med major, Cornell majors include excellent programs in many pre-med-adjacent fields.

12. Northwestern University

best pre med schools- northwestern

Northwestern has an excellent medical school, and its location in Chicago provides students with plenty of opportunities for volunteering and shadowing. The university provides guidance to pre-med students through advising, special events, and more. There’s a wide array of Northwestern majors, so you can pursue your interests while completing medical school prerequisites.

13. University of Washington

best pre med schools- uw

UW is an excellent public university with its own highly-ranked medical school. Pre-med students at UW have access to career coaching, pre-med advising, and more. UW pre-med students often have the opportunity to work with medical students through research and volunteering.

14. University of Southern California

best pre med schools- usc

The competitive USC ranking ensures that pre-med students receive tailored guidance through the Dornsife Office of Pre-Health Advising. They help students choose their majors, plan courses, and find internship opportunities. They also host events for pre-med students. Learning more about the USC ranking in the context of other California schools can help you in your college search. 

15. Yale University

best pre med schools- yale

Yale has no formal pre-med major, so students often specialize in biology or related fields. Yale also provides students with access to a variety of extracurricular involvements that will help them on the path to medical school. Yale’s Office of Career Strategy offers advising to pre-med students to help them plan courses, extracurricular activities, and research opportunities. 

16. Washington University in St. Louis

best pre med schools- wash u

Washington University admissions to medical school are highly competitive, with 90% of their undergraduate students being accepted to medical school. Their Reputable PreHealth programs make applicants from Washington University quite competitive; furthermore, Washington University’s medical school is internationally renowned.

17. Case Western Reserve University

best pre med schools- case western

CWRU is one of the best pre-med schools in Ohio, and one of the best in the state overall. Case Western pre-med students can finish undergrad in three years and fast-track their path to medical school. Like many other schools, students across Case Western majors can take medical school prerequisites and receive advising.

18. Notre Dame University

best pre med schools- notre dame

Notre Dame offers a pre-health supplementary major designed to give students the tools they need to apply to medical school. As a supplementary major, it is appended to a separate major within Arts and Sciences. By encouraging students to complete an Arts and Sciences degree alongside pre-med requirements, Notre Dame cultivates multidisciplinary thinking

19. Rice University

best pre med schools- rice

Rice is located near a major hospital in Houston, Texas, providing plenty of research and shadowing opportunities to pre-med students. Rice also sponsors various mentorship programs and even provides a dedicated scholarship to one high-achieving pre-med student each year. 

20. Brown University

best pre med schools- brown university

Brown is a member of the Ivy League universities. With its Open Curriculum, Brown provides flexibility for students looking to pursue a pre-med track alongside another major. The Health Careers Advising program at Brown provides support and resources for students choosing classes and finding extracurricular opportunities. Brown University is also known for its interdisciplinary Program in Liberal Medical Education (PLME) which offers students the opportunity to combine undergraduate education with medical school.

21. Vanderbilt University

best pre med schools- vanderbilt

Through Vanderbilt’s Alpha Epsilon Delta Pre-Health Society, students can attend events that will help them prepare for many health professions. Students can also access dedicated pre-health advising in addition to the support of their core academic advisor. 

22. Tulane University

best pre med schools- tulane

Many pre-med students at Tulane major in Cell and Molecular Biology, though students can choose any major while completing pre-med requirements. The competitive Tulane acceptance rate also means its students are driven, as seen through their pre-med society. Tulane also has various resources and student groups designed to help pre-med students prepare for the road ahead.

23. University of California, Berkeley

best pre med schools- uc berkeley

UC Berkeley does not have a dedicated pre-med major. Instead, they have a pre-health path designed to prepare students for medical school. UC Berkeley is also home to a wide variety of healthcare-focused student organizations

24. Pennsylvania State University

best pre med schools- penn state

Like several of the other schools on the top 100 pre-med schools list, Penn State does have a designated pre-med major. However, you can still complete pre-med requirements while pursuing another major. 

25. Baylor University

best pre med schools- baylor

Baylor provides students across all majors with the tools they need for a medical career through their Pre-Medicine Program. They offer advising, workshops, research opportunities, and more.

Best Pre-Med Schools in the Midwest

We have explored the top pre-med schools across the nation. So, now we’ll move on to the best pre-med universities by geographic region. You can find some of the best pre-med schools in U.S. regions often overlooked in rankings.

In fact, some of the best pre-med schools are in a part of the U.S. that is often overlooked – the Midwest. Here are the top five best pre-med schools in Midwest America:

Top pre-med schools in the Midwest

best pre med schools in the midwest

The University of Chicago

The University of Chicago was ranked number 6 on our list of the top pre-med schools in the nation above. Now, it is at the top of our list of best pre-med schools in Midwest America. Impressively, the UChicago admissions rate to medical school is double the national average. This demonstrates the school’s rigor and support for students, which includes workshops, Mock MCATs, and access to hands-on learning experiences. Additionally, UChicago’s cohort programs offer students tailored group experiences to prepare for health careers.

Northwestern University

A bit north of UChicago is Northwestern University. Located in Evanston, Illinois, Northwestern’s superb research and shadowing opportunities make the school one of the best colleges for pre-meds. Northwestern also offers early admission to its Feinberg School of Medicine for exceptional third-year undergraduates through the Northwestern Undergraduate Pre-Medical Scholars Program (NUPSP). If admitted, undergraduates have more time to explore extracurricular interests and experience some of the 132 Northwestern majors and minors. Regardless of whether you are a part of NUPSP, Northwestern majors are available to all pre-meds. With thoughtful planning, you can take courses in Northwestern majors like African Studies or French.

Washington University in St. Louis

Located in St. Louis, Missouri, Washington University is another one of the best pre-med universities. Undoubtedly, the Washington University admissions rate to medical school contributes to this: 90% are admitted to medical schools upon graduation. The school also supports rich undergraduate experiences for pre-med students by promoting and advising them about study abroad opportunities

Case Western Reserve University

Another one of the best pre-med schools in the Midwest is Case Western Reserve University. Located in Cleveland, Ohio, Case Western is also, according to many, the best college in Ohio. Case Western pre-health students have flexibility—they can enroll in any of the 133 Case Western majors while completing pre-med requirements. In fact, pre-med students at the school currently take advantage of 37 different Case Western majors. Some of the Case Western majors graduates have included music, religious studies, and political science. In addition, Case Western’s Pre-Professional Scholars Program offers conditional admission for competitive undergraduates to Case Western’s dental or medical schools.

Notre Dame University

Notre Dame University in Notre Dame, Indiana, is another one of the best pre-med schools in the Midwest. The school’s pre-health supplementary major, open to all students, is designed to ensure students complete prerequisites for medical school. The university also offers several research and internship opportunities, including a pre-med study abroad experience with hands-on experience in Puebla, Mexico. 

Now that we’ve explored the best pre-med schools in Midwest America, let’s look further south in the state of Texas. 

Best Pre-Med Schools in Texas

Many top pre-med schools are in Texas. With so many large medical centers and cities, finding many best pre-med schools in U.S. states like Texas is no surprise. Now, we’ll take a look at the best pre-med schools in Texas. They are:

Top pre-med schools in Texas

best pre med schools

Rice University

The top school on our list is Rice University in Houston, Texas. Rice’s beautiful campus sits just feet from the Texas Medical Center, the largest medical center in the world. This means that students have easy access to volunteer and research opportunities. Additionally, Rice’s Pre-Medical Society and Big Owl, Little Owl programs offer extra mentorship and support. For these reasons, Rice is undoubtedly among the best pre-med schools in U.S. states in the South.  

Baylor University

Another one of the best pre-med schools in Texas is Baylor University. Baylor University is located in Waco, Texas. Its associated medical school is Baylor University School of Medicine, located in Houston within the massive Texas Medical Center. This connection means that Baylor University undergrads have exclusive access to strong pre-health advising. Furthermore, they can explore intriguing research opportunities like the BCM National School of Tropical Medicine Summer Institute.

The University of Texas at Austin

As a large public university, the University of Texas at Austin is home to dozens of excellent programs. At UT Austin, pre-med isn’t a major but rather a professional pathway with unique academic requirements. As a result, students can take advantage of all that UT Austin has to offer. UT Austin is also home to the Dell Medical School, a recently founded and increasingly excellent program. UT Austin is quickly climbing the list of the best pre-med schools in Texas.

Southern Methodist University

Students looking for one of the best pre-med schools in Dallas, Texas, should look no further than Southern Methodist University. SMU’s pre-health advising includes a number of volunteer opportunities and student organizations. With a 53% acceptance rate, SMU could be a more accessible option than the other best pre-med universities on our list.

Best Pre-Med Schools in California

Just as there is no shortage of sunshine in the state of California, there are several top pre-med schools. In this section, we’ll share our top five choices for the best pre-med schools in California:

Top pre-med schools in California

best pre med schools

Stanford University

As one of the nation’s all-around top universities, Stanford has no shortage of excellent academic programs and resources. One highlight of Stanford’s pre-med advising is the Stanford Immersion in Medicine Series (SIMS). SIMS allows undergraduates in good academic standing to shadow doctors at a local hospital, even sometimes observing in the operating room. Stanford is also home to one of the top medical schools for research in California. Since research is a key component of preparing for medical school, Stanford is one of the best colleges for pre-meds.

The University of Southern California

Located in sunny Los Angeles, USC is California’s oldest private research institution and one of the top pre-med schools in California. In fact, the stellar USC ranking makes it one of the best pre-med schools that U.S. News ranks yearly. USC offers exceptional pre-med support, including personal statement review, interview prep, MCAT scholarships, and connection to research and volunteer opportunities. The Keck School of Medicine also contributes to the high USC ranking among the best colleges for pre-meds.

University of California, Berkeley

The University of California at Berkeley is a highly selective public institution in Berkeley, California. One of the reasons UC Berkeley ranks among the best pre-med schools in California is the pre-med pre-professional track it offers students. The track ensures that students of all majors can complete medical school prerequisites, making it one of the best colleges for pre-meds.

University of California, Los Angeles

Another one of the top pre-med schools in Los Angeles County is located at the University of California, Los Angeles. UCLA’s pre-med and pre-health planning programs offer students guidance coursework to prepare for the MCAT and medical school. The Center for Academic Advising also offers MCAT prep books and career planning workshops to pre-med students. UCLA also has one of the UC system’s six medical schools.

The California Institute of Technology

California Institute of Technology is one of the best pre-med schools in California thanks to its excellent STEM programs. With rigorous courses in biology, physics, and chemistry, CalTech prepares students well for the MCAT and medical school itself. The school’s small class sizes also mean that students get the attention they need to carve a pre-med career path.

Although CalTech is not in the Ivy League, it’s definitely one of the best pre-med schools. Read through our next section for more of the best colleges for pre-meds that are not Ivy Leagues. 

Best Non-Ivy League Schools for Pre-Med

best pre med schools

Up till now, we have focused on the top pre-med schools by region, as well as nationally. Many of these schools are prestigious Ivy League universities. In this section, we’ll focus on the best non-Ivy League schools for pre-med. They include:

Top Non-Ivy League Schools for Pre-Med

duke university

Duke University

Duke is among the top 100 pre-med schools nationally and is located in Durham, North Carolina. Duke’s Office of Health Professions Advising offers intensive advising tailored to students in each year of their undergraduate study. Duke also encourages students to explore via study abroad programs and shadowing opportunities. The Office of Health Professions Advising’s online resources are also incredibly extensive. Even though Duke is not one of the Ivy League universities, it looks very similar on paper. Namely, the Duke acceptance rate of 6% and overall academic rigor are comparable to any of the Ivy League schools.

Johns Hopkins University

Johns Hopkins University is one of the premier institutions for pre-med studies. In fact, according to International Medical Aid, Johns Hopkins is the #2 university for pre-med students, second only to Harvard. JHU’s medical school and teaching hospital have long been highly regarded institutions, increasing the competitiveness of Johns Hopkins admissions. Undergrads interested in pre-health tracks have access to dozens of opportunities and resources. In particular, these range from small group chats with past applicants to clinical research volunteer placements. The university also has a post-baccalaureate program that helps students who already graduated with their bachelor’s to complete pre-med requirements. The Johns Hopkins admissions rate to medical school from this program is an impressive 99.7%.

Boston University

Another one of the best pre-med schools is in Boston, Massachusetts. Boston University is a private research institution. The school offers advising to students taking several pathways toward medical school while also allowing them the flexibility to take advantage of over 100 Boston University majors. Living in Boston also affords students access to excellent hospitals in both the Boston and Cambridge areas. BU’s Early Assurance program offers provisional acceptance to BU’s Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine. The unique program was created in collaboration with a consortium of historically Black colleges and universities and now includes partnerships with Latino and Pacific Islander institutions. The program works to ensure these populations have access to medical school education.

The University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill

The University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill is among the best pre-med universities for several reasons. UNC’s specialized program for pre-med students, called the MED program, offers unique learning experiences like patient simulations and seminars. The summer seminar was developed in 1974 and targets underrepresented students. It is designed to provide early, immersive exposure to the medical field as well as build key soft skills like cultural competency and caring for special populations. UNC also offers one-credit exploration courses covering different topics within the health field, such as public health and human sexuality. In addition, students have access to over 70 UNC majors and minors. Students receive ample guidance about which of the UNC majors to explore along with the requirements for their pre-health track.

Tulane University

Tulane University, situated in New Orleans, Louisiana, is another one of the top 100 pre-med schools. Tulane’s Cell and Molecular Biology major is popular among students aiming for medical school. Not only does it help them get admitted, but also it prepares them for the rigor of medical school coursework. The school’s Creative Premedical Scholars Program encourages students to major in the liberal arts while preparing for medical school. The Tulane acceptance rate of 8.4% makes it extremely competitive.

Obviously, the Tulane acceptance rate is very competitive—perhaps even intimidating. However, sometimes getting into medical school can be even more competitive after going to one of the best pre-med schools. As such, it’s key to choose a school that best positions you for acceptance into medical school. In the next section, we’ll look at the best colleges for pre-meds with the highest medical school acceptance rates. 

Which pre-med schools have the highest med-school acceptance rates?

best colleges for pre med

One of the key indicators that a school is among the best colleges for pre-meds is its medical acceptance rate. Generally, a high acceptance rate means the school offers students academic rigor and opportunities that make them appealing to medical schools. Nationally, the average medical school acceptance rate is 41%. In this section, we’ll look at how acceptance rates at the best pre-med schools measure up to that. The best colleges for pre-meds based on admissions rates are:

Highest Med-School Acceptance Rates

Harvard University

Harvard University has the highest pre-med acceptance rate, even among Ivy League universities. The Harvard admissions rate to medical school is 93% for undergraduates. In other words, nearly all the undergrads who apply to medical school get in. Unsurprisingly,  Harvard also tops the list for best undergraduate biology programs and best biochemistry schools in the nation.

Columbia University

Columbia University, located in New York City, is one of the top universities in New York. Columbia boasts a 91% acceptance rate to medical school among its pre-med students. Furthermore, its medical school is #3 nationwide, making it one of the best pre-med schools that U.S. News assesses.

Washington University in St. Louis

The Washington University admissions rate to medical school averages 90% for its undergraduate pre-med students. This makes it one of the best pre-med schools in the U.S. It also ranks among the top 100 pre-med schools for its access to the #11 ranked medical school. 

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is the only public institution that ranks in the top five of the best pre-med schools. UNC students who pursue a pre-med track tend to have strong odds at a variety of competitive medical schools. This is in part due to the rigor of UNC majors along with the school’s guidance for pre-health tracks. 

Yale University

Yale University, located in New Haven, Connecticut, has an 86% medical school acceptance rate for pre-med students. This is more than double the national average. Yale’s medical school is also excellent, contributing to its reputation as one of the best colleges for pre-meds.

While useful, these statistics aren’t everything. Overall, the reputation of your undergraduate university is only one factor in the medical school application process. What matters more is that you choose a school where you’ll succeed and find opportunities to bolster your profile. 

What else can you do with a pre-med degree?

Undoubtedly, the most common career path for graduates of the best colleges for pre-meds is medical school then becoming a physician. However, even if you’re unsure about becoming a physician, it might still be worth completing those medical school requirements. 

Pre-med requirements, as we explained above, contain rigorous math and science courses. As such, doing well in your high school math and science courses is an important part of pre-med college admissions. In addition, pre-med requirements include sociology and psychology courses which add context and additional soft skills to the academic experience. In this way, completing pre-med requirements also prepares you for careers in a variety of fields, including:


Many students at the best pre-med universities complete research programs as part of their preparation for medical school. Upon graduating from college, research positions are an excellent career path. There are clinical research positions at all career levels, from entry to mid-level to manager roles. These positions may involve managing a research project, analyzing data, or completing medical briefs. Some undergrads even continue on to earn a master’s or Ph.D. at one of the best colleges for pre-meds. In this case, they gain new skills and become competitive for more advanced research roles.

Health policy

Graduates interested in influencing the future of healthcare might consider the field of health policy. In health policy, individuals contribute to raising awareness on critical issues of access to and efficacy of healthcare initiatives. Health policy can focus locally, nationally, or globally. As such, this career path is a great option for students interested in impacting communities they care about. Some graduates go on to public policy programs at the best pre-med schools for additional context on health issues and advocacy.

Lab sciences

top pre med schools

For those interested in hands-on work, the lab sciences are an ideal career path. Lab sciences can involve tasks like running diagnostic tests that doctors order or preparing blood for transfusions. Some of these positions can be completed with an undergraduate degree from one of the best pre-med schools. On the other hand, others require additional coursework or degrees.

Overall, the pre-med requirements at the best pre-med schools serve as a solid foundation that can jumpstart a variety of STEM careers. You can also pursue graduate study at the best colleges for pre-meds to broaden your knowledge and career options. 

Choosing the Best Pre-Med School for you

So far, we’ve discussed many of the best pre-med schools in the U.S., and our list isn’t completely exhaustive. Let’s imagine you’ve been successful in the college admissions process and been admitted to several of the best pre-med schools. So, how do you choose the best pre-med school for you? To begin with, the answer to this question is incredibly personal and depends on what you’re looking for. Here are some factors you might wish to consider:

College size

Do you want to attend a large, medium, or small-sized school? School size can impact access to opportunities and the attention you receive from professors and advisors, even at the best pre-med schools. In addition, large colleges have larger class sizes, which can impact your ability to learn and ask questions. However, large universities also tend to employ some of the most sought-after professors and have more connections to local institutions. While evaluating college size, research how students at the best colleges for pre-meds think their college’s size impacts their experience.

Academic reputation in the sciences

As we noted, many of the core requirements for pre-meds are courses such as biology, biochemistry, and organic chemistry. Attending a school with a strong academic reputation in these courses can prepare you well. After all, the MCAT and daily medical school life are far from easy; a rigorous undergraduate experience can get you ready. 

Course flexibility

As a pre-med student, you usually have the option to choose any major that interests you. However, some majors are more suited to the pre-med track because their course loads overlap with pre-med requirements. Are you interested in studying a subject outside of the pre-med requirements? If so, be sure to find out what support exists in pre-health advising to plan your med school path.

Some schools are very intentional about helping students explore coursework outside of their pre-med requirements. For example, Cornell’s pre-health advising offers an FAQ about each of the Cornell majors. The team encourages pre-meds to take advantage of the 41 Cornell majors to have a rich and holistic undergraduate experience.

Access to research, volunteer, and study abroad opportunities

best pre med schools

Preparing for pre-med is as much about choosing extracurricular experiences as it is about choosing a major and courses. Some schools heavily promote opportunities for learning outside of the classroom; conversely, others expect students to find their own experiences. If you want institutional support for experiential learning, make sure to research what’s available and any qualifications you may need.

Ultimately, there is no single, ideal choice among the best pre-med schools. Instead, it’s about finding which school among the best pre-med schools is right for you. Lastly, it’s up to each student to make the most of their resources and ask for help along the way. Each of the best pre-med schools we described offers support about what to major in or how to prepare for medical school.

Top Pre-Med Schools – Final Takeaways

In this article, we introduced you to many of the best pre-med schools in the nation. We reviewed key parts of the pre-med process. Particularly, we discussed what pre-med requirements include and how they inform choosing a major. We looked at the best pre-med schools nationally, by region, and ones that are not Ivy Leagues. We also discussed non-physician career paths that you can take if you graduate from one of the best pre-med schools. Finally, we discussed deciding which of the best pre-med schools to attend and debunked some myths about what to major in.

College admissions is an arduous journey. The process of finding a school and applying can be a lot to navigate. CollegeAdvisor is here to help you find the best pre-med schools for you. From finding extracurriculars to writing essays to managing deadlines, we’ll help make your college admissions experience as low-stress and successful as possible.

best pre med schools

This article was written by Deepak Kejariwal and Courtney Ng. Looking for more admissions support? Click here to schedule a free meeting with one of our Admissions Specialists. During your meeting, our team will discuss your profile and help you find targeted ways to increase your admissions odds at top schools. We’ll also answer any questions and discuss how can support you in the college application process.