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Do medical school rankings matter?

The decision to attend medical school is quite possibly the biggest decision in your life and it will ultimately lead to many sacrifices along the way. However, does it really matter where you attend medical school?

The most basic answer is no- you will still receive your MD degree and will be licensed to practice. There is a common joke heard in medical school that goes something like this, “What do you call a medical student from who received the lowest passing mark from the lowest ranked medical school in the world?” The Answer: a doctor.

However, while you will still be a licensed physician, there are definite differences when it comes to the opportunities that are available to the more prestigious schools. These include research grants and, most importantly, a better choice at a top residency position.

The credentials that would allow you to attend a higher-ranking medical school include receiving superior MCAT and science GPA scores, attending a strong undergraduate institution, participating in research studies, and being an active member in your community.

The top ranked medical schools

This year, like so many previous years, Harvard University topped the best medical school for research list according to U.S News. With such a high ranking, Harvard University understandably has the most difficult entrance level even for its undergraduate education- only 9% of applicants were admitted!  In addition, The University of Washington also topped the best primary care medical school list again this year.

The "Debt List" - ranking value and cost of medical schools

However, another list is now emerging to the forefront of many medical applicants’ minds- The Debt List. This list from U.S. News shows the schools in which medical students graduate with the most debt. With a dwindling economy and interest rates higher than before, this is a genuine concern and a list that will likely be considered when applying for medical schools.

The big winner? Drexel University. Students from the Drexel University in Pennsylvania can expect to incur approximately $183,000 by the time they complete their medical school training.

Other notables on this list include Tufts University with $171,686, Northwestern University with $150,468, and Georgetown with $146,000.

In the end though, to be completely frank, many medical applicant hopefuls will be only too eager to be accepted into any medical school as competition has risen dramatically over the past few years. However, it is always helpful to keep such lists in your mind to provide some guidance. Good luck!


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