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Selecting a School

There are certainly many factors involved when trying to decide which schools to apply to.

Before selecting medical schools to apply to, you need to figure out what is important to you. Not all of the areas or questions below are relevant or important to everyone. Make a list of what matters to you. Then use your list of priorities to figure out which medical schools meet your needs.

Of course, often, you cannot choose your medical school to attend. Maybe, your application is not competitive enough or you just don't get offers where you'd like to go.

Read how people chose their medical school to attend.

In-State vs. Out-of-State medical schools

If you have the opportunity to go to medical school within your state of residence, that will be a great advantage to you. In-state medical schools are much cheaper (in-state tuition vs. out-of-state tuition), sometimes charging you only 20% to 50% of what out-of-state students have to pay.

Also, admission is usually much easier for in-state students since the state schools are given incentives or mandates from the state (and it is their mission) to accept predominantly in-state students. Often, the out-of-state applicant pool is very large and applicants are competing for very few spots.

Even many private medical schools receive some bonus or incentive from the state their are located in to accept more in-state applicants. So, the advantage may even exist at private medical schools within your state.

Other factors to consider

Here is a list of some factors that you may want to consider when making a list of potential schools:

Academics and competitiveness at schools
Is my MCAT competitive for MD, DO, Podiatry, Caribbean medical school?
Is my GPA competitive?
Do I have sufficient extra-curricular activities, research, shadowing, volunteer work, etc. for the school?
Do I meet all "special" coursework and other requirements of the school?
Do I need to apply to more schools than the average applicant since my MCAT & GPA are weak?
Does the school admit lots of out-of-state students?


Reputation and Rankings
Is the school top rated and well known/prestigious?
Does the school have top research or other awards?
Is the school known for the specialty I'm interested in?
Is the school research or clinically oriented and does it match my interests?

Location
Is the school where I am willing/happy to live?
Are beach, mountains, entertainment close by - if important?
Is the school close to or far away from relatives or to home?
How safe is the campus, the neighborhood and the area?

Family
Do you have parents, siblings, friends around?
Is the area suitable for raising your own kids?
Does the area have good schools and is the neighborhood safe for you family?
Is reasonable and safe housing available close to the school?

Costs
Tuition costs - especially consider In-state vs. Out-of-state if you have that option.
Cost of living for the areas you are interested in can vary significantly and your budget is essentially the same, no matter where you go.
Commuting costs can also be significant.

Other
Are all the 3rd and 4th year rotations done locally or do I have to travel all over the country?
What are USMLE scores/pass-rate for the school?
Are there any aspects of school that are exceptional?
What do the campus and the affiliated hospitals look like? Are they in good shape or old and run down? What were faculty, students and other staff like on interview day?


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