Becoming a doctor, physician’s assistant, or any other medical professional is a noble and admirable pursuit, but it is also an expensive and time-consuming one. Due to the rising cost of tuition and the increasingly competitive nature of the field, it is imperative to choose the best medical school for your career goals. In fact, it will be one of the most important decisions you make in your academic career. But with the number of programs available, it may seem challenging to find the select few that are right for you. Make sure you take the following factors into consideration as you weigh your options:
Location. The medical school you choose will be your home for the next four to six years, so you should only apply to institutions that are located in areas where you can see yourself living and thriving. The location of the school can affect nearly every aspect of your experience, from academics to financial expenses to your educational opportunities and your personal life. It is even important to note the local weather patterns and the institution’s proximity to nearby cities, as these factors can have a huge impact on your day-to-day life. You should also know that many schools generally accept in-state applicants before even considering out-of-state applicants. This is because medical schools want their graduates to stay in the area and work in nearby hospitals and clinics. Additionally, attending a medical school located close to you or within your state will allow you to save money on tuition, room and board, and transportation expenses.
Finances. Although it’s nearly impossible to graduate from medical school without some debt, you don’t want to accrue a lot of it. Whether you owe $50,000 or $300,000 when you’re done with your medical school education will have a long-term impact on your future. If you’re worried about cost and indebtedness, search for schools that offer the most financial aid to their students. You should also evaluate your monetary situation and decide which schools are within your financial reach. Medical school is stressful enough and you don’t want any financial issues to distract you from your work as a medical student.
Degree. While most people go with a Doctor of Medicine degree (MD), some choose to obtain a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree (DO). The medical training is nearly identical and both are licensed to practice in all states. The major difference is the type of medicine practiced. DOs take a holistic approach to medicine using a system of therapy called osteopathic manipulative medicine. Before signing up for an MD program, give DO programs some consideration; we have over thirty DO schools on our site!
Areas of Concentration. Whether you’re thinking of specializing in dermatology or neurology, it is imperative that you apply to medical schools that specialize in the type of medicine you want to practice. If you’re not sure what your concentration will be, consider applying to institutions with programs that allow you to try out different areas of specialization before making a final decision.
Words of Advice
Do It for You Don’t attend medical school just because “it’s the right thing to do” or because “it’s in the family.” The time commitment can be seven years or more, and the tuition is often astronomical. While the time and cost of a medical education will eventually pay for itself, if you don’t have a passion for the medical profession, you’ll likely get burnt out early and possibly with debt.
Choose Wisely Although it may be tempting to solely apply to the top-rated medical schools, don’t let the name or prestige of certain institutions deter you from considering smaller, lesser-known schools that specialize in the area you want to study. This strategy will also allow you to keep your options open in case you don’t get into your dream school.
Check Out the Campus It is very important to visit various med schools so you can experience the differences first-hand and see what you prefer. The best way to get a feel for schools is to speak with professors, stroll around campuses, and meet up with current students. It is also important to note the emotional well-being of the students and the overall atmosphere of the school so you can determine whether it is right for you.
Primary Care vs. Research
Before choosing medical schools, you should also know whether you want to go into primary care or research. While you can train to be a primary care doctor at any medical school, not all schools offer strong research programs. So if you are thinking of pursuing a career in academic medicine or biomedical research, avoid applying to schools that specialize in primary care. Instead, look for institutions that focus on research—you will have numerous different opportunities, facilities, mentors, and funding that will better enable you to pursue your research interests.
Harvard Medical School is a highly selective medical school. We recommend that you consider applying to other medical schools as well so that you have backup options. Of the 7,139 people who applied for admission, 933 (13%) were granted interviews; of those interviewed and accepted, 167 chose to enroll as first-year medical students. The youngest applicant was 20 years old, while the oldest applicant was 30.
Higher than Average GPA
The average GPA of students admitted to Harvard Medical School is 3.93. It will undoubtedly be more difficult to gain admission into schools with high average admitted GPA scores. Be realistic in your expectations and apply to schools accordingly.
We Provide More Tuition Insights
Our medical school comparison engine does more than just show you the in-state and out-of-state tuition. It lets you see how these compare to other schools to get context, how they’ve changed historically, and how they’re expected to change in the future. You can also see other costs as well as the average tuition of all med schools by state.
Current and Historical Tuition & Costs
Of the 709 medical students enrolled at Harvard Medical School, 581 students (82%) received some type of financial aid. This is 4.5% less than the average percentage of medical students receiving some form of financial aid at all medical schools.
539 medical students (76%) received and took out student loans to assist in paying tuition at Harvard Medical School.
Additionally, 383 students (54%) received some form of scholarship from the medical school. This is 2.5% less than the average percentage of medical students receiving some form of scholarship aid at all medical schools.
Lower than Average Graduate Debt
Students that graduate from Harvard Medical School after completing the standard four year medical school curriculum have on average accrued roughly $104,107 USD in debt. This is low graduate debt compared with graduates from other medical schools.
Higher than Average Research Funding
Harvard Medical School receives $1.17 billion USD in direct research grants and contracts from the federal government. Harvard Medical School has more research funding at their disposal compared with the average medical school. Medical schools with more research funding generally have more opportunities for students to engage in groundbreaking research.
Medical School Endowment
Higher than Average Endowment
Harvard Medical School has a $2.15 billion USD endowment. The average medical school has a $502M endowment. Harvard Medical School has a larger than average endowment when compared with other medical schools. Medical schools with a higher endowment generally have more resources at their disposal to hire high-quality instructors, upgrade facilities, and fund scholarships.