Getting into medical school is a significant accomplishment. Getting into one of the top medical schools in the nation is an even greater accomplishment. The top medical schools are highly selective and take only the best applicants. Determining which schools are the top schools and how to compare them can help you in deciding which schools to apply to. You need not apply only to the top schools, however, as some medical school programs offer comparable programs in certain speciality areas like paediatrics.
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Compare the top-ranked schools as determined by the major publications that rank schools on a yearly basis. The ranking of American medical schools is done yearly by "U.S. News & World Report." Rankings are determined based on surveys completed by faculty members in medical schools nationwide. You can't use this as your only guide to compare medical schools, however, because it paints only a small portion of the picture. Compare the rankings of "U.S. News & World Report" with the rankings provided by the "Times Higher Education" supplement. This publication ranks the top medical programs worldwide. This will help you corroborate the rankings of the "U.S News & World Report" publication.
Examine and compare the admissions requirements. Most prospective medical students would love to get into Harvard or Johns Hopkins University, but for many of these students that is simply not realistic. Comparing the various medical schools' admission requirements will help you make sense of which schools you should apply to. Things to consider when comparing admission requirements include the required grade point average (GPA), Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) scores and other requirements that might be specific to each school.
Compare schools by specialisation based on your own career goals. "U.S. News & World Report" ranks not only the top medical programs as a whole, but also the various medical specialities. Some of these include paediatric medicine, geriatrics, family medicine, women's health and internal medicine, among others. Many medical students pursue areas of specialisation rather than just practicing general medicine. You can also compare schools based on their reputation in medical research or primary care. "U.S. News & World Report" provides separate ratings for both.
Consider the cost. Some of the top-ranked programs cost between £26,000 and £32,500 per year, while other top-ranked programs cost less than half that amount. For instance, the University of Massachusetts--Worcester costs £5,428 per year as of the 2009-2010 academic school year for instate residents, whereas Harvard costs £27,625. Harvard ranked first for its research programs, but the University of Massachusetts, Worcester ranked seventh among all primary care programs. It may not make sense for someone living in Massachusetts who wants to be a general practitioner to go to Harvard which ranks No. 17 in primary care programs and costs five times as much.
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