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Identifying top medical schools

Finding the top medical schools for your needs is important. It will help ensure you are able to learn the skills you need for an exciting, rewarding career.

When deciding on a profession in medicine, you’ll want to know about the top-ranked medical schools. By studying at one of these top-tier medical schools, you will gain the education, skills and training to enjoy an incredible career in the medical industry. So, where do you start? It can be confusing even to identify the top medical schools in the United States. However, if you have the right information at hand, you can easily choose the best U.S. medical schools to match your needs.

What qualifies as a top medical school?

First you'll need to understand what gives top medical schools their rankings. Of course, you’ve heard names like Harvard University, the University of Washington and Duke University. However, are these the right schools for you? Consider in what specific areas of the medical industry these schools are “top” rated. For instance, medical schools are broken down into two different categories: research schools and primary care schools. Read more about how to use medical school rankings.

You will need to identify the top schools for your needs based upon your choice of profession. If you want to enter medical research, then schools such as Yale, the University of Pennsylvania, Johns Hopkins University or Baylor College of Medicine can be excellent options.

However, if you want to enter the primary care field, you’ll need to alter your choices. In this field, you’ll find the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill, the University of Vermont, the University of Wisconsin Madison, Oregon Health and Science University, and the University of Colorado - Denver and Health Sciences Center are some of the top U.S. medical schools for you.

Additional criteria for top medical schools

Of course, the prestige of a school is not the “end all, be all” of this process. While a solid reputation and respect within the medical community are important, there are other factors that should be taken into consideration:

  • Cost
  • Financial aid
  • Location
  • Housing

For instance, how much does the school cost? How much will you be able to obtain through grants, loans and scholarships? Where is the school located? If it is out of state (or a long distance drive from your home), will you be able to live on campus? Do they offer student housing, or must you find your own accommodations? You’ll need to answer each of these questions before you find the right medical school for you.

Historically, several California medical schools have ranked among the top med schools in the country. Schools including Stanford, UCSF and UCLA still hold strong, but the California budget debacle threatens all public universities in the state, and even private schools like Stanford Medical School have been hit hard by the economic downturn.

Other resources

StudentDoc.com rankings of top medical schools

US News’
top medical school information

AAMC information on top medical schools
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