Medical School Acceptance Rates

2020 USN Ranking: Research 2020 USN Ranking: Primary Medical School Total Enrollment Median MCAT Score Median Undergrad GPA Acceptance Rate Selectivity Score Selectivity Index
9 44 Mayo Clinic School of Medicine (Alix) » 307 520 3.91 2.1% 1991 100.0
1 17 Harvard University » 712 519 3.93 3.4% 1970 99.0
9 44 New York University (Langone) » 481 522 3.93 4.9% 1951 98.0
3 10 University of Pennsylvania (Perelman) » 587 521 3.90 4.0% 1951 98.0
22 4 Baylor College of Medicine » 723 518 3.92 4.0% 1949 97.9
3 48 Stanford University » 494 519 3.83 2.5% 1938 97.4
16 18 University of Chicago (Pritzker) » 362 521 3.90 4.8% 1934 97.2
6 39 Columbia University » 620 520 3.85 3.4% 1934 97.2
6 5 University of California—Los Angeles (Geffen) 713 517 3.82 2.1% 1933 97.1
2 26 Johns Hopkins University » 476 520 3.94 6.1% 1924 96.7
5 3 University of California—San Francisco » 645 517 3.85 3.4% 1923 96.6
13 31 Duke University » 503 518 3.83 3.2% 1920 96.5
13 44 Yale University » 391 521 3.89 5.4% 1917 96.3
16 23 Vanderbilt University » 397 519 3.90 5.4% 1915 96.2
84 48 West Virginia University 432 508 3.86 3.1% 1900 95.5
36 26 Brown University (Alpert) » 590 515 3.78 2.8% 1892 95.1
43 53 University of Florida  544 514 3.87 5.1% 1888 94.8
21 30 University of California—San Diego » 526 515 3.81 3.9% 1886 94.7
9 48 Cornell University (Weill)  414 518 3.85 5.8% 1879 94.4
45 74 University of California—Irvine  429 514 3.81 4.3% 1874 94.2
16 6 University of Michigan—Ann Arbor » 717 514 3.82 4.7% 1871 94.0
38 35 Albert Einstein College of Medicine » 771 515 3.82 4.9% 1871 94.0
13 14 University of Pittsburgh » 579 517 3.81 5.3% 1865 93.7
19 35 Northwestern University (Feinberg)  666 519 3.88 7.5% 1863 93.6
72 59

Saint  Louis University »

717 513 3.89 7.3% 1850 92.9
19 59 Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai » 557 517 3.84 6.9% 1848 92.9
30 39 Ohio State University » 778 514 3.82 5.9% 1848 92.8
65 62 University of Arizona—Tucson  485 507 3.71 1.9% 1845 92.7
67 55 Virginia Commonwealth University  824 512 3.77 4.5% 1843 92.6
RNP RNP Florida State University  483 505 3.74 2.4% 1843 92.6
88 RNP University of Central Florida  490 512 3.80 5.3% 1842 92.6
38 21 University of Utah » 501 512 3.75 4.1% 1841 92.5
30 12 University of Colorado 722 511 3.76 4.4% 1837 92.3
60 67 George Washington University » 728 512 3.70 3.1% 1836 92.2
30 53 University of Southern California (Keck) » 757 516 3.73 4.8% 1832 92.1
50 64 Wake Forest University 510 512 3.67 2.5% 1832 92.0
52 78 University of Miami (Miller) 797 513 3.71 3.8% 1831 92.0
30 41 Boston University » 726 516 3.77 6.1% 1827 91.8
43 10 University of Minnesota » 1,012 510 3.78 5.3% 1826 91.7
30 9 University of California—Davis » 442 511 3.70 3.5% 1825 91.7
36 23 University of Rochester 422 514 3.74 5.1% 1824 91.7
27 16 University of Wisconsin—Madison 740 512 3.77 5.5% 1824 91.6
26 18 University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center » 905 515 3.84 7.8% 1823 91.6
56 55 Thomas Jefferson University (Kimmel) » 1,130 515 3.71 4.6% 1823 91.6
38 23 University of Maryland 650 513 3.80 6.6% 1821 91.5
23 1 University of North Carolina—Chapel Hill 788 512 3.70 3.9% 1821 91.5
45 18 Dartmouth College (Geisel) » 403 515 3.69 4.3% 1819 91.4
30 35 University of Alabama—Birmingham » 814 508 3.81 6.1% 1817 91.3
24 35 Emory University » 556 513 3.70 4.5% 1813 91.1
56 55 University of Hawaii—Manoa (Burns) 290 512 3.73 5.1% 1812 91.1
52 31 University of Connecticut » 425 512 3.77 6.4% 1807 90.8
48 RNP Georgetown University » 796 511 3.63 2.6% 1807 90.8
RNP RNP Florida Atlantic University (Schmidt) 247 512 3.68 4.2% 1805 90.7
60 85 Temple University (Katz) » 829 512 3.77 6.5% 1805 90.7
29 6 Oregon Health and Science University 602 510 3.69 4.1% 1805 90.7
12 2 University of Washington » 1,090 509 3.68 3.7% 1804 90.6
82 64 University of Missouri  408 508 3.77 5.9% 1802 90.5
72 85 Hofstra University » 396 516 3.80 8.1% 1802 90.5
8 12 Washington University in St. Louis 492 521 3.85 10.2% 1801 90.5
27 26 University of Virginia 613 518 3.91 11.1% 1801 90.5
67 43 University of Vermont » 466 510 3.70 4.6% 1800 90.4
RNP 88 Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center — El Paso 416 506 3.77 5.7% 1799 90.4
RNP 82 East Tennessee State University (Quillen) 279 507 3.76 6.0% 1792 90.0
60 74 University of Texas —San Antonio 858 513 3.80 8.1% 1791 90.0
38 26 University of Iowa (Carver) 595 512 3.77 7.2% 1791 90.0
24 55 Case Western Reserve University » 938 518 3.79 8.8% 1790 89.9
84 78 University of South Dakota (Sanford) 276 509 3.92 10.3% 1790 89.9
48 31 Indiana University—Indianapolis » 1,426 510 3.83 8.4% 1789 89.9
90 RNP University of South Carolina 388 506 3.69 4.6% 1781 89.5
70 71 Rush University 537 510 3.67 5.0% 1778 89.3
56 59 Tufts University » 846 513 3.64 4.8% 1778 89.3
56 67 Stony Brook University—SUNY » 550 514 3.80 9.2% 1774 89.1
70 85 University of Texas Medical Branch—Galveston 954 508 3.90 10.6% 1771 89.0
75 82 Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School  757 512 3.68 6.0% 1771 89.0
67 41 University of Kansas Medical Center 858 509 3.81 8.7% 1771 89.0
89 RNP University of California—Riverside 245 509 3.66 5.1% 1768 88.8
52 67 University of Texas—Houston (McGovern) 984 511 3.82 9.5% 1767 88.8
84 RNP Drexel University » 1,043 511 3.69 6.5% 1763 88.6
50 48 University of Illinois 1,317 514 3.79 9.5% 1763 88.6
45 15 University of Massachusetts—Worcester 617 514 3.73 8.9% 1747 87.7
38 48 University of Cincinnati 708 515 3.74 9.4% 1745 87.7
65 8 University of Nebraska Medical Center 525 510 3.74 8.7% 1741 87.5
78 RNP Wayne State University 1,182 509 3.68 7.1% 1740 87.4
52 RNP University of South Florida 716 515 3.60 6.3% 1737 87.3
78 21 University of New Mexico 423 506 3.74 8.6% 1730 86.9
78 66 University of Oklahoma 658 508 3.74 9.0% 1729 86.9
84 88 Augusta University 942 511 3.80 11.1% 1726 86.7
75 RNP Rutgers New Jersey Medical School—Newark » 752 513 3.65 7.9% 1725 86.6
90 RNP Eastern Virginia Medical School 601 511 3.60 6.6% 1718 86.3
90 71 Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center 729 507 3.74 9.4% 1718 86.3
72 74 University of Kentucky 575 506 3.74 9.5% 1713 86.0
60 44 Medical College of Wisconsin 972 509 3.72 9.7% 1710 85.9
RNP RNP Howard University 457 503 3.47 2.5% 1702 85.5
75 78 University at Buffalo—SUNY (Jacobs) 673 510 3.68 9.6% 1697 85.2
60 78 Medical University of South Carolina 743 510 3.74 13.1% 1658 83.3
RNP 82 Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine 2,256 503 3.55 7.2% 1657 83.2
78 62 University of Tennessee Health Science Center 681 510 3.84 15.6% 1653 83.0
83 88 Texas A&M Health Science Center » 675 509 3.70 13.6% 1627 81.7
RNP RNP Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine 2,005 500 3.60 10.2% 1616 81.2
RNP 31 East Carolina University (Brody) 326 507 3.61 12.8% 1596 80.2

Med school admissions stats matter

While there are many subjective and qualitative factors that contribute to an effective medical school application, the objective, quantitative factors play a significant role both in your acceptance and in how you should choose where you apply.

You can’t underestimate the importance of these medical school admission rates and stats. They frequently constitute numerical screen tools and determine who gets secondary applications. And they should influence you when you choose the programs to apply to.

The most important medical school applicant stats are:

  1. Your MCAT
  2. Your undergraduate GPA

The most important medical school admissions stats are:

  1. The median MCAT for matriculants
  2. The median GPA for matriculants
  3. The overall, in-state, and out-of-state acceptance rates

How to use your stats to choose which med schools to apply to

Medical school acceptance rates for the class that entered in 2018 at schools ranked by US News ranged from a low of 1.9% at the University of Arizona (Tucson) to a high of 15.6% at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center. However, since most med school applicants apply to multiple medical schools, if you look at the applicant pool as a whole the picture is not quite as bleak. Per AAMC for the class that matriculated in 2018, 52,777 applicants submitted 849,678 applications and in the end 21,622 matriculated at an allopathic medical school. Bottom line: 50.5% of applicants who applied to allopathic medical schools matriculated.

That 50.5% is certainly a lot more encouraging than the 1.9 – 15.6% acceptance rates at individual programs, and it doesn’t include applicants who opted to go to osteopathic medical schools. At the same time, that 50.5% still means it’s roughly 50-50, and you want to maximize your chances.

Ideally you want to apply mostly to programs that you want to attend and that are somewhat likely to accept you. “Somewhat likely to accept you” means that your stats are close to or above the median. You don't want to apply solely to the easiest medical schools to get into without considering if you actually want to attend that school. Yes, you can apply to a couple of dream schools where you are less competitive, and you should apply to a few schools where your stats are above average and where you would also be happy to attend.

Keep in mind as you apply that medians are medians because applicants are accepted with GPAs and MCATs that are below the median. However, the further away your scores are below the median, the less likely you are to be accepted, especially if both your GPA and MCAT are weak.

Keep also in mind the impact of in-state (IS) vs. out-of-state (OOS) acceptance rates as you choose your target schools. Many medical schools associated with public universities have significant preferences for in-state residents. They frequently also charge lower tuition to in-state residents. Those two facts, if applicable in your state, suggest that you should apply to your IS school(s) in addition to any OOS schools that appeal to you.

Why are GPA, MCAT scores, and acceptance rates important when you apply to medical school?

 

The GPA

Your undergraduate GPA reflects your academic performance in college and over time. Since a foundational element of admissions is that past behavior predicts future behavior, that number is really important.

Schools want to know that you know how to perform in a demanding academic environment, particularly in the sciences. Your GPA tells them how you’ve performed in the past and also reflects how you’ve performed relative to your peers.

The median GPA in the table above is a median. People were accepted with GPAs below the median as well above the median. To gain a fuller understanding of the GPA range at a given school you can check:

  • Each school’s website
  • AAMC’s Medical School Admissions Requirements (a good investment)
  • U.S. News Medical School Rankings

While the median GPA provided here is a good initial check when assessing the competitiveness of your GPAs, make sure that you don’t stop there; look into the larger range of GPAs as you assess your competitiveness at particular schools.

Also consider the trend in your GPA, your science GPA, your postbac grades (if relevant), and extenuating circumstances that may make your GPA look shinier than it is at first glance.

Where does your GPA fall relative to the median GPA at your target medical schools?

If your GPA is at or above the median GPAs for your target schools, great!

If it’s significantly below the median or if both your GPA and MCAT are below the median, then you’ll want to explore the following free resources:

The MCAT

The MCAT allows medical schools to compare students on a common measure. Grading standards vary among schools, among professors, and among TAs. There is an element of subjectivity to the grading system.

The MCAT is something all medical school applicants – whether applying to allopathic or osteopathic schools – have in common. And it’s scoring is consistent.

MCAT scores also correlate somewhat to performance on the USMLE Step 1 and Step 2 CK exams (see here for details). Medical schools want to know that if they admit you, you will not only be likely to handle the workload at medical school, but also likely to pass these critical exams.

Other factors to consider when evaluating your MCAT:

  • The breakdown of the MCAT scores. A really low score on one part of the exam can hurt even if the overall score is competitive.
  • Taking the MCAT multiple times. Some schools will use your highest score. Some will take the average. Some will take the most recent score. Most will consider trend if you take the MCAT multiple times.

Where does your MCAT score fall relative to the median score at your target medical schools?

If you have an MCAT that you are satisfied with, fantastic! Check it off your to-do list. If you are not satisfied with your MCAT, here are additional resources for you:

Medical Schools with the Highest Median MCAT Scores

School Median MCAT Score

NYU Langone

522

Penn (Perelman) 521
Chicago (Pritzker) 521
Yale 521
University of Washington St. Louis 521

Medical Schools with the Lowest Median MCAT Scores

School Median MCAT Score

Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine

500
Howard University 503
Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine 503
Florida State University

505

University of South Carolina 506

Clearly there’s a significant range in median MCAT scores at different schools. Not only that, but some applicants are admitted with MCAT scores below the median.  

IS vs. OOS medical school acceptance rates

As mentioned above, overall acceptance rates vary from a high of 15.6% for the University of Tennessee Health Science Center to a low of 1.9% for the University of Arizona at Tucson. However at UA Tucson, the in-state acceptance rate is 13% and the out-of-state acceptance rate is a meager 0.8%. At the University of Tennessee the in-state acceptance rate is 32.5% and the out-of-state acceptance rate is 4.6%. Obviously in determining whether it makes sense for you to apply to these two programs (and many others), the difference between in-state and out-of-state acceptance rates can be more important than the overall acceptance rate.

You can find the overall, in-state (IS), and out-of-state (OOS) acceptance rates at Accepted’s tool: Med School Acceptance Rates: In-State vs. Out-of-State. You’ll also find it very easy to determine which schools have strong preference for IS and which have no or negligible preference.

Schools with the Strongest Preference for In-State Applicants

School

Overall Acceptance Rate In-State Acceptance Rate

Out-of-State Acceptance Rate

Ratio of IS to OOS
Florida State

2.4%

6.1%

.1%

45.98

University of Washington

3.7%

20.6%

.7% 28.72

University of New Mexico

8.6%

41.6%

1.6% 26.79

West Virginia University

3.1%

38.9%

1.5% 26.64

University of Oklahoma

9.0%

45.2%

1.8% 25.63

Those are pretty telling numbers if you live in Florida, Washington, New Mexico, West Virginia, or Oklahoma.  

They tell a very different story if you are considering those programs and don’t live in those states.

If you live in a state with no or few medical schools, you have to look out of state. You might find these programs more welcoming.

Schools with the Highest Out-of-State Acceptance Rates

School

Out-of-State Acceptance Rate Overall Acceptance Rate

University of Virginia

10.3%

11.1%

Washington University of St. Louis 10.3% 10.2%
Case Western Reserve 8.9% 8.8%
Northwestern (Feinberg) 7.5% 7.5%
Saint Louis University 6.9% 7.3%

Moving forward with the medical school admissions process

Some of you are probably thinking: these programs are really hard to get into! You’re right. That’s why we also recommend that you apply to 20-25 programs and don’t stop with these top or bottom five. Look at both tools as well as the other resources we provided.

Finally, don’t go it alone. Consider getting professional help to guide you as you attempt to take the next step towards the professional career of your dreams.

Yes, medical school admission stats are serious business. Evaluating your stats vis-a-vis your target schools’ stats and keeping in mind in-state vs. out-of-state acceptance rates is a first step in choosing the most appropriate schools for you. And those are the medical schools where you are most likely to get accepted.

Choosing those “most appropriate” medical schools to apply to can save you lots of time, money, and heartache. You need to evaluate all the stats discussed here as well as the qualitative factors that go into a successful medical school application to apply effectively.

If you’d like help in choosing those programs, advice on mitigating weaknesses, or guidance in presenting your best self in primary and secondary applications and interviews, check out Accepted’s outstanding Medical School Admission Consulting Services.

Competition is intense. Get Accepted.