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How To Get Into The Best Medical Schools In California

July 27, 2021
Part 1. IntroductionPart 2. Attending Medical School in California Part 3. All Medical Schools in California Part 4. Best Medical Schools in California Part 5. Tips for Getting Accepted into Medical Schools in California Part 6. FAQsPart 7. Conclusion

Introduction 

A lot of premeds want to know how to get into the best medical schools in California. Many of the top-ranked medical schools in the world are located in the Golden State. There are many reasons why California would be a great place to study medicine: the palm trees, the beautiful weather, the diversity of its people, and more. But be careful. Californian medical schools are some of the most competitive; therefore getting accepted can be challenging. If you want to attend school in California, you have probably asked yourself how to get into California's best medical schools.

This article will take you through every medical school that California has to offer, along with tips on getting accepted to the best medical schools in California.

Attending Medical School in California 

If you are not a California resident, the odds are against you. You will find that the acceptance rate for out-of-state applicants is low for most state schools. Many out-of-state applicants seek to gain residency in California, but that process  is difficult and can take a very long time. Out-of-state applicants also pay higher tuition fees. 

If you are a resident, you’ll find it easier but not by much. Californian medical schools boast some of the highest average MCAT scores. Loma Linda has one of the lowest median MCAT scores at 510, while Stanford’s is 519, rivaling schools like Harvard and Yale. Stanford’s median MCAT score is  topped only by a handful of schools in the country. The median GPA for Californian schools is just as impressive and sets a high standard of competition. 

All Medical Schools in California: The Rundown 

UC Davis School of Medicine

Mission Statement: 

 "To provide excellent learner-centered education to a diverse body of medical students and graduate students; cultivating in them the passion to improve lives and transform the health of the communities they will serve as physicians, scientists and health care leaders." 

Introduction to School: 

UC Davis School of Medicine prides itself in offering a rich and diverse academic environment. The school prepares students for leadership roles in medicine, research, health policy, medical education, management, and administration. Notable characteristics include: 

Median GPA: 

3.7

Median MCAT: 

512

Tuition: 

$41,231 In-state

 $53,476 Out-of-state

Selection Factors: 

UC Irvine School of Medicine

Mission Statement: 

"Discover - Teach - Heal Vision Statement: Powered by discovery and innovation, UCI Health will advance individual and population health."

Introduction to School: 

The school has 560 full-time faculty and 1,300 voluntary faculty in 26 academic departments. Areas of research and clinical emphasis include neurosciences, oncology, urology, cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases, infectious diseases, and stem cell research.

Median GPA: 

3.83

Median MCAT: 

517

Tuition: 

$36,525 In-state

$48,770 Out-of-state

Selection factors: 

UCLA School of Medicine (Geffen)

Mission statement: 

"To improve health and healthcare, UCLA will: 

Introduction to School: 

Their mission is to prepare graduates for distinguished careers in clinical practice, teaching, research, and public service. The faculty has created an environment where students prepare for a future where scientific knowledge, societal values, and human needs are ever-changing.

They believe that diversity is an integral part of medical education and is essential to developing patient-centered care.

Median GPA: 

3.85

Median MCAT: 

517

Tuition: 

$37,947 In-state

$50,192 Out-of-state

Selection Factors: 

UC Riverside School of Medicine

Mission Statement: 

"The mission of the UCR School of Medicine is to improve the health of the people of California and, especially, to serve Inland Southern California by training a diverse workforce of physicians and by developing innovative research and health care delivery programs that will improve the health of the medically underserved in the region and become models to be emulated throughout the state and nation."

Introduction to School: 

UC Riverside has built its medical school from a long history of training physicians in partnership with David Geffen School of Medicine. The school offers a program of ambulatory-based, patient-centered, medical home-oriented, and culturally competent physician training focused on wellness and preventive care.

Through its research, the medical school seeks to address specific health care challenges within Inland Southern California, thereby improving the health of people living in the region.

Median GPA: 

3.72 

Median MCAT: 

510 

Tuition: 

$37,612 In-state

$49,857 Out-of-state

Selection Factors: 

UC San Diego School of Medicine

Mission Statement: 

“The mission of the UC San Diego School of Medicine is to provide skilled, compassionate physicians well-trained to practice medicine who are sensitive to the needs of the special populations of our region and the nation. In addition, we strive to build on our exceptional biomedical, behavioral and health services research strengths to extend the boundaries of the art and science of medicine through continued research and the preparation of future academicians. In these ways, we also strive to improve the overall health of the population.”

Introduction to School: 

Offers a diverse faculty and access to a wide variety of research and clinical opportunities.

Median GPA: 

3.85

Median MCAT: 

517

Tuition: 

$37,090 In-state

$49,335 Out-of-state

Selection Factors: 

UCSF School of Medicine

Mission Statement: 

“The UCSF School of Medicine strives to advance human health through a four-fold mission of education, research, patient care, and public service.”

Introduction to School: 

Distinguished by its quality of students and faculty, including:

Median GPA: 

3.85

Median MCAT: 

518

Tuition: 

$36,021 In-state

$48,266 Out-of-state

Selection Factors: 

California Health Sciences University College of Osteopathic Medicine

Mission Statement: 

“We exist to improve the health care outcomes of people living in the Central Valley by:

Introduction to School: 

Founded in 2012, CHSU offers a local option for those seeking to attend pharmacy or medical school and helps address the shortage of healthcare services provided in the Central Valley. CHSU currently offers a Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) program and a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) program.

Median GPA: 

N/A

Median MCAT: 

N/A

Tuition: 

$54,500

Selection Factors: 

California Northstate University College of Medicine

Mission Statement: 

To Advance the Art and Science of Medicine through Education, Service, Scholarship, and Social Accountability.

Introduction to School: 

They are dedicated to educating students to become competent, patient-centered healthcare professionals. Service-learning and leadership will be developed with faculty-supervised service-learning clinics. The medical education program's goal is to graduate healthcare providers who can meet the challenges in the 21st century.

Median GPA: 

3.69

Median MCAT: 

512

Tuition: 

$60,377 Private

Selection Factors:

Evaluation is based on all aspects of an application, including 

California University of Science and Medicine

Mission Statement: 

“To advance the art and science of medicine through innovative medical education, research, and compassionate healthcare delivery in an inclusive environment that advocates critical thinking, creativity, integrity, and professionalism.”

Introduction to School: 

Median GPA:

3.69

Median MCAT: 

513

Tuition: 

$60,250 Private

Selection Factors: 

Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science

Mission Statement: 

Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science is a private non-profit student-centered University that is committed to cultivating diverse health professional leaders who are dedicated to social justice and health equity for underserved populations through outstanding education, research, clinical service, and community engagement.”

Introduction to School: 

Median GPA:

N/A

Median MCAT: 

N/A

Tuition: 

N/A

Selection Factors: 

N/A

Kaiser Permanente School of Medicine

Mission Statement: 

“To provide a world-class medical education that ignites a passion for learning, a desire to serve, and an unwavering commitment to improve the health and well-being of patients and communities.”

Introduction to School:

Median GPA:

3.85

Median MCAT:

515

Tuition:

Because It is a new school, the first 5 cohorts pay no tuition.  

$54, 719

Selection Factors: 

Loma Linda University School of Medicine

Mission Statement: 

“The mission of the School of Medicine is to continue the teaching and healing ministry of Jesus Christ. Our overriding purpose is to foster the formation of Christian physicians, providing whole-person care to individuals, families, and communities. Fulfilling this responsibility requires education, research, service, developing the whole person, and reaching the world.”

Introduction to School:

This school of medicine has educated students in a supportive Christian environment of excellence and caring since 1909. Throughout the history of the educational process, the school has followed the best medical education practices while holding to its original mission to “continue the healing and teaching ministry of Jesus Christ to make man whole.”

Median GPA:

3.89

Median MCAT: 

510

Tuition: 

$59,820 In-state

$59,820 Out-of-state

Selection Factors: 

Stanford University School of Medicine

Mission Statement:

“To be a premier research-intensive medical school that improves health through leadership, diversity, and a collaborative approach to discovery and innovation in patient care, education, and research.”

Introduction to School: 

The school was founded in 1858 in San Francisco by Dr. Elias Samuel Cooper. The Stanford School of Medicine is ranked in the top ten of all research university medical centers in the country consistently. The school’s goal is to graduate excellent physicians and inspire future leaders. 

Median GPA: 

3.89

Median MCAT: 

519

Tuition:

$61,328 In-state

$61,328 Out-of-state

Selection Factors: 

Touro University of California College of Osteopathic Medicine

Mission Statement:

“The Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine is committed to training osteopathic physicians, with a particular emphasis on practicing medicine in underserved communities, and to increasing the number of underrepresented minorities in medicine.

We value and support public service, research, graduate medical education, and osteopathic clinical service in the community that will strive to improve health outcomes for those we serve.

We will work to educate students through the use of the latest innovative education techniques using summative and formative measures so as to graduate qualified osteopathic physicians.”

Introduction to School: 

Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine is a private graduate school “established in San Francisco in 1997 as the eighteenth college of osteopathic medicine, the college was relocated in 1999” to the current 44-acre campus on historic Mare Island, located in Vallejo. Today, the University provides degrees in graduate studies of various disciplines, including education, osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, physician assistant studies, nursing, and public health.

Median GPA: 

3.51

Median MCAT: 

508

Tuition: 

$58,000

Selection Factors: 

N/A

USC School of Medicine (Keck)

Mission Statement: 

“The mission of the Keck School of Medicine of USC is to improve the quality of life for individuals and society by promoting health, preventing and treating disease, advancing biomedical research and educating tomorrow's physicians and scientists.”

Introduction to School:

They were established in 1885 as the region's first medical school. All students train at the Los Angeles County + USC Medical Center, one of the largest medical teaching centers in the United States. Students receive extensive clinical training experience through affiliations with over a dozen other private and public hospitals.

Median GPA:

3.81

Median MCAT: 

517

Tuition: 

$65,439 In-state

$65,439 Out-of-state

Selection Factors: 

Western University of Health Sciences - College of Osteopathic Medicine

Mission Statement: 

“To produce, in a humanistic tradition, health care professionals and biomedical knowledge that will enhance and extend the quality of life in our communities.”

Introduction to School:

The College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific is a private, non-profit medical school for osteopathic medicine located in downtown Pomona, California (COMP). The college opened in 1977 as the founding program of Western University of Health Sciences (WesternU), which now has eight colleges in addition to COMP. Each program offers professional degrees in various fields of healthcare.

Median GPA:

3.68

Median MCAT:

509

Tuition: 

$59, 560

Selection Factors:

Best Medical Schools in California

These are the 10 best medical schools in California based on research opportunities. 

Tips for Getting Accepted into Medical Schools in California 

1. Determine what makes each school unique:

It is important to do your homework by reading each school's website and speaking to other medical school students. Know their mission statements and what they value. You can also attempt to shadow a doctor at one of the multiple Californian medical schools to get first-hand experience. 

2. Apply within your range:

The majority of schools you apply to should be those where your GPA and MCAT scores are within the range in which students usually get accepted. 

3. Connect with med school students:

The best way to learn about the school's culture and uniqueness is to get to know the med students. Use your connections and your undergrad’s alumni network to find students that you can talk to and learn about the school's details. Use this information to construct your application in a way that is sure to stick out to your desired school.

4. Tailor your secondary application to each school:

Make each secondary essay unique and address the values and culture of each school. Use examples in your essays to describe why you are a good fit, what you can contribute to the school, and how you will excel at the medical school.

FAQs

1. What is the difference between public and private schools? 

Public schools receive funding from the state and are required to provide a certain number of spots in their class to residents of that state. Private schools are generally more expensive because the state subsidizes part of the tuition for public schools. They also do not typically offer a difference in tuition fees due to residency. 

2. If I am a California resident, should I only apply to Californian medical schools?

No. Although medical schools in California are competitive and challenging to get into, there are benefits such as reduced tuition. You should apply to a mix of Californian and out-of-state  schools to maximize your odds.  

3. If my GPA or MCAT score is lower than the average, can I still get in?

Yes, but you will have a lower chance of getting in, unless you are exceptional in some other regard. You will have to show how you are exceptional through your personal statement, by gaining relevant experiences, and by securing great letters of recommendation etc.

4. Why is tuition higher for out-of-state students?

Those students come from families that have not paid tax dollars to the state and, therefore, the school. Out-of-state tuition brings in more revenue to the school, which gets used in a variety of ways.  

Source: https://www.nationwide.com/lc/resources/personal-finance/articles/in-state-out-state-tuition

5. What is the easiest medical school in California to get into?

Judging by the school’s low median GPA and MCAT score, Touro University of California College of Osteopathic Medicine would be the easiest to get into as compared to other schools where the median GPA and MCAT scores are higher.

6. What is it like to study and practice medicine in California?

With a population of nearly 40 million and a moderate climate, many will find it a pleasant experience. The diversity of its population and neighborhoods also provides opportunities to see and experience a variety of different medical cases. California has some of the best medical schools in the country meaning you will get to interact with some of the finest minds in health care.  

Conclusion

The bottom line is that California is a desirable destination for premed students. Given the state's population and the out-of-state interest for various reasons (prestigious schools, warm weather, diverse people), figuring out how to get into the best medical schools in California can seem a daunting task. If you want to have the best chances, it is best to do your research and understand what makes each school unique. Then, tailor your secondary essays to fit the school. You can use this article as a reference  point to compare every Californian school's mission statements, admission statistics, and selection factors.

The more you know about each school, the more informed decisions you can make in your application.  

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