Does Undergrad Matter for Med School?

February 27, 2024


Reviewed by:

Jonathan Preminger

Former Admissions Committee Member, Hofstra-Northwell School of Medicine

Reviewed: 5/13/22

Does your undergrad impact your medical school application? Here we discuss how medical schools consider your undergrad in your application.

Your undergraduate degree is one of many components of your medical school application. Although you need to have a bachelor’s degree for most MD programs in the US, it can be unclear whether or not your major and school will impact your chances of acceptance.

Below we’ll cover what aspects of your undergrad are important to medical schools and what you should consider when making undergraduate decisions before moving into the field of medicine. Let’s get started!

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Does Undergrad Prestige Matter for Med School?

So, does your undergrad school matter for med school? 

The short answer is yes, the prestige of your undergrad school can impact the strength of your medical school application. School prestige, to many, signifies the quality of the education you received. Just as attending a prestigious school looks great on a resume for the working world, it can give your medical school application a boost in the right direction.

That said, the prestige of your undergrad is a fairly minor factor in the overall admissions decision. It is certainly not impossible to get into medical school with an undergrad from a less prestigious school. 

You’ll need to consider how prestigious the programs are that you are applying to. For example, it may be more challenging to get into Harvard with a bachelor’s degree from a community college than one from a top-tier university. 

Examine the schools you are interested in attending and how realistic it is to be accepted to those schools based on each part of your application. If the schools you’re applying to are extremely competitive, your acceptance may come down to minor details such as the school you attended. 

However, if your grades, essays, extracurriculars, and overall track record are impeccable, your undergrad school will carry less weight.

Does Undergrad Major Matter for Medical School?

According to most medical schools across the US and Canada, the major you choose during your undergrad does not affect your chances of being accepted to medical school. As long as your major allows you to complete all necessary prerequisite courses for medical school, your specific areas of interest won’t make a difference in your application. 

Although it’s unlikely to impact your chances of acceptance, here are the most common undergrad majors for medical students according to the AMA:

  • Biological sciences
  • Physical sciences
  • Social sciences
  • Humanities
  • Specialized health sciences
  • Math and statistics

What’s most important when choosing a major for your undergrad is to ensure you’ll be prepared for your next steps. Choose your major and courses wisely, and soak up all the information you can before taking the MCAT and moving on to medical school.

What Factors do Medical Schools Consider?

Medical schools all have their own unique admissions processes and weigh different aspects of your application more heavily than others. Generally speaking, your GPA, MCAT, extracurriculars/volunteerism, medical school essays, and interview are all important aspects of your application that medical schools will consider. 

When you start applying to medical schools, make sure to thoroughly research your target schools’ requirements and what they look for in their applicants. Some schools put a heavy emphasis on the interview, while some don’t have an interview at all. Familiarizing yourself with each step of their process will help you to be confident throughout the application process.

FAQs: Does Undergrad Matter for Med School?

Here are our answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about undergrad importance for medical school.

1. Does Your Undergrad Major Matter for Med School?

The major you choose during your undergrad will not impact your chances of acceptance into medical school. As long as you can take the necessary prerequisite courses for medical school and maintain an excellent GPA, your major will not help or disadvantage you. 

2. Do Med Schools Care About Your Undergrad School?

Your undergrad does matter for med school, although the degree of importance varies between institutions. If you’re applying for a highly competitive program, the prestige of your undergrad school does make a difference in your medical school application.

3. Do Medical Schools Prefer Their Own Undergraduates?

Sometimes, but not always. Certain schools have been known to prefer students that have attended their undergraduate programs, although it is daily uncommon. Generally speaking, your undergrad school can make a slight difference, but it does not have a serious impact on your application in most cases.

4. Are Undergrad Grades Important for Med School?

Yes, your GPA is a major factor in medical school admissions decisions. If you have a lower GPA, try focusing your energy on the MCAT, your interview skills, and essays to boost the quality of your application.

5. Can I Get Into Medical School With a Community College Undergrad Degree?

Most medical schools do not care where you have attended your undergrad as long as you meet all of their educational requirements. That said, the prestige of your undergrad may play a minor factor in the success of your application when you are applying to highly competitive schools such as Havard.

Final Thoughts

To summarize, when answering the question “does your undergrad school matter for med school?” The answer is mostly no, but it can depend on the school. The only time a medical school will consider the prestige of your undergraduate institution is if the school is extremely competitive. 

If you’re concerned about the strength of your application based on the school you attended, try contacting an experienced admissions advisor to help you plan your next steps. Good luck with your applications!

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