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How to Get Into U.S. Medical Schools as an International Student

June 22, 2022
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IntroductionRequirements for American Med Schools that Accept International StudentsMedical Schools That Accept International Students Special Considerations for Medical School as an International StudentBest Medical Schools in USA For International Students FAQs: U.S Med School for International Students
Rohan
”Rohan

Reviewed by:

Rohan Jotwani

Former Chief Resident in Anesthesiology, Weill Cornell Medicine, & Admissions Officer, Columbia University

Reviewed: 6/22/22

Are you thinking of leaving your home country for medical school in the United States? Many international students have aspirations of traveling to study and practice medicine in the U.S. as it’s home to dozens of world-renowned medical schools.

Although it may be uncommon, there are some medical schools in the US accepting international students.

That said, the number of medical schools for international students in the USA is likely to grow in the coming years as the U.S. faces a shortage of qualified doctors. Still, navigating the application process as an international student can be challenging. We’re here to help. 

Here, we’ll cover how to get into medical schools that take international students. We’ll also cover their eligibility requirements, scholarships, financial aid, and special considerations. Read on to learn more.

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Requirements for American Med Schools that Accept International Students

At this point, you already know that international students can study medicine in the US. 

But, as an international student, there are some requirements that you’ll need to adhere to that U.S. students do not. Here we’ll cover everything you need to know as an international student applying to medical school in the U.S.

Eligibility

Before moving forward with your application, make sure you are eligible. You can check your eligibility by researching your target school’s specific requirements. 

For example, some foreign documentation (transcripts, courses, diplomas, etc.) may not be valid in the U.S. You may need to have your documents approved by an accredited institution. 

If this is the case, your target school will have information on their or AMCAS’ website to direct you on how to validate your documentation. Your eligibility may depend on your documents being approved, so don’t skip this step. 

Transcripts

Any U.S. medical school you apply to as an international student will require academic transcripts. AMCAS does not accept international transcripts or verify coursework that has not been accredited by a U.S., U.S. Territorial, or Canadian post-secondary institution.

If your transcripts are from an international school, you must follow the directions on the AMCAS website to enter coursework and request transcripts. For more information on how to do so, visit the AMCAS website. 

Scholarships & Financial Aid

Federal financial aid may be available to you as an international student. To verify your eligibility for federal student aid, you can visit the Federal Student Aid website. It is important to note different eligibility criteria for non-U.S. citizens.

Institutional loans and scholarships may be available to you through your medical school. Most international students access funding through their school or private loans. Check your target school’s websites for news about their international student scholarships and funding opportunities. 

Citizenship or Visa Status

You must identify your citizenship or visa status on your medical school application. If you are a non-U.S. citizen, a student visa is required to study in the U.S. Make sure that your target schools are approved by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) before applying. 

For more information on how to acquire a student visa, visit the U.S. Department of State’s Student Visa page.

Language Proficiency 

Almost all U.S. medical schools require a good understanding of English. If your first language is not English, you must indicate so on your AMCAS application. Most schools will request an English Language Proficiency Test as part of your application.

The most commonly accepted English Language Proficiency Tests in the U.S. include: ​​

Be sure to research your target schools to find out which test(s) they accept. 

MCAT For International Students

Most U.S. medical schools require an MCAT score as a part of your application. Generally speaking, you should aim for a 509 or above. However, more competitive schools will be looking for an MCAT score closer to 518.

Do Schools That Accept International Students Require the MCAT? 

Almost every applicant must take the exam, so the MCAT will also be required for international students.

Additional Documentation 

Every medical school has its own individual requirements. Make sure that you’ve read the international eligibility requirements for your target schools carefully. If you don’t, you may be required to provide additional documentation.

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Medical Schools That Accept International Students

The AAMC’s most recent report shows that 49 of the 155 accredited medical schools in the U.S. accept international students to their programs. Take a look at the complete list of medical schools that accept international students below: 

It’s important to note that each school’s international admission requirements vary depending on where you’re applying from. If you aren’t sure about your target school’s international admissions requirements, check their website or speak to an admissions counselor.

Special Considerations for Medical School as an International Student

Aside from additional documentation, there are other factors to consider. Here we’ll go over some special considerations for international medical students.

School Selection

As previously stated, less than a third of U.S. medical schools accept international students. While there are still many schools to choose from, you may have fewer options than you would in your home country. 

To ensure that you choose the right program for you, make sure that your target schools have plenty of resources for international students. Your schools of choice should also offer a program tailored to precisely what you’re looking for. Avoid settling for a school that doesn’t have every resource you’re looking for simply due to a lack of options. 

Competition

Applying to medical school in the USA for international students can be even more competitive than the regular application process. You’ll be competing for limited spots against other qualified candidates from around the globe, so do your research.

Your school will want to know how passionate you are about their program and why it suits you. When writing your essays and personal statement, be sure to include specific things about the school that interest you and why. The more tailored your answers are to a particular program, the better. 

Additional Expenses

Studying in another country will add expenses, and some may be unexpected. Researching things like the average cost of living, rent, groceries, etc., in your new city will help you plan a realistic budget. 

When considering your costs, you should factor in exchange rates. Currency can make a significant difference in the affordability of a new country. Your travel expenses should also be included in your budget, including visits home for holidays. 

Social Challenges

Moving to a new country can be a social challenge. If you’re not someone who makes friends quickly, you may want to consider signing up for clubs, student council, or other extracurricular activities. 

Medical school will keep you busy, but it’s essential to allocate some time to make friends. Having a support system will help you feel welcome in your new home. 

Best Medical Schools in USA For International Students 

Here we’ll go over the best medical schools in the USA with the most international students. Applying to these schools may increase your chance of getting accepted to medical school in the U.S. as an international student. 

1. Columbia University Vagelos School of Medicine

Columbia University is located in New York City and is considered one of the state’s top universities. Columbia University reports 36% of its 31,077 students hail from outside the U.S, making it number one on our list of medical schools for international students.

To apply or find out more about Columbia University’s Vagelos School of Medicine, take a look at their website.

2. Boston University School of Medicine

At number two on our list, Boston University reports that 24.8% of its students are international. Boston med has a long history of medical research and a focus on diversity and inclusion. To learn more about Boston University’s medical school or apply, check out its application process

3. Stanford University School of Medicine

A well-known contender for top tier students, Stanford Medical School’s student population consists of 24.6% international students. At number four in research on the US News world rankings, Stanford is widely considered a top-tier medical school. To apply to Stanford, take a look at its application requirements

These three schools are only the beginning. There are many other U.S. medical schools that take international students. 

If you’re curious about whether or not your dream schools accept international students, check their online admissions requirements. For more information on which schools accept international students, check the AAMC’s website.

FAQs: U.S Med School for International Students

Do you still have questions about medical schools for international students in the US? We’ve got you covered.

Can International Students Get Into Medical School In The USA?

Yes, international students can study medicine in the USA. Some U.S. medical schools do accept international students. Before applying to a U.S. medical school as an international student, verify that it is SEVP-approved. 

How many U.S. medical schools accept international students?

According to the AAMC, 48 out of 155 medical schools in the U.S. accept international students. 

How many international students apply for medical school in the U.S.?

According to the AAMC, there were 1,890 international medical student applications in 2019. Of those applicants, 17% were accepted into medical school.

Can International Students Take the MCAT?

The short answer is yes! Some medical schools will require the MCAT for international students, as they usually require it as part of the application.

Is it harder to get into medical school as an international student?

It depends on your eligibility and the school(s) you apply to. But in general, there are fewer spots available for international students. So, it is more challenging to get into medical school as an international applicant. 

Can international students get student loans in the U.S.?

Depending on your status, you may be eligible for federal student aid as an international student. For more information, check the U.S. Federal Student Aid basic eligibility requirements.

Can I attend medical school with a visitor visa?

To attend medical school in the U.S., you must have a student visa. A visitor or temporary visa will not be valid for medical school.

Final Thoughts

Attending medical school as an international student can be an enriching and exciting experience. However, as an international student, you will face some challenges. It’s essential to get informed on every aspect of your journey.

Make sure to check your SEVP-approved school’s international admissions requirements thoroughly. Some schools have different requirements depending on which country you are applying from, so do your research. You can always speak with an academic advisor or international liaison at your school if you have questions. 

Safe travels!

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