Ivy League medical schools are some of the most prestigious medical schools in America, and as a result, they are highly selective and difficult to gain admission.
Acceptance rates are usually less than 2%, which means your application to these schools needs to stand out significantly. This blog will give you the information you need to know about Ivy League medical schools including what you need to do to get accepted.
Ivy League medical schools are medical schools residing at academic institutions that are a part of the Ivy League. The Ivy League is a group of privately-owned universities in the United States, all located in the northeast. These distinguished universities are known for their excellent academic and research programs.
Not all Ivy League schools have medical schools, with Princeton University being the only Ivy League school that does not have a medical school.
The Ivy League medical schools are:
The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University is located in Providence, Rhode Island. Alpert’s mission is “to support and promote the health of individuals and communities through innovative medical education programs, research initiatives, and clinical excellence in service to society and to improve the health and wellness of all.”
In their vision and values statements, they emphasize how important innovation, collaboration, and diversity are to their institution.
To get into Alpert’s MD degree program, you must complete the following courses:
U.S. News ranked Alpert 38th for best medical school research program and 35th for best medical school primary care in its medical school rankings. This strong ranking, along with its Ivy League status, makes it a highly competitive medical school.
Alpert provides information about admissions averages on their website. Over the last three years, the average accepted MCAT score was 515. Alpert also requires a minimum of a 3.0 GPA on a four-point scale to be considered for admission. Refer to this table for their previous admission statistics.
Located in New York City, Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons outlines their mission on their website as “to prepare future graduates to be leaders and role models in patient care, medical research, education, and health-care policy”.
In the U.S. News rankings, Columbia sits 6th in the best medical school for research category and in the top 10 of some specialty program rankings, including anesthesiology (8th), psychiatry (4th), and internal medicine (7th). Columbia is tied for 31st in the best medical school: primary care category. These high rankings demonstrate just how highly competitive Columbia’s medical program is and how much you need to stand out to be admitted.
Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons requires you to complete the following courses:
In addition, Columbia recommends having biostatistics, statistics, and biochemistry courses on your transcript. Columbia expects applicants to achieve A or B grades in the required courses, but they “recognize such grades are not possible under all circumstances.” Anything below a C- is deemed unacceptable.
Though they are open to explanations as to why you didn’t do well in a particular required course, Columbia also has high standards and admits the best of the best to its Ivy League medical school. As such, it is important for you to do as well as possible in order to stand out academically.
This is best exemplified by their acceptance data of their most recent class available on their website.
As you can see, only 1.9% of people who applied to Columbia’s Vagelos College were accepted. To be in that less than 2%, your application has to stand out in every way possible, which means great grades, exceptional letters of recommendation, and extracurriculars that resonate with Columbia’s mission of producing leaders in every aspect of medicine.
Harvard Medical School is highly reputable and well-known across the medical community. U.S. News ranked them first in best medical school for research, and 10th in best medical school for primary care.
Many of Harvard’s specialty programs also crack the top 10 of their respective field, including psychiatry (1st), radiology, anesthesiology, obstetrics and gynecology, and pediatrics (2nd), and surgery and internal medicine (3rd).
With these high rankings, it’s no surprise that Harvard is the dream school for many students, including those wanting to pursue medical school. Harvard’s mission statement is “to nurture a diverse, inclusive community dedicated to alleviating suffering and improving health and well-being for all through excellence in teaching and learning, discovery and scholarship, and service and leadership.”
Harvard Medical School lists the following academic requirements for admission consideration:
This same section on the Harvard website also says applicants are “encouraged to complete coursework in Behavioural Sciences.” This can be in the form of psychology or sociology courses, or related courses.
Harvard Medical School is incredibly challenging to gain admission. Only 165 applicants are accepted into each class, and an application package that matches what Harvard is looking for academically and professionally is the best way to be in that 165.
Geisel School of Medicine is located at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire. In the U.S. News rankings, Dartmouth comes in at 50th as the best medical school for research and 19th in best medical school for primary care.
Geisel’s focus on primary care is evident in their mission statement: “to address the world’s health problems through research and discovery, the evaluation and improvement of systems of healthcare, and the education of the best future physicians and scientists.” However, they rank significantly further below other Ivy League medical schools discussed already in this article.
Like other Ivy League medical schools, Geisel has academic requirements you must meet in order to be considered for admission:
In addition to these core course requirements, Geisel also requires you to be proficient in English and be able to demonstrate strong written and verbal communication skills. Geisel also requires you to have gained a background in the humanities disciplines throughout your undergraduate studies.
Geisel’s minimum MCAT score cutoff is 503. However, the average MCAT score of those accepted to the institution is 515. The average accepted GPA is 3.65. As you can see, you need a very impressive academic record to be seriously considered for admission.
Perelman School of Medicine is one of the best medical schools in the country. U.S. News ranked them third in the best medical school research category and 14th in the best medical school primary care category.
Perelman has a prestigious pediatric medicine program, along with other top 10 programs, including radiology, obstetrics and gynecology, and internal medicine. On a global scale, Perelman School of Medicine is ranked as the 4th most innovative medical school in the world.
Perelman states their mission “is to advance knowledge and improve health through research, patient care, and the education of trainees in an inclusive culture that embraces diversity, fosters innovation, stimulates critical thinking, supports lifelong learning, and sustains our legacy of excellence.”
Perelman has academic requirements you must meet but are open to a range of courses that allow you to fulfill the knowledge competencies they list.
No grade requirements are listed for these course requirements. However, Perelman’s Ivy League status and strong presence in the American and global medical community means it only accepts the best of the best to its medical programs.
The average accepted matriculant GPA is 3.8, and the average MCAT score is 521. This means you need to do exceptionally well in the courses you take to fulfill the categories listed earlier, and you will need to spend a significant amount of time preparing for the MCAT if you want a chance at getting into this prestigious medical school.
Weill Cornell Medicine is the medical school at Cornell University. Weill Cornell’s mission is to demonstrate “excellence in research, teaching, patient care, and the advancement of the art and science of medicine through the maintenance of scientific and clinical scholarship.”
Weill Cornell’s rankings reflect this mission. U.S. News ranked them 11th in the best medical school for research category. Several of their specialty programs are also ranked highly, including their surgery, internal medicine, and anesthesiology programs.
Weill Cornell expects you to have met the following academic requirements when you submit your application:
Although math itself is not a requirement, Weill Cornell encourages you to have a solid foundation in statistics and calculus. In addition, students are encouraged to study other disciplines beyond the basic requirements, as they are seeking students who are well-rounded in both their academic and experiential backgrounds.
Additionally, Weill Cornell provides you with options to substitute some requirements for other courses or activities. For example, if you work in a laboratory, you can substitute that work experience for the laboratory courses.
Weill Cornell only admits 106 students each year out of an approximate 7,000 who apply. However, they do not require a minimum MCAT score as the MCAT score is weighed equally to all other components of your application. Considering only 1.5% of those who apply are admitted into Weill, it is still a good idea to do as well as you possibly can on the MCAT and in your courses to achieve the highest score and GPA you can.
Yale School of Medicine is on a mission that “educates and nurtures creative leaders in medicine and science, promoting curiosity and critical inquiry in an inclusive environment enriched by diversity.” They aim to “advance discovery and innovation fostered by partnerships across the University, our local community, and the world.” They do this by caring for “patients with compassion, and commit to improving the health of all people.”
Yale excels in medical research, which is reflective of their U.S. News ranking. Yale comes in as the 15th best medical school for research and the 49th best medical school for primary care. They also have top 10 specialty programs, which include psychiatry, internal medicine, and obstetrics and gynecology.
The academic requirements for Yale School of Medicine are similar to their Ivy League counterparts but have some slight variations:
The average MCAT score of each new class at Yale is around 519, and the average GPA typically sits in the 3.8 range. Incoming classes tend to represent 2% of all applicants who applied, which are slightly higher chances of being accepted compared to other Ivy League medical schools discussed earlier in this article.
Ivy League medical schools are world-renowned institutions with a high degree of prestige and distinction attached to them. They are instantly recognizable, and graduating from an Ivy League medical school can help you stand out to potential employers.
Ivy League medical schools are usually affiliated with several health care institutions that are also highly reputable. This provides you with many opportunities to work with and be taught by leaders in the healthcare field and adds value to your medical school experience.
For instance, Alpert is partnered with nine health care institutions while Harvard is affiliated with 19 different hospitals and health care providers, and each of the other Ivy League medical schools has partnerships with health care institutions.
These partnerships leave you with abundant opportunities to gain experience and apply your learning.
It is not necessary that you attend an Ivy League medical school, since there are plenty of other medical schools that are equally as highly regarded and competitive as their Ivy League counterparts. However, as outlined in the previous section, there are many benefits of attending an Ivy League medical school.
Some tips for getting into an Ivy League medical school include the following.
As outlined earlier, there are significant benefits to pursuing your medical education at an Ivy League school. These institutions are instantly recognizable, carry a high degree of prestige, have leaders in the medical community as faculty members, and are affiliated with some of the best healthcare facilities in the country.
There is no shortage of opportunities for you to pursue that will set you up for a successful career in medicine.
The Ivy League medical schools all excel in different areas of medicine. From research to primary care to surgery, the list of specialty areas an individual Ivy League medical school is known for ranges greatly from one to the next. Currently, Harvard is the highest-ranked in research, but falls behind nine other non-Ivy League schools in the primary care category.
Instead of trying to figure out which Ivy League medical school is better than all the others, consider which one(s) best align with your interests, experiences, and career aspirations. If you have a particular interest in a specific area of medicine, apply to the school(s) that offer stellar education in that area.
These rankings also change on an annual basis, and the school that might be “the best” one year won’t necessarily be the best the following year.
Attending an Ivy League medical school is not enough to secure you a good job or residency placement. Though it can initially make your resume stand out, your academic achievements and experiences gained in your time at the Ivy League medical school will be more significant considerations to prospective employers.
Tuition varies by medical school, but the average annual tuition between all seven schools is approximately $86,117 with some being higher than that number and others being lower. Medical school is expensive no matter where you go, and there are many options for financing your medical school education.
Yes, there are fees to pay when you submit your secondary application to Ivy League medical schools. They range from $90-$130, with Geisel being the most expensive to apply to at $130 and Perelman being the least expensive at $90. Primary applications have a set fee through AMCAS of $170 and an extra $41 for every additional school.
The Ivy League medical schools want you to demonstrate that you have strong written and verbal communication skills, as well as the ability to analyze, synthesize, and think critically about large amounts of information.
This is best done through English or writing courses, or any course that requires you to do a lot of reading and writing which is usually required in humanities and social science courses.
Ivy League medical schools are incredibly competitive to get into and require you to stand out in every part of the application process. Though the Ivy League medical schools have similar requirements for admission, each vary in a unique way, so it is crucial you consult with every individual school you wish to apply to in order to put together the most competitive application possible.
It may be difficult to get in, but it is not impossible; there are many resources available to help you achieve your dream of attending an Ivy League medical school.