10 Medical Schools With the Most Applicants

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Prospective students applying to medical schools can expect to face stiff competition. There were more than 50,000 applicants who attempted to get into a U.S. medical school during the 2017-2018 school year, and only 43.1 percent of them were accepted, according to admissions statistics from the Association of American Medical Colleges.

But top-ranked medical schools where incoming students typically have near-perfect test scores and grades aren’t necessarily the institutions that have the most applicants.


In fact, admissions data that 120 ranked medical schools submitted to U.S. News in an annual survey reveal that only one of the 10 schools with the most applicants is ranked in the top 20 of either the research-focused or primary care medical school rankings: the University of California—Los Angeles David Geffen School of Medicine, which only accepted 3.2 percent of 2017 applicants.

Four of the med schools with the most applicants had unpublished ranks in either the research or primary care rankings, since they were ranked in the bottom one-fourth of that category.

All 10 of the schools on the list are located on one of the coasts, with the majority on the East Coast. Seven of the schools are in major metropolitan areas, including three in Philadelphia and two in Washington, D.C.

Among these 10 highly sought-after medical schools, the average number of applicants was 11,779. That is more than double the average number of applicants at all ranked medical schools: 5,681.

Below is a list of the 10 med schools with the most people competing for admission in fall 2017. Unranked schools, which did not meet certain criteria required by U.S. News to be numerically ranked, were not considered for this report.

Medical school (name) (state) Applicants (entering class of 2017) U.S. News research rank U.S. News primary care rank
Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (PA) 16,314 RNP* 85
Georgetown University (DC) 14,062 46 (tie) RNP
Drexel University (PA) 13,831 85 RNP
George Washington University (DC) 11,432 62 (tie) 79 (tie)
University of California—Los Angeles (Geffen) 11,417 8 (tie) 4
Temple University (Katz) (PA) 10,883 57 (tie) 69 (tie)
Western University of Health Sciences (CA) 10,102 RNP RNP
Thomas Jefferson University (Kimmel) (PA) 10,052 56 46 (tie)
Brown University (Alpert) (RI) 9,922 32 (tie) 39 (tie)
Tufts University (MA) 9,775 57 (tie) 46 (tie)

*RNP denotes an institution that is ranked in the bottom one-fourth of all rank-eligible medical and osteopathic schools. U.S. News calculates a rank for the school but has decided not to publish it.

Don’t see your school in the top 10? Access the U.S. News Medical School Compass to find admissions information, complete rankings and much more. School officials can access historical data and rankings, including of peer institutions, via U.S. News Academic Insights.

U.S. News surveyed 177 medical schools for our 2017 survey of research and primary care programs. Schools self-reported myriad data regarding their academic programs and the makeup of their student body, among other areas, making U.S. News’ data the most accurate and detailed collection of college facts and figures of its kind. While U.S. News uses much of this survey data to rank schools for our annual Best Medical Schools rankings, the data can also be useful when examined on a smaller scale. U.S. News will now produce lists of data, separate from the overall rankings, meant to provide students and parents a means to find which schools excel, or have room to grow, in specific areas that are important to them. While the data come from the schools themselves, these lists are not related to, and have no influence over, U.S. News’ rankings of Best Colleges, Best Graduate Schools or Best Online Programs. The applicant data above are correct as of July 31, 2018.