The Best Ivy League Schools for Pre-Med

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

medical students looking at the camera

The Best Ivy League Schools for Pre-Med

If you are a high school student who has dreams of one day attending a top medical school and becoming a doctor of medicine, chances are good you are already targeting a number of undergraduate programs that you believe can set you up for the most success possible.

Undeniably, that means that you will likely be applying to quite a few Ivy League programs. Because of that, you’re probably curious about what the best Ivy League schools for pre-med are.

a stethoscope sitting on top of an open book inside a library

As you already know, the Ivy League is a cluster of eight schools that all call the northeastern part of the United States home. As you also know, these eight schools make up some of the most prestigious and competitive schools in the entire world!

The eight schools are:

All eight schools are incredibly impressive to go to and hard for high school students to get into, but they do all have their strengths and weaknesses. For that reason, if you are a top high school student who is interested in one day pursuing a career in medicine, you have to make sure that you are targeting not just any school or set of schools, but also the right schools!

Here at AdmissionSight, we make a strong point to not only help the high school students that we work with every single year get into the schools of their dreams, but also to help them really identify the right list of dream schools for them! There are a lot of different factors that go into this pursuit, and we know that we have the experience and expertise necessary to help students of all types, strengths, interests and more.

So, what is the best Ivy League school for undergraduate pre-med? You’ve come to the right place to find. Just keep reading to learn all that and more. Let’s get started!

1. Harvard University

As we have already said, every single Ivy League school is an incredible place to get an education, and there is no doubt that attending any one of the eight schools will open incredible doors now and in the future. With that being said, there is little argument to be made against the fact that Harvard is truly the cream of the crop.

Harvard is arguably the crown jewel of the Ivy League and is part of the “Big Three,” made up of itself, Princeton and Yale as the three schools that are arguably the most prestigious, most historical and most competitive schools in the Ivy League.

Harvard is a top school for future doctors for a lot of reasons. In fact, the school’s Office of Career Services estimates 17 percent of any one of its classes will ultimately apply to med school after graduating from undergrad. On top of that, pre-med students at Harvard that achieve a 3.5 grade point average or higher have historically enjoyed incredible success when it comes to getting into the top medical programs in the country.

Harvard has the No. 1 med school in the country and similarly has fantastic science departments. Additionally, there are a number of affiliated hospitals nearby where students can start getting hands-on experience from a young age.

2. University of Pennsylvania

The University of Pennsylvania – or Penn as it is often called by its students and alumni – is certainly one of the best schools in the world when it comes to business, law and many other key disciplines of learning. The same can also, of course, be said when it comes to its pre-med programs for undergraduate students.

Penn is considered to be an incredibly strong option for students who want to eventually work in medicine thanks to its really strong biology and chemistry departments. On top of that, the school’s career services that are available to all students offer a number of really valuable resources for pre-med students. These resources include seminars, one-on-one counseling and guest lectures.

Beyond that, Penn is really close to some of the top hospitals in the world, offering great opportunities for students to shadow doctors or even volunteer on-site.

3. Columbia University

When it comes to its medical program, Columbia is home to a med school that annually finds itself within the top 15 in the world. And they take that ranking very seriously when it comes to the students in their undergraduate program that are also interested in one day pursuing an MD.

At Columbia, undergrad students are assigned a pre-med advisor. They also attend valuable and informational meetings that are directly sponsored by the school’s Premedical Committee.

On top of that, the school offers pre-med students with an incredibly valuable option to take part in a sample course curriculum so that they can be sure that they are meeting the requirements for med school applications. This can dramatically help students get the edge when they eventually get started on their med school applications.

Finally, just like the two aforementioned schools, Columbia is obviously close to some of the top hospitals in the entire world.

4. Cornell University

Cornell has one of the highest acceptance rates within the Ivy League, and is the only school in the Ivy League that has recently had an acceptance rate anywhere near 10 percent. For example, last year, the acceptance rate was 8.6 percent! That should come as music to the ears of any high school student who is hoping to attend an Ivy League school and pursue a pre-med education.

That music should play all the louder considering the fact that the pre-med program at Cornell is amongst the best in the world. And Cornell is super popular for pre-med students as well. In fact, it’s estimated that around 17 percent of students who attend Cornell end up going into pre-med.

Cornell can thanks its very strong pre-med program to the Weill Cornell Medicine program. It dates its history back to 1898 and has a close and fruitful relationship with many of the top hospitals in the region.

On top of that, an impressive percentage of students who graduate with a GPA of 3.4 or higher get into a top medical school. That’s a great thing for students to keep in mind if their ultimate goal is to study medicine and become a medical doctor!

5. Yale University

Ultimately, the pre-med programs at all of these schools, and the quality of the pre-med programs, are highly predicated upon the quality of the medical program itself.

At Yale, the Yale School of Medicine has very few superiors anywhere in the world. Not only does the medical program have an incredible ratio of faculty to students, but it also offers an incredibly wide variety of programs for students to take advantage of.

On top of the traditional MD degree, Yale School of Medicine offers students to also pursue the MMSc, MD/JD/ MD/MBA/ MD/MPD, MD/Ph.D, and even an MD connected to the Yale Dvinity School!

With this incredible wealth of knowledge and options, it should come as no real shock that the Yale pre-med program offers an incredible wealth of knowledge and options for every student that is lucky enough to attend this incredible school.

6. Brown University

Brown University is easily one of the very best research universities in the country and is ranked very highly when it comes to its pre-medical program.

One interesting thing about the school’s pre-med program is that it enables students to major in anything that they want, such as biochemistry, biology, chemistry, or biomedical engineering, while also fulfilling the requirements for the medical school.

The student to faculty ratio is also fantastic at Brown at 13 to 1.

Finally, Brown offers a very unique program that allows for a seven-year liberal arts and medical degree path that allows students to earn both their bachelor’s degree and their medical degree in that timespan!

This is much faster than the traditional route of going to one undergrad program and then another separate medical program. This is absolutely something to keep in mind for students who already know that they want to end up as doctors once they finish up their education.

7. Dartmouth College

The Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth is certainly one of the most historic medical schools in the United States and can trace its history back to 1797!

In 2020, US News & World Report ranked the medical program at Dartmouth to be the 45th best research oriented medical school and the 18th best primary care medical school in the entire United States.

Along with its incredible faculty, its state-of-the-art labs and more, Dartmouth is a fantastic place for aspiring doctors to begin their long, challenging, exciting and rewarding journey to putting on that white lab coat.

8. Princeton University

Princeton is obviously one of the very best undergraduate programs in the entire world, and it also offers its students who are interested in one day going to medical school an incredibly diverse and challenging curriculum to sink their teeth into.

Students get the chance to get involved in the pre-med advising program the moment that they arrive on campus. They also get the chance to take part in fantastic opportunities such as the school health-focused study abroad programs and hands-on research experiences.

On top of that, students that go pre-med at Princeton have a truly fantastic success rate when it comes to applying to, and getting into, the medical programs of their dreams!

Top tips for Ivy League pre-med students

When it comes to going to an Ivy League school for pre-med, it can often feel like getting into the school and starting your pre-med education is the end of the road. After all, you’ve accomplished something that very few students can say they have accomplished.

However, taking that approach is a mistake and will likely only lead to disappointing results when you actually start applying to college. After all, the goal is not just to also get into a top medical school, but also become a practicing doctor! The road is a long and hard one, but it is certainly worth it for those that have a passion for medicine and helping people.

A medical student reading a book

So, we thought that a good way to wrap up this long breakdown is to offer some information on how pre-med students can make sure that they are making the very most out of their pre-medical education.

Here are some tips to keep in mind!

You don’t have to follow a traditional pre-med map

Back in the day, basically every pre-med student felt it was truly necessary to major in something like chemistry, physics, or biology. However, that is not true! When it comes to getting into great medical programs, your overall GPA and MCAT scores are going to have the biggest impact.

In fact, studying something that is less typical for pre-med students could actually help you stick out in a good way. So, study what you love, make sure you fulfill your pre-med requirements, learn as much as you can and have fun!

a group of medical students walking in a hallway

Make a plan to fulfill your requirements

A lot of people tend to enter undergraduate programs with little to no plan, expecting that they will simply figure it out on the way. However, you are going to want to be pretty smart about your approach to your education. Depending on what medical school you are planning on one day attending, you may have to fulfill some – or all – of these common medical school requirements:

  • Biology (with Lab)
  • General Chemistry (with Lab)
  • Organic Chemistry (with Lab)
  • Physics (with Lab)
  • English
  • Biochemistry
  • Calculus
  • Psychology
  • Sociology
  • Statistics
  • Biostatistics
  • Genetics
  • Humanities
  • Behavioral Science
  • Social sciences

Of course, if you have some specific medical schools already in mind, you can simply do some quick research to find out what their prerequisites for admissions are.

Don’t put off important courses

If you’re like most students, chances are good some of the prerequisites that we just went over are already giving you a bit of anxiety. After all, many of the previously mentioned courses are known to be some of the most challenging courses at any four-year college or university, let alone an Ivy League school.

Two medical students studying in a library.

However, just because these courses are difficult, you are not going to want to put them off! Truly, you should be aiming to knock off prerequisites very early on in your undergrad education. That way, you do not have to worry about overloading your curriculum later in your college education.

Make an effort to get involved in your local medical community

While your GPA and MCAT scores are obviously incredibly important when it comes to getting into fantastic medical programs, that isn’t all that matters. In fact, there is a lot of proof that what you do outside of the classroom also matters in a really big way as well.

two neuroscientists analyzing a brain scan projected through the computer screen

Just like your extracurriculars in high school played a role in your ability to get into a fantastic undergrad program, so too do your extracurriculars in undergrad play a role in your ability to one day get into a fantastic medical program.

Make sure to pursue experiences outside of the classroom that will open your eyes to different aspects of the medical world. This includes volunteering, working as a paid member of staff and much more.

This is also a great way for you to make sure that you are truly as passionate about medicine as you think you are. After all, college is a time to pursue and affirm your passions and interests. Making sure that you are making the most out of that opportunity is a fantastic way to spend your four years in undergrad.

Need more help getting into Harvard to study pre-med as an undergraduate?

After this entire breakdown, it would only be natural to be a little overwhelmed by the monumental challenge that is ahead of you. Getting into an Ivy League school is hard enough, studying pre-med at an Ivy League school with the hopes of attending a top medical program is super challenging. No one is going to deny that.

For that reason, if you feel you need some help with that first step, of getting into the best ivy league school for the pre-med undergraduate program of your dreams, then contact us at AdmissionSight. Here, we make it our number one goal to help the students that we work get into the schools of their dreams.

That’s why we’re so proud of our 75 percent success rate of helping our students get into Ivy League or top 10 schools in the United States. If you’re interested in how we can help you, contact us today to set up a free consultation.



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