Choosing Your Health Professions School List

Here are some considerations as you compile your list of programs:

Tip: When choosing any professional or graduate program, don’t apply to any school you would not attend if it was the only school that accepted you.

  • What is the mission of the school?  Some place an emphasis on research, whereas some aim to train primary care health professionals.
  • Do I prefer a small or large school? Do I like a small or large class size? The class size of health professions schools vary. You should decide to what extent, if any, things like the number of students per class affects your ability to learn.
  • Am I interested in a career in research, clinical practice, academic medicine?  Once you know your inclinations, you will be able to choose programs whose missions most reflect your own goals and proclivities.
  • What schools emphasize primary care, patient education, prevention, preparation for community practice?
  • What schools have a teaching approach that will work well for me?  Pass/Fail grades?  Some schools present themselves as embracing specific styles of instruction or educational philosophies.
  • Where is the school located – urban, suburban, rural? Cost of living?
  • Where and what are the options for clinical rotations? Do they have an international rotation option?
  • What types of financial aid are available at the schools I am considering? What is the average student debt load for graduates?  Find out how much financial aid different schools offer and research the average debt load of their graduates. There are several web sites with Financial Aid options.
  • What is the school’s board exam pass rate?  How does the school help students prepare for these exams?
  • What kinds of activities/organizations are available?  Where are the students spending their time outside of class?
  • More than half of MD medical schools have affiliations with state universities.
  • Many public schools give some preference to residents of the state, though you need to research to what extent. Additionally, it will most likely make sense to apply to most or all the programs in your home state.

AAMC Article:  Ignore the National Rankings and Make your Own School List

By Yale Office of Career Strategy
Yale Office of Career Strategy Yale Office of Career Strategy