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Choosing Where to Apply

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Here are some questions and topics to consider in helping you determine your preferences and compile your list programs:

Tip: A good rule to follow when choosing any professional or graduate program is don't apply to any school you don't want to attend if it is the only place where you are accepted.

  • What is the mission of the school?  Some place a greater emphasis on research than others, whereas some programs, often affiliated with state schools, aim first and foremost to train primary care health professionals.
  • Do I prefer a small or large school? Do I like a small or large class size?  The sizes 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, in clinical practice, in academic medicine?  Once you know your inclinations, you will be able to choose programs whose missions most closely reflect your own goals and proclivities.
  • Which schools have a learning approach that emphasizes what I am most interested in - for example: primary care, patient education, prevention, preparation for community practice, or a combination of research and clinical 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.  These can affect some specific aspects of your medical school experience such as the time you spend in the classroom, the opportunities for clinical electives you can have, and the grading policies of your courses.
  • Where is the school located – urban, suburban, rural?  Cost of living?  You may be living off of student loans while in your health professions program, and the amount of money you need to live comfortably can vary greatly from place to place.
  • 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 additional 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?
  • A note about state schools:  More than half of allopathic medical schools are affiliated with state universities.  Many public schools give some preference to residents of the state, though you need to research to what extent.  You will probably want to minimize the number of applications you send to state schools to which admission is particularly competitive for non-residents.  Additionally, it will most likely make sense to apply to most or all of the programs in your home state.

Yale College Alumni Medical School Surveys

Each year we ask our alumni who are currently in their first year of medical school to complete a survey detailing their experiences thus far.

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Google Map of where recent Yale applicants have matriculated.