Medical School Rankings
Who's No. 1? Who cares? The new medical school rankings from US News are out, and they typically generate a flurry of interest.
First off, med school rankings require a certain amount of understanding. What is being measured and why? But once the dust settles, you might find yourself wondering, Who really cares?
Well, it turns out that a lot of people do. StudentDoc has classified three general categories of people who pay close attention to these rankings, and here they are:
Medical schools. They often rely heavily on private donations to finance expansion and education. Getting into the Top 10 is a big deal. And if you've ever seen a cheerleading session given by the president of a Top 10 medical school, you know how much weight they give these rankings. It matters.
Medical students. When you apply for residencies, where you're coming from makes a tremendous difference. If your school has been hanging around the top of the ranking list, you'll likely be a residency program favorite.
Your mother. There is not a single person on the planet who will be happier than your mom when she can say, "Yes, you remember my little Katie? Well, she's in the best medical school in the country."
Visit our Premed Forum for a discussion of Medical School Rankings.
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Obliterating top-name schools from the list and shattering records from previous years, UNC clenched the No. 1 spot for primary care by U.S. News for the first time.
University of California, San Francisco. While Harvard, Hopkins, and Stanford still make strong showings, all three dropped out of the list of top 10 medical schools for primary care. Only University of California, San Francisco, ranks on the StudentDoc and US News medical school rankings lists, as well as the ARWU list of the best medical schools in the world. This year, like so many previous years, Harvard University was considered the No. 1 Research medical school in the nation, but UCSF shows itself a standout across the boards.
The student. Here's a very important point to consider as you weigh medical school programs: The goal of going to medical school is to learn how to treat patients. It turns out that those famous medical schools do not have a monopoly on providing a great medical education. Look at the list of medical school rankings for Primary Care to bring this into perspective. If you ask a person on the street whether they would rather be treated by someone who trained at Stanford or University of Nebraska, what do you think they'd say? Mention that Oregon Health and Science University skunked Hopkins' medical school and watch the confused look on their face.
What you should consider
Medical school rankings are always a point of debate among medical schools and medical students. No single method for determining these rankings works perfectly, and every institution feels it should be ranked higher. Having two lists, Research and Primary Care, addresses this problem in some ways, but it also points out where weaknesses reside.
Another roster worth keeping at the front of your mind should be the debt list. Compiled by US News, it shows the schools in which medical students graduate with the most debt. With a dwindling economy and interest rates higher than before, this is a genuine concern. You should factor this in when applying for medical schools. Who came out on top? According to US News, the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine saw 2012 graduates carrying an average debt burden of $229,132 upon graduation, higher than that of any other medical school in the country. On the flip side, 2012 graduates from the Baylor College of Medicine carried an average of $29,508 in debt upon graduation, the lowest debt statistic reported.
A list of the top 10 medical schools in the U.S.
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