Does Size Really Matter When Choosing a Medical School?

November 11, 2015


Deciding to pursue a medical career is just the beginning. You'll have many more decisions to make, and chief among them is choosing a medical school. Currently, there are 141 accredited MD-granting schools and 31 accredited DO-granting institutions in the United States. These range from small schools that admit a few hundred new students each year, to major institutions with several thousand enrolled students.

Cost, location and prestige are among the top factors considered when choosing potential medical schools. But size also plays a role, and the best choice depends largely on your personal study style, experts say. Consider these pros and cons of each:

Smaller schools…

  • Offer a more family-oriented environment. 
  • Can mean more hands-on learning. 
  • Allow for more one-on-one time with instructors. 
  • Tend to be limited in terms of diversity among students and faculty.

Larger schools…

  • Tend to have more diversity in the student body. 
  • Lend access to larger faculties with differing areas of expertise. 
  • Allow more choices for rotations and campus locations. 
  • May mean limited one-on-one time with or personal attention from instructors.

To help you decide whether a small, large or mid-sized school is best for you, experts recommend visiting schools of various sizes and discussing your goals, options and the day-to-day pros and cons with faculty and enrolled students.

In any case, know that medical schools of all sizes are fielding more applications each year. In fact, enrollment at medical schools has increased by 25 percent since 2002, according to research by the Association of American Medical Colleges. Still, spaces are limited and competition for spots in the top medical schools will always be fierce. Give yourself the competitive edge by enrolling in preparatory courses at St. Augustine, FL-based WOLFPACC. Call 904-209-3140 to find out how our Pre Med Head Start, USMLE preparation and COMLEX preparation courses can help you prepare and succeed.