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With the number of medical school applicants hitting an all-time high in 2020, likely due to the coronavirus pandemic, gaining admission can be a challenge.
Medical school acceptance rates range widely from about 20% at their highest to under 3% at the most selective institutions, according U.S. News data. The most selective medical school is once again Florida State University, with a 2.1% acceptance rate in fall 2020. On the other end of the spectrum, the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences reported the highest acceptance rate of 20.2% in fall 2020.
Nationally, among the 121 ranked medical schools that provided this data to U.S. News in an annual survey, the average acceptance rate for 2020 was 6.5%.
Medical school admissions committees typically consider an applicant's GPA and MCAT scores, but experts say these metrics alone aren't enough. Admissions officials also look at applicants' life experiences, including their employment, volunteer work, clinical experience and research experience.
The 10 most selective medical schools received between 4,299 and 14,464 applicants, ultimately offering acceptance to only a small number -- ranging from just 100 total acceptances at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine to 390 acceptances at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.
U.S. News ranks the quality of medical schools for both research and primary care, evaluating factors such as faculty resources and the academic achievements of incoming students. Two of the most selective medical schools are ranked among the top 10 Best Medical Schools for Research: New York University's Grossman School of Medicine is ranked No. 2 and Stanford University in California is ranked in a tie for No. 4.
These selective schools are geographically diverse. Two medical schools on this list are based in California and three are in Washington, D.C., with the remaining schools located across the country.
Below is a list of the 10 ranked medical schools that accepted the lowest percentage of applicants in fall 2020. Unranked schools, which did not meet certain criteria required by U.S. News to be numerically ranked, were not considered for this report.
SCHOOL (NAME) (STATE)
U.S. NEWS RESEARCH RANK
U.S. NEWS PRIMARY CARE RANK
Don't see your school in the top 10? Access the U.S. News Medical School Compass to find admissions data, complete rankings and much more. School officials can access historical data and rankings, including of peer institutions, via U.S. News Academic Insights.
U.S. News surveyed 191 medical schools for our 2020 survey of research and primary care programs. Schools self-reported myriad data regarding their academic programs and the makeup of their student body, among other areas, making U.S. News' data the most accurate and detailed collection of college facts and figures of its kind. While U.S. News uses much of this survey data to rank schools for our annual Best Medical Schools rankings, the data can also be useful when examined on a smaller scale. U.S. News will now produce lists of data, separate from the overall rankings, meant to provide students and parents a means to find which schools excel, or have room to grow, in specific areas that are important to them. While the data comes from the schools themselves, these lists are not related to, and have no influence over, U.S. News' rankings of Best Colleges, Best Graduate Schools or Best Online Programs. The acceptance rate data above is correct as of April 13, 2021.