From the giant Redwood forests and vineyards in the North, to the sunny beaches and palm trees in the South, there are lots of reasons to love California. If you are thinking about going to California for medical school, you may be looking at some of the statistics. Four out of the eleven universities in California rank in the top 20 allopathic medical schools in the country according to US News and World Report. Three of those schools are in the top 10. No other state claims that many high-ranking schools and California already comes with a lot to love, so you can imagine, most other states are not quite as competitive as California when it comes to medical school admissions.
Sun Tzu in The Art of War said “know thyself and know thy enemy”. When it comes to applying to California schools, you truly need to know who you are and what you’re up against. This short article will help you understand some of the basics of the two most important aspects of applying to California’s great medical schools.
Who are you?
Let’s start with the basics. Are you a California resident? If not, you’re up against some steep odds. Situated in Southern California, east of Los Angeles, Loma Linda University’s entering class consists of about 50% out of state applicants. Those are pretty fair odds if you’re not a resident, but at the other eight schools, the out of state acceptance rate in California drops off steeply all the way down to UC Davis, near Sacramento, which only takes about 1% from out of state.
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Many out of state applicants will ask about establishing residency in California. The bottom line is that the process of establishing status as a California resident is difficult and takes a very long time. For all intents and purposes, this is not a viable strategy. The University of California website has more information if you’re interested.
For those of you from California, you’re in luck when it comes to demographics, but that is only the beginning. The next step is evaluating how competitive of an applicant you truly are.
What are you up against?
The average MCAT for California schools can be just as daunting as their real-estate prices. Loma Linda has the lowest average MCAT score in the state at a 507 for matriculants while Stanford boasts an average of 518-519. That’s the same average as Harvard and Yale and only topped by a hand full of schools in the nation. The average GPA is just as impressive. Keep in mind that students get in with lower scores, but in order to be a competitive applicant, you need to be very near, at, or above those averages to really shine.
When it comes to applying to California medical schools, take a good look at your demographics and own statistics, and measure them up against the schools you are looking at. Talk to one of our advisers for a custom school list based on your application and we can tell you just how feasible a California school acceptance might be for you!