It’s impossible to get accepted to out-of-state medical schools. Why would I waste my time — and money — applying? 

Yes, the odds are higher of getting accepted to your in-state school or a private school. However, it is quite possible to get accepted to out-of-state medical schools, as well. I should know… I received two interviews — one acceptance and one waitlist (in hindsight, I’d like to consider this waitlist my MMI practice run) — to out-of-state medical schools in the previous application cycle. And, if you’re hedging on an acceptance to your in-state school, just know that I didn’t even get an interview to my in-state school – and my MCAT and GPA were well-within their range! 

Why Should I Apply to Out-of-State Schools?

An acceptance is an acceptance

We all know how competitive the application process has become. You need to do all you can to boost your chances of receiving an offer of admission. Anywhere.

The highest drawback to out-of-state schools is the tuition spike. But, what if simply going to that out-of-state school you got accepted to will make you happier? Isn’t that why most of us want to become doctors? It’s a career that will make us happy! So, what if your in-state school is simply not where you want to spend four years? My roommate at CUSOM this upcoming year was in this precise predicament. And he chose the out-of-state school!

State Schools Don’t Want Out-of-State Students

False. 

They simply want more in-state students.

If there’s one common theme you’ll notice in your seemingly endless amount of secondaries, it’s that schools are interested in the diversity you offer their class. 

What about you is unique? Did you swim in college? Are you an art major? Do you shred on the guitar? Perhaps you’re exactly what that school doesn’t have in their in-state pool of applicants. And, maybe by simply being an out-of-state student, you provide a diverse perspective.

Fine. I’ll apply to a few Out-of-State Schools. Any advice?

This is far from a proven formula. However, in hindsight, these are some strategies that I utilized that I believe ended up boosting my chances of getting accepted as an out-of-state applicant:

  1. Do your research. Make a spreadsheet. Track which schools have a higher percentage of out-of-state students – this information is easily accessible online. During my application cycle, the state schools with the highest out-of-state percentage that I applied to were Michigan (my undergrad, Go Blue!), the University of Vermont, and the University of Washington. 
  2. Get on your target school’s radar in your primary application. I actually think that this is the biggest reason I was accepted to Colorado – and I didn’t even realize that I was doing it when I applied! For one of my activities on my primary application, I wrote about my being a huge snowboarder and that I had been lucky enough to experience the fresh Rocky Mountain powder of the Colorado Mountains. Was CUSOM so flattered that I gave Colorado a shout-out in my primaries that they instantly granted me an interview? Probably not. But, as schools are incentivized to admit students who they think will likely attend that school, if you’re on the fence about including a part of yourself that you feel would be a natural fit at a particular school, DO IT!
  3. Be open to living somewhere different than you ever imagined – and apply to schools in these “scary” states! One of my favorite lessons about life that I’ve gleamed from my time as a backpacker is that the world has a lot to offer – particularly the world you haven’t yet explored. I’m from the Northeast. A majority of my friends and family live — and work — in New York City. For the majority of my life, I assumed I would wind up there as well. However, after experiencing the thrill of immersing myself in another culture, I can’t wait to live in the Wild West!

TLDR: Apply to Out-of-State Schools! 

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