Why I Like Liberal Arts Colleges to Prepare for Medical School

When working with students who are interested in attending medical school I often recommend various small liberal arts colleges. In many cases, the percentage of students accepted to medical schools is higher for the smaller colleges than the big research universities. Why is that?

1. Small classes at liberal arts colleges allow students to really learn the subjects they are studying. This is often reflected in strong MCAT scores received by these students.

2. Small class sizes allows students a greater change to get to better know their professors. That is important because you will need recommendations from professors when applying to medical school. The better the professor knows you, the better the recommendation they can write.

3. Smaller colleges often offer more opportunities for research since students do not have to compete with graduate students for research opportunities. While smaller colleges may not have all of the sophisticated research that occurs at a research university, your chances of participating in that cutting edge research is not very good as an undergraduate. Graduate students will always get first chance at that research.

Liberal arts colleges are not the only way to get to medical school and not always the best choice for a particular student. But, for many students, small is the way to go.

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  1. says

    As a college consultant, I too like liberal arts colleges for students to prepare for medical school for many of the same reasons you have given. I also believe that many medical schools like liberal arts students. I always encourage the students I assist who are interested in medical school to consider a major in the liberal arts as opposed to science or “pre-med.”

    College Direction
    Denver, Colorado

  2. Eunsong Kwak says

    Hi, I am going to NYU predental this year- class of 2015
    However, I honestly am unsure about the school since it’s so big…just as you have mentioned above, liberal art colleges were where I was hoping for especially Dartmouth (although it’s not as small), Smith college and Wellesley. I am thinking about transferring too.

    In your opinion, would it be better to stay in NYU and receive a good GPA or do you recommend maybe going to a more challenging school and not receiving a lower GPA than I could have if I stayed in NYU. which is a better option considering that I am applying to a dental school later on? Is there certain colleges that you would like to recommend me considering that I will be transferring?

    Really hope to hear back from you
    Eunsong Kwak

  3. Todd Johnson says


    Most professional schools look heavily at your grades so getting good grades is very important for dental school.

    There are many issues that may come into play when deciding whether to transfer or not so I can’t really say whether you should transfer or stay put at NYU. If you are not happy with some aspects of NYU that you don’t think will resolve themselves then transferring is an option. For example, if you don’t like big class sizes, then a smaller college may be appropriate. If you don’t like the social life at NYU and don’t see a way to improve it then consider a transfer.

    Most students tend to do better at colleges which are a good fit for that student’s needs.

    You can get to dental school from any college if you have the grades, do well on your DAT and have some of the other factors that dental schools look for.

    Since it appears that you have not yet started at NYU you may want to consider taking a gap year to figure out what you really want from a college and considering applying to other colleges this fall for starting in fall 2012. That may be a better option than if you are already thinking about transferring from a college you haven’t yet started at.


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