The first criterion is purely geographic: a majority of medical, dental and veterinary schools are state-supported and accept very few out-of-state applicants. Beyond this, students must consider their own geographic preferences. Students should begin by reading the reference books (see chart below) and individual school Web sites and catalogs. For Web links to individual allopathic medical schools, please see listings produced by the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC); for osteopathic medical schools, see the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM); for dental schools, see the American Dental Education Association (ADEA); and for veterinary medical schools, see the American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC). During this important research phase, students should be aware of in-state/out-of-state ratios at various schools and definitely apply to their home state school(s).
The number of schools students apply to depends on their state of legal residence and the strength of their academic records. Although all medical schools are exceedingly selective, there are important distinctions amongst them. These distinctions should be weighed carefully. Because medical school applicants are so numerous and admission is so competitive, students must apply to a range of different schools. They should apply to multiple schools, but not go overboard. The average for Columbia students is about 15 schools. Remember that the admissions process is very expensive, as well as time- and labor- intensive. You won’t be able to do a good job on your applications if you apply to too many schools. Also, students should remember to consider location, curriculum, size and atmosphere in making their decisions.
Special Regional Opportunities
There are some states which do not have medical schools which have made special interstate agreements to provide special opportunities for their residents. They are:
WICHE: Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education operates a professional student exchange program enabling students in 13 western states to enroll in selected out of state professional programs, usually because those programs are not available in their home states. Exchange students must be certified by their home states. Exchange students will receive preference in admission and usually reduced tuition. WICHE has exchange programs for the following professional fields, Allopathic Medicine, Osteopathic Medicine, Dentistry, Veterinary Medicine, Physician Assistant, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Public Health, Pharmacy, and Optometry.
WWAMI : The University of Washington School of Medicine serves as the public medical school for Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho (WWAMI). Students from these states will all be considered in- state students for purposes of admission and tuition. Through this program, students from these states complete their first year of medical school at participating universities in their home state.
FAME: Finance Authority of Maine’s Maine Access to Medical Education Program has entered into contracts with three medical schools (Dartmouth, Vermont & UNECOM) to provide PREFERRED ACCESS seats at each school for a total of twenty incoming, certified Maine residents each year. Essentially, this program removes Maine applicants from the national pool of applicants and allows them to compete for medical school acceptance in a pool consisting solely of Maine residents. The probability of being invited to interview at any of the schools participating in the Access Program is greatly increased if you apply under the auspices of the Maine Access Program.
DIMER: Delaware Institute of Medical Education and Research : Through DIMER, Delaware has a relationship with Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA, resulting in Jefferson Medical College functioning as Delaware’s medical school. Through the program, the state of Delaware provides payment to Jefferson Medical College to reserve at least 20 admissions places each year for Delaware residents. In addition, DIMER has a relationship with the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM), Philadelphia, PA. Through that program PCOM reserves at least 5 admissions places each year for Delaware residents.