Best Pre-Med Schools In California
California has an abundance of stellar universities for a pre-medical path. From the Bay Area south to San Diego, options range from small, private colleges to the large and diverse University of California system. No matter your choice, you will be close to world-class medical institutions, major metropolitan cities, and the Pacific Ocean and Sierra Mountains.
While universities typically don’t have a “pre-med major,” these top schools do focus on dedicated pre-med advising programs to prepare students from any major to succeed in med school applications.
Best Pre-Med Colleges in California
Stanford is an oasis with its own zip code. In the heart of Silicon Valley, the university is also home to Stanford Hospital, which ranks in the top 20 hospitals nationwide, and the Lucile Packard Children's Hospital, which ranks in the top 10 for pediatric specialities. Stanford has great connections for students to gain clinical, research, and volunteer experience. Moreover, Stanford has dedicated resources to prepare pre-health students, including pre-med advisors, mock interview specialists for the med school application process, and an active alumni network for mentorship.
University of Southern California
The University of Southern California is known for its school pride, including its prestigious marching band and athletic teams. As a large, private research institution, the university boasts strong research connections through the greater Los Angeles Area. On-campus, USC students can declare a pre-health emphasis to gain access to the USC Dornsife-Keck Pre-Health Center for general pre-health path advising and essay editing services for medical school applications.
University of California - Los Angeles
Located close to Hollywood, UCLA has a large and global community of undergraduates. The College of Life Sciences offers pre-med advice and guides students to take advantage of research and clinical opportunities at prestigious healthcare centers throughout Los Angeles. While large class size might preclude face time with faculty, that might be outweighed by the opportunity for mentorship and collaboration from students at the UCLA medical school.
University of California - Berkeley
At the foot of the Berkeley Hills, on the eastern edge of the San Francisco Bay, sits UC Berkeley. This top-ranked research university is known for its liberal culture, beautiful campus, and high-quality education. UC Berkeley has pre-med advising for undergraduate students and strong connections to top medical facilities for clinical and research experience. Berkeley graduates have high acceptance rates to med schools around the country.
University of California - Santa Barbara
UC Santa Barbara, located directly on the Pacific coast, is known for its liberal, diverse student body and high student retention rate. The university has a dedicated Health Professions Advising program that counsels students on four-year coursework plans and how to secure the best research, clinical, and volunteer experiences. As one of the smaller University of California schools, the school has a great student-faculty ratio, small classes, and many student-led pre-health organizations.
University of California - San Diego
Known as a world-renowned research institution, UC San Diego regularly ranks as a top U.S. public university. Located in La Jolla, just forty minutes north of the US-Mexico border, UCSD offers a Health Frontiers in Tijuana Undergraduate Internship Program, in which students participate in a free, student-run clinic for the underserved in Tijuana, Mexico. The school provides pre-health advising and graduates regularly meet or exceed the national admissions rate to U.S. allopathic medical schools.
This small, Christian, liberal arts school has a great student-to-professor ratio that favors student engagement and one-on-one time with professors. Seaver College offers Pre-Health and Pre-Medicine Curriculum and roughly 70-80% of its graduates are accepted to medical school each year. Pepperdine only offers undergraduate courses, so you won’t be competing with graduate students for the research and volunteer opportunities needed for medical school applications.
Smaller even than Pepperdine, this private university is just outside of downtown Los Angeles toward the Angeles National Forest and San Gabriel Mountains. Due to the small class sizes and strictly undergraduate population, professors are easily accessible, and undergrads have more opportunities to get involved and contribute to professors’ research. The university offers a Pre-health Advising program that helps students navigate and meet the qualifications of medical schools.
Selecting the best pre-med school that will prepare and support you through the medical school application process should be an important consideration during your college research. If you would like additional guidance into getting to the best pre-med schools in California, contact our team to see how we can help you through the process from start to finish.