Gaining admission to medical school in the United States as an international student is a challenging journey. According to the Association of Medical Schools of the United States (AAMC), only 17.2 percent of foreign candidates who submitted applications to medical programs in the U. S. were accepted, which is less than half of the admission rate for all students.
But that doesn't mean it's impossible. To help you on this difficult journey, we will discuss the American medical schools that accept international students, the different international admission policies for some of these programs, and why it's so hard for international students to gain acceptance into U. medical schools in the first place. Not all 141 accredited medical schools accept international students.
Only about 35% of U. medical schools accept international applications, so their chances have already dwindled. Many schools don't even accept an application from a student who isn't a U. citizen or permanent resident.
Students need a work visa for their residency, but a work visa is very difficult to obtain. The student must first obtain a place of residence, the place of residence must sponsor the student, and then the student participates in a visa lottery, in which the typical participant has only 38% to win and obtain the visa. Medical schools don't want their graduates to have problems with visas and they don't want to take on that hassle, so they don't leave that option for themselves. Since international students are not guaranteed a work visa for residence, they are likely to return to their country after the first four years. Many American medical schools, especially public schools, want students to remain in the states and practice their profession. In general, medical schools want to reduce the dropout rate and increase the percentage of students who receive a residency contribution.
You may have noticed that many of the schools on the list are the best: Ivy League universities, institutions such as Johns Hopkins, UChicago and Stanford, and schools known for their prestigious medical programs such as Mayo and Mount Sinai. These schools tend to be more successful in placements of residence in the national party and can afford to risk accepting international students whom they may need to sponsor. Requirements for students who are not U. citizens or permanent residents are extremely restricted at U. medical schools that accept international students.
These schools require you to convert your GPA to a 4.0 scale in order to be able to fairly compare it to other students. If you are currently at an undergraduate institution outside the U. S., you will have to complete a significant number of additional courses (30 credit hours) in the US in order to be admitted. Many schools require proof that you can afford the full cost of medical school. There are financial criteria to ensure that international students can complete their medical education in the U.
S. Randee Reid, admissions and Residency Officer at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, adds: “Curricular systems are different from those of foreign schools and it is very useful for medical schools to evaluate progress in a program in the U. If you are taking the course as a prerequisite as a non-degree-seeking student, the potential applicant will need 30 credit hours or more to assess progress. Coursework must be completed before applying to medical schools. International applicants who completed courses at an international school must follow the instructions provided on the AMCAS website to enter the courses and request transcripts.
If any of the courses were taken at a foreign institution but credit was accepted through an accredited U. S., territorial or Canadian post-secondary institution and courses appear in that official academic record, after the U. S., an official academic record from a territorial or Canadian post-secondary institution would be required. AMCAS will verify and include those courses in AMCAS GPA. For example, a course may have been conducted through a study abroad program sponsored by a U.
S school but organized in a foreign country. Be sure to clearly and accurately identify your citizenship and visa status (if applicable) in your AMCAS and secondary applications. Within AMCAS application you can indicate languages you speak and your command of each one. Federal student aid such as unsubsidized direct loans and Direct PLUS loans may be available for those who meet eligibility requirements for federal student aid. The Federal Student Aid website provides detailed information on eligibility criteria for federal aid.
It is also recommended that students speak directly with financial aid staff at each medical school they may be interested in attending. In most cases international students will need obtain private loans or institutional loans if offered by medical school. In some cases medical schools require additional documentation such as bank statements or letters from sponsors. The already intense medical school admission process becomes even more competitive for international students with each passing year. That's why international applicants should bring their highest numbers to application table along with strong personal statement and list of activities. International applicants should also consider their long-term goals after medical school.
While international applicants who graduate from a medical school accredited by American Medical Association can obtain graduate place in US without US citizenship it may be more difficult obtain license and practice medicine in United States after residency depending on visa status.