St. Mary's College of Maryland

General Resources: Choosing Schools

As you begin your application process, the early stages require you to make decisions about which schools to apply to, and how many schools to apply to. This page is meant to advise you with general considerations for making those decisions. For more personalized advice, contact your advisor or a member of the committee.

Factors to consider in choosing how many schools to apply to...

  • How competitive is your application?
  • How much money are you planning to spend on the application process?
    • Keep in mind, it adds up quickly! You will have to cover application fees as well as visiting and interviewing expenses.
  • How much time do you have to complete secondary applications and go on to interviews?
    • Note: Many schools only allow several weeks to submit a secondary application, which often involves writing a number of additional essays.
   *Talk to your advisor to help you decide on a good number / range for you.

Factors to consider in choosing potential schools...

  • The program's mission statement: Does it fit with what you want?
    • Note any emphasis on special areas, i.e. service, research, primary care, etc.
  • Research Opportunities
  • Types and timing of patient contact
  • Admissions statistics (average scores and GPAs of accepted students)
  • Out-of-State vs. In-state admission ratio
  • Grading System
  • Special Programs (i.e. MD/PHD)
  • Service and study abroad opportunities
  • Facilities
  • Location and size of school
  • Personal and student support networks
  • Student involvement / leadership opportunities
  • Cost / Availability of financial aid
  • Diversity and diversity initiatives
    *IMPORTANT: Only apply to schools that you can imagine yourself attending!

Other suggestions for choosing schools

  • Talk to current students!
  • Talk to faculty members about the program and their areas of research/clinical interest.
  • Stay overnight with a student, if possible.
  • Write down questions, thoughts, and impressions (likes and dislikes) throughout the day when visiting a school.
  • Visit the school and see the surrounding area, if possible.
  • Explore each school's website for specific information on the school and the application process.
  • Take a look at the curriculum and course catalog.


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