The 6 Best Medical Schools in Chicago (2021 Updated)

Chicago has long been considered a mecca for medicine and medical research, and the city’s institutions are continuing to lead the way. The opportunities for students who want to study medicine in Chicago are extensive.

Chicago has many colleges offering medical courses. There is ample choice for anyone who wants to become a doctor. You’ll easily find a course for the specialization you’re looking for.

Want to become a general practitioner? Cardiologist? Pneumologist? There is something for everyone in Chicago, provided you will put in the work necessary to succeed in the field.

Medical school is one of the most competitive in the United States. Getting admitted is extremely hard, and once you’re in, you’re going to put in a lot of effort to finish your studies.

But once you’re done, you’ll be ready to enter the workforce as a doctor. Being a doctor is a noble endeavor. You’ll have many people depending on you for their lives.

Medical School Prerequisites

Before getting into the list, we want to talk about the schools’ prerequisites. It’s crucial you ‘re aware of what qualifications you need before applying.

Prerequisites vary by school. But most of them are very similar. Since you can apply to multiple schools at once, it makes sense to put in the work needed to satisfy the highest prerequisites.

What’s great about propping up your study resume is that it won’t be for naught. Once you’re accepted, you’ll notice that your life will be much easier if you satisfy the prerequisites.

Medical School Prerequisites
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GPA

Most medical schools require a 3.0 minimum GPA or higher. But medical school is so competitive that anything short of 3.6 GPA won’t probably cut it. You want the score to be as close to 4.0 as possible.

It takes a lot of work, as reaching a 4.0 GPA requires you to get straight As in all of your classes. It’s a small price to pay to maximize your resume’s effectiveness.

If you know that your current grades are below the threshold for acceptance, it would be wise to spend some time in order to improve them before applying.

You might find people on the Internet claiming they got in with low GPAs. It’s not impossible to get in with a low GPA. Hell, you could get in with a GPA lower than the minimum required for admission. But these people get in because they have an exceptional resume. Getting a high GPA is easier and safer.

Courses

Many institutions recommend the completion of an undergraduate course in biology and/or chemistry. A lot of schools require a course in biology.

In addition, many medical school prerequisites recommend the completion of at least one undergraduate college-level chemistry or organic chemistry course. It’s a good idea to take courses that are just below what is needed for admission requirements. This way, you’ll be ready when it comes time to apply.

For a biology course, many schools recommend you take micro or macro-biology.

Some courses offered in other departments can also be helpful for future applicants, such as statistics, social sciences and humanities. Some programs even offer an undergraduate minor in public health, which can help show your dedication to medicine if it’s not obvious on paper.

We recommend going for courses that will be helpful in your study path. Biology is easily the best one, as it will give you the best bang for your buck. Biology is one of medicine’s fundamentals.

MCAT

This is the Medical College Admission Test. It’s a test that measures your knowledge of science and math.

To get into medical school, take the MCAT. The average score is 30-33%. You should aim for a high score of 35+, which means studying hard and getting great grades in these subjects.

It’s tough to know what you need before taking it because each year will be different depending on how difficult it is. It’s best to take the MCAT as soon as possible so you can find out what your score is.

If you don’t do well on this test, it would be wise to retake it and try again.

The most important thing about taking the MCAT is that each school will have their own minimum requirements; for some schools a 30% is enough, while for others a 40% is the bar.

Letters of Recommendation

You’ll need to get letters from professors, employers, or people who can vouch for you. 

It’s important that you get a letter from an employer who can vouch for your work ethic. This will show the admissions committee how dedicated you are to medicine and what kind of personality they should expect in the future.

Reviewers want to know that not only do you have good grades but also that you’ll be able to perform in a highly demanding and fast-paced environment.

Once you have your letters of recommendation, you’ll need to submit them with the rest of your application materials.

You can email them if necessary or mail it yourself. Organize all of your documents so they’re easy for the admissions committee to review.

Work Experience

Work experience is among the most important factors for medical schools. 

If you want to be a doctor, it’s best for you to get some medical experience as early as your academic career.

People with work experience often have an advantage over those with no because they’re already familiar with what a day-in-the-life of medicine is like. They’ve seen the hours doctors and nurses work. They know what it’s like to be in the ER and have a patient die on them, or take care of someone who is dying.

It will also make you more competitive for medical school if you’ve worked with different people from various backgrounds. 

There are 2 sources of work experience: volunteering and paid work.

  • Volunteering

Volunteering can be very helpful when applying to medical school.

It’s the best way to show your dedication and passion for medicine, thus building a strong application portfolio. It also lets you experience what it is like to work in an emergency room or other hospital-based profession. You can do this by working at a free clinic, volunteering with hospice services, or many other things.

  • Paid work

There are a number of jobs that can help you get work experience in the medical field.

If you have an interest in research, then working with professors might be your best bet. A lot of them will offer lab assistantships and internships to do research on their own project or those they’re collaborating with other researchers on for some of their projects.

Some people who are more interested in working directly with patients can work as a nurse’s aide or nursing assistant at a hospital, clinic, hospice service, or other place of care and treatment for the ill.

Money

Money is a prerequisite for many things in life. And it’s no different for a medical degree. Tuition fees for a medical degree range from around $200,000 to $250,000.

This is on top of the cost for all your other living expenses.

You’ll need to pay for tuition, room and board in college, textbooks (which can range from $125-$250 per book), not to mention everything you’ll spend during your time as an undergraduate student like food, transportation costs, entertainment expenditures-the list goes on.

Housing costs will vary depending on what city you live in-but for example, a one-bedroom apartment can cost $650 per month or more.

You also have to consider the early investment of time and money required before even applying to medical school. This includes studying for your MCATs, taking classes specific to the medical field, and volunteering at a hospital or clinic.

This can be very costly-both financially and in terms of time spent studying for tests.

It’s recommended that you take as many medical classes during your undergraduate career as possible to get the most out of your education before it all ends with applying to medical school. This is because you’re essentially giving all of your money and time to a degree that would be useless without the medical profession.

The 6 Best Medical Schools in Chicago

Ah, Chicago. The city of Big Shoulders and big dreams. It’s a city that is constantly changing, but has never lost its soul. With over 2.7 million people living in the area, there are plenty of things to do and see in this bustling metropolis.

But we are focusing on medical schools. Here’s a list of the medical schools in Chicago, with all the relevant information to let you pick the best one.

Editor’s note: The tuition costs you see on this list don’t take financial aid into account.

Pritzker School of Medicine

  • Type: Private
  • Location: 924 E 57th St #104, Chicago, IL 60637
  • 4-years tuition: ~$250,000

The Pritzker School of Medicine is a private, not-for-profit, research and teaching institution. It was founded in 1881. The Pritzker School of Medicine has been ranked very high on the U.S. News & World Report Regional Rankings for many years in a row.

The school offers a 4 years curriculum that will get you an MD degree. Studying here includes getting internships in hospitals to gain the necessary on-the-job experience.

Pritzker’s major downside is how expensive it is. You’re going to spend over $300.000 dollars over the 4 years required to get your degree, of which ~$250,000 on tuition alone.

Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine

  • Type: Private
  • Location: 2800 W Harrison Ave, Maywood, IL 60153
  • 4-years tuition: ~$200,000

The Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine was founded in 1956 by the Sisters of Charity.

The school is ranked in the top 30 of U.S. News & World Report’s regional rankings for allopathic medical schools, and offers a curriculum that includes an MD degree with coursework ranging from biochemistry to pharmacology. 

Students can get hands-on experience through its internships in hospitals across Chicago and various clinics around town.

Loyola offers a program that lets you achieve both a regular MD degree and a PhD in the field within 8 years. If you’re more interested on the research side of medicine, this is a tremendous opportunity you should consider.

You can specialize in one of the following subjects through the IPBS (Integrated Program in Biomedical Science):

  • Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
  • Cell and Molecular Physiology
  • Integrative Cell Biology
  • Molecular Pharmacology and Therapeutics
  • Microbiology and Immunology
  • Neuroscience

Rush Medical College of Rush University

  • Type: Private
  • Location: 600 S. Wood St, Chicago, IL 60612
  • 4-years tuition: ~$225,000

Rush Medical College was established in 1837. It was founded by Dr. John Riggs (a pioneer in medical education) and his partner James Rush. The school is known for its commitment to excellence.

Rush’s MD program is taught at two hospitals within walking distance of each other: Rush University Medical Center, and John H. Stronger Hospital of Cook Country.

Most teachers at Rush are physicians, so they bring in real-world experience to their lectures. It’s great, because students can learn from people who actually practice what they teach. They are better equipped than those learning from typical teachers.

Another perk of studying here is the volunteer program. You’ll gain hands-on experience in medicine, giving you the experience, you need to proceed with your studies. The school gets over 100 grants from the NIH. If you are interested in research, Rush is an excellent choice.

Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University

  • Type: Private
  • Location: 303 E Chicago Ave, Chicago IL 60610
  • 4-years tuition: ~$198,000

Established in 1859 as the Medical College of Illinois and renamed to the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in 1999, U.S. News & World Report gives it very high regional rankings for allopathic medical schools (in the top 30).

Feinberg offers full-time and part-time programs. The curriculum is taught in a way that provides students with the knowledge to practice as physicians, but also includes opportunities for research through various clinics around Chicago.

Northwestern offered one of the first medical scholarships (named after Dr. John Collins Warren) back in 1882 – which makes it one of the oldest in the country.

Feinberg is currently ranked among U.S. News & World Report’s top 15 medical schools for research – and it has been so since 1975. This means to get a great education, an amazing experience, as well as excellent opportunities when it comes time to apply for residency.

The University of Illinois College of Medicine

  • Type: Public
  • Location: 1200 W Harrison St, Chicago, IL 60607
  • 4-years tuition: ~$180,000

This is the only public school on this list.

The University of Illinois has a MD program that is open to both in-state and out-of-state students. It is ranked in the top 50 regional rankings for allopathic medical schools by U.S. News & World Report. The curriculum includes courses such as Pathology, Pharmacology and Therapeutics, General Psychopathology, Internal Medicine, Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Orthopedics.

Students learn about life sciences through hands-on experiments—all before ever beginning their clinical rotations. This way, they are more prepared for both undergraduate study and graduate education.

The University’s MD program is accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME).

Warning: The tuition is for in-state students. For non-residents, it shoots up over $300,000.

Rosalind Franklin University

  • Type: Private
  • Location: 3333 Green Bay RD, North Chicago, IL 60064
  • 4-years tuition: ~$252,000

One of the exceptional things about Rosalind Franklin University is that it’s ranked in the top 10 for programs in the Midwest by U.S. News & World Report. It’s also a recipient of an Athena Award which is given to schools who show gender equity, mentoring, and flexibility.

For pre-med students, there are opportunities for research through labs and clinics. Something difficult to find at other schools closer to home. The school has been committed to finding new ways to combine technology and education, which means they always have their finger on the pulse of what students need.

The biggest downside of Rosalind Franklin is how expensive it is. But unfortunately, that’s the reality of medical school all over the United States.

Conclusions

In conclusion, medical schools in Chicago are a great option for students looking to go to college in the Midwest. There is something for everyone: research opportunities, grants from the NIH, and research-focused curriculums.

The only downside to these schools is the high cost of tuition. You can repay your student loan quickly by working as a doctor. You need to be sure you can afford to pay for the tuition.

Studying to become a doctor takes years. Make sure you are committed to the job before enrolling. With these tuition costs, it’s hard to justify not finishing med school.

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