International Medical School Applicants

While international applicants are technically evaluated the same as their domestic counterparts, they nonetheless face a much different – and even more challenging – process to secure admission to a US medical school. In a typical year, less than 1% of American med school matriculants will be classified as international (non citizens who do not hold green cards)and over half of that group will be Canadian. Therefore, the two broad categories of international applicants to US med schools are Canadian applicants and non Canadian applicants.

Canadian Applicants

Canadian applicants generally have a much better chance of successfully applying to US medical schools without the need for additional positioning work than their non Canadian counterparts. (NYU School of Medicine, as a point of reference, only admits international applicants who hold Canadian citizenship.) Canadians also tend to have easier access to the MCAT and related test prep resources and they generally are deemed to have met all the admissions requirements.

Non Canadian Applicants

Non Canadian international applicants who do not have at least one year of science coursework at an accredited US or Canadian school are so rarely accepted that they are almost always discouraged from even applying. Again, policies do vary from program to program (Harvard Medical School actively discourages international applicants who didn’t earn their degree from the US or Canada from even applying), so be sure to check with your specific schools of interest. We estimate the acceptance rate for non Canadian international applicants is far less than one percent in any given year.

Financial Aid

International citizens should not count on receiving any federal loans and, quite frankly, there is not nearly as much merit aid at med school as there is at the undergraduate level. Medical schools vary wildly, so applicants are encouraged to look into the policies of the specific schools they are targeting.

For example, many require proof of assets sufficient to pay for the first two years of school at the time of the initial application. On the other hand, Brown and Stanford want an escrow set up that can pay for all four years while Yale reviews the students’ financial on a year-to-year basis and Dartmouth only requires proof to pay for the first year.

When it comes to loans, it is not unusual for international students to take out loans which must be cosigned by a US citizen. Often times, Canadian applicants are exempt from needing a cosigner. Again, because every institution has different policies, prospective students are encouraged to learn the specifics of their top-choice medical schools.