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Attending one of California’s sixteen medical schools is something many medical school applicants dream of. However, getting into a California medical school is extremely difficult and only the most prepared applicants are accepted. At MedEdits, we have been helping students successfully get into California medical schools for more than 15 years.

UCLA Medical School Acceptance

Why is medical school in California so appealing? For in state California residents, tuition is much lower at state funded schools. Even for out of state students, California medical schools have lower tuition than most private medical schools. All of the medical schools in California have great reputations that help medical students earn top residencies. In fact, some of the best medical schools in the country are in California. Finally, the beautiful state of California is a desirable place to live!

In this article discover the California medical schools and what you should do to improve your chances of getting accepted.

When you first start your journey to medical school, it is important to understand the medical school rankings, medical school categories (pubic, private, MD-granting, and DO-granting. Below we will break down this information and will then review the most pertinent medical school-specific data such as average MCAT, GPA, and percent of out of state students interviewed and accepted.

Stanford, University of California San Francisco, and University of California Los Angeles are all ranked in the top ten for research by US News and World Report.

Because California medical schools are so desirable, they receive huge numbers of applications each year making California medical school acceptance rates very low.

Here are the U.S. News and World Report rankings for medical schools in California:

    1. Stanford (#4)
    2. University of California – San Francisco (#6 – tie)
    3. University of California – Los Angeles (#6 – tie)
    4. University of California – San Diego (#21)
    5. University of Southern California (Keck) (#31)
    6. University of California – Davis (#40)
    7. University of California – Irvine (#44)
    8. University of California – Riverside (#91)
    9. Touro University of California (#94-122)
    10. Western University of Health Sciences (#94-122)
    11. California Health Sciences University College of Osteopathic Medicine (NR)
    12. California Northstate University (NR)
    13. California University of Science and Medicine (NR)
    14. Kaiser Permanente School of Medicine (NR)
    15. Loma Linda University (NR)
    16. Charles Drew/UCLA (NR)

Practice Type

California Osteopathic Medical Schools

  • California Health Sciences University
  • Touro University of California
  • Western University of Health Sciences

California Allopathic Medical Schools

  • California Northstate University
  • California University of Science and Medicine
  • Charles R. Drew/UCLA
  • Kaiser Permanente School of Medicine
  • Loma Linda University
  • Stanford
  • University of California – Davis
  • University of California – Irvine
  • University of California – Los Angeles
  • University of California – San Diego
  • University of California – San Francisco
  • University of California – Riverside
  • University of Southern California (Keck)

School Type

California Public Medical Schools

  • University of California – Davis
  • University of California – Irvine
  • University of California – Los Angeles
  • University of California – San Diego
  • University of California – San Francisco
  • University of California – Riverside

California Private Medical Schools

  • Charles R. Drew/UCLA
  • California Health Sciences University
  • California Northstate University
  • California University of Science and Medicine
  • Kaiser Permanente School of Medicine
  • Keck School of Medicine of Southern California
  • Loma Linda University School of Medicine
  • Stanford University School of Medicine
  • Touro University of California
  • Western University of Health Sciences

By Region

Northern California Medical School

Southern California Medical Schools

  • California University of Science and Medicine (San Bernardino, CA)
  • Charles R. Drew/UCLA (Los Angeles, CA)
  • University of California – Irvine (Irvine, CA)
  • University of California – Los Angeles (Los Angeles, CA)
  • University of California – Riverside (Riverside, CA)
  • University of California – San Diego (San Diego, CA)
  • Kaiser Permanente School of Medicine (Pasadena, CA)
  • Keck School of Medicine of Southern California (Los Angeles, CA)
  • Loma Linda University School of Medicine (Loma Linda, CA)
  • Western University of Health Sciences (Pomona, CA)

How to be a Competitive for California Medical Schools

To determine your competitiveness for a California medical school you must first review the average MCATs and GPAs for accepted students as well as the California medical school acceptance rates. For out of state students, it is important to pay attention to how many out of state students are interviewed and what percentage of out of state students matriculate each year.

So, how difficult is it to get accepted to a California medical school? Let’s review the data. Below are the average MCAT scores and college GPAs, interview rates for in state and out of state applicants, percent of entering class that is in state, and tuition for all medical schools in California.

Information & Data For Each California Medical School

California Health Sciences University

Practice Type Osteopathic (DO-granting)
Location Clovis, CA (Northern California)
School Type Private
Average GPA 3.4
Average MCAT Score 505
Interview & Acceptance Rates NA
Percent of Class In State NA
Tuition $54,500

Touro University of California

Practice Type Osteopathic (DO-granting)
Location Vallejo, CA (Northern California)
School Type Private
Average GPA 3.51
Average MCAT Score 508
Interview & Acceptance Rates NA
Percent of Class In State 83%
Tuition $58,800 (all)

Western University of Health Sciences

Practice Type Osteopathic
Location Pomona, CA (Southern California)
School Type Private
Average GPA 3.68
Average MCAT Score 510
Interview & Acceptance Rates 12.7% & 6.4% (combined)
Percent of Class In State 87%
Tuition $59,600 (all)

California Northstate University

Practice Type Allopathic
Location Elk Grove, CA (Northern California)
School Type Private
Average GPA 3.69
Average MCAT Score 512
Interview & Acceptance Rates NA
Percent of Class In State 90.6%
Tuition $60,377 (all)

California University of Science and Medicine

Practice Type Allopathic
Location San Bernardino, CA (Northern California)
School Type Private
Average GPA 3.69
Average MCAT Score 513
Interview & Acceptance Rates 4%
Percent of Class In State 84%
Tuition $60,250 (all)

Charles R. Drew/UCLA

Practice Type Allopathic
Location Los Angeles, CA (Southern California)
School Type Private
Average GPA 3.64
Average MCAT Score 511
Interview & Acceptance Rates 3.2%
Percent of Class In State NA
Tuition $58,000 (all)

Kaiser Permanente School of Medicine

Practice Type Allopathic
Location Pasadena, CA (Southern California)
School Type Private
Average GPA NA
Average MCAT Score NA
Interview & Acceptance Rates NA
Percent of Class In State NA
Tuition Tuition Free

Loma Linda University

Practice Type Allopathic
Location Loma Linda, CA (Southern California)
School Type Private
Average GPA 3.89
Average MCAT Score 510
Interview & Acceptance Rates N/A
Percent of Class In State 43%
Tuition $59,820 (all)

Stanford

Practice Type Allopathic
Location Stanford, CA (Northern California)
School Type Private
Average GPA 3.89
Average MCAT Score 519
Interview & Acceptance Rates 2.3%
Percent of Class In State 37 %
Tuition $61,328 (all)

University of California – Davis

Practice Type Allopathic
Location Davis, CA (Northern California)
School Type Public
Average GPA 3.7
Average MCAT Score 512
Interview & Acceptance Rates 3.1%
Percent of Class In State 98%
Tuition $41,231 (in-state) and $53,476 (out-of-state)

University of California – Irvine

Practice Type Allopathic
Location Irvine, CA (Southern California)
School Type Public
Average GPA 3.83
Average MCAT Score 517
Interview & Acceptance Rates 4%
Percent of Class In State 85.6%
Tuition $36,525 (in-state) and $48,770 (out-of-state)

University of California – Los Angeles

Practice Type Allopathic
Location Los Angeles, CA (Southern California)
School Type Public
Average GPA 3.85
Average MCAT Score 517
Interview & Acceptance Rates 2.4%
Percent of Class In State 60.5%
Tuition $37,947 (in-state) and $50,192 (out-of-state)

University of California – San Diego

Practice Type Allopathic
Location San Diego, CA (Southern California)
School Type Public
Average GPA 3.85
Average MCAT Score 517
Interview & Acceptance Rates 3.8%
Percent of Class In State 86%
Tuition $37,090 (in-state) and $49.335 (out-of-state)

University of California – San Francisco

Practice Type Allopathic
Location San Francisco, CA (Northern California)
School Type Public
Average GPA 3.85
Average MCAT Score 518
Interview & Acceptance Rates 3.8%
Percent of Class In State 79%
Tuition $36,021 (in-state) and $48,266 (out-of-state)

University of Southern California (Keck)

Practice Type Allopathic
Location Los Angeles, CA (Southern California)
School Type Private
Average GPA 3.81
Average MCAT Score 517
Interview & Acceptance Rates 4.6%
Percent of Class In State 82%
Tuition $65,439 (all)

University of California – Riverside

Practice Type Allopathic
Location Riverside, CA (Southern California)
School Type Public
Average GPA 3.72
Average MCAT Score 510
Interview & Acceptance Rates 5.5%
Percent of Class In State 100%
Tuition $37,612 (in-state) and $49,857 (out-of-state)

California Medical School Acceptance: Increase Your Chances

So, what can you do to increase your chances of getting accepted to a California medical school?

1) Be realistic about your competitiveness and do what you need to improve your chances. When deciding when to apply to medical, you should consider how your average GPA and MCAT compares to the school’s average GPA and MCAT for accepted students. If your GPA and/or MCAT are lower than the California medical schools you would like to attend, consider boosting your GPA or MCAT to make yourself more competitive. You must also consider your state residency; many California medical schools admit the majority of students from within the state.

2) When you complete secondary essays, do so thoughtfully and considerately. The majority of UC medical schools screen applications so only a certain percentage of applicants receive secondary applications. Therefore, it is important to make sure your secondary essays distinguish you and highlight what you will bring to the medical school community.

3) Don’t try to spin your documents, secondary essays, or interview responses to “fit” a certain medical school. All medical schools are looking for diverse medical school entering classes. No medical school, for example, wants a class full of students who have NIH funded research or a an entire class of students who have been community service leaders. Always be true to yourself, your ideals, and your interests. If you have the stats to be a competitive applicant for a California medical school, what is most important is to address every secondary essay, every interview question and every MMI scenario authentically and honestly. Trying to “tell them what you think they want to hear” can actually undermine how you are perceived and decrease your chances of success.

About MedEdits

MedEdits helps students get admitted to medical school and residency programs. Our consultants have years of experience serving on medical school admissions committees, and as faculty members at the top medical schools in the country.

Need Help With Medical Schools In California: Rankings & Information?

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MedEdits Medical Admissions Founder and Chairwoman, Jessica Freedman, MD
JESSICA FREEDMAN, M.D., is a former faculty member and admissions committee member at the Icahn School of Mount Sinai and is the founder and chair of MedEdits Medical Admissions. She is also the author of the MedEdits Guide to Medical Admissions and The Medical School Interview which you can find on Amazon. Follow Dr. Freedman and MedEdits on Facebook and YouTube.
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