Trouble Making a School List

I am applying this cycle (2020) and realize that I have been putting all my energy into my personal statement and ECs and I don’t even have a definite school list yet! I’ve been avoiding it because I really don’t know how to pick schools, other than based on their location and MCAT/GPA (although I know the stats aren’t as important).

As I start to look into it more, I look at in-state vs out-of-state preference and the school’s mission statement to try and see if I fit into what they are looking for. Class size and curriculum is kind of a factor, but it’s not that influential in my decision because I know that I would be excited about receiving any medical education, regardless of how they frame it. I have a feeling that my experience is going to be about the people I meet and work with, not so much the name of the school, and that is not something I can know at this point.

So, that said, I have about 14 schools on my list (I am applying only MD), and now that I look at it, they are all relatively well-known and pretty competitive. I know ‘safety’ schools aren’t a thing according to Dr. Gray, but I think my chances are less if I don’t add some smaller, less competitive schools. Trying to pick more schools that I am not familiar with is so hard to do because there are SO many, and it would take hours to go to their websites and really get to know each of them.

Any advice??

Hi there! Dr. Grey responded to your question on Old Premeds episode 188 on 7/24! Head over to to take a listen!