While admission to U.S. medical, dental, and veterinary school can be challenging for even the best students, international students who are not U.S. permanent residents face additional challenges.
Note: For admissions purposes, most U.S. medical schools do not differentiate between U.S. citizens and non-citizens who are permanent residents.
One difficulty is the limited number of medical school seats available to international applicants. Some medical schools do not accept international students at all while others limit the number of seats for non-U.S. students. Some U.S. medical schools will accept Canadian applicants, but not other international applicants, considering them equally within their applicant pool. In recent years, only 1% of the 19,000 students entering medical school in the U.S. nationally were non-U.S. citizens. Information about which U.S. medical schools accept international students can be found in Medical School Admissions Requirements.
Another challenge is how to pay for medical school. Some medical schools ask international students to put the full cost of tuition in escrow before beginning medical school. International applicants are not eligible for U.S. financial aid and will likely need a U.S. citizen to co-sign any private loans. The cost of a four year U.S. medical education may range from $150,000-$250,000. An exception to this may be applying to funded M.D./Ph.D. programs.
International students interested in applying to medical schools in the U.S. should work closely with Jennifer Barr and their major advisors and should keep alternate career paths in mind. Knowing the challenges ahead of time will help you with making realistic plans for your future.