For Prospective Students

The most common question asked of those who advise students interested in preparing for a career in the health professions is:

“What percent of Duke students who apply to medical/dental/veterinary school are accepted?”

The short answer is that most of our seniors who apply are admitted to medical schools each year. While it is understandable that prospective students and their parents are curious about this information, a student’s choice of college or university should not be based on that answer. Why?

Many first-year college students who state their intention to become a health care professional change their minds. In addition, experience shows us that many students who enter college not considering health care as a career develop an interest in medicine and ultimately become health care providers. So choosing a college based on the success rate of its applicants to medical school, dental school, or veterinary school, should be only one aspect of your decision.

If you are interested in the possibility of becoming a physician, dentist, veterinarian, or other health care professional, you should choose a college or university that will offer you intellectual challenges and extensive opportunities for academic exploration. Health professions schools value broadly educated individuals with formative experiences. Preparation for a health professions program generally requires you to take at least 8 laboratory science courses  (4 chemistry, 2 biology, 2 physics) and 2 English courses. You may also need to add calculus, statistics, biochemistry, additional biology courses, and sometimes social science and humanities classes. While you will need to take a set of core science courses, you do not have to major in a science. You may choose any major you wish.