Compare Ursinus Bryn Mawr Juniata Elizabethtown for Biology/Pre-med

Hello. My D23 will be starting to look at colleges. She is interested in biology and pre-med. Please share your thoughts on the programs of Biology and Pre-med at these schools.
Also please comment on the merit aide possibilities at these colleges.
Thank you.

They are all fine for pre-med. any college is fine for pre-med.

Merit aid at Bryn Mawr is highly competitive. Most aid is need based aid.


Thank you. I really appreciate your response.

This website might be helpful.

An interesting partnership with Jefferson university medical school if you’re looking to stay in PA


Thank you for the articles. Great information.

Do you know your EFC? (the minimum financial contribution that can be expected by the college) If you do, can you afford it? If you don’t, look up “FAFSA4caster”.

Run the Net Price Calculator on each of these colleges. (To find the NPC, look up “name of college” + “NPC” :+1: )
Bryn Mawr has excellent need based aid so if your income is roughly 150K and under, your child would likely get some need-based aid (scholarships/grants). The others combine need and merit.

Bryn Mawr is an elite college, so if like most premeds she doesn’t end up in Med School, she’ll have a great degree. The alumna network is fantastic and will greatly support her in her career. To be considered a reach even for A to A- students.

Juniata is known as an excellent college for pre-health majors, especially those with a B+ to A- GPA who are highly motivated and hardworking.

Elizabethtown is good for premeds because it’s very cooperative and includes lots of ethics in addition to science. It’d be a safety for a student who is aiming for Bryn Mawr.

Muhlenberg is an excellent college for premeds.
If Bryn Mawr is of interest and a “reachable reach”, Lafayette and Dickinson could be other “meet need” universities worth considering.

Further away, look into Mount Holyoke, Skidmore, Denison, Allegheny, Wooster, Ohio Wesleyan, St Lawrence.
Even further away, St Olaf, Bates, Grinnell, Illinois Wesleyan, Rhodes, Davidson.

Finally, if she wants to go to med school I would advise against majoring in biology. Not only is that not necessary for med school but there’s an oversupply of biology majors. What else is she interested in? if STEM only: Chemistry? CS? Physics? Statistics? What about Psychology, Philosophy, Economics, a world language?


From your list students from our school who have been interested in pre-med (or vet) have liked Juniata, Elizabethtown, and Ursinus in that order. Don’t take that as a dig for Ursinus though. Many are put off from considering it by the name for whatever reason. Juniata is just plain popular around us for science or environmental students, so one that is often considered.

Not from your list, but mentioned before and very worth a look is Washington and Jefferson southwest of Pittsburgh. It’s a terrific little school that, for whatever reason, misses being recommended often on CC. Students from our school like them for pre-med as well. Muhlenberg gets some love too, but seems to be one people either like or don’t.

I’m not as sure about merit aid for any of them. Most of our students get need-based aid and I don’t ask which type they get.


Very excellent list of schools. Thank you for your insight.
We will not be qualifying for financial aide so merit aide will be it for us.
We have a budget for D23 and any difference from tuition will need to be made up from merit aide.
D23 is a straight A student and scores high on standard tests. She is studying hard for the SAT.
I see that both Ursinus and Juniata are very generous with merit aide.
I read on the website that Bryn Mayr could give merit up to 40k but I assume the requirements are pretty high.
D23 for now seems to want to stay in PA. We will be visiting more school this fall when more colleges start to open up again.
Thanks for all of your great insight. I appreciate it.


Will she be applying to Pitt? As a strong instate applicant, she should apply early…and might garner some merit aid. As an instate student, the costs are already lower than other schools on your list.


Pitt is a very good school. But D23 would like to go to a smaller school and would rather not go that far west in PA.

Will she be applying to Temple?

No. D23 is from a small town and she would rather stay away from being in an inner city college. I know that Temple as well as Drexel are very good for pre-med but she just does not feel comfortable in that environment. Thanks

Juanita was a great experience for my daughter. She wasn’t pre-med but knew some kids that were. Also they have great merit aid which helps.


Yes. Juniata has excellent merit aide. I think Ursinus and Juniata have some of the best merit aide offered and both are very strong programs for Biology and Pre-Med.

Susquehanna also great for merit aid. University of Scranton is another suggestion if Catholic is okay.


Thank you very much for these great suggestions.

Bryn Mawr has a detailed page outlining the process, prerequisites, etc. It’s useful to understand what to look for/ask about at any school.

Of the listed schools, med school acceptance success has to be significantly higher at Bryn Mawr.


Thank you very much for pointing me to that page on the Bryn Mawr website. What a great wealth of information. Thanks again.

1 Like

FWIW, BMC has a postbaccalaureate premed program, i.e., a program for people with an undergraduate degree who want to go to medical school and don’t have the prerequisite undergraduate courses. The program has a 98% acceptance rate to med schools. The students in this program take the very same courses as the premed undergrad students at BMC. My D (BMC grad) had a roommate who dated and eventually married a young man in the program. He got into several medical schools and went to UCSF. To me, this seems to say that BMC does a good job preparing its premed students to get into medical school. I could be all wrong in this assumption and I’m sure someone will post if that’s the case. I can say that my D loved BMC (she wasn’t premed) and got a great education there and highly recommends it.


Thank you for that great information on Bryn Mawr. I think that means a lot that they have such a high success rate with the postbaccalaureate program getting their students into med school.
I am glad that your D loved Bryn Mawr and felt that she got an excellent education. Thank you.