Smaller school with merit aid for Jewish girl B+/A- premed [really 3.95 unweighted HS GPA]

DD wants to be a pediatrician. We are residents of Maryland, so there are very few choices here. DD should make to UMD College Park, but I am not sure it is the best option for her due to school size. It would be very difficult to keep very high GPA there. She most likely will end up with something like 3.5 GPA there and may not make it to medical school. Plus UMD does not hospital there.
We are looking for a LAC with merit aid for good studious student who needs some hand holding. Problems that I am facing that many LACS either religious or do not provide merit aid, or do not have hospital around for premed… I can’t send Jewish girl to St. Bonaventure…
My list is all over the place at this point…
What schools you would suggest?
Best option should be:

  1. School on East cost not big, not too small (at least 2,000 students). We would prefer ones within 8 hours drive from Maryland.
  2. Some Jewish body and no theological classes among core
  3. Merit aid for A- student (we are expecting SAT around 1400) with strong GPA (we will not qualify for financial aid)
  4. Strong premed advising
  5. Opportunity in the area for hospital work and research as undergrad.
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You know your D better than a group of anonymous strangers on the internet :slightly_smiling_face: BUT the current acceptance rate for medical schools in the US is just 40%. That means that more than half of those who apply to med school don’t get in and many end up not applying or finding another path.

The reason I am starting at that point is there are many schools that will offer merit opportunities. IMO, focusing on hospital locations where deciding on an undergrad program is putting the cart before the horse. Choose a school where she can have the kind of experience she is looking for, get excellent grades and MCAT scores, make sure she gets good pre-med advising and cross the med school bridge when she gets there.

Probably not helpful and doesn’t begin to address your question. If you are looking for LAC options with merit, look at Muhlenberg.


College of Charleston in Charleston, SC (I don’t know about the drive time, however).

Maybe Elon University in North Carolina, also.

How much merit aid? 5K a year opens up a lot more options than needing 30K per year.

How much handholding?

You do NOT need to be near a hospital to get into Med school.


Many HS kids want to pick something as they enter college and, since they aren’t aware of more than a handful of career fields, medicine is attractive. And even within medicine many can only name a few occupations such as doctor or nurse but these are far from the only in the health field that help people. Physical therapists, radiology techs, speech pathologists, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, to name but just a few as shown on Careers that take less than 11+ years of education and training and the immense debt that comes with earning a M.D. There’s an interesting thread on another forum I follow in which many actual physicians have posted, at Calling all doctors, kid wants to be a doctor!? -

If she doesn’t have exposure to exposure to medicine such as thru volunteering then I suggest thinking of her as wanting to explore a career in medicine, not someone who’s made a decision.


There are many medical centers near College Park. The medical school for UMd is in Baltimore, about 40 minutes from College Park and many student go back and forth for classes, jobs, other reasons every day.

If she prefers to be closer to the UM medical campus, there is Towson or UMBC.

There was a thread on here a few years ago about the best school for a “Jewish B student” which, IMO, dissolved into a thread for A students, but it was not focused on premed studies.


5K will not make a dent. Need something like 20K at least.
Handholding= smaller classes, office hours with professors (not TAs)

Thanks. I looked at those, but they were not about premed.

I was going to say Muhlenberg but someone beat me to it. :slight_smile:

Juniata, Susquehanna, Drew, and Elizabethtown would be good safeties so worth checking out for merit.

Just to make sure:
premed courses are nothing “medical”. They’re just introductory courses for majors; the difference is that in General Biology, the premed must rank top 10-20% compared to bio majors; in General Chemistry, the premed must also rank top 10-20% compared to chemistry majors; in Physics, same thing…
The pre-reqs are: General Chemistry 1&2, General Bio 1&2, Physics 1&2, Organic Chemistry 1&2, Calculus 1, Biostatistics, English composition + another one (interpersonal communication, writing for science professions, etc), sociology, psychology, a diversity-focused course, and, if possible, medical ethics, a language other than English spoken in the US, biochemistry, neuroscience/cognitive science.
There’s no “medicine” in these.
In addition, add a “traditional” major of your choice - English, CS, psychology, applied math, Spanish, music, biochemistry, economics…
However a premed will have to add lots of ECs, from volunteering at a health center, with refugees, with the homeless, at a shelter, working as an EMT or CNA, shadowing a doctor, etc. - all activities that are closer to “medicine”.

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You can take the prerequisite courses to apply to medical school at just about every college in this country. (Exception would be music conservatories). So…look at that list again because medical school prerequisite courses are available at all of those schools.


I can respond to your question about Jewish life. Hillel has a short write up on the Jewish life of many schools, including the size of the Jewish student body (when the school collects and releases it) here: List of Hillel College Guide Records - Hillel Guide to Jewish Life at Colleges and Universities. Also on their site are lists of the schools with the largest Jewish population by both size and percentage, although in some cases the lists don’t fully correspond to the write-ups; one has been updated more recently than the other.

Definitionally liberal arts colleges do not have graduate schools, so they are very unlikely to have a hospital (there may be exceptions to that; for instance, I think Emerson has a hospital, but it is outside Boston and not near the “campus” (if you can call it that) in central Boston–but I could be wrong about that.


Actually, the science courses acceptable for pre-meds can be those acceptable for biology majors. It is common for physics departments to offer physics for biology majors using less math than physics for physics (or engineering) majors. This sometimes happens with general and organic chemistry courses as well, but less commonly than for physics. Of course, a pre-med who is a physics major needs to take physics for physics majors, and a pre-med who is a math major may prefer to take physics with more math over physics with less math.

Muhlenberg or Clark

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Many schools are near hospitals, just not a hospital associated with the university. University of Colorado @Boulder has two hospitals within walking distance, but the university of Colorado medical campus is about an hour away in Aurora, CO.

If an undergrad wants to get experience at a hospital or medical clinic, I’m sure there would be plenty of opportunities.

Quinnipiac, Hobart & Willam Smith

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She actually already has exposure through volunteering and she loves it.

Lets try to do it from another end.
From different forums and this one, I compiled list of schools that may work.
I am not sure do they all fit description, but I would like to narrow to list of 10 that most satisfy 5 requirements above. Lets focus on strong/good premed advising and possible merit money.
Can some try to rank them help to eliminate some and get some variety too (reach, safety etc)?
We do not want to apply to 20 LACS. I think 10 LACS should be plenty. (DD will also apply to UPitt, UMD, Case, Tulane and VCU in addition to LACS)
Some listed below are a bit further than 8 hours. None will work without merit aid, except UMD…

Thinking to apply to:
Rhodes College, TN (14 hours away…)
Oberlin, OH
Trinity, CT
Furman University, SC
Muhlenberg, PA

Other runners up are
Dickinson, PA
Hobart and William Smith, NY
Hampshire, MA
Elon, NC
Juniata, PA
Connecticut College
Sarah Lawrence, NY
Union, NY

Only for women Colleges:
Mount Holyoke, MA
Bryn Mawr, PA

I am not sure about (but may be wrong)
Randolph-Macon, VA


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Tulane has been transitioning away from merit aid and toward need based aid. You may want to look into that more before keeping it on your list.

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Rhodes College can be particularly appealing to students with an interest in pediatrics, because of its strong relationships with both St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital. The college has a Presbyterian affiliation but isn’t heavily religious; the college’s current president is Jewish. (The city of Memphis actually has a really interesting Jewish history, although the Jewish population never fully rebounded after the Yellow Fever epidemic of the 1870’s.) There’s a 10K/year merit scholarship specifically for Jewish students Jewish Community Fellowship | Rhodes College in addition to other merit money that your daughter would likely qualify for.


Aquapt, thanks a lot for your post. I had no idea. Rhodes will be top school to apply (hate 14 hours distance, but looks like excellent match for DD)