4 Best Pre-Med Schools In Illinois (Key Facts & Data) [2022]

Preparing yourself as early as you can is the key to getting accepted into med school.

If you’re based in Illinois (or interested in going to school there), choosing one of the best pre-med schools in the state can also help.

In this article we’ll cover:

  • The best pre-med schools in Illinois (based on reputation and alumni)
  • How important it is to attend a good pre-med school in the state
  • What pre-meds in the state can do to be more competitive

Getting into med school is tough, the right information can help give you a small advantage.

Ready to learn more? Let’s go!

Before we get into the best pre-med schools in Illinois, you might be interested in what’s on offer in the surrounding states. Check out our guide; Best Pre-Med Schools in the USA for more information.

Best Pre-Med Schools In Illinois

1. Dominican University

Location:River Forest, IL
National University Rank:10 (Regional Universities Midwest)
Average SAT score: 960-1160 (ACT 19-24) 
Acceptance Rate: 76% 
Private/Public: Private
Undergraduate Enrollment: 2,166
Student-faculty ratio: 10:1

Dominican University is a private school founded in 1901. It offers many services to its students on campus, including tutoring, placement service, daycare, and health insurance. They also provide campus safety and security services like 24-hour foot and vehicle patrols, late night transport/escort service, 24-hour emergency telephones, lighted pathways/sidewalks, student patrols, controlled dormitory access (key, security card, etc.).

They offer an excellent advisory service to students. Pre-meds will work side-by-side with a faculty advisor who will help them identify, refine and pursue professional goals. This advisory service and their productive relationships with pre-meds are at the heart of Dominican’s pre-professional programs.

The university has an excellent background of its students being accepted to outstanding medical schools, including:

  1.  Loyola University Chicago
  2.  University of Illinois-Chicago
  3.  Rush University

Faculty advisors regularly help pre-meds improve their plan in ongoing conversations with a caring faculty who know what it takes to enroll in graduate school. Advisors also help design a personal academic plan that guides pre-meds through the graduate school application process.

Pre-meds usually major in biology, biology-chemistry, or neuroscience at Dominican. The introductory science coursework satisfies the course requirements for medical school admission.

Many students complete a hands-on internship at Rush Oak Park Hospital. And their internship program draws on Chicago’s world-class research and clinical resources.

Their curriculum includes all the courses pre-meds need for success in professional or graduate school.

Parmer Hall, the campus’s newest building, offers 16 labs and state-of-the-art research equipment.

Take a campus tour of Dominican in the video below…


  • Name: Dominican University
  • Location: River Forest, IL
  • Phone: (708) 366-2490
  • Website: dom.edu

2. Northwestern University

Location:Evanston, IL
National University Rank:9
Average SAT score: 1430-1550 (ACT 33-35) 
Acceptance Rate: 9% 
Private/Public: Private
Undergraduate Enrollment: 8,194
Student-faculty ratio: 6:1

Northwestern University is a private school founded in 1851. The school has hundreds of campus organizations. All first-year students must live on campus for two years. The school’s 10 residential colleges offer thematic living quarters for social and academic programming. Northwestern’s main campuses are located along Lake Michigan in Evanston and Chicago.

At Northwestern, pre-med, and pre-health are not majors. Instead, they are simply recommended sets of coursework that students opt to take to be prepared to apply to their selected health professions programs.

They have a Health Professions Advising (HPA) service to help students explore their interest in health professions.

It is a resource that helps Northwestern pre-meds through individual advising, drop-in Q&A, or attending various events and workshops throughout their time at the school.

First-year students interested in following the pre-med track must complete their Pre-med Webinar before being assigned a pre-health advisor.

HPA hosts various events throughout the academic year, such as health professions program visits, application-related workshops, speaker series, and more.

Check out a Northwestern Pre-Med/Pre-Health panel in the video below…


  • Name: Northwestern University
  • Location: Evanston, IL
  • Phone: (847) 491-3741
  • Website: northwestern.edu

3. University of Chicago

Location:Chicago, IL
National University Rank:6
Average SAT score: 1500-1570 (ACT 34-35) 
Acceptance Rate: 7% 
Private/Public: Private
Undergraduate Enrollment: 6,989
Student-faculty ratio: 5:1

Founded in 1890, the University of Chicago is a private research institution. Situated in Hyde Park, it offers a rich campus life in a big-city setting. The university has more than 450 student organizations and has 91 Nobel Prize winners in its ranks.

UChicago’s Careers in Healthcare is one of the most prominent pre-health advising offices in the country compared to peer institutions. 

Students will speak with them at Orientation when they first arrive, again in the early weeks of the Autumn quarter through the small group “Pre-Health 101” sessions, and then as often as students need throughout their college time.

At UChicago, just over half of their pre-med students major in biology while the rest take on other majors.

Historically, UChicago students perform above the national average on their MCAT exam. Over the past several years, their acceptance rate has been between 79-88%.

They offer a Clinical Excellence Scholars Track in partnership with the Bucksbaum Institute and UChicago Medicine. It is a selective program that pre-med would apply in second-year and provide opportunities and experiences related to the doctor-patient relationship.

It also offers two summer research programs on campus: the Katen Scholars Program and the Fellows in Community and Social Medicine. They both involve a 10-week research experience. The first is in desk laboratory research. The second is in research that focuses on community health, the crossing between the social sciences and medicine.

There is a Summer Cancer Research Program, which provides 6 students the opportunity to engage in research positions at three renowned cancer centers across the US (Memorial Sloan Kettering, MD Anderson, and Fred Hutchinson) and the RBH Fellows in Oral Health Program, which allows students to pursue projects related to oral health both on campus and at sites around the country.

For more details on pre-med life at UChicago, check out the following video…


  • Name: University of Chicago
  • Location: Chicago, IL
  • Phone: (773) 702-1234
  • Website: uchicago.edu

4. University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign

Location:Champaign, IL
National University Rank:47
Average SAT score: 1210-1470 (ACT 27-33) 
Acceptance Rate: 63% 
Tuition:$16,866 (in-state) and $34,316 (out-of-state)
Private/Public: Public
Undergraduate Enrollment: 33,683
Student-faculty ratio: 20:1

University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign is a public institution that was founded in 1867. It is located in the cities of Urbana and Champaign in east-central Illinois, only a few hours from Chicago, Indianapolis, and St. Louis. It’s not hard to find something to do on campus with more than 1,600 student organizations, including professional, political, and philanthropic clubs. All freshmen must live on campus.

Health Professions Advisors (HPA) at the Career Center provides pre-professional advising for pre-med students interested in allopathic and osteopathic medicine.

The Career Center created an open-learning course for Pre-Health students. Users receive specialized announcements and obtain additional insight to explore, prepare, and apply to health professions. Students will access the scheduled peer advising interviews with the Pre-Health Ambassadors, participate in consultation boards and review other resources related to health professions.

According to an online college plan, the University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign ranks 4th in the Top 20 Best Pre Med Colleges.

Related: Is The University Of Illinois Chicago A Good Medical School? (Major Pros & Cons)

Molecular and Cellular Biology is an excellent major choice for pre-med students, and many are inclined to pursue it.

This major has its own school: the School of Molecular and Cellular Biology at UIUC. It is so saturated with pre-health students that the university has an MCB Magazine and Pre-Health and Professional Mentorship Program.

In 2013, 219 of the 387 pre-meds who applied to medical school after graduating from UIUC majored in Molecular Biology, 19 in Integrative Biology and Chemistry (IBC), 18 in Psychology, and less than 15 spread out for 34 majors.

 UIUC campus offers tons of activities, including:

  • Volunteering at EMS organizations
  • Student consulting for non-profit
  • Community and Hospital volunteering
  • Research
  • Professional Pre-med fraternity (like Phi Delta Epsilon)
  • Orchestra
  • Intramural Sports
  • Nutrition Club
  • TA for specific classes

To find out more about what life is like at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign, check out the video below…


  • Name: University of Illinois – Urbana Champaign
  • Location: Champaign, IL
  • Phone: (217) 333-1000
  • Website: illinois.edu

All admissions data is taken from the American Association of Medical Colleges (Source). Ranking data is taken from U.S. News.

Related Questions

Is It Important To Attend A Good Pre Med School In Illinois?

Having a reputable school on your med school application can look good. Performing well during undergrad, at any of the colleges recommended above, is a strong indicator you’ll fit in studying medicine.

How much an individual school actually contributes to your chances of becoming a doctor is open for debate, however.

The biggest factors, in terms of competitiveness, are your GPA score, your clinical experience (shadowing, working, etc), and extracurriculars, and how well you present yourself in application essays and interviews.

To say the strength of your candidacy comes solely down to where you studied for pre-med would be a stretch!

What College In Illinois Has The Best Medical Program?

The best medical school in the state, according to U.S. News Ranking, is Northwestern University Feinberg School Of Medicine. You’ll need an average GPA of 3.91 and an average MCAT of 520.

Related: 9 Best Medical Schools In Illinois (Everything You Need To Know)

How To Improve Your Medicine Application As A Pre-Med In School In Illinois

A great way to make your med school application as competitive as possible is through extracurriculars.

In Illinois, you have a lot of clinically relevant medical/hospital volunteering opportunities to take advantage of.

Related: 16 Hospital Volunteer Opportunities In Chicago

These positions are organized and very useful for obtaining letters of recommendation (LOR’s), shadowing, and other important networking connections.

You can also look into relevant pre-med jobs like scribing, EMT, and phlebotomy available in the state for extra clinical experience.

What Is The Hardest/Easiest College In Illinois To Get Into?

Based on the data above, Dominican University appears easier to gain admission into as an undergrad. Their admission rate is one of the highest, their SAT scores the lowest, and their undergraduate admissions places more than most other schools in the state.

Northwestern University for undergrad appears the most competitive.

What Major Should I Choose As A Pre-Med?

The standard advice is to choose a major you feel you can do well in. Your GPA will be possibly the biggest differentiator between you and other pre-med candidates.

Here’s what you should consider:

  • How motivated you’ll be to study (choose something you’ll enjoy)
  • How “suitable” you are to the subject (maximize your chance of a high GPA)

If you did well in a particular subject in high school, or find something relatively easy to get good grades in, that could make for a good pick.

Something else to think about is the MCAT. Sometimes life science subjects can be a good fit as they’ll help you in the preparation for this key med school exam. They also may cover many of the prerequisites.

If you found this article useful, make sure you check out the rest of our pre-med guides…