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U.S. News names KU Medical School most popular in nation

The KU School of Medicine is the nation's most popular medical school, according to an analysis of yield data by U.S. News and World Report.

The report ranked the percentage of students admitted to medical schools who opted to enroll in the programs. At the School of Medicine, 176 – or 82.2 percent – of the 214 accepted students chose to attend the school in the academic year beginning in 2010, which was tops among the 121 U.S. medical schools that were included in the report.

"We have long been aware that the KU School of Medicine is the school of choice among many of our applicants," said Barbara F. Atkinson, executive vice chancellor at KU Medical Center and executive dean of the School of Medicine. "Like many medical schools, we like to measure our success in many ways, rather than relying solely on the U.S. News and World Report rankings, which tend to compare schools based on criteria that are often unequal across the board. However, it is still very gratifying to be at the very top in this new study."

Every school on the list of most popular medical schools is a state institution, which likely contributed to the rankings, since tuition for in-state students at public medical schools is significantly lower than tuition for out-of-state students or at private schools.

Bailey Roberts, a first-year student at the School of Medicine, was accepted at four medical schools, including Vanderbilt University. She admitted that the lower tuition was a big factor in her decision to come to KU, but it wasn't the only one.

"During the admissions process, I just had a feeling KU was the best choice for me," Roberts said. "I want to go into pediatrics and work with underserved populations, and this was going to be the best school for me to pursue that dream."

A key finding is that five of the most popular schools on the new U.S. News and World Report list are also among the top medical schools in the country when it comes to training primary care physicians. The School of Medicine's primary care program is ranked 41st in the nation, according to U.S. News and World Report.

"Over the past several years, we have developed a reputation as one of the best medical schools in the country for educating primary care doctors," said Heidi Chumley, senior associate dean for medical education at the School of Medicine. "I know many of our applicants are interested in pursuing a career in primary and rural medicine, and they are very aware that this is the place to get the best training for those areas."

To address the need for more primary care and rural physicians, the School of Medicine is adding a four-year program in Salina and expanding its Wichita campus to a full, four-year program in the fall.

Click here to read more about the U.S.News and World Report study on popular medical schools.

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Malika Lyon, coordinator, International Visiting Scholars
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