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The Best Medical Schools in Hawaii

The Best Medical Schools in Hawaii. Hawai’i, the 50th state added to the Union, has many amazing qualities. Residents may enjoy everything from lush rainforests to a rich cultural past to great food. Yet there is one thing that Hawai’i lacks: a diverse set of medical schools. In reality, the University of Hawai’i John A. Burns School of Medicine is the sole medical school in the state.

The University of Hawai’i – Mnoa, located in Honolulu, is the state’s flagship university. The university is a fantastic location to study, with a 320-acre campus and a $327 billion endowment. UH has graduated outstanding achievers such as Senator Tammy Duckworth and Time Warner CEO Richard Parsons during its 100-year existence. The school provides everything a student might desire, including exceptional support personnel, cutting-edge labs, and a commitment to supporting its diverse student group.

So, what should aspiring physicians know about medical school at the University of Hawaii? Continue reading to discover about the advantages and best techniques for enrolling in the institution.

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About the University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine (Honolulu, HI)

Notwithstanding the fact that Hawai’i did not become a state until 1959, the state’s flagship university was founded in 1907 as a land-grant college. Since then, the university has grown into a top-tier research institution, owing primarily to its medical school, the John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM). With a $57 million endowment, JABSOM is at the forefront of medical research and teaching. According to US News & World Report, the school ranks 64th in the nation for research (tied with Chicago’s Rush University) and 24th in Primary Care (tied with the University of Vermont and Ivy League schools Dartmouth College and the University of Pennsylvania).

The school’s commitment to diversity, encapsulated by the name ALOHA: Attaining Lasting Optimal Health for Everyone, is perhaps its most outstanding feature. JABSOM seeks to build a learning community that represents the diversity of the island on which it is located. Its purpose encompasses not just multidisciplinary education, but also the pursuit of “alliances unique to Hawai’i and the Asia-Pacific region” and acting “with forethought towards appropriate relationships, respect, and moral behavior.”

To accomplish these objectives, JABSOM uses a problem-based learning curriculum that emphasizes community-based medicine. Students get practical, hands-on training at the school’s various partner facilities, including Wahiawa General Hospital, Straub Clinic and Hospital, Kapi’olani Medical Center for Women and Children, and U.S. Army and Veteran’s Affairs Clinics. Working with associate institutions such as the Asia-Pacific Basin Health Education Center, the Asia-Pacific Institute of Tropical Medicine and Infectious Diseases, and the Center for Native and Pacific Health Disparities Research can also help students improve their research goals.

These tools certainly pay off, as seen by the results of JABSOM students and graduates. Two Ph.D. applicants were recently awarded $5000 Achievement Awards for Collegiate Scientists funding to further their study. Earlier this month, faculty member Jess Owens was awarded a $2.3 million National Institutes of Health grant to investigate the therapeutic effects of gene delivery to the human genome.

MCAT and GPA Required for Admission

Even if there were a plethora of other institutions in the vicinity, these remarkable qualifications would necessitate that the University of Hawai’i’s medical school maintain high standards. Yet, because it is the state’s sole medical school, admission to JABSOM is extremely competitive. In 2020, the school received 300 applications from prospective students in Hawaii and 1,876 applications from out-of-state students, for a total of 2,176 applicants.

After evaluating 306 candidates, JABSOM admitted just 67 in-state students and 10 out-of-state students for a 3.5% acceptance rate. Except for Harvard, which admits only 3.4% of its applications, this is even more exclusive than the rest of the Ivy League. With such a low admission percentage, it’s no wonder that the university’s academic criteria are exceedingly high. Students enrolled into JABSOM have an average undergraduate GPA of 3.76. The average MCAT score of students accepted is 512.

The figures are consistent with the majority of medical schools in the nation. Yet, as Hawai’i’s sole such institution, the stakes are significantly higher. Candidates must have taken the MCAT within three years of completing their undergraduate studies and have achieved 90 credit hours from a recognized school.

Students must complete lab-based courses such as general biology, general physics, general chemistry, and organic chemistry as part of their undergraduate study. Students must study biochemistry, although there is no requirement for a lab component. Anatomy, mathematics, cell and molecular biology, genetics, and other courses are also recommended in the admissions criteria.

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Strategies for Admission

With such a low admission percentage, students wishing to enroll at JABSOM must be strategic in their application preparation. Of course, one should endeavor to achieve good marks in the aforementioned needed courses as well as the necessary total GPA. Attending test prep classes and practicing on sample examinations might help you get a higher MCAT score and meet those fundamental criteria. Admission to JABSOM, or any medical school, is more than just a numbers game. Admissions officers seek individuals who are well-rounded, not just those who perform well on examinations.

JABSOM has admissions procedures that go beyond GPA and MCAT scores to ensure that they receive those sorts of students. Prospective applicants must first complete the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS) application, which provides important information to potential institutions around the country. The application period begins on June 1st, with the early decision program due on August 1st and the standard deadline on November 1st. Students must pay a $150 application fee. This price is non-negotiable, so make sure you factor it into your application strategy.

To guarantee that they receive such sorts of students, JABSOM has admissions procedures that go beyond GPA and MCAT results. Prospective applicants must first complete the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS) application, which provides critical information to potential institutions around the country. The application process begins on June 1st, with the early decision program deadline arriving on August 1st and the standard deadline arriving on November 1st. Students must submit a $150 application fee along with their application. This price is non-negotiable, so make sure to factor it into your application preparations.

The secondary application, in particular, contains a request for letters of recommendation. Most people understand that a great letter of reference should come from a reputable professor in their profession, but it isn’t the only one. The recommender should not simply be someone who knows you well and can speak to your skills and talents (for example, don’t ask for a letter from a professor who gave you a C in their class).

A excellent letter of recommendation should be obtained as soon as possible. Determine which academics have excellent reputations in the field you intend to enter and take measures to collaborate with them. Attend a few classes and volunteer with them to build a working connection. And, of course, they must maintain high grades in their coursework.

Letters of recommendation, more than any other section of the application, testify to your talents and character. But, if you have high marks and a strong letter, you will have the best chance of being one of the select few who are admitted into the Burns School of Medicine.


There aren’t many options when it comes to medical schools in Hawaii, which makes choosing where to enroll in medical school tough. Actually, there is only one medical school: the John A. Burns School of Medicine at the University of Hawaii (JABSOM). In other words, the good news is that you won’t have to worry about diverging your attention if you want to attend medical school in Hawaii. The bad news is that you will have to work extremely hard to concentrate on this one institution.

Hence, when considering how to get ready for your medical school application, you might want to think about getting some help.

The majority of medical schools have strict prerequisites and fierce competition for admission. The University of Hawaii’s medical program is no different, so if you’re interested in attending, especially if you’re applying from out-of-state, take the time to learn about the school’s preferences and prerequisites.

FAQs on The Best Medical Schools in Hawaii

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