While there are undoubtedly many important factors to consider when choosing which medical school to apply to, one factor often overlooked, but quite significant, is location. For the most part, prospective medical students figure that the location is not much of a factor and have the “I’ll fit in, where I get in” mentality. The fact of the matter is, your medical school experience is about more than simply getting your degree.The city where your medical school is located is also important and should very much be taken into consideration when deciding on where to apply to. Each year, rankings of the best medical schools in the country are released, but what they fail to take into account are some rather important factors – location being one. It is important that, in addition to what your top medical school can offer, you seriously think about where you will be living.
The place where you attend medical school may not make a difference, but for others it may be the key to success and happiness during the medical school years. Actually, according to one survey, when choosing the medical school students attend or plan to attend, most students say that the geographic location of a medical school is a key positive factor weighed in their decision.So, what makes a city great for medical school students? When determining our 2nd annual list of the Best Cities to Live for Medical Students, PreMedLife searched for all the data we could find to compile our list of places that offer the best overall quality of life for students. We found that the best places to attend medical school share many similarities – affordability, free events and activities, and an overall low cost-of-living. We started our search by looking at cities across the country which offered the lowest cost-of-living for its residents. Then, to narrow our search, we began considering factors of interest to the medical student population like rent affordability, access to public transportation, and the number of activities and events that cost little to nothing.Lastly, we realize the importance of life outside of medical school and looked for cities which support a balanced life and encourages and fosters opportunities for social, personal and emotional well-being. After analyzing these factors, we think these are the best cities when it comes to the medical student population.You told us your ideal city to attend medical school is affordable, intellectually and culturally vibrant. Here are the cities we think will offer you the best overall experience outside of the classroom and make their four years of medical school as enjoyable as possible.

Birmingham, Alabama

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If you’ve ever thought you couldn’t have the best of both worlds – a great medical school experience inside the classroom and a personal and social life outside the classroom – think again. As one of the most livable cities in the country, Birmingham is a fast-growing metropolis that is quickly gaining popularity among recent graduates. According to the city’s web site “Birmingham has transformed itself into a medical research, banking and service-based economy, making it one of the nation’s most livable cities with a vibrant downtown, a burgeoning loft community, a world-class culinary scene and more green space per capita than any other city in the nation.”

  • Cost-of-living: 87(national average 100)
  • Avg 1br rental: $729/month
  • Medical schools located in this city: University of Alabama School of Medicine

Houston, Texas – Editor’s Pick

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Voted “The Coolest City in the US” in 2011, the Houston area has “medical student” written all over it. And settling down for the next four years in the city with one of the world’s largest concentration of health care and research institutions doesn’t sound so bad either. As an added bonus, the city is vibrant and rich in diversity, offering “a dynamic mix of imagination, talent and first-class attractions that makes it a world-class city.”

  • Cost-of-living: 91 (national average 100)
  • Avg 1br rental: $935/month
  • Medical schools located in this city: Baylor College of Medicine, University of Texas Medical School at Houston

Omaha, Nebraska

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With its affordable lifestyle, free activities, and a great arts and culture scene, Omaha offers medical students an option that is nothing short of awesomeness. It has also earned a reputation as one of the nation’s best cities to live, work and play, according to Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine.

  • Cost-of-living: 89(national average 100)
  • Avg 1br rental: $935/month
  • Medical schools located in this city: Creighton University School of Medicine,
    University of Nebraska College of Medicine

Nashville, Tennessee

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It should be no surprise that Nashville made the cut. Although it is best known for its music, Nashville is also a known top player on the health care scene – boasting with more than 350 health care companies. Students desiring the feel of a vibrant and booming city, without the added costs, may find that Nashville is just want the doctor ordered (no pun intended). Thanks to the reasonable living costs and great amenities, the city has a lot to offer outside of its impressive health care scene.

  • Cost-of-living: 90 (national average 100)
  • Avg 1br rental: $832/month
  • Medical schools located in this city: Meharry Medical College, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

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When you think of choice locations for recent graduates, Oklahoma City may not be the first city that comes to mind, but as it turns out, this place has far more to offer than its big-league attractions and western cowboy culture. The city offers a great environment for medical students, including a growing downtown scene and interesting things to do. But beyond that, the city’s community spirit and high volunteerism rates just screams future doctor. And if that’s not enough, for all of the medical students fresh out of undergrad, Oklahoma City ranks in the top among the best places for young adults and best communities for young people.

  • Cost-of-living: 91(national average 100)
  • Avg 1br rental: $955/month
  • Medical schools located in this city: University of Oklahoma College of Medicine

St. Louis, Missouri

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As a major center for health sciences and services, Saint Louis is a great place for students to begin their career in medicine, and let’s not forget to the bonus of being able to visit the City Museum, a unique playground for all ages filled with caves, slides and climbing apparatus. But seriously, this city is great for any type of student and according to the city’s website, it’s “becoming a magnet for smart, entrepreneurial and wonderfully upbeat young professionals.” With one of the lowest cost of living among that nation’s 20 largest metro areas, the city is also considered the best city for those on a budget and recent college graduates. What’s more, for New Yorkers who brag about Central Park, the city’s Forest Park is 500 acres larger, providing students with more outdoor space than they would probably know what to do with.

  • Cost-of-living: 91.5(national average 100)
  • Avg 1br rental: $659/month
  • Medical schools located in this city: Saint Louis University School of Medicine,
    Washington University School of Medicine

Memphis, Tennessee

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Memphis is home to an emerging medical and bioscience hub – what more could you want in a place to start your future as a doctor? The city has offers quick commutes, affordable events and attractions, and it has one of the lowest urban cost-of-living expenses in the country. It has all of the big-city amenities minus the big-city price tag. If you’re having some doubt that the city might not be able to offer you the experience you’re looking for, it was just recently ranked by Forbes and CareerBliss.com as one of the Happiest Cities for Job-Seeking College Grads. Once you get there, you’ll soon find that Memphis is a city where, there’s something for everyone. If you’re looking for more reasons to choose this city, check out Choose901.com, a great resource for you to learn about what Memphians say is the best about living in their hometown.

  • Cost-of-living: 89 (national average 100)
  • Avg 1br rental: $526/month
  • Medical schools located in this city: University of Tennessee College of Medicine

Columbus, Ohio

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With the cost-of-living below the national average, plenty of places that offer free events and activities, and affordable access to a variety of cultural opportunities, Columbus is an ideal place for medical students to bring a great deal of balance to their lives outside of the classroom. And it’s a nobrainer that we mention that when it comes to health care systems and programs, the city is consistently recognized as one of the best in the nation.

  • Cost-of-living: 91(national average 100)
  • Avg 1br rental: $670/month
  • Medical schools located in this city: Ohio State University College of Medicine

Lexington, Kentucky

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For the second year in a row the “Horse Capital of the World” is once again one of the best cities to attend medical school. In the past, the city has been ranked among the top ten as one of the most educated cities in the country. The small, yet busy city is home to several museums, fairs and events, a professional theater, and more. The Colt Trolleys are a free service that has a route which runs to and from the University of Kentucky.

  • Cost-of-living: 92(national average 100)
  • Avg 1br rental: $579/month
  • Medical schools located in this city: University of Kentucky College of Medicine

El Paso, Texas

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Not only is El Paso one of the country’s “Best-Performing Cities” and one of the “Happiest Cities to Work”, it is also a great place to live. For all of you lovers of the great outdoors, the city sees more than 300 days of sunshine a year. From outdoor music concerts, hiking and biking to recreation activities and cultural events, medical students will love to call the city “home”. With affordable housing and an overall low cost of living, the city will provide a high quality of life for its medical student residents.

  • Cost-of-living: 92(national average 100)
  • Avg 1br rental: $649/month
  • Medical schools located in this city: Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Paul L. Foster School of Medicine

– See more at: http://www.premedlife.com/1/post/2013/06/top-10-best-cities-for-medical-school.html#sthash.yin4jhsz.dpuf