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Why Medical School Accreditation Matters
Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara discusses medical school accreditation and why it matters when you’re choosing between medical schools.
When you are shopping around between medical schools, there are many factors to consider. You will think about location and tuition, the program offered and the teaching styles, and how all of that fits in with your chosen path. You will also need to consider your own fitness for each school, in terms of GPA, MCAT score, and your overall resume. One thing you must not neglect to consider, however, is the school’s accreditation. While accreditation is voluntary, it is a good indication that the school is adequately equipped to prepare students for successful careers. 

What is accreditation?
It is a process of quality assurance, based on evaluation under established standards. An objective accrediting body, appointed by the medical school’s host country, evaluates the school to make sure that it has met certain criteria involving the faculty, curriculum, and resources available to students. It’s important to note, though, that all accrediting bodies are not the same. Some have far more rigorous standards than others, so when you are checking a school’s accreditation, make sure you understand which organization is performing the evaluation. 

Why is accreditation important?
Accreditation holds medical schools to a certain set of standards, which is especially important for students who choose to attend school in a country outside of the United States. Each year, over 45,000 applicants vie for a mere 19,000 spots in medical schools in the United States, and since there are many fine medical schools in other parts of the world, it makes since that students would broaden their search beyond the boundaries of the US. Accreditation provides reassurance for these students that the education they will receive at a school in another country will be just as good as the one they would have received at a school in the United States. What’s more, going to a school with the proper accreditation provides students with the credentials they need, not only to match with US residency programs, but also to become fully licensed and practicing physicians, no matter where they went to school. 

Something important to know about accreditation is that it is not just a one time designation. Rather, it is an ongoing process by which a school maintains quality assurance and adherence to established standards. An accredited school must continually demonstrate the quality of the education provided by the institution, and this means that these schools are always striving to improve. One interesting effect of accreditation is that the standards are designed to promote diversity. A diverse student body has been shown to be beneficial, broadening the perspectives of students, helping them to become problem solvers with new ways of thinking, and resulting in a stronger community. 

How do you know your proposed school’s accreditation status?
There will usually be accreditation information on the school’s website. How do you, as a prospective student, verify that the accreditation is through a reputable agency? The most well-respected organization for vetting medical school accrediting bodies is NCFMEA (National Committee on Foreign Medical Education and Accreditation.  Checking the NCFMEA’s website is a good way to verify the qualifications of a medical school’s accrediting body. Be cautious when evaluating claims made by the schools themselves. Some medical school websites, for example, claim to be accredited by the World Health Organization (WHO). However, the WHO is not an accrediting body. Similarly, some schools claim to be accredited by the Educational Commission of Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) or the Foundation for Advancement of International Medical Education and Research (FAIMER), even though neither of these organizations is an accrediting body. These organizations are all committed to promoting excellence in international medical education, so they can be good resources for information, but they are not authorized to provide accreditation.

When you’re looking for a medical school with strong accreditation and a deep-rooted tradition of quality, look into Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara. The first medical school in Latin America to offer a US-style curriculum, we are committed to cultivating future physicians who have the skills and abilities necessary to meet the challenges of personal and community health. With the best facilities in Guadalajara, state-of-the-art laboratories, and a close working relationship with many of the hospitals in the city, we are able to provide an excellent educational experience for our students both on campus and in the field. With the goal of preparing graduates for careers as physicians where they can provide individuals, families, and communities with outstanding preventive, diagnostic and therapeutic services, our medical school offers a curriculum of excellence. We prepare our students to heal and serve their community, and we encourage them to strive for innovation, academic excellence, leadership, and commitment to society. For more information about our college of medicine, call 833-220-7645 or contact us through our website.


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