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What would you choose?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical Allopathic [ MD ]' started by Leer, May 6, 2012.

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  1. Leer

    Leer

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    I'm currently at a school that is between #180 and #200 on the US News Rankings (in other words, bottom of the barrel). I know some people don't give these rankings a lot of credence, but I can admit my school is sort of crappy. I'm pretty sure I can get a good enough education to do well on MCAT, but I've looked at MDApps, and not much is coming out of my school.

    I can probably transfer to a school that is around rank 95-105 (not great, but better), and has more students headed off to med school. I know people say prestige doesn't matter, but it still sort of bothers me..

    I'm pretty sure I can get a higher GPA if I stay where I am, and it's cheaper too, but my school is junk :( What do I do?
  2. Catalystik

    Catalystik Herd Protection SDN Advisor

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    MDApps is not a comprehensive database. Why not talk to your school's prehealth advisor and ask how many successful MD/DO applicants they've had in the past 5 years, what percentage of those applying are successful, what med schools they've gotten into, and the range of MCAT scores that have been seen? This information might help you make a better decision.
  3. NuttyEngDude

    NuttyEngDude Red-Flagville Gold Donor

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    stay where you are, get a higher GPA, take a prep course, get a high mcat score. if people with similar stats are not getting accepted to medical school from your school, then it is most likely due to the EC's. you will have to hustle to find some.

    when it comes time to apply, look into some interviewing workshops or something to gain interviewing skills.

    this should pretty much cover you.



    only other reason to transfer is if you are not happy there (social life lacking, far from family, etc).
  4. 235788

    235788 God Complex

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    A school with better name recognition could help for in-state schools. The application process is very subjective and individuals do hold biases.
  5. Thego2guy

    Thego2guy

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    :bang:

    These split replies on SDN really bother me. I think it depends on the month, because some months, 80% of people agree that school doesn't matter, other months its vice versa.

    People who interview should be educated, logical individuals, with enough class and common sense to overlook prestige and focus on the real stats. That should keep their biases to a minimum.
  6. jesse120

    jesse120 Zanarkand Ruins

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    I've met plenty of people on interviews who went to schools I never heard of (which could mean they're low ranked or simply not "popular." No idea). Didn't stop them from getting interviews. You'll be fine.
    Last edited: May 6, 2012
  7. GladifImakeit

    GladifImakeit

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    I agree with Franz - name recognition does matter, right or wrong. If no one has heard of your school, and no one knows anything about it (rigorous or not), you will be at a disadvantage. You're also less likely to make connections and find worthwhile activities to pursue. Transferring has downsides too, though. There is something to be said for "the one-eyed man sees best in the land of the blind." Maybe you can rack up every award at your school and shine that way? That's how GW tried to recruit me for undergrad hehe.
  8. EBTrailRunner

    EBTrailRunner

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    My idealistic side wholeheartedly agrees with you, but unfortunately, this notion of an unbiased system of medical education isn't based in reality. Prestige does matter. To what degree is a point that can be feverishly debated.
  9. Hemorrage

    Hemorrage 117

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    exactly. Prestige matters, whether people attending random schools agree or not. A 4.0 from unknown school is hard to place value on when you have another applicant from a well known school with a 3.7.

    Fact of the matter is, the whole application process is subjective. Whether they like your personal statement, what your race is, etc all play a critical role. Now if you ask any adcom directly, they'll give you some bs answer like "We're not trying to take opportunity away from you if we accept someone else" but fact of the matter is, they are.

    If you can, go to a well known school that churns out high quality applicants- it WILL give you an advantage.
  10. MilkmanAl

    MilkmanAl Al the Ass Mod Moderator

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    I think one thing that most people can agree to is that your grades and scores are a hell of a lot more important than where you got them. If you were to transfer to a school that's still ranked pretty low, OP, you wouldn't really be helping yourself out much in the name recognition department, unless that school also has a med school. I wouldn't bother moving just for that, regardless of what the new place was ranked, but I definitely wouldn't make what essentially amounts to a lateral move.

    edit for ninja:
    I don't think that's how it works, actually. I'd be pretty surprised if med schools kept track of anyone but their own undergrads, much less how they got along in med school in whatever capacity they were trying to measure. In this business, I'd wager that residency is the first place you run into people who recognize certain schools specifically for the quality of applicants/residents they produce. Med school is still too big and too generic a world for that, and there are a ridiculous amount of colleges to account for. In other words, the advantage you get from going to Harvard is getting to say you're from Harvard, which people recognize as a rigorous school (whether that's the case or not), not that people recognize that Harvard grads are better applicants, whatever that means. It's a bit of a fine distinction, but I hope I explained it well enough.
    Last edited: May 6, 2012
  11. Thego2guy

    Thego2guy

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    What does unknown mean? Anything ranked >200 on US News? According to my sources, most schools use their 'better judgement'. Most also see what experience they had from admitted kids from a particular undergrad. Very few (Mt. Sinai) resort to things such as US News and World report rankings. Others don't officially internally or externally rank schools at all (NYU), AND don't keep track of undergrad admits from various schools (NYU). Most schools look at Barrons to see where the school fits in this country. It is common consensus among med schools that they just generalize where the school is based on ranks. What do they do with this information? They keep it in mind when they review it. Its buried deep somewhere in the back of their heads. Its not that big of a deal really.

    You know what bugs me though? The fact that cells, chemicals, and physics is universal, and the same material is taught. You will get the same lecture about the Krebs cycle at my school, as you would at Columbia. You learn the same equilibrium/kinetics reactions at joe shmoe university, as you would anywhere else. The difference? The way the material is presented/taught, and the grading curve. But you know what, an A at my Bio class, shouldn't be any different from an A at Columbia. I think it is safe to say that if I can manage an A at my place, then I can at least rack up an A- somewhere more 'prestigious' because when it comes to the extreme ends of the grading spectrum, you either know the material, or you don't. I don't understand why some claim that prestige matters SOOO much. Obviously it doesn't. Others schools don't just give out grades. There ARE standards and good professors at OTHER universities across the countries that do not belong to the Ivy's, or are your typical JHU, UMich, Chicago, etc..
  12. Aerus

    Aerus Ace Operator

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    I actually disagree with the prestige actually making an impact. The GPA means at just about every school is about identical. If adcoms gave a big hoot about the prestige/rigor of your school, the mean at MIT, let's say, would be lower than at a regular liberal arts school. It really isn't.
  13. Stumpyman

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    Well, it's actually somewhat true for some states/interviewers. It all depends really. I know a few people who went to their interviews at Texas A&M's med school wearing their Aggie rings, and a large portion of their interviews they talked about A&M-related stuff--sports, etc. (as the interviewer noted the Aggie ring and all).

    But actual prestige (#30 ranked school vs. #70) won't matter much at all.
  14. seafood92

    seafood92

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    The same material is taught throughout all schools. The breadth at which they are taught is not! For example, take the ACS Gen Chem exam. There's a reason that those elite/higher ranked universities have higher averages (before the curve) than lower ranked schools. FFS I made a 68% without the curve and with the curve I got a 91%. Some universities can't teach at the same level as those top universities because the students don't have the capabilities.

    Prestige does matter. It may not be weighed as much as GPA or MCAT, but you best believe a 3.6 coming from Princeton is going to carry the same distance, if not more, than a no-named 4.0.

    People need to accept we live in a society that thrives off of images. Why would medical school be any different?
  15. Thego2guy

    Thego2guy

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    Okay. Next question: What classifies something as a no-name? <1000 matriculates? middle-of-nowhere location? low rank (lower than 200? 100? 50?) Bad sport teams? If people makes the distinction between prestige and non-prestige.. then they should also indicate where they draw the line. I am certain that if we were asked whether UPenn is prestigious, we would all agree that yes, it is prestigious. What about other schools? BU, is it prestigeous? Stony Brook? Is it prestigious if the undergrad has a med school? (even if its an osteopathic one, ie: Touro college?) wtf does prestige mean?
  16. seafood92

    seafood92

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    I'm on my phone so things may get sloppy. first point I want to clarify is that just becAuse an institution has a medical school doesn't mean it's undergrad Is prestigious. by no means. some very slack ug have medical schools and if you would like me to I can name one or two that I have personal experience with. when I say prestigious I mean well known. i basically mean a name brand is going to carry more weight than a NONAME. for instance. university of north Carolina at chapel hill versus chowan college. I would be willing to bet a degree from unc is going to look better than chowan, and it doesn't matter the gpa difference as long as the unc candidate is within normal allopathic range. same thing with the UCs vs NONAME state colleges. the name DOES hold weight. we could apply this to schools all day but you definitely get the picture.

    god I bet there's some nasty errors in that wall of text.
  17. Thego2guy

    Thego2guy

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    Lol I know your pain, half of my posts come from my phone, and they are just idiotic.

    So, according to you, name brand is one of the biggest decisive factors when it comes to prestige? Not what the school is notoriously known for (hgih curves, no curves, etc..), or the faculty, or the rank.. but name brand? I think every school that participates in sports and is good at it, is a name brand school. Woudl you consider them to be prestigious?
  18. 235788

    235788 God Complex

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    use common sense and put yourself in an adcoms shoes. In a perfect world it wouldn't matter if you went to harvard or cleveland state, but in reality it does.

    Its yet another piece of the larger picture of ones application. I'd imagine the people who repeatedly say it doesn't matter where you go go to little no-name schools or moderately ranked "ok" schools and refuse to believe they are disadvantaged in any way. UofM and pumps out 2% of medical school applicants, and 1.6% (going off of memory - could be mildly off) which far exceeds application norms - would you say being a pre-med at UofM plays no role in this?
    Last edited: May 6, 2012
  19. Thego2guy

    Thego2guy

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    I said, minimize bias. How far will that minimum bias go against you, or in your favor? Come on. There are plenty of schools from bumblefuk that send students to med schools. If everyone let their biases impact their decision as drastically as it is portrayed by you and others, then the sheer mass of the top students from the top 30 schools would simply fill up all of our med schools.

    I think that it is common sense that adcoms opinions are kept to a minimum, and once that interview happens, its the person that counts, rather than the name of their alma mater on their application.
  20. seafood92

    seafood92

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    No, just because a school is highly ranked in sports doesn't always mean it is prestigious. We are talking about academics here. When I talk of prestige I'm speaking of academic prestige. Where the students are constantly pushed to further their knowledge and not just pump out a degree. These schools typically have tougher curves and attract the better individuals. Adcoms know this. Like Franz said, some schools pump out more medical students by a large factor compared to other schools. I assure you, it is not a coincidence. Sure, it's not impossible or even improbable to get accepted to a medical school from a non-prestigious university. People do it all the time through sheer hard work and determination. But don't think you are on even playing field with those kids who have worked their asses off to get to that prestigious university and are interacting with the superstars of science.

    FYI - I don't go to a prestigious university. I have friends that have gone through the application process on both sides. I have talked to professors. My PI is a professor at the medical school.

    It is what it is.
  21. yossarian444

    yossarian444

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    Stay at your school or transfer - do what makes you happier as a person at this time. The path to becoming a doctor is a long journey; if you're only focused on getting to the next step and never take a step back and just enjoy the here and now, you'll be an unhappy person and probably develop into a bitter doctor. Quit worrying about what "looks best" and pick the school where you fit in the best and are the happiest. Undergrad is much more important for your overall development as a person than just a hoop to jump through en route to medical school.

    Always have goals but don't forget to find moments where you can enjoy the journey, no matter how miserable that journey (aka med school) seems at times. This advice often gets lost in these SDN forums where everybody is so worried about what comes next.
  22. Crim1

    Crim1

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    Going to a brand name schools may help, but going to a relatively unknown school won't hurt. My undergrad was at a school that produced relatively few if any medical students. Got multiple acceptances no problem.

    What a lot of premeds don't understand is that you have to get into medical school yourself. Going to X school isn't going to magically get you into medical school. Do good work, study for the mcat, volunteer and you'll do fine. The MCAT exists for the very purpose of evaluating applicants who come from a million different schools. The main reason X school might produce more medical students is because they advertise it and therefore more people interested in medicine will attend.

    If you hate your school, transfer. If you like it, chill out.
  23. Leer

    Leer

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    Thanks for the opinions everyone.

    If I stay where I am, I have to take 15-20 less credits (which saves several grand), and I'll also pay like one thousand less per semester. I also have established volunteering and research opportunities where I am.

    The only thing that has me nervous is that I'll probably need a strong MCAT to make up for the lack of prestige, so I'll have to keep that in mind.
  24. theseeker4

    theseeker4 MS 2

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    GPA, MCAT, Research, Clinical experiences, other ECs will outweigh "prestige" of your school, by far. The fact that it will save you time and money, and keep your GPA higher if you stay put means that is what you should do.

    Think about it, you are talking about transferring to a school ~100th ranked, you aren't transferring to an elite school recognized nation-wide as the cream of the crop. It makes exactly zero sense to transfer.
  25. LittleMonster

    LittleMonster

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    I think it depends on what kind of medical school you want to go to. If your goal is simply to get into medical school somewhere, you should be fine as long as you perform well on the MCAT (and finding good hospital experiences/exposure would help a lot as well). However, if Harvard or Pritzker is your absolute dream, you will be crushed without it, then yes, I believe the school does matter.

    I have good stats and went to a decent state school, but I definitely had some issues with breaking into the Ivy circle as my advisor called it. Top schools like to recruit from their own circles because they can be assured of the quality if the rec letters and courses etc. At my own undergraduate institution, I was accepted very quickly and with scholarship and I believe that was partly due to the fact that the adcom could look at my application and probably be like "oh, I know this person who wrote this letter".

    I got interviews at other more prestigious places and I was very often the only state school person there and got asked rather frequently about my choice of undergrad.

    Long post short: it all depends on where you want to go in the medical world.
  26. seafood92

    seafood92

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    Exactly. You're obviously a prime example of how hard work and determination can get you in the door, but breaking into the "Ivy Circle," as you called it, very rarely happens from a less prestigious state school.

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