Are classes at higher-tier UG schools more difficult than lower-tier UGs?

OREdwardsJR

Your favorite nightmare
Dec 15, 2011
182
0
Status
Pre-Medical
I go to an unknown state school, would an A effort in Chem or Orgo at my school earn me a B at higher (mid to high-tier) schools?
 

mmmcdowe

Duke of minimal vowels
Staff member
Administrator
Gold Donor
10+ Year Member
Sep 13, 2008
9,782
1,581
Status
Resident [Any Field]
I go to an unknown state school, would an A effort in Chem or Orgo at my school earn me a B at higher (mid to high-tier) schools?
Maybe, it is hard to generalize. On average, I would imagine yes, but there is a lot of variability.
 

NickNaylor

Thank You for Smoking
Lifetime Donor
10+ Year Member
May 22, 2008
16,890
7,790
Deep in the heart of Texas
Status
Attending Physician
I'm taking an undergrad class right now at a university that is notoriously difficult (U. Chicago) with a professor that had lackluster reviews and, frankly, I'm thinking people are just a bunch of whiners. The difficulty is roughly comparable to my not-so-prestigious undergrad. Very small sample size, but that's my limited experience.

(sent from my phone - please forgive typos and brevity)
 
OP
OREdwardsJR

OREdwardsJR

Your favorite nightmare
Dec 15, 2011
182
0
Status
Pre-Medical
I'm taking an undergrad class right now at a university that is notoriously difficult (U. Chicago) with a professor that had lackluster reviews and, frankly, I'm thinking people are just a bunch of whiners. The difficulty is roughly comparable to my not-so-prestigious undergrad. Very small sample size, but that's my limited experience.

(sent from my phone - please forgive typos and brevity)
I just finished a course with a professor who has lackluster reviews with students (deemed as a difficult professor). I agree with your sentiment that people are whiny and I really would like to see how Chemistry at U of Chicago differs from my school. Chemistry is an objective course so one of the major differences that I can imagine is how rigorous the teacher grades and curves, but that changes with all schools.
 

tenndoc

bringer of sarcasm
Aug 12, 2011
861
6
Status
Medical Student
dont really know why its worth worrying about. not like you can change it. do your best and let the chips fall where they may
 
OP
OREdwardsJR

OREdwardsJR

Your favorite nightmare
Dec 15, 2011
182
0
Status
Pre-Medical
dont really know why its worth worrying about. not like you can change it. do your best and let the chips fall where they may
I'm not losing any sleep over it but it is something that I wonder about
 
Mar 22, 2010
223
1
Status
Medical Student
Let's be honest here: if you are taking a class like quantum mechanics or mammalian physiology at a school like Cornell, Hopkins, or WashU, you are learning the same material as you would at University of North Dakota or State University of New York, but it will be made much harder at the top tier schools; exams are tricker, professors throw more curveballs and will test you on alot of exceptions to rules in concepts, classes are graded on a curve, so an 89 becomes a B, while a 94 becomes an A-.
 
Feb 24, 2012
171
3
Status
Pre-Medical
I've often wondered this too. If whether top students, of say the top 1 or 2% of a state or small unknown school, would be able to compete with students in the similar range of
Prestigious schools. I personally think that if you're smart at one place you should be smart at another. I have absolutely no evidence to back this up it's just my theory... Than again isn't this what the mcat is for? To supposedly equalize the playin field of how "smart" someone is regardless of their school? #my2¢
 

neurotroph

7+ Year Member
Aug 1, 2011
699
696
Status
MD/PhD Student
Speaking as someone currently at a higher-tier UG who previously took classes at a no-name state school: yes, the classes are harder on average. It all depends though on a class-to-class basis.
 
Mar 23, 2011
193
2
Status
Pre-Medical
I've heard it go the other way. Professors at less prestigious universities have more autonomy to teach their class however they want. At higher-tier universities, there is more pressure for the professors to give out better/passing grades.
 
OP
OREdwardsJR

OREdwardsJR

Your favorite nightmare
Dec 15, 2011
182
0
Status
Pre-Medical
Speaking as someone currently at a higher-tier UG who previously took classes at a no-name state school: yes, the classes are harder on average. It all depends though on a class-to-class basis.
How have they been harder?
 

sunflower18

Master of Naps
7+ Year Member
Oct 23, 2011
3,391
3,822
Status
Medical Student
This kind of theoretical situation has always puzzled me. If you get an A at a easier school, that means that you have mastered the material and risen to the top of that class from that school. For all anybody knows, you could very well rise to the top of that class from ANY school. Who is to say that someone who gets an A at an easy school couldn't also get an A at the most difficult school in the world? I am sure a super genius could get a 4.0 at a CC or a non-respected university, let's say -- but he/she could also get a 4.0 at an Ivy League or any other difficult school. If he/she chose to go to the less difficult school, will he/she automatically be disregarded as not as smart as students from another school? That seems wrong, and would obviously be incorrect in this situation.

Just because someone goes to a lower ranked or tiered school doesn't mean that they automatically wouldn't do as well at a difficult school. Many top students from easier colleges could very possibly be top students at harder schools. There is no way to know. Thus, it is absolutely impossible to say that an A in one place translates to a B in another. That, and it's just not fair.

It's difficult to explain, but does that make sense? Don't discount your efforts or downplay your potential :) If you shine in an easy university, it is entirely possible that you could have shined in another, harder school.
 

linebacker57

5+ Year Member
Mar 15, 2011
162
3
Status
Medical Student
I've heard it go the other way. Professors at less prestigious universities have more autonomy to teach their class however they want. At higher-tier universities, there is more pressure for the professors to give out better/passing grades.
Thats the opposite experience that I have had at Wash U. Professors are encouraged to stick to a strict curve in larger classes, like bio 1. Professors at prestigious universities could care less about teaching an undergraduate class of 700, and the University allows them to teach the course how they see fit, because they bring in $$$$ from research. Professors at less prestigious universities and LAC's generally do not have this luxury.
 
Mar 22, 2010
223
1
Status
Medical Student
This kind of theoretical situation has always puzzled me. If you get an A at a easier school, that means that you have mastered the material and risen to the top of that class from that school. For all anybody knows, you could very well rise to the top of that class from ANY school. Who is to say that someone who gets an A at an easy school couldn't also get an A at the most difficult school in the world? I am sure a super genius could get a 4.0 at a CC or a non-respected university, let's say -- but he/she could also get a 4.0 at an Ivy League or any other difficult school. If he/she chose to go to the less difficult school, will he/she automatically be disregarded as not as smart as students from another school? That seems wrong, and would obviously be incorrect in this situation.

Just because someone goes to a lower ranked or tiered school doesn't mean that they automatically wouldn't do as well at a difficult school. Many top students from easier colleges could very possibly be top students at harder schools. There is no way to know. Thus, it is absolutely impossible to say that an A in one place translates to a B in another. That, and it's just not fair.

It's difficult to explain, but does that make sense? Don't discount your efforts or downplay your potential :) If you shine in an easy university, it is entirely possible that you could have shined in another, harder school.
If you get a B at a place like GWU, chances are, it's an A- at a school like Indiana, or William and Mary. Similarly, a C at a school like Cornell, is an A- at Harvard, haha #gobigred
 

Thego2guy

7+ Year Member
Sep 19, 2011
725
193
NY
Status
Medical Student
What always kept me wondering is how can one class at one school be more difficult than another class at a more prestigious school. (I am talking about class difficulty, and not grading. Grading can be more difficult if you are in a class where everyone scored above a 2150 on their SAT, if there is a bell curve, or if the professor is an ass). Krebs cycle is Krebs cycle at joe shmoe university, and at Columbia. So are lipids, proteins, and nucleic acids. So is translational motion, and kinetics, and equilibrium. So is DNA replication, transcription, and oxidation-reduction concepts/reactions.

When I asked my Harvard/Princeton/Columbia trained Bio professor at my "joe shmoe" university whether or not Columbia's Biology is more difficult than ours, he laughed. He said that if he taught at Harvard, he would give the same final to those students as he did to us. When he was picking out colleges with his son, they visited a Bio class at Columbia, and he said "So, guess what I saw? The same sh!t you see everywhere else. Couple of gunners. Couple of sleepers. Couple of kids lost and confused. Bunch of kids on their cell phones. Couple of kids with their heads in their notebooks. etc... Same as everywhere else. They were no different". That kind of made me feel better, and it made me realize that college kids are college kids. There will always be the ones who want to party more than anything, others who won't to copulate on a world-record scale, those who are complete book worms or gunners, and those who have a balance of everything. This is irrespective of whether you go to Columbia and UPenn, or Stony Brook and Fordham.

So in my humble opinion, classes vary more between professors at one school, rather than between schools. Class difficulty is fairly the same everywhere (yes, some schools might challenge you more on average, have different standards/pre-reqs and thus might have more demanding but...) the course material is fairly standardized and the same everywhere.
 

V5RED

MS-1
Lifetime Donor
7+ Year Member
Jan 12, 2011
1,128
311
Status
Medical Student
I go to an unknown state school, would an A effort in Chem or Orgo at my school earn me a B at higher (mid to high-tier) schools?
This question is unanswerable. An "A effort" means you won the game you played.

A better question would be whether the effort needed to get a B at a given top tier school would be enough to get an A at a given unranked school. This is still not going to be answered by anyone on this forum unless they have knowledge of an actual study(a good study) done to compare the difficulty of schools. You would need to compare the difficulty of exams, the score needed for grades, the amount of free points given(ie easy homework points or bonuses), any difficult assignments, the difficulty of the lab(if the lab is part of the course), and any other factors going into determination of grades across any schools you wanted to compare. Given how widely schools can vary, any school not in the study would not be able to be compared.

You can maybe look at schools' admission standards and their average GPA's, but that is a really crappy way to compare difficulty of schools since departments can vary widely in difficulty.
 
Feb 3, 2012
443
1
NY
Status
Pre-Medical
It really mostly has to do with the professors, and slightly with the school. Obviously there are schools out there that are anti grade inflation and the professors make things notoriously difficult, but if you look on rate my professor at some of the top schools there are still professors that get a 3 or 4 rating for easiness. That being said, I did my undergrad at one of the lower on the list tier 1 private universities, conversely I have taken my pre-med pre-reqs at various institutions since I live in the middle of nowhere now and am not close to a state University and can't afford to take my pre-reqs at the closest private university. To save money I did some pre-reqs at the community college. My first semester I got all A's (and it wasn't inflated either, only 1 other student received an A, no A-, 4 B+, 10 B, 15 C, 5 D, 4 F 6 Ws) Where I think lower ranked schools can be skewed is more in the bumping up F's to D's and C's to Bs-most science professors I've met don't give away A's regardless of institution.

To date, the hardest professor I have ever had was not my science professors at the tier 1 school, but the O.Chem professor at CC. He had an Ivy pedigree and taught the course in the same way he taught had previously taught it as a graduate at Penn. I received an A in the course, but curve or no curve-I made sure I new my crap and didn't leave anything in the hands of the curve. I had an A- without the curve, he told me even if I had taken that course at Penn with him I would have likely been curved to an A. After doing MCAT review I knew it wasn't a fluke either b/c I was getting 14's on TBR passages. I've also had professors at the tier 1 that I took for advanced honors courses that I breezed through with little effort.

All that to say, A students learn the material to understand it regardless of what the class requires of them. If you know all of the material the curve starts to matter less.
 
Last edited:

Aerus

Elemental Alchemist
7+ Year Member
Apr 21, 2012
3,223
2,369
Status
Medical Student
It depends what kind of top tier schools. Many of the Ivy Leagues and other top tier schools are actually grade inflated (Harvard, Stanford, Duke, Brown, Dartmouth, Yale, etc.) while other schools are notorious for being grade deflated (MIT, Caltech, Berkeley).

It also depends on the professor too. You could have an incredibly lenient professor at a super grade deflated school and vice versa.

The effort you put into earning an A at your state school might have earned you a lower grade at a harder school but it might also have earned you an A at that harder school. We don't know how capable you are at handling a more competitive environment, so it's hard to tell.
 

osprey099

7+ Year Member
Jan 27, 2011
1,388
43
Status
Resident [Any Field]
For those of you who think pre-med classes at state schools are harder than those at upper tier schools, I would love to take orgo at your school and you can come take orgo at Hopkins.
 

Thego2guy

7+ Year Member
Sep 19, 2011
725
193
NY
Status
Medical Student
For those of you who think pre-med classes at state schools are harder than those at upper tier schools, I would love to take orgo at your school and you can come take orgo at Hopkins.
Not going to argue with you, but there should be a distinction between difficulty of a class, and difficulty of getting an A. Grading policy and material/material presentation are two separate things. Schools that are notoriously known for grade deflation don't teach you more than you would learn at a State School, but they do grade harsher. That being said, I would probably be successful at learning the material at Hopkins; but would I get an A? Well.. that's another story. :rolleyes:
 

Aerus

Elemental Alchemist
7+ Year Member
Apr 21, 2012
3,223
2,369
Status
Medical Student
Not going to argue with you, but there should be a distinction between difficulty of a class, and difficulty of getting an A. Grading policy and material/material presentation are two separate things. Schools that are notoriously known for grade deflation don't teach you more than you would learn at a State School, but they do grade harsher. That being said, I would probably be successful at learning the material at Hopkins; but would I get an A? Well.. that's another story. :rolleyes:
Yes, I agree. There is definitely a difference between difficulty of a class and difficulty of a grade.

But in threads like this, we're usually talking about difficulty of a grade. For difficulty of a class, I think you'd see that in threads like "Will I do well in orgo if I failed gen chem" or something of the sort.
 

V5RED

MS-1
Lifetime Donor
7+ Year Member
Jan 12, 2011
1,128
311
Status
Medical Student
For those of you who think pre-med classes at state schools are harder than those at upper tier schools, I would love to take orgo at your school and you can come take orgo at Hopkins.
For those who think dogs are larger than cats, compare a lion to a beagle.

That is the same logic as using one school to claim that pre med classes at state schools cannot be harder than those at upper tier schools.

edit: I am not saying that I think state schools are generally harder. I am simply pointing out that your argument was not logical.
 

Dbate

7+ Year Member
Aug 24, 2009
1,411
81
Status
Pre-Medical

ruiner

10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Jul 5, 2009
755
3
Status
Resident [Any Field]
Speaking as someone currently at a higher-tier UG who previously took classes at a no-name state school: yes, the classes are harder on average. It all depends though on a class-to-class basis.
have the same experience and opinion. i took classes at a cc, small state school and a big 10 university and there were definitely differences.
 

Dbate

7+ Year Member
Aug 24, 2009
1,411
81
Status
Pre-Medical
This debate is pointless.

At the end of the day, state school kids are going to try and say that the classes are of similar difficulty. And Ivy League kids are going to say that their classes are harder.

What really matters, imo, is not the difficulty of the class, but the difficulty of the competition. Science classes are graded on a curve. So if your peers are smarter, you will have a more difficult time getting an A. This is completely independent of the rigor of the material and should be fairly obvious to anyone who has ever been in a class with a curve.

The average Ivy league student is smarter than the average state school student, so it would be more difficult to get an A at an Ivy League school than a state school. This is a fact and should be obvious.

Either way, the only thing that matters are the courses that you have to take and your GPA, so there really is no reason to worry about the difficulty of random schools that you have never been to and that you will not experience.
 

V5RED

MS-1
Lifetime Donor
7+ Year Member
Jan 12, 2011
1,128
311
Status
Medical Student
What really matters, imo, is not the difficulty of the class, but the difficulty of the competition. Science classes are graded on a curve. So if your peers are smarter, you will have a more difficult time getting an A. This is completely independent of the rigor of the material and should be fairly obvious to anyone who has ever been in a class with a curve.

The average Ivy league student is smarter than the average state school student, so it would be more difficult to get an A at an Ivy League school than a state school. This is a fact and should be obvious.
Not all schools use curves. Not all curves are set the same way.
 

Dbate

7+ Year Member
Aug 24, 2009
1,411
81
Status
Pre-Medical
Not all schools use curves. Not all curves are set the same way.
What (hard) science class isn't curved?

It doesn't matter how curves are set. A curve means your grade is determined relative to everyone else. Thus the caliber of your peers has an appreciable impact on your grade.
 

V5RED

MS-1
Lifetime Donor
7+ Year Member
Jan 12, 2011
1,128
311
Status
Medical Student
What (hard) science class isn't curved?

It doesn't matter how curves are set. A curve means your grade is determined relative to everyone else. Thus the caliber of your peers has an appreciable impact on your grade.
"Hard" science classes(ie p.chem, quantum mechanics, 400 level genetics) are irrelevant to this discussion, so I will stick to prerequisites.

Many people on this forum went to schools without curves for their pre-requisites. It is common to find threads with people complaining about this. I have also met people in person whose undergraduate schools did not use curves.

There is not some set percentile ranking that all professors use when deciding how to curve. Some professors will give A's to the top 15% of their class and others will restrict it to the top 5%. The way a professor curves absolutely matters. You seem to have forgotten that not all professors that curve use the same type of curve.
 

Dbate

7+ Year Member
Aug 24, 2009
1,411
81
Status
Pre-Medical
"Hard" science classes(ie p.chem, quantum mechanics, 400 level genetics) are irrelevant to this discussion, so I will stick to prerequisites.
By hard science, I meant not soft social science (e.g. Psychology, Sociology, etc). Chem, Physics, Math, and to a lesser extent Bio, definitely fall under that hard sciences.

Many people on this forum went to schools without curves for their pre-requisites. It is common to find threads with people complaining about this. I have also met people in person whose undergraduate schools did not use curves.
If it is possible for the average in a class to be high enough that a curve is not needed, then that class is likely too easy.

There is not some set percentile ranking that all professors use when deciding how to curve. Some professors will give A's to the top 15% of their class and others will restrict it to the top 5%. The way a professor curves absolutely matters. You seem to have forgotten that not all professors that curve use the same type of curve.
The point is that by nature of there being a curve your grade is impacted by the students around you. Regardless of whether 15% get As or 5%, if the difference in capability of the class is great, it may be alot harder to be in the top 15% of one class than the top 5% at another.


This conversation is pointless. State school kids try to justify their schools and Ivy League kids try to justify their schools. The only thing that matters (and over which either of us have control) is how well we do at our own school.

Just do well wherever you are and life will turn out fine.
 
Last edited:
OP
OREdwardsJR

OREdwardsJR

Your favorite nightmare
Dec 15, 2011
182
0
Status
Pre-Medical

This conversation is pointless. State school kids try to justify their schools and Ivy League kids try to justify their schools. The only thing that matters (and over which either of us have control) is how well we do at our own school.

Just do well wherever you are and life will turn out fine.
A lot of threads on here are pointless, fruitless, and solely for the sake of conversation.


That is one way that I imagine the higher-tier schools to be more difficult, however. I assume a Chem class at Harvard will have students who have a higher average in the course, in comparison to state schools that are easier to get into, which will make it harder to get into that "A" range. Other than that, I do believe the professors will play more of a factor than anything. Also, this is a good thing to know for someone who goes to a low-tier school and transfers to a more prestigious one - will that person initially be shocked or can he/she continue to do what he/she has done at their last school?
 

theWUbear

EM PGY2
10+ Year Member
Jun 7, 2009
1,828
44
Status
Medical Student
I go to an unknown state school, would an A effort in Chem or Orgo at my school earn me a B at higher (mid to high-tier) schools?
Over the couse of a college career, a 3.8 at state U will be looked at much more favorably than a 3.2 at top U. But one A vs B is negligable.


Let's be honest here: if you are taking a class like quantum mechanics or mammalian physiology at a school like Cornell, Hopkins, or WashU, you are learning the same material as you would at University of North Dakota or State University of New York, but it will be made much harder at the top tier schools; exams are tricker, professors throw more curveballs and will test you on alot of exceptions to rules in concepts, classes are graded on a curve, so an 89 becomes a B, while a 94 becomes an A-.
The beginning of this is not true in my experiences - at WashU Bio 1 is molecular bio - a lot of lab technologies were covered in depth, and time was given to related topics discovered at WashU that led to nobel prizes. Our textbook was Biochemistry by Berg. At State U where i did my post-bacc, Bio 1 is a survey couse in which you learn a little about cells, giraffes, mushrooms, ecosystems, and everything in between! Akin to the one year of biology you take in high school.
 

drizzt3117

chick magnet
10+ Year Member
Oct 29, 2006
14,647
28
Status
Resident [Any Field]
Classes at Harvard are pretty easy; the grade inflation is less than before summers but it's still easy. When I was a UG at MIT and took classes at Harvard (we could cross register) the average GPA of MIT students taking classes at Harvard was almost 1.5 grade points higher than the converse (both corrected to a 4 pt scale).
 

LazyElemental

5+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Oct 6, 2011
109
1
Status
Pre-Medical
I just finished a course with a professor who has lackluster reviews with students (deemed as a difficult professor). I agree with your sentiment that people are whiny and I really would like to see how Chemistry at U of Chicago differs from my school. Chemistry is an objective course so one of the major differences that I can imagine is how rigorous the teacher grades and curves, but that changes with all schools.
I took chemistry at Uchicago and another university and the levels are very different. In Uchicago there were derivations on our tests and no multiple choice, compared to completely multiple choice at my other institution. You covered the material so it was possible but the effort required for an A at chicago would be significantly higher. Also, class started at 830 but the lecturer began at 8 and you were expected to know the information. Just very different cultures, labs were significantly more effort as well.

Humanities courses are more equivilent I would say, adjusting for reading the same material. But Chicago pushes you into denser reading than most.

Top students will always do well because they are motivated, but in the sciences Uchicago taught a lot more per year (much more in depth)
 

Docility

SDN Lifetime Donor
Lifetime Donor
10+ Year Member
Dec 13, 2008
603
109
If you get a B at a place like GWU, chances are, it's an A- at a school like Indiana, or William and Mary. Similarly, a C at a school like Cornell, is an A- at Harvard, haha #gobigred
Gotta love the Ivies! :p
 
Last edited:

bdc142

7+ Year Member
Oct 25, 2011
100
2
Status
Medical Student
Dbate, your link isn't working. Anyway you could fix it?
 
Last edited:

Stumpyman

7+ Year Member
Jun 29, 2011
2,319
141
The grading will always vary, but the material will not. A lot of top 30 schools are highly grade inflated, and others make it so that getting an A is very difficult.
 

cuculici1

7+ Year Member
Jul 11, 2010
326
0
Los Angeles, CA
Status
Pre-Medical
What always kept me wondering is how can one class at one school be more difficult than another class at a more prestigious school. (I am talking about class difficulty, and not grading. Grading can be more difficult if you are in a class where everyone scored above a 2150 on their SAT, if there is a bell curve, or if the professor is an ass). Krebs cycle is Krebs cycle at joe shmoe university, and at Columbia. So are lipids, proteins, and nucleic acids. So is translational motion, and kinetics, and equilibrium. So is DNA replication, transcription, and oxidation-reduction concepts/reactions.

When I asked my Harvard/Princeton/Columbia trained Bio professor at my "joe shmoe" university whether or not Columbia's Biology is more difficult than ours, he laughed. He said that if he taught at Harvard, he would give the same final to those students as he did to us. When he was picking out colleges with his son, they visited a Bio class at Columbia, and he said "So, guess what I saw? The same sh!t you see everywhere else. Couple of gunners. Couple of sleepers. Couple of kids lost and confused. Bunch of kids on their cell phones. Couple of kids with their heads in their notebooks. etc... Same as everywhere else. They were no different". That kind of made me feel better, and it made me realize that college kids are college kids. There will always be the ones who want to party more than anything, others who won't to copulate on a world-record scale, those who are complete book worms or gunners, and those who have a balance of everything. This is irrespective of whether you go to Columbia and UPenn, or Stony Brook and Fordham.

So in my humble opinion, classes vary more between professors at one school, rather than between schools. Class difficulty is fairly the same everywhere (yes, some schools might challenge you more on average, have different standards/pre-reqs and thus might have more demanding but...) the course material is fairly standardized and the same everywhere.
Haha... you picked a horrible example my friend. I went to Columbia undergrad and the Intro Bio professor there is definitely hard. Have a look for yourself:

https://newcourseworks.columbia.edu/access/content/group/BIOLC2005_001_2011_3/Exam Resources/exams.html
 
May 2, 2012
5
0
Status
Pre-Medical
Notice when the professor took his own kid to look at schools, he was visiting Columbia despite probably getting free or reduced tuition at Joe Shmoe. Where did the kid ultimately go? There 's the answer to where the professor really thinks you should take Chemistry to get ahead.
 

Dbate

7+ Year Member
Aug 24, 2009
1,411
81
Status
Pre-Medical
nvm
 
Last edited:

Thego2guy

7+ Year Member
Sep 19, 2011
725
193
NY
Status
Medical Student
Notice when the professor took his own kid to look at schools, he was visiting Columbia despite probably getting free or reduced tuition at Joe Shmoe. Where did the kid ultimately go? There 's the answer to where the professor really thinks you should take Chemistry to get ahead.
The one that visited Columbia went to his dad's alma mater, Harvard. (indeed he had an advantage because of a legacy). His other son who wasn't as interested in education did get a full free ride at our Honors program.

Haha... you picked a horrible example my friend. I went to Columbia undergrad and the Intro Bio professor there is definitely hard. Have a look for yourself:

https://newcourseworks.columbia.edu/access/content/group/BIOLC2005_001_2011_3/Exam Resources/exams.html
Agreed, detailed exam. How did you do in the class/where did you end up? My argument wasn't that Bio is necessarily harder at one school or another (my bio wasn't too far off from yours, Hunter, a CUNY as you know, is also notorous for its ridiculous Biology and for the Bio professor), but that the environment (the students) are supposedly still human - and are not these god-like 100% gunners that many seem to envision them as. My evidence is also anecdotal, so I'd definitely appreciiate more feedback from you since you are a Columbia grad after all.

(typed on my phone)
 
Dec 27, 2011
431
2
Georgia
Status
Pre-Medical
Haha... you picked a horrible example my friend. I went to Columbia undergrad and the Intro Bio professor there is definitely hard. Have a look for yourself:

https://newcourseworks.columbia.edu/access/content/group/BIOLC2005_001_2011_3/Exam%20Resources/exams.html
I won't go as far as to say this is easy, or even a normal exam, but at my state school's Honors classes, I believe my peers would have fared well---or at least comparable to Columbia students on this exam.

Also, in my state school's Honors Program, there are a TON of kids that got accepted into ivy league institutions (or at least had the gpa/sat/act), but didn't go because my school is such a financial bargain. You've got to keep that in mind in these kind of threads....

But anyways, I agree with the above guy, this thread is beat.

Sent from my iPhone
 
Mar 27, 2012
218
1
Status
Pre-Medical
For those of you who think pre-med classes at state schools are harder than those at upper tier schools, I would love to take orgo at your school and you can come take orgo at Hopkins.
Game on. Orgo is orgo is orgo.

I don't care where you go to school: orgo is naming conventions, functional groups, steric hindrance, memorizing/learning/applying reactions, "pushing" electrons, and bio molecules. :laugh:

This is just one of "those things." In core pre-med courses, the material that is expected to be covered is the same pretty much everywhere. I'd imagine WUSTL is the only university that devotes significant time to discussing Nobel Laureates from their institution, however. :p

Every school will have hard and easy classes. Much of this depends on the professor. I've taken courses where you'd be hard pressed to see a more comprehensive treatment of the subject at any top tier university (biology, genetics, molecular biology, biochemistry). I've also taken courses that were obviously dumbed-down in a major way (ie, physics).

From an admissions perspective, I wouldn't worry about it much. Adcoms have a solid understanding of which universities inflate grades, where it's easier to get an 'A', etc. What's more, by definition not everyone has the opportunity to attend a top tier undergraduate institution. What's the saying? Excellence at any institution will be looked upon favorably?
 
Dec 27, 2011
431
2
Georgia
Status
Pre-Medical
Game on. Orgo is orgo is orgo.

I don't care where you go to school: orgo is naming conventions, functional groups, steric hindrance, memorizing/learning/applying reactions, "pushing" electrons, and bio molecules.
:laugh:

This is just one of "those things." In core pre-med courses, the material that is expected to be covered is the same pretty much everywhere. I'd imagine WUSTL is the only university that devotes significant time to discussing Nobel Laureates from their institution, however. :p

Every school will have hard and easy classes. Much of this depends on the professor. I've taken courses where you'd be hard pressed to see a more comprehensive treatment of the subject at any top tier university (biology, genetics, molecular biology, biochemistry). I've also taken courses that were obviously dumbed-down in a major way (ie, physics).

From an admissions perspective, I wouldn't worry about it much. Adcoms have a solid understanding of which universities inflate grades, where it's easier to get an 'A', etc. What's more, by definition not everyone has the opportunity to attend a top tier undergraduate institution. What's the saying? Excellence at any institution will be looked upon favorably?
He speaks truth!
 

NickNaylor

Thank You for Smoking
Lifetime Donor
10+ Year Member
May 22, 2008
16,890
7,790
Deep in the heart of Texas
Status
Attending Physician
What (hard) science class isn't curved?

It doesn't matter how curves are set. A curve means your grade is determined relative to everyone else. Thus the caliber of your peers has an appreciable impact on your grade.
I never took a class in undergrad that was graded on a curve. I was a biochem major. It would seem that the answer to your question is "some" at the least.

(sent from my phone - please forgive typos and brevity)