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Are top schools more challenging than lower-tier schools?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Doctora Foxy, May 12, 2002.

  1. Doctora Foxy

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    Disfrutan. :D

    What do you think?
     
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  3. Papa Smurf

    Papa Smurf Thug 4 Life
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    It's more difficult to stand out at a Harvard or Hopkins than it is at a much lower tier school. ( Someone who couldn't get AOA at Harvard may very well be able to get it another school, so in that respect a top school may be more challenging). Just like it's tougher to get into a top 5 than it is a top 50. Neither school is easy to get into, but one is clearly harder to get into than the other.

    Bottom Line: No med school is easy by any means, and you will be challenged wherever you go.
     
  4. analu

    analu Senior Member
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    Interesting question...since no one's biting, I'll take the first one.

    First of all, curricula has a lot to do with it. Traditional has got to be more difficult than PBL, though most schools are going to a mix. Duke sounds especially tough, cramming basic science into one year (so I hear).

    Anyway, top schools are top schools because they have the research $$$, lots of resources, significant hospital connections, and top faculty. I'm not sure that the material learned is different (we all take the same USMLE test), but...I think that to be at the top of your class (like AOA) IS MUCH MORE DIFFICULT TO ACHIEVE AT A TOP-TIER SCHOOL. Reasoning behind this: top schools are much more competitive to get into.

    Anyway, Foxy, since you're already in at Finch, I assumed your question was about the difficulty of the curriculum at top schools vs. lower-tier schools, not anything about admissions. Bottomline, IMHO, it's the responsibility of each student to get the most out of their med school experience that he/she can...it's more important for us to LEARN rather than the school to teach.

    Or I could be completely wrong about this whole thing, not actually being in med school and all! :rolleyes:
     
  5. analu

    analu Senior Member
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    Dang papa, you beat me to it...agree with you whole heartedly. Some, however, will be MORE CHALLENGED THAN OTHERS (i.e. ME). :p

    Like your avatar...very intimidating.

    aloha
     
  6. lilycat

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    I think Papa Smurf put it pretty well. The actual level of work shouldn't be any different, and in some ways the actual work load may be more intense at some of the lower-tier schools because they tend to be more traditional, teaching aggressively to the boards, etc. However, the level of competition may make it more difficult to stand out at some of the higher-tier schools in terms of honoring classes or getting AOA. Luckily, as is the case with undergrad, people choose med schools for a variety of reasons so you end up getting very bright, motivated, successful dcotors from nearly every school.
     
  7. deva

    deva Senior Member
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    Ok, I'm pretty sure this topic was started in response to something I said earlier.

    I said that I wanted to be challenged in med school, and I thought that a lower-tier school might not be as challenging as some other school.

    First, I would like to apologize to anyone who was insulted by this comment. Next, let me explain myself. I can see how my statement may have been misinterpreted. That is, you may be thinking that I am just a really competitive person who wants to prove how smart I am. Trust me, this is not the case. I was just saying that I wanted a *personal* challenge, not that I wanted to compete with other students. I really do NOT want to go to a school with a competitive environment. I really don't want people to be worrying about who got pass and who got honors, etc. I think that is silly. If you got into med school, you have proven that you are dedicated, intelligent, etc. (This is not to say that people who don't get in are not these things - many very intelligent, driven, etc. people do not get accepted! You also need luck to get in.) Once you are in, you don't need to compete with those around you. I look forward to being helped by and, if I can, helping my fellow classmates in med school.

    Ok, now back to the issue at hand. When I applied, I thought that higher-tier med schools would be more challenging than lower-tier med schools. I have changed my mind to just thinking that some med schools may be more challenging than others. I don't like the whole tier thing - it is based too much on us news rankings, which I think are a load of crap. I would still say that some med schools are more challenging than others, but I'm not sure how you would judge this. Ranking probably does not tell you.
     
  8. Jessica

    Jessica Senior Member
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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by Papa Smurf:
    <strong> Someone who couldn't get AOA at Harvard may very well be able to get it another school, so in that respect a top school may be more challenging.</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">That was something that I was worried about, but the Dir. of Admissions at Harvard assured me that they don't have AOA or any honor society like it at Harvard. According to him, you stand out by getting honors (vs. just pass-fail for the first 2 years) in you 3rd and 4th year rotations. He also said that Harvard students are not ranked, you distinguish yourself from your classmates with your Dean's letter, other LORs or with your board scores. Its all about "fostering a supportive learning environment, without competition, where you aren't made to feel like a dummy if you aren't in the top 10% of your class.... at Harvard, everyone is number one or two in their class" <img border="0" title="" alt="[Wink]" src="wink.gif" />

    Please tell me that he wasn't exaggerating to sell me on the place <img border="0" title="" alt="[Eek!]" src="eek.gif" />

    I am certain that medical school will be challenging (to say the least) no matter where you matriculate... not having to worry about fighting for the top spots in your class seems like a really sweet deal to me (too good to be true?)
     
  9. Papa Smurf

    Papa Smurf Thug 4 Life
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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by devastator:
    <strong>I really do NOT want to go to a school with a competitive environment. I really don't want people to be worrying about who got pass and who got honors, etc. I think that is silly. </strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Um, not to offend you or anything, but if that's what you truly want in a school, then Cornell (I believe that's where you're planning on matriculating) is not the right school for you.

    I love it how all the top schools act like their students are all non-competitive, and that everyone is so helpful. Silly me, of course they are! All schools with average MCAT's of 34 and GPA's of 3.8 are replete with the laid back, non-competitive pre-meds. Whatever. How do you think those students got to where they are today? Many were hell bent of setting curves in undergrad, living to measure themselves against their peers. It won't stop once they get to med school. They'll just set their sights on the next lofty goal. AOA & a Derm/ENT/Ortho residency, etc, and the gunning begins again. To think that there aren't a disproportionate number of gunners at the top schools is being a little naive IMO. Anybody can act non-competitive throughout the course of an interview day. Don't let that fool you. Of course the students at Cornell are gonna say the atmosphere is non-competitve, what are they supposed to say? Think about it.....
     
  10. Papa Smurf

    Papa Smurf Thug 4 Life
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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by Jessica:
    <strong> </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by Papa Smurf:
    <strong> Someone who couldn't get AOA at Harvard may very well be able to get it another school, so in that respect a top school may be more challenging.</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">That was something that I was worried about, but the Dir. of Admissions at Harvard assured me that they don't have AOA or any honor society like it at Harvard. According to him, you stand out by getting honors (vs. just pass-fail for the first 2 years) in you 3rd and 4th year rotations. He also said that Harvard students are not ranked, you distinguish yourself from your classmates with your Dean's letter, other LORs or with your board scores. Its all about "fostering a supportive learning environment, without competition, where you aren't made to feel like a dummy if you aren't in the top 10% of your class.... at Harvard, everyone is number one or two in their class" <img border="0" title="" alt="[Wink]" src="wink.gif" />

    Please tell me that he wasn't exaggerating to sell me on the place <img border="0" title="" alt="[Eek!]" src="eek.gif" />

    </strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">I dunno about Harvard, but I don't blindly believe all schools that say this though. I think someone (Watcha???) posted that Northwestern claims not to rank their students during the first two years either, but that they really do. Kinda sneaky, eh?
     
  11. deva

    deva Senior Member
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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by Papa Smurf:
    <strong>Um, not to offend you or anything, but if that's what you truly want in a school, then Cornell (I believe that's where you're planning on matriculating) is not the right school for you.

    </strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Why do you say this? I am not basing this just on the interview day. Their triple jump exams are set up to encourage people to work together. The senior associate dean of education said that you are given a problem, asked to write your opinion, etc. That evening, you talk with your peers, faculty, etc. and discuss the problem. Then the next day you go back and discuss what you learned the night before and talk about what you put down the day before. To me, this seems to foster a cooperative atmosphere. Where are you getting the idea that Cornell is more competitive than other schools? Please let me know, althought I doubt it will change my opinion of Cornell, since I really loved it :D
     
  12. Whisker Barrel Cortex

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    I don't think the curriculum, rotations, etc are necessarily more challenging at higher ranked schools. Schools in each tier have different levels of difficulty. I do believe that at top schools it will be more difficult to stand out, as someone said above. The curve is set higher at these top schools and thus it is harder to be in that top group. Then again, if you are in a top 10-20 med school most residency directors will realize this fact and it should not hurt you.
     
  13. darkmatter

    darkmatter Senior Member
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    Maybe you could get a rough estimate from the school's accepted/graduated ratio, since there are too many factors to consider (e.g. curriculum, competitiveness of roster, faculty, etc.).
     
  14. </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by Papa Smurf:
    <strong> </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by Jessica:
    <strong> </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by Papa Smurf:
    <strong> Someone who couldn't get AOA at Harvard may very well be able to get it another school, so in that respect a top school may be more challenging.</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">That was something that I was worried about, but the Dir. of Admissions at Harvard assured me that they don't have AOA or any honor society like it at Harvard. According to him, you stand out by getting honors (vs. just pass-fail for the first 2 years) in you 3rd and 4th year rotations. He also said that Harvard students are not ranked, you distinguish yourself from your classmates with your Dean's letter, other LORs or with your board scores. Its all about "fostering a supportive learning environment, without competition, where you aren't made to feel like a dummy if you aren't in the top 10% of your class.... at Harvard, everyone is number one or two in their class" <img border="0" title="" alt="[Wink]" src="wink.gif" />

    Please tell me that he wasn't exaggerating to sell me on the place <img border="0" title="" alt="[Eek!]" src="eek.gif" />

    </strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">I dunno about Harvard, but I don't blindly believe all schools that say this though. I think someone (Watcha???) posted that Northwestern claims not to rank their students during the first two years either, but that they really do. Kinda sneaky, eh?</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Northwestern, I was unsure about it...but I know USC and UCSF FOR A FACT RANK STUDENTS (the top 10%) and I heard it from a number of student....
     
  15. hawkeyes

    hawkeyes Senior Member
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    don't all schools rank students in some way or other? Doesn't *something* objective needs to go to into the Dean's letter? I was told by students at a couple different schools that while grading may be P/F or H/P/F, the administration still has GPA's at many schools (most of where I was considering, anyways) so they can get a ranking. :confused:
     

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