Chamahk

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Has anyone on here gone to an Average Joe state school and managed to get into a top / ivy league Med school? Or anyone have any stories that can share on this? Lastly what do you guys think are the chances for someone who went to an Average Joe undergrad state school to get into a top med school?
 

jhamaican

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I consider myself to be an average student and I got interviews from Duke and Pritzker coming from UT Austin. Now, I have not been accepted but if I can manage to get interviews then i am sure others can get accepted because I know I am not the sharpest pencil in the box. In summary: Yes it is possible, but there also is a degree of luck and hardwork.
 

jhamaican

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Just to be clear, you are at a disadvantage to those coming from ivy league or other top schools. Both my interviews at top schools, I was the only one from a large public university. I felt forever alone...
 
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I go to University of Minnesota and I've been having a pretty successful cycle. You can check out my mdapps if you're that curious.

Inb4 undergrad: does it matter? debate

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Chamahk

Chamahk

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cool story bra :cool: if you don't mind what are/were your stats? Also did these schools invite you or did you apply and then got called for an interview.

What you're saying about being at a disadvantage compared to the Ivy kids was what I was thinking about. Also the fact the you threw the word "luck" in there chops of 4% of hope.

But that cool that you got an interview. That's hope. I'm waiting to read your reply on your stats.
 

jhamaican

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cool story bra :cool: if you don't mind what are/were your stats? Also did these schools invite you or did you apply and then got called for an interview.

What you're saying about being at a disadvantage compared to the Ivy kids was what I was thinking about. Also the fact the you threw the word "luck" in there chops of 4% of hope.

But that cool that you got an interview. That's hope. I'm waiting to read your reply on your stats.
I am not sure what you mean by your first sentence. As far as i know, you always have to apply, then you are invited for an interview.

I had a 3.9/39. But my major was a joke and not many EC. I just hope they accept me to boost their gpa/mcat averages.

But seriously, so many more opportunities at Ivy league and top tier schools, i felt as though i was pigeon holed at UT Austin. I wish i had worked harder in high school and gone to a more prestigious college. Many on SDN will try to tell you school ranking/prestige does not matter, but my experiences point right to the contrary.
 

HK35

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Has anyone on here gone to an Average Joe state school and managed to get into a top / ivy league Med school? Or anyone have any stories that can share on this? Lastly what do you guys think are the chances for someone who went to an Average Joe undergrad state school to get into a top med school?
Your chances just depend on your stats. if your gpa was high and you do really good on the mcat then you are just as competitive as anyone.
 
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cool story bra :cool: if you don't mind what are/were your stats? Also did these schools invite you or did you apply and then got called for an interview.

What you're saying about being at a disadvantage compared to the Ivy kids was what I was thinking about. Also the fact the you threw the word "luck" in there chops of 4% of hope.

But that cool that you got an interview. That's hope. I'm waiting to read your reply on your stats.
Your words; they make no sense


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mmmcdowe

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Arizona State-> Columbia Med. This question has been beaten to death, the answer is yes.
 

CaptainSSO

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...
 
Last edited:

HK35

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mmcdowe what were your stats, i go to arizona state right now ha
 

BaronVonZ

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I've got some top 20 interviews and hail from a large, unimpressive state school. My stats aren't 4.0/39 either - just have some interesting ECs to spice up my application.

There are plenty of ways to get into a good school - just don't ignore your studies, pursue your passions and you'll be fine.
 

BaronVonZ

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[double post]
 

SuperHiro

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Yes absolutely. My state school --> 2 to Harvard, 1 Wash U, and me-- not as hardcore (but a top 20 nonetheless). The ones that went to a top 5 school are just phenomenally smart, >40+ MCAT, research, 3.9+ GPAs etc. To get into a top 10 school, you'll have to work just as hard as anyone else no matter what undergrad you go to.
 

WingedOx

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Yes absolutely. My state school --> 2 to Harvard, 1 Wash U, and me-- not as hardcore (but a top 20 nonetheless). The ones that went to a top 5 school are just phenomenally smart, >40+ MCAT, research, 3.9+ GPAs etc. To get into a top 10 school, you'll have to work just as hard as anyone else no matter what undergrad you go to.
To be fair, you could graduate from Bob Jones and have "puppy killing" on your CV as a hobby and WashU would accept you if you have a high enough MCAT.

/Harvard would accept you if you listed your puppy killing experiences as "adding diversity"
 

gettheleadout

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To further add to the "yes" responses in this thread, my (state) school has a grad from last year in Harvard now.
 

orthomyxo

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There's an M2 at Harvard who came from my state school, so it can be done. I'd love to know what his resume looked like though.
 

wanderer

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Has anyone on here gone to an Average Joe state school and managed to get into a top / ivy league Med school? Or anyone have any stories that can share on this? Lastly what do you guys think are the chances for someone who went to an Average Joe undergrad state school to get into a top med school?
Yes. Not as good as a similar applicant from a top undergrad.
 

Longshanks

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If Chamakh can go from Bordeaux to Arsenal, one can go from a state school to a top private, right?
 
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I have a good friend who went to a very small liberal arts college and has been interviewed by Mayo, Yale and Case so far. No acceptances yet (to those, 3 others at other schools), but I'm fairly confident he'll get at least one acceptance to those.
 

MossPoh

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If you look at the class lists, the majority of kids in the classes AREN'T from super prestigious undergrads though, or at least ones that we think of as that. A big state university still may only have 40ish people each year applying to medical school when all is said and done (out of 40,000+)

I have more than a couple friends that got into top medical and dental schools from relatively average undergrads. Hell, I know a girl at Johns Hopkins who went a downright crappy undergrad.

Even saying they have higher board scores is anecdotal because the majority of schools don't post board scores and if you look over multiple years, there is surprisingly little deviation from the averages. There tends to be more inbreeding with the higher programs and more sexy looking specialty matches.....but they also have lots of debt.
 

DM3

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I'm from a school no one's heard of and have three interviews in the top ten. 3.7/38. I def agree having something that sets you apart (not nec academic) helps x 10^8
 

Narmerguy

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I'm from a school no one's heard of and have three interviews in the top ten. 3.7/38. I def agree having something that sets you apart (not nec academic) helps x 10^8
Yup. That's the key to those places. They want to feel like they're mining unique diamonds from a field of homogeneous superstars.
 
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Chamahk

Chamahk

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Wow. Okay thanks guys. From what you're all saying it's pretty much a BIG yes! But an Ivy league kid with your same stats. has a bit of an edge over you, right? I've read on so many threads where older pre-med kids have said that a 3.8 from a state school and a 3.6/3.7 from an Ivy league are different in the eyes of ad comms. I think there was a discussion and people were talking about how it's viewed that high gpa's from a no name school isn't looked on with much respect because the grading at such a school is supposedly easy. Where as even a 3.5 from an Ivy is viewed as something major because the grading is supposedly harder.

Also one of you mentioned having something that sets one apart is good and helps. Can you be specific and just throw some ideas around? Let's say you have nice grades and on top of your major you have a minor in something like music. And you play the organ at your church o something. Would you consider that something that sets one apart?
 

AH3

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But start looking at specific schools and their lists of who's coming in and going out... the list of their incoming students with their undergraduate institutions (some schools make this available) and their match lists. These really suggest that the kind of students a school brings in plays a much bigger role in the success of their graduates than anything about the school itself. In other words, maybe the reason Harvard and Penn have good board scores and match lists is primarily because they are starting with better students than Podunk State, not because the education at Harvard or Penn is astronomically better than anywhere else.
I agree with you. Networking and reputation from a big name school like Harvard definitely helps as well. I would assume top schools also have significantly better research opportunities, but I can't speak too much to that since I'm more interested in practicing clinical medicine. When it comes down to it, there are a ton of other factors in choosing a school so don't get too hung up on prestige.

Back on topic, I think it is definitely possible to get in to top schools from an average undergrad. I think it can almost help sometimes because it sets you apart. Think of how many Ivy undergrad pre-meds apply to Harvard, Penn, etc. I think getting an application from a student from a small college in Wyoming would almost be refreshing for the admissions committee. Obviously you still need really good stats and ECs. The PS and secondary essays are also very important parts of your application that can really set you apart.
 

AH3

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Also one of you mentioned having something that sets one apart is good and helps. Can you be specific and just throw some ideas around? Let's say you have nice grades and on top of your major you have a minor in something like music. And you play the organ at your church o something. Would you consider that something that sets one apart?
Sorry for the double post, didn't see this til after I posted. The minor is good, but I don't know how much it will help. It definitely won't hurt you, so if you like it then go for it. Playing the organ would be a really good thing, especially if you have done it for an extended period of time and can talk about your experiences. Any unique activities (traveling, work, etc.) that have challenged you or shaped you are very good as well. Speaking another language is a big plus.
 

mmmcdowe

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mmcdowe what were your stats, i go to arizona state right now ha
My stats were about average for the top schools.
 

Ignatius M.D.

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I am not sure what you mean by your first sentence. As far as i know, you always have to apply, then you are invited for an interview.

I had a 3.9/39. But my major was a joke and not many EC. I just hope they accept me to boost their gpa/mcat averages.

But seriously, so many more opportunities at Ivy league and top tier schools, i felt as though i was pigeon holed at UT Austin. I wish i had worked harder in high school and gone to a more prestigious college. Many on SDN will try to tell you school ranking/prestige does not matter, but my experiences point right to the contrary.
3.9/39 and UT-Austin is one of the best public colleges, especially in the biological sciences. I don't think this puts you at a disadvantage. I will say however, that if you'd gone to Yale and gotten a 3.6 you'd probably still stand the same chance. I'm not sure if it's fair, but that's how it is.
 

gettheleadout

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3.9/39 and UT-Austin is one of the best public colleges, especially in the biological sciences. I don't think this puts you at a disadvantage. I will say however, that if you'd gone to Yale and gotten a 3.6 you'd probably still stand the same chance. I'm not sure if it's fair, but that's how it is.
The thing is that equivalency would be from the grade deflation/difficulty at Yale over UT-Austin, not because going to an Ivy adds ~.3 to your gpa. People try to argue that undergrad prestige matters because "oh look so many students at the top med schools are from top undergrads," ever think this is because those undergrads are filled with the more motivated, intelligent people? State colleges will have far less people that will end up getting 3.9/39's than those that only took the top .01% of achievers during high school.
 

Ignatius M.D.

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The thing is that equivalency would be from the grade deflation/difficulty at Yale over UT-Austin, not because going to an Ivy adds ~.3 to your gpa. People try to argue that undergrad prestige matters because "oh look so many students at the top med schools are from top undergrads," ever think this is because those undergrads are filled with the more motivated, intelligent people? State colleges will have far less people that will end up getting 3.9/39's than those that only took the top .01% of achievers during high school.
You misunderstood me. I transferred from a state college to Vanderbilt, and I know about that. There have been reverse curves here, and generally it is very hard to get in the top 10% of the class (top 10-15% is the A-/A range). I was getting a 96% in Biology at my first school, and a B at Vanderbilt. When over half of your class was top 10 in their high school and very motivated, it makes it a bit harder to get a higher grade than them . I know people that were valedictorian, had 1600 SAT's, and that work hard but still get below a 3.7. My intro to biology professor flat out said if you can get a 75% or higher you are doing fantastic. So these are the reasons why a 3.5 looks better at Yale or wherever.
 

Narmerguy

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You misunderstood me. I transferred from a state college to Vanderbilt, and I know about that. There have been reverse curves here, and generally it is very hard to get in the top 10% of the class (top 10-15% is the A-/A range). I was getting a 96% in Biology at my first school, and a B at Vanderbilt. When over half of your class was top 10 in their high school and very motivated, it makes it a bit harder to get a higher grade than them . I know people that were valedictorian, had 1600 SAT's, and that work hard but still get below a 3.7. My intro to biology professor flat out said if you can get a 75% or higher you are doing fantastic. So these are the reasons why a 3.5 looks better at Yale or wherever.
What your describing isn't actually common at most of the top schools. I don't know Vandy's situation, but this argument is not sufficient to justify drops of GPA that large at most of those schools.
 
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Has anyone on here gone to an Average Joe state school and managed to get into a top / ivy league Med school? Or anyone have any stories that can share on this? Lastly what do you guys think are the chances for someone who went to an Average Joe undergrad state school to get into a top med school?
Anecdotal experience:

Person A from my horribly ranked state school: Full Tuition Ride at Duke

Person B, C and D from the same school: Full ride to HMS

Person E, F and G from the same school again: Multiple acceptances to MD/PhD programs, and MD programs in the "top 10/15"

Me: Accepted, possibly with full tuition, into a Tier 1, and accepted at two other "top 5/10" schools.

So it DEFINITELY can be done. Takes a bit of hard work, and a lot of ingenuity, though. Oh, and LUCK.