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Hi! Doing some research on schools and I've narrowed my choice of schools that I want to early decision down to two schools, Swarthmore and Cornell. There's a huge list of pros and cons that I have for both of the two but I'm really finding it hard to decide which one I want to do pre-med in.

Cornell:
Pros: Huge Research school
Ivy League
Lots of People
Good mix of Social and academic enviroment

Cons: Grade Deflation
Weed out courses
Lots of people (Competition)
Harder to find professors and since there's so many pre meds, probably harder to find help or tutoring.

Swarthmore:
Pros: Small Liberal Arts College (Arguably easier to find professors for research and letters and help)
Small class ratio
No Weed out courses (from what I've heard)
Committee automatically writes letters for Med School Applicants
Pass/Fail First semester

Cons: Grade Deflation (I've heard the classes are very hard)
Not many opportunities for Research
People are seemingly very geeky
Personal Con for Swarthmore: I will most likely have to do a sport for freshman year.

I really want to become a doctor and I want to find the best college for pre med. Both colleges are very good for pre med but they're both very tough schools. Can anybody comment on the difficulty of the classes and which one is more supportive to pre meds/a slightly less harder experience? I've talked to current Cornellians who have said that pre med isn't easy but it is managable. On the other hand however, from what I've read online, there are horror stories about Cornell's Pre-Med. Likewise with Swarthmore, I've heard it is a very intense experience for students and the classes are hard. Anybody with experience with either of the two schools mind giving me an opinion?
Thanks!
 
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RustBeltOnc

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Cornell:

Swarthmore:
Pros: Small Liberal Arts College (Arguably easier to find professors for research and letters and help)
Personal Con for Swarthmore: I will most likely have to do a sport for freshman year.

Both colleges are very good for pre med but they're both very tough schools.
Both schools place many people in medical school (allopathic) each year. You study until exhaustion, to the point of needing IVF, you are one of those people.
You won't need to do a sport at Swarthmore -- as I recall it is DIII and people are recruited and the don't join the team all the time.
 

md-2020

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You'll need to get into them first, which is quite difficult.


No sense in worrying about choosing schools before you even apply out. Tons of kids who think they're shoo ins to Harvard end up at State U.
 

efle

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among big schools

Best: Harvard, Yale, Duke, Dartmouth, Brown, Rice
Worst: U Chicago, Princeton, MIT, Hopkins, Cornell, Berkeley

why? Nice grading and happy students vs hardcore deflated/weedout grading and the resulting misery and competition!

LACs are a totally different animal, it's pretty strange that you don't feel a clear preference between a tiny highschool sized experience in the middle of nowhere and a giant university experience. Among LACs the same logic applies though, eg Pomona >> Harvey Mudd for the much more relaxed, happy students and lack of competition
 

md-2020

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among big schools

Best: Harvard, Yale, Duke, Dartmouth, Brown, Rice
Worst: U Chicago, Princeton, MIT, Hopkins, Cornell, Berkeley

why? Nice grading and happy students vs hardcore deflated/weedout grading and the resulting misery and competition!

LACs are a totally different animal, it's pretty strange that you don't feel a clear preference between a tiny highschool sized experience in the middle of nowhere and a giant university experience. Among LACs the same logic applies though, eg Pomona >> Harvey Mudd for the much more relaxed, happy students and lack of competition
Ive heard that Rice and Duke are pretty hard actually. Not sure about school avg GPA though
 

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Why not apply ED to Brown or Dartmouth instead? Both are slightly more competitive than Cornell (but really not by much, though are probably significantly more competitive than Swarthmore), both have med school acceptance rates well upwards of 80%, both have med schools that are particularly favorable for their own undergrads to get into, and both have excellent placement at top medical schools across the country. Penn and Columbia are are also OK choices, though as their medical schools are among the most competitive in the country, you don't really have a "home school fallback" option, they they also both place 75%+ into medical school. They're also arguably more competitive than Brown or Dartmouth (Columbia is for sure, Penn is probably about the same, but any difference is negligible).
 

md-2020

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I'd like to know the OP's stats in this scenario before too many suggestions get doled out.
 

C02232934

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among big schools

Best: Harvard, Yale, Duke, Dartmouth, Brown, Rice
Worst: U Chicago, Princeton, MIT, Hopkins, Cornell, Berkeley

why? Nice grading and happy students vs hardcore deflated/weedout grading and the resulting misery and competition!

LACs are a totally different animal, it's pretty strange that you don't feel a clear preference between a tiny highschool sized experience in the middle of nowhere and a giant university experience. Among LACs the same logic applies though, eg Pomona >> Harvey Mudd for the much more relaxed, happy students and lack of competition
What about the top-tier UCs like LA/Cal/SD?
 

efle

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RustBeltOnc

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among big schools

Best: Harvard, Yale, Duke, Dartmouth, Brown, Rice
Worst: U Chicago, Princeton, MIT, Hopkins, Cornell, Berkeley

why? Nice grading and happy students vs hardcore deflated/weedout grading and the resulting misery and competition!
All of the above are difficult. The best way to excel at any of them is to give it your all. There aren't any shortcuts.
 

RustBeltOnc

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All are difficult
Not all are equally difficult
Elfe - trust me, they're all very difficult. The bottom line is, if someone has a laser-like focus on effort and excellence, the differences between them are trivial.

FWIW, I think Harvard's porcellian silliness coupled with everything else makes it as difficult if not more so then the schools on the "Worst" list above.
 

efle

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Elfe - trust me, they're all very difficult. The bottom line is, if someone has a laser-like focus on effort and excellence, the differences between them are trivial.

FWIW, I think Harvard's porcellian silliness coupled with everything else makes it as difficult if not more so then the schools on the "Worst" list above.
They are all very difficult
You can't really argue 50% A's vs 33% A's between equally impressive student bodies will lead to no differences in difficulty! If you were told your life depended on making a 3.75+ GPA, you really wouldn't care whether you were put at Brown or Hopkins?
 

RustBeltOnc

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They are all very difficult
You can't really argue 50% A's vs 33% A's between equally impressive student bodies will lead to no differences in difficulty! If you were told your life depended on making a 3.75+ GPA, you really wouldn't care whether you were put at Brown or Hopkins?
Elfe -- "if your life depended on it" i.e., motivated person admitted for right reasons can get 4.0 at either place.
 

efle

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Elfe -- "if your life depended on it" i.e., motivated person admitted for right reasons can get 4.0 at either place.
There has never been a 4.0 Hopkins grad! But agree to disagree, I'm sure you don't contest much kinder/harsher grading between schools, it's just a matter of whether we think that translates to a more difficult premed experience
 

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Elfe - trust me, they're all very difficult. The bottom line is, if someone has a laser-like focus on effort and excellence, the differences between them are trivial.

FWIW, I think Harvard's porcellian silliness coupled with everything else makes it as difficult if not more so then the schools on the "Worst" list above.
Perhaps, but if you had the choice between making a 3.8 and not having time to do anything else or making a 3.8 and still having time to volunteer, do research, and play IM sports, which would you choose? Obviously you'll be working really hard at any of these places, but the amount of extra time you'll have to do other things will differ substantially.
 

RustBeltOnc

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Perhaps, but if you had the choice between making a 3.8 and not having time to do anything else or making a 3.8 and still having time to volunteer, do research, and play IM sports, which would you choose? Obviously you'll be working really hard at any of these places, but the amount of extra time you'll have to do other things will differ substantially.
No. Hard to do no matter where you go. There are no shortcuts. Students should go to the place where they feel comfortable, feel they will be pushed, get $, and has some reasonable prestige. Once there it's 10 % ability, 90 % effort.
 

md-2020

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No. Hard to do no matter where you go. There are no shortcuts. Students should go to the place where they feel comfortable, feel they will be pushed, get $, and has some reasonable prestige. Once there it's 10 % ability, 90 % effort.
Elfe - trust me, they're all very difficult. The bottom line is, if someone has a laser-like focus on effort and excellence, the differences between them are trivial.
FWIW, I think Harvard's porcellian silliness coupled with everything else makes it as difficult if not more so then the schools on the "Worst" list above.
Elfe -- "if your life depended on it" i.e., motivated person admitted for right reasons can get 4.0 at either place.
So you're categorically denying any differences between grade inflation/liberal curriculum vs. grade deflation?
 

efle

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No. Hard to do no matter where you go. There are no shortcuts. Students should go to the place where they feel comfortable, feel they will be pushed, get $, and has some reasonable prestige. Once there it's 10 % ability, 90 % effort.
How do you actually think there is no spectrum here, I mean look at your own logic
If where you land is 90% effort, and being top third is going to take more effort than top half, then that means less time for the rest

So you're categorically denying any differences between grade inflation/liberal curriculum vs. grade deflation?
No don't you understand? They're all hard, just work hard
 

md-2020

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No don't you understand? They're all hard, just work hard
Not sure if you're being facetious here but no, I don't understand.

If anyone can seriously argue that the level of academic stress, difficulty, and competition is the same between Brown (P/F, 3.7+ GPA) and Hopkins (3.0 curve, pre-med screening), I'd really like to see them justify that.

Obviously no school is a cakewalk and to do well you need to work hard but the levels of academic challenge most certainly vary depending on grading policy. I agree w/ Wedge's post 100%. Better grades=more time+effort for ECs.
 

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efle

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Not sure if you're being facetious here but no, I don't understand.

If anyone can seriously argue that the level of academic stress, difficulty, and competition is the same between Brown (P/F, 3.7+ GPA) and Hopkins (3.0 curve, pre-med screening), I'd really like to see them justify that.

Obviously no school is a cakewalk and to do well you need to work hard but the levels of academic challenge most certainly vary depending on grading policy. I agree w/ Wedge's post 100%. Better grades=more time+effort for ECs.
Was being completely sarcastic
 

RustBeltOnc

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Not sure if you're being facetious here but no, I don't understand.

If anyone can seriously argue that the level of academic stress, difficulty, and competition is the same between Brown (P/F, 3.7+ GPA) and Hopkins (3.0 curve, pre-med screening), I'd really like to see them justify that.
Obviously no school is a cakewalk and to do well you need to work hard but the levels of academic challenge most certainly vary depending on grading policy. I agree w/ Wedge's post 100%. Better grades=more time+effort for ECs.
If you want to have the whole package, it's a 24-7 type commitment. I don't want to "out" myself but I attended one of the "difficult" schools you describe and in medical school, found my experiences very similar to folks who attended schools with "grade inflation."

The reason I am very insistent on this is, I think it would be unfortunate if someone were to pass up one of the "difficult" schools because they are afraid of "the curve", likewise, I wouldn't want someone to show up in Providence with outrageous expectations.
 

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No. Hard to do no matter where you go. There are no shortcuts. Students should go to the place where they feel comfortable, feel they will be pushed, get $, and has some reasonable prestige. Once there it's 10 % ability, 90 % effort.
Yeah there are no shortcuts, obviously. But I don't see how you think it's accurate to say that it's equally difficult to get a high GPA at both MIT and Brown. That there is absolutely no difference between the two in terms of how much time and effort you need to put in for the exact same numerical result.

If you want to have the whole package, it's a 24-7 type commitment. I don't want to "out" myself but I attended one of the "difficult" schools you describe and in medical school, found my experiences very similar to folks who attended schools with "grade inflation."

The reason I am very insistent on this is, I think it would be unfortunate if someone were to pass up one of the "difficult" schools because they are afraid of "the curve", likewise, I wouldn't want someone to show up in Providence with outrageous expectations.
I went to an "easy" school, and while it was still very difficult just by virtue of being in classes with some of the most intelligent and motivated students in the world, I had plenty of time to do whatever I wanted, get published, join a fraternity, play hours of video games every day, sleep at least 8 hours a day, tutor and TA, party, volunteer, be in a long-term relationship, and I still graduated with above a 3.9 (and I am certainly not a particularly brilliant individual). I literally d***ed around almost my entire senior year. Many of my successful premed friends in college did the same. Friends at "harder" schools that pulled similar GPAs to me were able to do all of this, but did not have nearly as much free time as I did, and had to either give up aspects of social life, not do as many things, sleep less, or otherwise make compromises that I didn't have to.

Obviously individual experiences will be different, but on the whole, I would say that there is certainly a spectrum of how easy your life will be in college based on where you go.
 

efle

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I think it would be unfortunate if someone were to pass up one of the "difficult" schools because they are afraid of "the curve"
Not as unfortunate as saying "screw the deflated curve ill just work 24/7!" and ending up with noncompetitive numbers when you'd have been all set with the same effort/class rank somewhere else
 

RustBeltOnc

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Not as unfortunate as saying "screw the deflated curve ill just work 24/7!" and ending up with noncompetitive numbers when you'd have been all set with the same effort/class rank somewhere else
we will all agree to disagree, but I think you guys are underestimating the difficulty of the so-called easy schools and overestimating the difficulty of the hard schools. Seen from my vantage point, they're all great, hard, and require effort.

but c'mon, no one works 24-7 at JHU and doesn't get into med school
 

md-2020

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but c'mon, no one works 24-7 at JHU and doesn't get into med school
I like your sense of humor.

I'm from Maryland and about 12 kids in my grad class went to Hopkins. 10 were pre-med, all smart as a whip.

One is starting medical school, 1 is currently applying, and the rest ended up with sub-3.0's and got screened out by the in house committee. One ended up withdrawing and going to counseling.


I'm sure they all dicked around for 4 years, and didn't work hard at all.
 
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WedgeDawg

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we will all agree to disagree, but I think you guys are underestimating the difficulty of the so-called easy schools and overestimating the difficulty of the hard schools. Seen from my vantage point, they're all great, hard, and require effort.

but c'mon, no one works 24-7 at JHU and doesn't get into med school
We're just saying there's a difference, that's all. Just that they're not 100% equal in terms of difficulty. Not that you're going to be working 24/7 at Hopkins or skating by with straight As and 24/7 partying at Yale. People should absolutely figure out what kind of environment they're looking for and use fit as the key feature when choosing a school, but these types of differences may play a part in choosing a school for some people, so it might be important to loosely stratify them. I would never tell someone go to Brown over Princeton because Brown is easy and Princeton is hard. I would tell them go to whichever they like best (however they choose to define that). Just be aware that they are different environments and time will have to be allocated differently at both places. That's all.
 

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I like your sense of humor.

I'm from Maryland and about 12 kids in my grad class went to Hopkins. 10 were pre-med, all smart as a whip.

One is starting medical school, 1 is currently applying, and the rest ended up with sub-3.0's and got screened out by the in house committee. One ended up withdrawing and going to counseling.


I'm sure they all dicked around for 4 years, and didn't work hard at all.
md-2010, sorry to hear about your friends I didn't mean to be vindictive.
 
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md-2020

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md-2010, sorry to hear about your friends I didn't mean to be vindictive.
Oh, don't get me wrong, no personal offense was taken :)


I was just saying that sweeping statements such as "no one does this" or "everyone does this" should be carefully considered. JHU is a tough school. Brown is a tough school. They're different for every individual (I'm sure plenty of Brown kids work very hard to get decent grades), but to disregard the established JHU-esque school policy of grade deflation is not accurate.
 
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ZedsDed

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They are all very difficult
You can't really argue 50% A's vs 33% A's between equally impressive student bodies will lead to no differences in difficulty! If you were told your life depended on making a 3.75+ GPA, you really wouldn't care whether you were put at Brown or Hopkins?
@RustBeltOnc In the case of Berkeley, we are often looking at 18% A's. Being motivated is not enough, everyone is motivated at these schools. Yes, if you are incredibly bright, then the differences are arbitrary. For the majority of people out there, the differences are meaningful.
 

RustBeltOnc

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@RustBeltOnc In the case of Berkeley, we are often looking at 18% A's. Being motivated is not enough, everyone is motivated at these schools. Yes, if you are incredibly bright, then the differences are arbitrary. For the majority of people out there, the differences are meaningful.
Put that way, I see your point.
 
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Hi! Doing some research on schools and I've narrowed my choice of schools that I want to early decision down to two schools, Swarthmore and Cornell. There's a huge list of pros and cons that I have for both of the two but I'm really finding it hard to decide which one I want to do pre-med in.

Cornell:
Pros: Huge Research school
Ivy League
Lots of People
Good mix of Social and academic enviroment

Cons: Grade Deflation
Weed out courses
Lots of people (Competition)
Harder to find professors and since there's so many pre meds, probably harder to find help or tutoring.

Swarthmore:
Pros: Small Liberal Arts College (Arguably easier to find professors for research and letters and help)
Small class ratio
No Weed out courses (from what I've heard)
Committee automatically writes letters for Med School Applicants
Pass/Fail First semester

Cons: Grade Deflation (I've heard the classes are very hard)
Not many opportunities for Research
People are seemingly very geeky
Personal Con for Swarthmore: I will most likely have to do a sport for freshman year.

I really want to become a doctor and I want to find the best college for pre med. Both colleges are very good for pre med but they're both very tough schools. Can anybody comment on the difficulty of the classes and which one is more supportive to pre meds/a slightly less harder experience? I've talked to current Cornellians who have said that pre med isn't easy but it is managable. On the other hand however, from what I've read online, there are horror stories about Cornell's Pre-Med. Likewise with Swarthmore, I've heard it is a very intense experience for students and the classes are hard. Anybody with experience with either of the two schools mind giving me an opinion?
Thanks!
Cornell is probably the worst Ivy League school to go as a premed, the best is Harvard. Cornell is known as the easiest Ivy to get into but the hardest school academically.
 

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md-2020

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Cornell is known as the easiest Ivy to get into but the hardest school academically.
Princeton is definitely tougher academically.


In fact, their bread, butter, calling card, and reputation is based on being a tough undergrad experience.
 

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There has never been a 4.0 Hopkins grad! But agree to disagree, I'm sure you don't contest much kinder/harsher grading between schools, it's just a matter of whether we think that translates to a more difficult premed experience
Not really..current Hopkins student..There are 4.0s in every major (its just not publicized and for some reason everyone thinks no 4.0 has graduated from here). The reports aren't really true. I've seen perfect transcripts. Tau Beta Pi has a cut off of around 3.85-3.9 (for engineers) which represents top 12.5% of the students GPA-wise
 

efle

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Not really..current Hopkins student..There are 4.0s in every major (its just not publicized and for some reason everyone thinks no 4.0 has graduated from here). The reports aren't really true. I've seen perfect transcripts. Tau Beta Pi has a cut off of around 3.85-3.9 (for engineers) which represents top 12.5% of the students GPA-wise
Pretty sure someone broke the previous record with a 3.98 like last year. Engineering is a totally different animal, no idea if that school is included. Here the engineering school had no +/- grades until last year, makes for more clustering towards 3.0 vs 4.0
 

NotAnotherPreMed

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Pretty sure someone broke the previous record with a 3.98 like last year. Engineering is a totally different animal, no idea if that school is included. Here the engineering school had no +/- grades until last year, makes for more clustering towards 3.0 vs 4.0
Oh we have regular grading here. with the +/- modifiers. The grading is tough and competition is there but it's not like THAT much grade deflation as people think. I know a lot of people doing really well at the school (though obviously there are a lot struggling too). Hopefully this cycle goes well for me with the JHU name working for me haha.
 

efle

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Oh we have regular grading here. with the +/- modifiers. The grading is tough and competition is there but it's not like THAT much grade deflation as people think. I know a lot of people doing really well at the school (though obviously there are a lot struggling too). Hopefully this cycle goes well for me with the JHU name working for me haha.
Of course there are 3.9+ people at every school! Just far less of you at the likes of UChicago, JHU compared to say Brown, Harvard where that is barely above median
 

NotAnotherPreMed

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Of course there are 3.9+ people at every school! Just far less of you at the likes of UChicago, JHU compared to say Brown, Harvard where that is barely above median
Haha come on I don't think its barely above the median at Brown, Harvard either. I had read on some internal memo once that Hopkins has an avg GPA of 3.4 or so for Arts and Sciences and around 3.2-3.3 for engineering. So it isn't really away from the norm either.
 

md-2020

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Haha come on I don't think its barely above the median at Brown, Harvard either.
Harvard established an average GPA of 3.67 in 2014 whilst Brown is believed to be in the 3.7-3.8 range, their absurd P/F policy notwithstanding. The most common grade given at both schools is an A.
 

efle

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Brown is really the best premed school imo. Chill af with zero required classes, just slap together whatever you want into a made up major. Tons of P/F and even the graded classes are majority A grades, so no real weedout, their med school loves their own undergrads, and on top of that you get to wow people with the Ivy status.
 
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Brown is really the best premed school imo. Chill af with zero required classes, just slap together whatever you want into a made up major. Tons of P/F and even the graded classes are majority A grades, so no real weedout, their med school loves their own undergrads, and on top of that you get to wow people with the Ivy status.
The only caveat is that brown has one of the hardest organic chemistry courses out there. Additionally, the inflation likely exists more in humanities than sciences (same with Harvard and the other Ivies) (see my signature for a more comprehensive answer). However, Brown does do its best to set you up for success - just realize it's not going to be a cakewalk no matter where you go.
 

efle

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The only caveat is that brown has one of the hardest organic chemistry courses out there. Additionally, the inflation likely exists more in humanities than sciences (same with Harvard and the other Ivies) (see my signature for a more comprehensive answer). However, Brown does do its best to set you up for success - just realize it's not going to be a cakewalk no matter where you go.
So dodge it by taking it elsewhere in a summer! Classic premed move
 

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So dodge it by taking it elsewhere in a summer! Classic premed move
My question (which I never voice) for people who do this is always if they have to take a shortcut for organic chemistry, how well do they expect to handle the material presented in medical school?