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big name schools are easier???

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by chef, Sep 25, 2002.

  1. chef

    chef Senior Member
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    I'm an M1 at a top10 med school - and I have friends who are M1s at both other Top10s and some who are in the bottom tier of US news rankings or unranked. From talking to both groups, it seems like the students in unranked schools are working harder (eg. their curriculum is more challenging!) than big name schools - weird?? I am certainly not working too hard - maybe 60-70% of my max. ???
     
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  3. Scooby Doo

    Scooby Doo IEatShavedPussyCats
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    I've got my schedule booked dude..Lots of club meetings and activities outside of medical school stuff...

    Are you on P/F?

    I think a lot of the "lower tier" schools still have grades too..so there's still a ton of competiton...

    I love PASS FAIL! IT's the **** dude!

    It's a must...
     
  4. Rumit

    Rumit Senior Member
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    I totally agree with you chef. I'm not having to work that hard at all (we have midterms in two weeks, so I'm sure it'll get a little more stressfull), but I have friends at places like Finch, and they say it's really difficult. They are required to know a lot more for the exams and stuff. I think that schools that are perceived as easier to get into feel that they need to really challenge their students to make up for it. That's just one hypothesis though.

    Good luck,

    Adam
     
  5. ckent

    ckent Membership Revoked
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    At all schools, you will have some people finding the coursework very manageable while others will be "overwhelmed". I imagine that some schools might start off "easier" then others, but eventually all schools must keep around the same pace to pass on the amount of info that is covered by the boards.
     
  6. Ludy

    Ludy Senior Member
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    I agree with chef and Rumit. I'm at a good school, not top 10 but top 20, and we weren't required to know nearly as many details as some of my friends who went to lower-ranked schools. For instance, we didn't have to memorize the steps in the Krebs cycle all over again, and we didn't do every last dissection in Grant's Dissector. Is that stuff important for boards? No way. Our first year, we only had 2 hours of lecture most days, followed by 2-hour histo or gross lab a few times a week during some blocks, and the afternoon fluff classes a couple times a week. Second year was a lot harder, so maybe it all evens out then.
     
  7. dlc

    dlc Senior Member
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    I was reading one of the other threads about other MS1s at various schools and some of them just seemed like they were literally in hell!! I really haven't felt stressed too much...although Duke is in the middle of changing its curriculum and our first block, which was mainly just three classes, was the first part to be affected. The rest of the year will be like previous years so I don't know how much more stressful that will be. But considering that we only have one year of preclinical classes here as opposed to the usual two, I really expected to be studying all of the time but I really don't study too much and I am still doing fine. And I am no genius!
     
  8. doepug

    doepug Senior Member
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    I don't think top tens are easier, and I don't think that the lower tier schools are overworking their students because they have something to prove.

    I do think that the only comments people make/listen to are the negative ones. I think it's easy to think that school X is harder than school Y if your friends at school X complain more.

    I don't think any given institution is necessarily more difficult than another; I think opinions about which school is harder are based solely on how many people they know are complaining.

    Don't base opinions only on the remarks of the complainers. The opinions of the non-complainers always go unheard.

    Cheers,

    doepug
    MS III, Johns Hopkins
     
  9. Jalby

    Jalby I fight crime at day when Batman are sleeping.
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    I'd say here at USC (keck) it isn't that bad. Tons of stuff, but I wouldn't say hard. Of course, I've only done 3.5% of my medical education, but I would say I'm working at 50%-60% total capacity right now.
     
  10. southerndoc

    southerndoc life is good
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    One would think with a 240 something Step I average at your school that they would be busting your chops. The curriculum must be difficult there, or you guys are just a bunch of natural geniuses.
     
  11. Rigomortis

    Rigomortis Member
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    On an absolutely unrelated note, it totally cracks me up that UCLA is now the Geffen School of Medicine. I think Slash should lead the white coat ceremony.

    My school is not ranked and I haven't found it too bad at all. Second year is actually better at our school. I have a friend at a ranked school and he bitches all the time. I think it just depends on who you talk to.
     
  12. daisygirl

    daisygirl woof
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    I think first year is proving to be quite difficult academically, and no, I don't attend a top-tier school (I go to SUNY Stony Brook). I think that I would need to put a good 4-5 hours a day into studying to just keep on top of things. However, I don't so I am way behind and I will be putting in 16-18 hour weekends in order to catch up (October is a particularly brutal month exam-wise). I have spoken to a lot of second years and they have pretty much unaminously said that first year is pretty brutal. However, I have also been told that second year is way better because you are only taking one class at a time and you spend less hours in class. (well at least a little less than now). I guess I have something to look forward to :) .
     
  13. Jalby

    Jalby I fight crime at day when Batman are sleeping.
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    I was actually just screwing with the gunners who are overly concerned about that stuff. I believe it is the person and how much time they put into it that gets the board schools and not the school itself. (I would estimate the school is worth 5 points or so)
     
  14. energy_girl

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    I think the original statement on the thread is correct--the so-called "big names schools" ARE easier. This is not because the curriculum is necessarily easier, but because the schools make a greater effort at retaining students.

    A lot of my friends who go to lower-ranked schools complain that their schools still treat their education as a weeding out process where people fail and can get kicked out for lack of academic competency. At my school and at others with a better academic reputation, the rule is not pass or drop out but rather pass or try again. Attrition rates at top schools are much lower than at lower-ranked schools, and I think this speaks to the support the schools give. In addition, a lot of the top-named schools also operate on a pass/fail system instead of a graded system, further making the environment less competitive and "easier."
     
  15. Scooby Doo

    Scooby Doo IEatShavedPussyCats
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    I actually must say that my schedule is not completely packed...but it is much more so than in undergrad. Undergrad I basically didn't do very much...

    BUT,

    Here's something no one really mentions...

    So big name schools are easier?

    Well maybe it's b/c the people they attracted are "smarter"....right?

    I mean, technically we are all learning the same material...the people who tend to go to big name schools have kept high GPA's in undergrad and performed well on tests...(most of the time).

    Now I know "smarter" is such a subjective word but stay with me. So you have a huge pool of people. Some can score really well on exams and the material comes to them easier. These people get good grades and do well on exams and end up getting into top schools (assuming their EC's are all good too).

    You take that and you have a great amount of people who know their ****. Put them all together, you create an environment WHICH FROM THE OUTSIDE APPEARS to be easier b/c people are doing so much better at such a lower level of work, but in reality it's just what they have always done.

    **Disclaimer: Not all people at top schools are "smart" and people who are not at top schools are NOT "not smart"**
     
  16. CANES2006

    CANES2006 Miami chica
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    Really?!! :eek: I'm not at a top ten school. My school is ranked #50 on the US NEWS RANKING, and they make it IMPOSSIBLE to fail. You have to purposely want to fail in order to flunk out of medical school. At least that's how it is at my school.
     
  17. daisygirl

    daisygirl woof
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    It is very hard to get kicked out of my medical school. I know that there are people in my class (about 3), who are repeating first year due to failing out the first time around. I even heard that someone in second year had failed their first year, they then went on to pass first year, and then they failed second year and they are currently taking second year over again. I would assume that there must be some sort of extreme circumstances at work with that person who failed the first two years of school, and I doubt that they would be able to take second year over again if they fail it again.

    I don't feel that the administration is attempting to 'weed' anyone out- I think a lot of the problems (i.e. way too many class hours) with first year at my school are due to the administration having a tough time in 'weeding' out the extraneous information in the curriculum. An example of this would be that the administration seems to not want to step on the toes of the PhD's who run our biochem course (which is an intergrated course since we cover genetics, etc.. )- there is way too much stuff, which is so not clinically relevant being thrown at us (memorizing the structures of the molecules of the various different metabolic pathways is a pain in the arse and just plain stupid). Due to situations like this, we seem to spend way too much time in the classroom learning material that is being presented to us as if we were going to school to be PhD's instead of MD's. The only caveat is that I am getting this grut work out of the way now so that I will be able to enjoy a much less intensive schedule next year since the second year schedule is lighter (I am not counting studying for the USMLE :eek: ).
     
  18. praying4MD

    praying4MD 2K Member
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    5 returning students (that I know of) at my school. I'm scared as hell that it'll happen to me. :(
     
  19. Fireblade

    Fireblade Junior Member

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    On the third day of class I took an exam, passed and the school gave me the degree - does that make my school easy or am I just a freakin' genius????????????????

    yeah - I'm just that smart!:laugh:
     
  20. Andrew_Doan

    Andrew_Doan Doc, Author, Entrepreneur
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    Top 10 schools aren't easier. It's just easier to get into a good residency from a Top 10 school! :)

    If the top 10 made inadequate and poorly prepared students, then why do residency directors seek out students from these programs?
     
  21. tonem

    tonem Senior Member
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    Maybe its because medicine is filled with the same people that are obsessed with rankings as premeds. If a residency director can fill his program with Harvard grads, then it makes his program look prestigious too.

    It might have very little to do with how prepared he thinks they are.

    Just trying to offer an alternative point of view.
     
  22. Andrew_Doan

    Andrew_Doan Doc, Author, Entrepreneur
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    Some are but most aren't. There are several medical schools that are known to produce outstanding medical students; thus, this is why these students receive more interviews at top programs. Once you receive an interview, it's a new ball game. From then on, faculty like to pick the people that will be good with patients, work well as a team, work well with faculty, and are good personality matches with current residents.

    When it comes down to comparing students, most often many applicants have good grades, scores, and are very nice people. Unfortunately, the competitive residency programs (i.e. radiology, ophthalmology, dermatology, neurosurg, plastic surgery, etc...) only have 2-5 positions available. Thus, if it's between student A from a less prestigious school vs student B from Harvard, and both students have comparable credentials, most faculty will pick the Harvard grad.

    From my experience, I'd recommend going to the most prestigious school you can. It can make a huge difference in the long run.
     
  23. Skip Intro

    Skip Intro Registered User
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    At the risk of jumping into the "U.S." fray here, I wanted to add something...

    You guys are all bright. You proved yourself in highschool. You probably went to a great undergrad program, and completely killed it as well. I'm sure you're all 11s, 12s, and 13s (if not higher) on your MCATs. You probably did tons of extracurriculars in college, got killer LORs from important people, and are all generally great folks.

    You've proved yourself along the way, every step of the way. You don't have to prove to anyone that you're smart.

    Now, let's talk about me...

    I'll be 34 in less than two months. I worked in the pharma industry for almost seven years. I've got two publications in world-renowned medical journals in the field of epilepsy research. I had decent grades and not too bad MCAT scores (28 overall).

    I'm in the Caribbean studying medicine. It's hard a sh!t.

    You see, this is what people don't know. The Caribbean is considered the "bottom of the barrel, you pay you stay, last resort for those desperate enough to be an M.D." That's a gross mischaracterization.

    Fact is, I didn't even apply to U.S. medical school. I didn't want to wait. Mine was a late decision.

    Each semester, I have about 14 weeks to learn what you guys get 19-20 weeks to learn. I HAVE to take and pass the NBME subject "shelf" exam. They don't care if I pass or fail a course. In fact, the mentality is that it looks better if they DO "weed" a lot of students out... survival of the fittest, you know?

    The living conditions suck. I miss being in the States. I left an incredible job with a phenomenal salary that allowed me to travel the world and interact with world-opinion leading physicians all over the planet. Was I crazy? No, that's how bad I wanted this.

    When I was twenty-two, I didn't know my rear-end from a tree stump. I applaud all of you for being so dedicated and focused at a much younger age than I. Of course, I didn't take school seriously back then. I do now. And, what you may not know either is that most of my classmates here do as well. The ones that don't, quite simply, don't make it.

    So, I may not place into Mass General for Categorical Surgery. Or, I may not end-up at Johns Hopkins doing an Emergency Medicine residency. But, chances are that I'll score fairly well on Step I. Chances are I'll get a decent residency at a good U.S. medical school when I graduate. Chances are that I may be your colleague someday.

    I like to call this "medical purgatory" - my chance to prove to myself that I can do this. I hope that any of you taking the time to read this will recognize this someday if you get the chance to call me your colleague on the wards.

    I don't know if it's a cakewalk for some of you BECAUSE you've been so well-prepared throughout your life. But, be proud of your accomplishments. If you are breezing through med school, that's great. Know that where I'm at, they make it tough. It's incredibly hard to pass. There is no P/F system here. The bottom 15% will fail and have to repeat. Many will fail out altogether. That's just the way it is. Survival of the fittest in the Caribbean...

    Good luck to you all in your future careers!

    -Skip Intro
    MS2 Ross University
    Portsmouth, Dominica
     
  24. Andrew_Doan

    Andrew_Doan Doc, Author, Entrepreneur
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    Skip Intro,

    I applaud you for your dedication and conviction. It's wonderful, and I'm sure you'll work hard in residency. People like you bring diversity and valuable life-experiences into the field. Kudos for your hardwork.

    I was lucky in life. I started on the right track, and my wife and I often laugh at how lucky I am. I like to think of it as being prepared for the right opportunities to pass me by. I was able to see what was good for my career, and I always jumped on the opportunity.

    Academia is similar to a snow ball. It's tough at first to get things going, but once you pick up momentum, your accomplishments add up slowly and eventually you have a CV that is impressive. For those with slower starts, it's tougher to catch up.

    But in the end, if we all WORK HARD, then we will all be good physicians for our patients.
     
  25. Skip Intro

    Skip Intro Registered User
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    Thanks, Optho. I wish that some of the USMGs could learn this earlier on (although, not all of them need to), based on some of what I've read in this forum. There seems to be such an "us" vs. "them" mentality sometimes. It's disappointing because it doesn't have to be that way. I think that once many of these same folks get out and start practicing, and have proven themselves to themselves first and foremost, they won't feel as threatened (? - I dunno, is that what it is?) or superior (? - again, dunno?) as they sometimes appear to be here.

    The point is, we each have a story. No one should lump others into a category based on what they see on the surface. Or, as the old clich? goes, "Never judge a book by its cover."

    I appreciate your humility. You already know that you've got nothing to prove to anyone that you haven't already proven to yourself. Unfortunately, I know that I do and I will have to prove a lot to others (e.g., program directors, some colleagues, certain patients, etc.). There will always be a contingent that will look down upon me for the path I've chosen. I hope that, like yourself, they will someday understand that - despite my academic imperfections of the distant past - I will have earned what I'm now achieving... that it wasn't handed to me. I want to be judged by my actions and my capabilities as a doctor and a human being, and nothing more.

    Thank you, again, for your kind words.

    -Skip
     

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