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Data: A Case Study in Bias for Prestigious Undergrads, Yale SOM

Lucca

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    One immortal "feature" of SDN is handwringing about how much undergraduate prestige matters and in what situations. It is very hard to gain an objective foothold on this question and most of us have a sense that "yah, it matters -- but not that much, it won't save an otherwise poor application, and probably only matters at schools that value that certain je ne sais qois in their applicants (*cough* Harvard *cough*)." One of the reasons this is a difficult question to answer is that, unlike most MD/PhD programs, MD programs do not post their directories for the public and, if they do, they do not list the undergraduate institutions of their students. Luckily for us, Yale School of Medicine posts a yearly bulletin in which they list the undergraduate institutions of each member of their graduating class that year.

    I took the liberty of altering the same Python script I used to look at the possible 'prestige' bias of dual-degree admissions.

    This time, the script converts the PDF bulletins to text, and (exploiting the fact that the syntax of graduate listings in every bulletin is identical) searches for the undergraduate institutions of the graduates, counts, and categorizes them.

    I looked at 11 years of data -- graduates of Yale SOM from 2007-2017 -- and split them up into 5/6 year chunks in order to see if there were any interesting differences. Here are the results. T30, 20, 10 refers to the Top X undergraduate institutions according to USNWR in 2017. HYPSM refers to Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford, and MIT, respectively.

    Table 1: Proportion of Graduating Class Coming from Top X Institution During Z years.
    TYxrXEk.png

    If we include the Top 20 / 10 Liberal Arts Colleges in these calculations (which are ranked separately in USNWR and therefore do not count towards the above table), the proportions are a little higher:

    Table 1b: Table 1 including Top 20, 10 Liberal Arts Colleges

    KqBLaTC.png

    Next I looked at the volume of students from X undergrad who graduated from Yale SOM. In other words, I tried to find the possible "feeder" schools and general trends in "undergrad diversity".
    7l9zrAa.png

    6rUxKer.png


    And here are data from both plots aggregated over the past decade:

    v4EV9pk.png

    From 2007-2012, the total number of undergraduate institutions represented in Yale SOM's graduating class was 86. From 2013-2017, 81. Overall, from 2007-2017, 116 undergrads were represented in the graduating class.

    The five number summaries for the feeder data sets are as follows. (min, 25th percentile, 50th percentile, 75th percentile, maximum):

    2007-2012: 1, 1, 1, 3, 99 (mean = 4.62)
    2013-2017: 1, 1, 1, 4, 91 (mean = 4.78)
    2007-2017: 1, 1, 2, 5, 190 (mean = 6.88)

    The mode in every data set was 1.

    The five number summaries for the feeder data sets only taking into account the top 10 feeder schools are as follows:

    2007-2012: 10, 12, 16, 22, 99 (mean = 27.9, mode = 10)
    2013-2017: 10, 14, 16.5, 18, 91 (mean = 26.4, mode = 14)
    2007-2017: 23, 26, 29, 39, 190 (mean = 54, mode = 27)

    Thus, showing that the top 10 feeder schools send several times more matriculants to Yale School of Medicine than even the 25% most represented undergrads in the general matriculant population.

    So, most schools (>50%) who send students to Yale SOM send only one student, meanwhile, the top 25% of schools send 3-4 and (as you can also see from the plots of the top 10 feeders) a small number of outliers send dozens. Yale University is, unsurprisingly, the biggest feeder for Yale SOM, given that prestigious schools tend to have much more "inbreeding".

    Graduate Degrees

    A large number of Yale MD grads had graduate degrees upon graduation (~33%). Yale offers a competitively funded fifth research year to its students where they can earn a MHS (Master of Health Sciences) degree prior to graduating. Working under the assumption that all of those graduates who did not earn an MHS from Yale earned their graduate degrees prior to matriculating to Yale SOM, I made another plot of the top 5 "graduate feeders" to Yale. All of these graduate degrees are non-doctoral degrees. Excluding MHS holders, 112 of 922 (12%) Yale grads had additional non-doctoral graduate degrees upon graduation, ~50% of which came from Yale or Harvard.

    gy880bC.png

    Of 112 graduate degree holding "matriculants" (again, this is more of a speculative term given that I dont know when people earned these degrees; safe to say, any grad degrees not from Yale were almost certainly earned before medical school), 16 of them did not go to a Top 30 undergraduate institution (most went to Top 20s). Of those 16, 12 of them (75%) received a graduate degree from one of the 5 institutions represented in the above graph.

    Not Surprising:
    - Top Echelon medical school has mostly students from top echelon undergrads
    - Yale SOM favors its own undergrads
    - Vast majority of schools only send one student to Yale

    Surprising (IMO):
    - I did not expect the proportion of T30,20,10 to be so high. HYPSM was actually about where I imagined it would be, around 1/3 of all students, since I've always speculated that HYPSM give the most significant "prestige boost" of all undergrads and my anecdotal knowledge of these schools from experience / friends / etc. tells me that these schools are very well represented at top med schools.
    - The skew of representation is pretty severe. The mean is obviously skewed to the right given the kind of distribution we're looking at, but even then Yale and Harvard alone are sending 15-20 times as many students as the statistically "average" school.
    - The proportion of med students coming from the Top X undergrads has stayed remarkably constant through the past decade in spite of MCAT scores and GPAs creeping up for years. Remember, these are graduates of Yale SOM, so they entered 4-5 years prior to the year marked on the bulletin. 2001-2 was an entirely different world in terms of overall competitiveness for undergraduate and medical schools when compared to 2012-13. I think this is compelling evidence that weighing undergraduate institutions is a systematic practice of medical school admissions (at least at Yale, to be fair) and not simply a product of "the most competitive applicants always being at the most competitive undergrads". The latter explanation has some truth to it -- to be sure, the average Harvard applicant is probably a lot better than the average Kutztown applicant -- and it probably was even more true in 2001-2002 when undergrad admissions were significantly less competitive. It is also worth considering that Yale has historically shown a lot of love to non-traditional students, so these students might have graduated 2 to 3 years before that, even, on average. Just 10 years ago in 2007, Harvard's acceptance rate was nearly twice what it is today (the same is true for its peer institutions). Not that far back, in 1995, Penn had an acceptance rate of 30%. Combine that with the fact that the cost to go to college, graduate school, not starve, pay rent has all gone up rapidly in the past decade and you can't deny the fact that, today, more and more very bright, very competitive students are either not able to be admitted or able to comfortably afford going to prestigious, private undergrads (if they dont qualify or earn the generous aid these schools might offer). In the case of Yale, no one will deny that Berkeley is an academically comparable institution, and yet Harvard students outnumber Berkeley students at Yale SOM over the past decade by 5-6 times; Yale students, 7-9 times.

    Notes
    - International students (rather, anyone who studied at an international institution for undergrad) were excluded from any figures reported here. From visually inspecting the data, I saw a lot of "Oxford", "Cambridge", and big Canadian universities (McGill, Toronto).

    - sooooo many yale students have graduate degrees. So many, in fact, that making sure I wasnt capturing graduate institutions was probably the biggest hurdle in altering my script. I'm interested to see where these graduate degrees are from. Upon inspection, I feel like a lot of students are getting grad degrees at Yale. I'd like to know what proportion of students from Top X undergrads have graduate degrees from Top X school before coming to Yale -- might be interesting, might be pointless.


    - If anybody knows of similar documents for other schools, I'd be happy to do this for that school.
    @efle
    @Lawper

    EDIT 08/03/2017: Fixed a bug in my program that failed to download all of the correct pages of the school's PDF bulletin. I have fixed the script and reproduced the graphs, the graphs you see in the OP from 08/03/2017 onwards are correct. The problem arose because of the way my browser indexed the pages of PDF downloads. I verified that the fix worked by counting two years of graduates by hand and the number of graduates counted by my script and by hand matched perfectly on both accounts. I also added five number summaries for the top 10 feeder schools only, and some plots for grad degree holding MDs.
     
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    pioneer22

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      where do people get HYPSM as the top from?
      Princeton hasnt had many breakthroughs since Einstein left, and alot of their prestige has gone to Columbia -- look at the admit rates for Ivies: Columbia is 2nd lowest to only Harvard (lower than Yale and Princeton, which are part of HYPSM)...why isnt Columbia included
       
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      Lucca

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        where do people get HYPSM as the top from?
        Princeton hasnt had many breakthroughs since Einstein left, and alot of their prestige has gone to Columbia -- look at the admit rates for Ivies: Columbia is 2nd lowest to only Harvard (lower than Yale and Princeton, which are part of HYPSM)...why isnt Columbia included

        hard to say, the acronym is a holdover from College Confidential. Princeton is #1 on USNWR but I think its cachet in medicine is far less than HYSM. If anything, for medicine, it should be HYCPSM, this time including Columbia and Penn.
         
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        md-2020

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          Someone must have made a mistake and included Cornell as a prestigious institution.




          I jest. But really, yeah 75% Top 20 is basically what you see at my school as well (they're not so liberal with the cite-able information though). The last "actual statistics" are included in this news story, for what would be the c/o 2017 graduates (i.e. this year's):

          New medical students begin their journey

          102 matriculants. 19 Stanford, 11 Yale, 11 Harvard, 7 MIT. So that's 48/102 = ~47% just from those tippy top places. From experience I'd say another 25% from other Ivies/Top 20 National Universities, with very few liberal arts colleges.

          You might even say that going to a middle Ivy (like I did) puts you at a probabilistic disadvantage.
           
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          efle

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            where do people get HYPSM as the top from?
            Princeton hasnt had many breakthroughs since Einstein left, and alot of their prestige has gone to Columbia -- look at the admit rates for Ivies: Columbia is 2nd lowest to only Harvard (lower than Yale and Princeton, which are part of HYPSM)...why isnt Columbia included
            It's largely historical. These days it's becoming similarly tough to get into other places (like Duke, or U Chicago) but for many years HYP were the uber-Ivies, Stanford was the king in the west, and MIT was the best in engineering/some hard sciences. Thus HYPSM still def is a class of its own for "layperson" prestige (where layperson is anyone that didn't apply to college in the last few years).

            It always blows my mind looking at data from the 2000s and seeing that places like Northwestern and Vanderbilt and U Chicago had admit rates of 25-30%+. Back when our parent's generation was applying (1980s), there were Ivy schools with admit rates of 35-40%+ !

            Anyways to the OP, great job Lucca, always nice to see the numbers that back up the gestalt impressions many of us have after our cycle. When I get access to my desktop PC I can run a comparison of the WashU and AMCAS GPA/MCAT bins to try and get hard numbers on the boost in overall admit rates.
             
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            DBC03

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              One thing to keep in mind might be the total applicants from each school. Harvard is a really large school compared to Princeton. Princeton has far fewer applicants each year, so the total number of applicants admitted is likely to be smaller, as well.

              Interesting information - thanks for posting!
               
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              7331poas

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                Ultimately this argument cannot be settled without looking at the internal books. Its true that its more than "I would expect". However what proportion I expect is vague and based on an assumption of what proportion of the applicant pool is "the best".
                 
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                tessellations

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                  It always sucks to see this kind of data because it really reinforces the notion that in every step of education, students are continuously stratified from each other. You don't go to the right high school, you don't get into the best college even if you could handle it. You don't go to the right college, you don't get into the top tier medical schools. This is obviously a systemic problem, but it's certainly frustrating.

                  I think this is probably most disheartening for students who are high performing at mid tier schools (especially state schools) but are not in the very top of their school (so maybe pulling a 3.7-3.8, but not a 3.9-4.0). If these schools are statistically taking 1-2 students from these types of school, it can feel impossible to end up there if you go to a school like that, even if you are in the top!

                  I go to a mid tier state school in the northeast (US News Ranks us in the top 30 publics) and we send a student to Harvard every once in awhile (at most like 1-2 per year). I remember asking my advisor where students ended up and I was unsurprised at the results: a lot of BU, Quinnipiac, our state school, NYU, schools like that. Occasionally a place like Brown/Dartmouth/Sinai. People didn't stray outside of the area all too much, and they were mostly ending up at mid to low tiers. Also a lot of DO schools, but I suspect that's more of a GPA issue.

                  I am one of 3.9-4.00 people here at my school, and I know some of the others thanks to PBK, so it'll be interesting to see how our cohort ends up doing come admissions time. Granted I'm not aware of MCAT stuff, but still.
                   
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                  bananafish94

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                    Interesting stuff. A couple possible critiques:
                    -I think it's difficult to draw any kind of conclusion when you don't control for things like MCAT. I suspect that the people who go to "top" schools are more skilled at standardized tests to begin with and thus get higher MCAT scores, which might be what makes them attractive.
                    -These schools are very different in terms of raw numbers of students (Princeton is a very small school, others on the list are considerably bigger for example) which might corrupt the data a bit.
                    -I suspect that Yale, being an Ivy League school, cares more about selecting students from other Ivy League schools more than most. This is just a hunch, of course, and if data from other schools doesn't exist there's not a whole lot you can do.
                     
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                    bananafish94

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                      It always sucks to see this kind of data because it really reinforces the notion that in every step of education, students are continuously stratified from each other. You don't go to the right high school, you don't get into the best college even if you could handle it. You don't go to the right college, you don't get into the top tier medical schools. This is obviously a systemic problem, but it's certainly frustrating.

                      I think this is probably most disheartening for students who are high performing at mid tier schools (especially state schools) but are not in the very top of their school (so maybe pulling a 3.7-3.8, but not a 3.9-4.0). If these schools are statistically taking 1-2 students from these types of school, it can feel impossible to end up there if you go to a school like that, even if you are in the top!

                      I go to a mid tier state school in the northeast (US News Ranks us in the top 30 publics) and we send a student to Harvard every once in awhile (at most like 1-2 per year). I remember asking my advisor where students ended up and I was unsurprised at the results: a lot of BU, Quinnipiac, our state school, NYU, schools like that. Occasionally a place like Brown/Dartmouth/Sinai. People didn't stray outside of the area all too much, and they were mostly ending up at mid to low tiers. Also a lot of DO schools, but I suspect that's more of a GPA issue.

                      I am one of 3.9-4.00 people here at my school, and I know some of the others thanks to PBK, so it'll be interesting to see how our cohort ends up doing come admissions time. Granted I'm not aware of MCAT stuff, but still.
                      All you can do is play the best hand with the cards you are dealt. If you have a 3.9-4.0 GPA at any school and do well on the MCAT, you will get into an MD school and from there you can go into any specialty you want. And really, that's all that matters in the end.
                       
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                      DBC03

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                        Interesting stuff. A couple possible critiques:
                        -I think it's difficult to draw any kind of conclusion when you don't control for things like MCAT. I suspect that the people who go to "top" schools are more skilled at standardized tests to begin with and thus get higher MCAT scores, which might be what makes them attractive.
                        -These schools are very different in terms of raw numbers of students (Princeton is a very small school, others on the list are considerably bigger for example) which might corrupt the data a bit.
                        -I suspect that Yale, being an Ivy League school, cares more about selecting students from other Ivy League schools more than most. This is just a hunch, of course, and if data from other schools doesn't exist there's not a whole lot you can do.

                        Yeah - I won't lie. I specifically applied to Yale this cycle even though my GPA is not up to par thinking that they might look just a hair more favorably at a HYP graduate. I don't think I'd get that second glance from a different school.
                         
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                        DBC03

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                          It always sucks to see this kind of data because it really reinforces the notion that in every step of education, students are continuously stratified from each other. You don't go to the right high school, you don't get into the best college even if you could handle it. You don't go to the right college, you don't get into the top tier medical schools. This is obviously a systemic problem, but it's certainly frustrating.

                          I think this is probably most disheartening for students who are high performing at mid tier schools (especially state schools) but are not in the very top of their school (so maybe pulling a 3.7-3.8, but not a 3.9-4.0). If these schools are statistically taking 1-2 students from these types of school, it can feel impossible to end up there if you go to a school like that, even if you are in the top!

                          I go to a mid tier state school in the northeast (US News Ranks us in the top 30 publics) and we send a student to Harvard every once in awhile (at most like 1-2 per year). I remember asking my advisor where students ended up and I was unsurprised at the results: a lot of BU, Quinnipiac, our state school, NYU, schools like that. Occasionally a place like Brown/Dartmouth/Sinai. People didn't stray outside of the area all too much, and they were mostly ending up at mid to low tiers. Also a lot of DO schools, but I suspect that's more of a GPA issue.

                          I am one of 3.9-4.00 people here at my school, and I know some of the others thanks to PBK, so it'll be interesting to see how our cohort ends up doing come admissions time. Granted I'm not aware of MCAT stuff, but still.

                          I agree. I got into a HYP school as a complete fluke. I went to a massive public school that sends one student to an Ivy every 4 years. My school had 2000 students and my class had nearly 400 people when I graduated (we started with over 700). When I got to Princeton it was odd to be on campus with so many kids whose parents had groomed them since preschool to get there. My parents barred me from applying at first, and I just assumed everyone else had a somewhat similar upbringing.

                          From what I have heard during my conversations with other physicians is that the prestige of the medical school matters very little if you are going into private practice and only somewhat if you are going into academia. If you really want to be surgeon general or head of the NIH, then you might really fight hard to get into a prestigious school, otherwise medical school itself becomes an even playing field and you work as hard as you can to do well in your classes, get a great Step 1 score, and then do even better in clinical rotations. If you do well in medical school, where you went to high school and undergraduate will not matter.
                           
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                          Goro

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                            One of our wise residents one posted that "there's more inbreeding at Brown than in an Alabama trailer park"

                            Are people surprised? BUT from what I seen in the OP's chart, we're talking 15 Yale pre-meds a year, who get into...what? The Top 30 (which probably includes some 45 schools, BTW)? That's 0.5 Yale student/med school!

                            I think in all of the navel-gazing that goes on with "do med schools care about your UG school" is really translated as "Do med schools care about MY UG school?"

                            My answer is relax. If your app is good, you're competitive for med school.
                             
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                            Lucca

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                              One of our wise residents one posted that "there's more inbreeding at Brown than in an Alabama trailer park"

                              Are people surprised? BUT from what I seen in the OP's chart, we're talking 15 Yale pre-meds a year, who get into...what? The Top 30 (which probably includes some 45 schools, BTW)? That's 0.5 Yale student/med school!

                              I think in all of the navel-gazing that goes on with "do med schools care about your UG school" is really translated as "Do med schools care about MY UG school?"

                              My answer is relax. If your app is good, you're competitive for med school.

                              Actually, the charts are looking at students AT Yale School of Medicine (SOM) from the Top X undergrads. What it shoes is that about 75% of each MD class at Yale comes from the Top 30, 40% from HYPSM (mostly HYSM) and nearly 20% from Yale alone. The bar graphs are the schools that feed the most students into Yale School of Medicine.
                               
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                              Goro

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                                Actually, the charts are looking at students AT Yale School of Medicine (SOM) from the Top X undergrads. What it shoes is that about 75% of each MD class at Yale comes from the Top 30, 40% from HYPSM (mostly HYSM) and nearly 20% from Yale alone. The bar graphs are the schools that feed the most students into Yale School of Medicine.
                                Unfortunately, MSAR doesn't tell us anymore how many kids from the parent UG school get into the med school. But Brown had the highest, like > 50%, IIRC.
                                 

                                Lucca

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                                  Unfortunately, MSAR doesn't tell us anymore how many kids from the parent UG school get into the med school. But Brown had the highest, like > 50%, IIRC.

                                  Yah, but they also have a BA/MD program that almost completely fills their med school so I'm not surprised to see that kind of number at Brown. Nearly 1 of 5 doctors coming out of Yale Med were Yalies in undergrad though. Have to admit, that is surprising.
                                   
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                                  UBLI-EINSTEIN

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                                    Recently this kind of posts really floods this forum. I feel shame on myself studying in a state school.
                                    Oh, maybe I can write this as a humbling experience for Duke's secondary questions? ---What a ****.
                                    I really feel that American Dream is dead. Or maybe it has never been alived.
                                     
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                                    Mad Jack

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                                      Recently this kind of posts really floods this forum. I feel shame on myself studying in a state school.
                                      Oh, maybe I can write this as a humbling experience for Duke's secondary questions? ---What a ****.
                                      I really feel that American Dream is dead. Or maybe it has never been alived.
                                      I can't go to a top 10 medical school, omg my freedoms has a dead plz halp amerigga
                                      trade%20center%20eagel.jpg
                                       
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                                      UBLI-EINSTEIN

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                                        I can't go to a top 10 medical school, omg my freedoms has a dead plz halp amerigga
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                                        nah, I think the problem here is that making effort is not necessarily an important factor for the success, as we are discussing whether prestige play a huge huge role.
                                        Many discussions so far tend to illustrate a fact that in every step of education, students are just get more stratified from each other.
                                        People studying at more prestigious institutions may easily reproduce their successes, while those studying at low-tier institutions need to make much much more efforts to achieve the same place.
                                         

                                        Lucca

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                                          TLDR the process isn't fair and never has been. Did I get it right?

                                          I don't think anyone on SDN has ever implied the process is fair. My goal was just to show some real evidence for what was sort of just handwavy speculation before.
                                           
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                                          7331poas

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                                            I don't think anyone on SDN has ever implied the process is fair. My goal was just to show some real evidence for what was sort of just handwavy speculation before.

                                            Unfortunately the evidence is not conclusive without mcat scores. At this point its "well, I guess that number seems high"
                                             
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                                            md-2020

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                                              nah, I think the problem here is that making effort is not necessarily an important factor for the success, as we are discussing whether prestige play a huge huge role.
                                              Many discussions so far tend to illustrate a fact that in every step of education, students are just get more stratified from each other.
                                              People studying at more prestigious institutions may easily reproduce their successes, while those studying at low-tier institutions need to make much much more efforts to achieve the same place.
                                              *Most* people studying at prestigious UGs got there in the first place through a lot of hard work....
                                               
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                                              Lucca

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                                                Unfortunately the evidence is not conclusive without mcat scores. At this point its "well, I guess that number seems high"

                                                I mean, sure, without literally knowing everything about every applicant it is very hard to come to a definitive conclusion, MCAT being the most important of all of these data points, but I personally think the data is so obvious that it is safe to say, even if not conclude beyond the shadow of a doubt, that there is selection for prestigious undergraduate institutions.

                                                Here is why I am convinced, and I will use some data from Yale, Brown, and UCLA to prove my point.

                                                UCLA data <-- http://career.ucla.edu/Portals/14/D...l_School_Admissions_Statistics.pdf_042516.pdf

                                                UCLA produces the most applicants by raw numbers every year, about 1,000 per year. They record some applicant data from their school, but obviously they dont capture all of that much of the population that applies "from" UCLA. In 2014, they had 124 respondents, about 12% of all applicants from UCLA that year. About 40/124 of those applicants had LizzyMs which would fall within Yale's 10-90th percentiles, so about 33%. Let's assume that this small sample size is not reliably representative and probably suffers from serious response bias so in actual fact, extrapolating to the entire UCLA applicant pool of 1,000, only 12% (pessimistic) of Bruins had competitive numbers for Yale. That's about 120 Bruins competitive for Yale every year. Let us assume they all apply to Yale because they feel confident about their numbers, for the sake of simplicity (being Californians, they are likely to apply broadly, anyway).

                                                UCLA sent 11 students in total to Yale SOM from 2007-2017. Assuming the number of Bruins matriculating at YSOM is similar every year, let's say they send 1 student a year. So, 120 Bruins every year are competitive for YSOM and only 1 will be accepted there.

                                                Brown, on the other hand, sent 30 students over the past decade, an average of 3 students per year. There are about 250 premeds from Brown in a year. According to Brown University's internal data....

                                                Medical Admission Data Snapshot | Health Careers Advising

                                                Accepted Brown applicants had an average MCAT of 34 and a GPA of 3.7. Right on the edge, but still competitive for Yale. For the sake of this argument, let us suppose that Brown's GPA/MCAT distribution is bimodal for some reason, resulting in a statistical average of 3.7/34 but, in reality, 50% of Brown applicants have >= 3.75/35 (this is equivalent to assuming that 'Prestigious undergrads are just better students'). So, 125 Brown premeds are competitive for Yale every year, and 3 will be admitted each year.

                                                The way this hypothetical works out, Brown and UCLA both produce an equivalent number of students with Yale-competitive LizzyMs, but Brown students are represented 3 times better than UCLA students.

                                                The numbers here, of course, don't matter all that much, but they serve to illustrate my main point: Do we actually believe that the top 12% of students at UCLA (a highly competitive undergrad, very prestigious in its own right) would only be slightly above the 50th percentile at Brown? Do we think that, given the volume of applicants produced by schools like UCLA, that Brown students, attending a school which produces 1/4th the number of premeds as the former, are just better than UCLA students?

                                                This is not denying that students at Brown, or Harvard, or Yale might have better numbers and apps on average than students are less "prestigious" schools, but when you take applicant volume into account the discrepancies in representation become too large to ignore. That's not to say that there can't be other variables at play as well. LORs are very important (ranked above 4.0/5.0 in adcom surveys of importance) in admissions. Perhaps the a Yale adcom will recognize a letter writer from Yale or Harvard (or any school in the east coast academic beltway) and have more confidence in the praise they heap upon the applicant. In any case, there is no question in my mind that this is a settled matter. If we had the data for other schools, I expect similar results.
                                                 
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                                                bae2017

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                                                  Assuming the number of Bruins matriculating at YSOM is similar every year, let's say they send 1 student a year. So, 120 Bruins every year are competitive for YSOM and only 1 will be accepted there.

                                                  So, 125 Brown premeds are competitive for Yale every year, and 3 will be admitted each year.

                                                  The way this hypothetical works out, Brown and UCLA both produce an equivalent number of students with Yale-competitive LizzyMs, but Brown students are represented 3 times better than UCLA students.

                                                  I think one confounding factor here is that there is likely some regional bias in where successful students from each school are likely to end up.

                                                  It's not that only 1 UCLA student and 3 Brown students are being accepted at YSOM each year, but matriculating. And it might make more sense for a highly competitive applicant from UCLA to want to stay in California and thus if they receive competing offers from Stanford, UCSF, UCLA, UCSD, etc. they might be more enticed to stay there. That's versus pre-meds at Brown who might be more comfortable on the east coast, like the Ivy names, etc.

                                                  So it's hard to say unless you have actual acceptance data instead of matriculation. Or you have to compare schools in the same region of the country.
                                                   
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                                                  Mad Jack

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                                                    Unfortunately the evidence is not conclusive without mcat scores. At this point its "well, I guess that number seems high"
                                                    I'm a DO with a balanced 35 MCAT and that certainly doesn't mean a damn thing. Life isn't fair, that's just reality. I should've learned how much prestige matters earlier in life, but now I can at least pass that message on to those I might guide toward greener pastures (not that mine aren't green, I'm actually quite find of them).
                                                     

                                                    UBLI-EINSTEIN

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                                                      I'm a DO with a balanced 35 MCAT and that certainly doesn't mean a damn thing. Life isn't fair, that's just reality. I should've learned how much prestige matters earlier in life, but now I can at least pass that message on to those I might guide toward greener pastures (not that mine aren't green, I'm actually quite find of them).

                                                      What happened to your application? DO with a balanced 35 MCAT can't be called normal. You must have done something wrong somewhere in your application.
                                                       
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                                                      Mad Jack

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                                                        Then I think this case could not support you idea, because you largely get a chance to ace the MD application if you wait for a year.
                                                        BTW, in general I agree with you that lives are never fair.
                                                        Ah, but had I known about the importance of prestige in success, I likely would have worked my ass off to get into a good undergrad. I could have lived a very different life, with Scotch, yachts, and hobo hunting (or whatever rich people are into these days), but now I'm just a lowly soon to be physician. Prestige is about 85% of the way to top-level success. Real success- 7+ figure stuff- is difficult to hit coming from a low-tier undergrad, and isn't the sort of thing easily achieved from any medical school.
                                                         
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                                                        Skiiiiiing

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                                                          You're not controlling for MCAT scores. Its meaningless without that.

                                                          Also, I think it makes very, very little difference to your long run career prospects whether you place at a top 50 or a top 5 - you do well enough in a reputable MD program and you have your pick of specialties.

                                                          I'm a DO with a balanced 35 MCAT and that certainly doesn't mean a damn thing. Life isn't fair, that's just reality. I should've learned how much prestige matters earlier in life, but now I can at least pass that message on to those I might guide toward greener pastures (not that mine aren't green, I'm actually quite find of them).

                                                          I don't think DO relative to top 25 MD really closes all that many doors.

                                                          You do have to perform at a higher percentile in your DO class than in a comparable MD class, but then again...
                                                           
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                                                          Lucca

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                                                            You're not controlling for MCAT scores. Its meaningless without that.

                                                            Also, I think it makes very, very little difference to your long run career prospects whether you place at a top 50 or a top 5 - you do well enough in a reputable MD program and you have your pick of specialties.



                                                            I don't think DO relative to top 25 MD really closes all that many doors.

                                                            You do have to perform at a higher percentile in your DO class than in a comparable MD class, but then again...

                                                            I'd love to "control" for mcat scores. Too bad that information is not reliably available from anywhere. Like I mentioned in my earlier post, you can't draw final conclusions from my OP, but I think the data speaks for itself. That doesn't happen by accident and I'm not confident things like "everyone from a private school has a 36 and all public school students have 29s lel" explains anything. I went to a public school and I was in the honors program. At that's program the average mcat was 35. That's not admissions propaganda either, because I tabulated that data. That's a little higher than Brown. We're in Texas so not a lot of people apply out of state to begin with, but we're not sending 10 grads a year to the top 10 I can tell you that much.
                                                             
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                                                            Iz_FtB

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                                                              This information should do nothing for no one. Meaning you should be neither encouraged nor discouraged, depending which side of the fence you are on. Get a LizzyM over 80 and the t10 schools will be coming after you, in spite of (or maybe because of) calling Irrelevant U your Alma mater.
                                                               

                                                              lpp06

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                                                                Going to an HYPSM seems like another pre-screen for an adcom.

                                                                Consider this scenario - you're hiring manager at Goldman Sachs and you're deciding between 2 resumes - 1 candidate coming from another mega bank, JP Morgan, and 1 from the local credit union. They both have comparable experiences, but who are you likely to hire?

                                                                Succeeding in perceived similar environments can be viewed as a predictor of success by adcoms in the HYS's of the world
                                                                 

                                                                aldol16

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                                                                  Controlling for MCAT score isn't as easy as people think. Sure, if you control for MCAT score, you might get the result that MCAT score is a bigger determinant of whether you get into a top 10 school than undergraduate prestige and most of the effect seen here is due to the top schools having higher MCAT scores. But that result, by itself, does not tell anybody with multiple undergraduate acceptances whether they should attend the prestigious undergrad school or the less prestigious one. Undergraduate "prestige" closely mirrors strength of academic instruction, which determines MCAT score. So you might be more inclined to score high on the MCAT if you go to the prestigious school and had you gone to the not prestigious school, you wouldn't score as high on the MCAT. For example, say a top student goes to MIT and, due to the rigorous science instruction, breezes through the MCAT with a 525. Stats-wise, he or she is very competitive for the top programs. But now let's say that instead of choosing MIT, he or she had chosen his or her state school. Due to the less rigorous science instruction, he or she scores a 515. Much less competitive now.

                                                                  So while comparing a 525 from MIT versus a 525 from state school would likely show that the prestigious undergrad college confers little advantage, that says nothing about the difficulty of getting a 525 after going to a prestigious school compared to attending the state school.
                                                                   

                                                                  flapjack3d

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                                                                    Haven't read the rest of the thread, but until there's a way to prove that the same caliber student will have drastically different acceptances coming from a low ranked school vs hypsm, then this debate wont be over. personally i think it's pretty intuitively clear that people assume applicants from well known universities are more qualified.
                                                                     
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                                                                    Skiiiiiing

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                                                                      I'd love to "control" for mcat scores. Too bad that information is not reliably available from anywhere. Like I mentioned in my earlier post, you can't draw final conclusions from my OP, but I think the data speaks for itself. That doesn't happen by accident and I'm not confident things like "everyone from a private school has a 36 and all public school students have 29s lel" explains anything. I went to a public school and I was in the honors program. At that's program the average mcat was 35. That's not admissions propaganda either, because I tabulated that data. That's a little higher than Brown. We're in Texas so not a lot of people apply out of state to begin with, but we're not sending 10 grads a year to the top 10 I can tell you that much.

                                                                      I actually think Ivy over Dell or Baylor is generally pretty irrational, unless the Ivy funds.

                                                                      Is there Ivy-Ivy bias? Of course, they are very convinced they are paying for something, and are determined to prove it.

                                                                      That said, you go to Dell or Baylor and you excel and you can do whatever you want, wherever you want. For 100k in debt instead of 400k.
                                                                       
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                                                                      Lucca

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                                                                        Haven't read the rest of the thread, but until there's a way to prove that the same caliber student will have drastically different acceptances coming from a low ranked school vs hypsm, then this debate wont be over. personally i think it's pretty intuitively clear that people assume applicants from well known universities are more qualified.

                                                                        I know that this isn't what you mean, so I don't mean to be pedantic, but as far as I am concerned one is either qualified for medicine or isn't. There isn't a "more" qualified. If you can pass the licensing exams and get through training successfully then you are "qualified". The metrics we know that predict that are well below what most schools look for, much less schools like Yale.

                                                                        I think coming from a prestigious undergrad by itself predicts something that medical schools want: namely, the ability, desire, and drive to get into really competitive programs or excel academically while excelling at research, organizing, etc. From the handful of people I know IRL who are going to places like Stanford, Harvard, UCSF, that's the difference between them and the (far more numerous) people I know with 99th percentile stats.
                                                                         
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                                                                        Lucca

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                                                                          I actually think Ivy over Dell or Baylor is generally pretty irrational, unless the Ivy funds.

                                                                          Is there Ivy-Ivy bias? Of course, they are very convinced they are paying for something, and are determined to prove it.

                                                                          That said, you go to Dell or Baylor and you excel and you can do whatever you want, wherever you want. For 100k in debt instead of 400k.

                                                                          Dell hasn't graduated a single class so I have no idea what you are basing that statement on. Baylor and UTSW, yes I agree. I've never been one of those people that thinks it's Top 10 MD or rural primary care for you.
                                                                           
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                                                                          Skiiiiiing

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                                                                            Dell hasn't graduated a single class so I have no idea what you are basing that statement on. Baylor and UTSW, yes I agree. I've never been one of those people that thinks it's Top 10 MD or rural primary care for you.

                                                                            Erm, so wait, we're supposed to take your analysis - that doesn't control for MCAT scores - as speaking for itself, but you seriously doubt Dell will place the majority of its class in specialties?
                                                                             

                                                                            Lucca

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                                                                              Erm, so wait, we're supposed to take your analysis - that doesn't control for MCAT scores - as speaking for itself, but you seriously doubt Dell will place the majority of its class in specialties?


                                                                              /eyeroll that's not what I said. I'm sure Dell will match fine but until they actually match at all saying that they are equivalent to Baylor is pure speculation. Clinically, I dont think they will come close to Baylor for a very long time. In terms of basic research science, they wont come close to UTSW in the near future, maybe ever.

                                                                              I'd be happy to do my best to account for MCAT scores if this data was actually available to me. I've explained why I think what I do, I never expected this data to be definitive and explained explicitly in the first paragraph of the OP why that is. But I've also provided logic to argue against the "prestigious undergrads are better students" argument since it too relies on no data other than speculation.
                                                                               
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                                                                              Skiiiiiing

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                                                                                /eyeroll that's not what I said. I'm sure Dell will match fine but until they actually match at all saying that they are equivalent to Baylor is pure speculation. Clinically, I dont think they will come close to Baylor for a very long time. In terms of basic research science, they wont come close to UTSW in the near future, maybe ever.

                                                                                "maybe ever" you have absolutely nothing to base that on.

                                                                                1. Without MCAT scores, your analysis is meaningless
                                                                                2. Even if your analysis showed Ivy-Ivy bias, it doesn't matter because if you go to a domestic MD...or even a lot of DO programs...and kill it you're going to do whatever you want.
                                                                                 
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                                                                                Lucca

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                                                                                  "maybe ever" you have absolutely nothing to base that on.

                                                                                  1. Without MCAT scores, your analysis is meaningless
                                                                                  2. Even if your analysis showed Ivy-Ivy bias, it doesn't matter because if you go to a domestic MD...or even a lot of DO programs...and kill it you're going to do whatever you want.

                                                                                  Are you even from Texas?

                                                                                  1. UT SW commands more than double the amount of NIH grant money when compared to UT Austin, the only institution associated with Dell (even then, only loosely) that has major biomedical research infrastructure. Dell itself is in the nascent stages of developing a basic science program and it's obvious from the decisions of its administration that is is focused far more on innovative business, tech, and clinical research than it is on basic science. All worthy endeavors, but not basic science. This is further evidenced by the fact that Dell does not plan to start an MD/PhD program in the near future, something which was told to me by one of the Deans at the school himself. UTSW has Nobel Laureate labs and a stronger reputation in biomedical science than UT Austin.
                                                                                  UT & the National Institutes of Health | University of Texas System

                                                                                  2. Austin has no major medical center. UTSW has 5 or more hospitals associated with it, including one of the largest public hospitals in the country. Dell Seton, St. Davids, and Dell Childrens are small compared to the Dallas Hospitals and might as well be a children's playset compared to the Texas Medical Center in Houston.
                                                                                   
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                                                                                  jqueb29

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                                                                                    Overrated med school eagerly takes students from overrated colleges, as they seek students who will not only learn medicine well but who also actually enjoy talking about, like, Wuthering Heights or Chopin. Give me my "average" med school where I can learn the same stuff and go on to make the same salary in an area with greater spending power, but be classmates with people who are familiar with the rules of American football.
                                                                                     
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                                                                                    Iz_FtB

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                                                                                      Overrated med school eagerly takes students from overrated colleges, as they seek students who will not only learn medicine well but who also actually enjoy talking about, like, Wuthering Heights or Chopin. Give me my "average" med school where I can learn the same stuff and go on to make the same salary in an area with greater spending power, but be classmates with people who are familiar with the rules of American football.
                                                                                      Will be attending an "overrated" medical school. Graduated from a decidedly not "overrated" school. Will continue to cheer on the Eagles. No idea what Wuthering Heights is.

                                                                                      Go Birds.
                                                                                       
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                                                                                      efle

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                                                                                        A little fuel for the fire, from comparing the WashU internal data a few years back to the AMCAS national data:

                                                                                        AMCAS overall admit rate, 3.6-3.8/30-32: 61%
                                                                                        WashU overall admit rate, 3.6-3.8/30-32: 92%
                                                                                        Difference: +31%

                                                                                        AMCAS overall admit rate, 3.4-3.6/30-32: 47%
                                                                                        WashU overall admit rate, 3.4-3.6/30-32: 80%
                                                                                        Difference: +33%

                                                                                        AMCAS overall admit rate, 3.2-3.4/30-32: 35%
                                                                                        WashU overall admit rate, 3.2-3.4/30-32: 68%
                                                                                        Difference: +33%

                                                                                        For each WashU bin, n = 50+

                                                                                        Now, it could be that WashU students are better about the admissions meta-game, are better advised, have better access to research/volunteering/other....
                                                                                        or it could be that a 3.x from WashU is treated differently.

                                                                                        I won't make any argument one way or the other myself.
                                                                                         
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                                                                                        Skiiiiiing

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                                                                                          Are you even from Texas?

                                                                                          1. UT SW commands more than double the amount of NIH grant money when compared to UT Austin, the only institution associated with Dell (even then, only loosely) that has major biomedical research infrastructure. Dell itself is in the nascent stages of developing a basic science program and it's obvious from the decisions of its administration that is is focused far more on innovative business, tech, and clinical research than it is on basic science. All worthy endeavors, but not basic science. This is further evidenced by the fact that Dell does not plan to start an MD/PhD program in the near future, something which was told to me by one of the Deans at the school himself. UTSW has Nobel Laureate labs and a stronger reputation in biomedical science than UT Austin.
                                                                                          UT & the National Institutes of Health | University of Texas System

                                                                                          2. Austin has no major medical center. UTSW has 5 or more hospitals associated with it, including one of the largest public hospitals in the country. Dell Seton, St. Davids, and Dell Childrens are small compared to the Dallas Hospitals and might as well be a children's playset compared to the Texas Medical Center in Houston.

                                                                                          You continue to misunderstand my second point. If you go to a reputable state MD granting institution you are constrained in terms of placements only by your performance.

                                                                                          This is turning very millennial
                                                                                           
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                                                                                          md-2020

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                                                                                            AMCAS overall admit rate, 3.6-3.8/30-32: 61%
                                                                                            WashU overall admit rate, 3.6-3.8/30-32: 92%
                                                                                            Difference: +31%

                                                                                            AMCAS overall admit rate, 3.4-3.6/30-32: 47%
                                                                                            WashU overall admit rate, 3.4-3.6/30-32: 80%
                                                                                            Difference: +33%

                                                                                            AMCAS overall admit rate, 3.2-3.4/30-32: 35%
                                                                                            WashU overall admit rate, 3.2-3.4/30-32: 68%
                                                                                            Difference: +33%
                                                                                            ....
                                                                                            I won't make any argument one way or the other myself.
                                                                                            The argument is quite clear already for everyone willing to see it.

                                                                                            If you go to a reputable state MD granting institution you are constrained in terms of placements only by your performance.
                                                                                            Come on, you can't seriously believe this. The match lists at top residency programs are frightening in their top school bias. Far more than the already pretty clear trend in top school MD admissions.

                                                                                            An example from a highly desirable--though not even a tippy top program by stringent standards--Ortho placement: Orthopaedic Residents PGY1
                                                                                            Go through each year--there's 0-2 token non top-15/20 graduates out of each class of 8-10. Do you think kids from these places (i.e. SUNYs, NYMC, Albany etc.) weren't ranking HSS highly? Or that there aren't tons of 260+ applicants?

                                                                                            If you kill Step could you match into a preferred specialty from any US MD school? Probably. Will you be realistically competitive for the more reputable places? Not really.
                                                                                             
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