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Just curious…is there some sort of tacit consensus that successful applicants to the top 5 MD schools should have publications? Of course, these schools value research and I've done research for ~3 years…but if I don't get a pub out of it, does this keep me out of such competitive schools?
 
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mw18

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I have no publications. I'm not sure what your opinion of top 5 is. But you don't need them. They likely help, but not a requisite.

Edit: Obviously not a Harvard student.
 
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ac62994

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They've recently added a section in the AAMC MSAR that statistically shows the percentage of students with/without research experience, etc.
 

mw18

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They've recently added a section in the AAMC MSAR that statistically shows the percentage of students with/without research experience, etc.
OP has significant research experience. She is wondering specifically about published research.
 

efle

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You need research experience unless you're in a very slim minority (less than 5% for most top schools)
Only a small minority actually have pubs from that research experience, it's much more common to have an honors thesis / poster(s)
 
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getdown

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So, I'm just speaking on behalf of myself of course. The training and connections you make during residency directly effects the type of doctor you become and future practice. As a resident at Harvard you'll get to see rare and interesting pathology you might not see anywhere else. Your Harvard connections are also going to play a big role in fellowships and jobs you land in the future. Medical school on the other hand is pretty much the same regardless of where you go. STEP 1 score of 260 from State U will carry more weight than a 220 from Harvard any day when applying for residency.
 
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WedgeDawg

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So, I'm just speaking on behalf of myself of course. The training and connections you make during residency directly effects the type of doctor you become and future practice. As a resident at Harvard you'll get to see rare and interesting pathology you might not see anywhere else. Your Harvard connections are also going to play a big role in fellowships and jobs you land in the future. Medical school on the other hand is pretty much the same regardless of where you go. STEP 1 score of 260 from State U will carry more weight than a 220 from Harvard any day when applying for residency.
There are a lot of people here that disagree with the last two sentences in your post.
 
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getdown

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There are a lot of people here that disagree with the last two sentences in your post.
When you say "people here" do you mean pre-meds or those on SDN in general? Regardless, I've been on SDN for long enough to know there are too many people that hold Harvard to a pedestal that it may or may not rightfully deserve so I'm sure you're right. But I feel a majority of med students and residents who don't hang out on neurotic SDN would likely agree with me on my statement. lol
 

efle

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The survey of residency programs in the match dataset showed that half of them considered "Graduate of highly regarded U.S. medical school" to be important, giving it a mean 4/5 for importance, higher on both counts than research involvement. Since Harvard is the tippy top of highly regarded it follows it should be given weight by more than the neurotic SDN crown...
 

getdown

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The survey of residency programs in the match dataset showed that half of them considered "Graduate of highly regarded U.S. medical school" to be important, giving it a mean 4/5 for importance, higher on both counts than research involvement. Since Harvard is the tippy top of highly regarded it follows it should be given weight by more than the neurotic SDN crown...
Ok, but did you see the very top of that graph? USMLE Step 1 score... 94% of programs feel it's important that's almost every single program out there will look at your Step 1 score. And if you look at that entire document "graduate of highly regarded medical school" consistently ranks at the bottom 1/3 of what programs care about. Venture over to the allopathic forum area and you'll see that everyone's concern is doing well on step 1. If you don't know anything about that test I'll explain it thusly: it's the most important test you'll ever take in medical school. Your performance on that test will pretty much determine which specialties you'll even be able to consider doing. So again I go back to my earlier statement that a 220 (which is around the national average) from "the tippy top of highly regarded" schools will not get you in over that 260 from a state school in fields like Dermatology, Plastic Surgery, Orthopedic Surgery or any other highly competitive specialty.
 
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efle

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Step1 and highly regarded med are given similar importance ratings, the former is just much more universally considered. You'll get no argument from me that Step1 is king, but that's a nonsense comparison; you need to compare 220 from state vs 220 Harvard or 260 from state vs 260 Harvard. For half of residencies going to a highly regarded med is also a factor considered with similar weight to step score, and so obviously it should be very preferable to go to a highly regarded med.
 
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Step1 and highly regarded med are given similar importance ratings, the former is just much more universally considered. You'll get no argument from me that Step1 is king, but that's a nonsense comparison; you need to compare 220 from state vs 220 Harvard or 260 from state vs 260 Harvard. For half of residencies going to a highly regarded med is also a factor considered with similar weight to step score, and so obviously it should be very preferable to go to a highly regarded med.
What I have heard from several doctors is that this logic is only correct when talking about a select few medical schools. Like top 8 or 10. Correct?
 

efle

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What I have heard from several doctors is that this logic is only correct when talking about a select few medical schools. Like top 8 or 10. Correct?
Are you asking me what qualifies as well-regarded? I'm sure it varies per residency program but Harvard would have to be on everyone's lists
 
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Ok, but did you see the very top of that graph? USMLE Step 1 score... 94% of programs feel it's important that's almost every single program out there will look at your Step 1 score. And if you look at that entire document "graduate of highly regarded medical school" consistently ranks at the bottom 1/3 of what programs care about. Venture over to the allopathic forum area and you'll see that everyone's concern is doing well on step 1. If you don't know anything about that test I'll explain it thusly: it's the most important test you'll ever take in medical school. Your performance on that test will pretty much determine which specialties you'll even be able to consider doing. So again I go back to my earlier statement that a 220 (which is around the national average) from "the tippy top of highly regarded" schools will not get you in over that 260 from a state school in fields like Dermatology, Plastic Surgery, Orthopedic Surgery or any other highly competitive specialty.
Don't be condescending. You're not the only guy here who knows about Step 1 and its importance. Thanks for the lecture, though.

Step 1 trumps a lot of other factors and is not a fair point of comparison to use as an argument due to its enormity. To say that educational quality is the same everywhere, from WVU to NYC to UCSF, is a big statement that simply is not true; it cannot possibly be true with 141 MD schools that all have different curricula and professors. Inb4 the "everyone can do well on by studying hard enough" comment, consider what it means when Penn changes their curriculum and the average boards shoot up by 10+ points (source from MS3). Quality differs and matters. No one knows if Harvard has the best education as it does research, but quality is not the same everywhere, contrary to what LCME and AAMC say.
 

efle

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quality is not the same everywhere, contrary to what LCME and AAMC say.
Yeah it's pretty clear quality varies a lot, based on half of residencies preferring famous schools and the correlation seen in residency director scores vs selectivity of the med school
 

mimelim

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Just curious…is there some sort of tacit consensus that successful applicants to the top 5 MD schools should have publications? Of course, these schools value research and I've done research for ~3 years…but if I don't get a pub out of it, does this keep me out of such competitive schools?
This is only in regard to academic/research powerhouses and is completely irrelevant for most schools... I am more concerned that you have "done research for ~3 years" and have zero to show from it. Zero publications, zero presentations, zero posters, etc. It may not stop you from interviewing, but that guy on the committee that interviews you and is very research based is going to ask you, "So you spent 3 years 'doing research', why didn't you produce something of substance." Research is important, especially at the top research oriented schools. What you do isn't particularly important, but having a basic feel for scientific method is. But, with anything that you do, whether it be volunteering or research or whatever, we don't want to get the sense that you were showing up, punching a card, washing some dishes and peacing out. Of what benefit is that to your development?

So, I'm just speaking on behalf of myself of course. The training and connections you make during residency directly effects the type of doctor you become and future practice. As a resident at Harvard you'll get to see rare and interesting pathology you might not see anywhere else. Your Harvard connections are also going to play a big role in fellowships and jobs you land in the future. Medical school on the other hand is pretty much the same regardless of where you go. STEP 1 score of 260 from State U will carry more weight than a 220 from Harvard any day when applying for residency.
There are a lot of people here that disagree with the last two sentences in your post.
Where you go to medical school matters. It plays a roll in where people go for residency. People from HMS are much more likely to end up at a Harvard affiliated residency than any other school. Is it nearly as important as your step 1 score? No. Are the best residencies in the country littered with people from schools from across the country, yes. The difference between a 220 and a 260 is huge. A 220 from HMS is not even close to the same class as 260 from state U based on those two characteristics alone.

Further, the school you go to matters in terms of your education. Go to the allo forum, there are dozens if not hundreds of people complaining about their schools and their experiences. Does that mean that better regarded research schools are 'better' clinically? No, not as a rule. But, you are a fool if you don't think that a significant increase in resources doesn't increase the chances of setting up better clinical rotations.

Yeah it's pretty clear quality varies a lot, based on half of residencies preferring famous schools and the correlation seen in residency director scores vs selectivity of the med school
Preference based on school is real. Mostly at residencies at those big name places. Outside of that, and outside of the northeast, far less important.
 
Feb 18, 2014
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This is only in regard to academic/research powerhouses and is completely irrelevant for most schools... I am more concerned that you have "done research for ~3 years" and have zero to show from it. Zero publications, zero presentations, zero posters, etc. It may not stop you from interviewing, but that guy on the committee that interviews you and is very research based is going to ask you, "So you spent 3 years 'doing research', why didn't you produce something of substance." Research is important, especially at the top research oriented schools. What you do isn't particularly important, but having a basic feel for scientific method is. But, with anything that you do, whether it be volunteering or research or whatever, we don't want to get the sense that you were showing up, punching a card, washing some dishes and peacing out. Of what benefit is that to your development?
I do have multiple posters and I have presented several times (one at a major national conference). I also received two school-based research grants & got medium-strong LORs from both my PIs. I'm just concerned about the lack of a publication…while my PI has been mentioning it for a while, I don't think I would be listed as first-author. And the chances of getting a publication before I apply next year might be slim :( That said, I do want to apply to the big-name schools and would be disappointed if the lack of published research is a deciding factor in my application. Basically, I'm worried that I could be rejected on these grounds when compared to similar applicants that do have pubs.
 

mimelim

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I do have multiple posters and I have presented several times (one at a major national conference). I also received two school-based research grants & got medium-strong LORs from both my PIs. I'm just concerned about the lack of a publication…while my PI has been mentioning it for a while, I don't think I would be listed as first-author. And the chances of getting a publication before I apply next year might be slim :( That said, I do want to apply to the big-name schools and would be disappointed if the lack of published research is a deciding factor in my application. Basically, I'm worried that I could be rejected on these grounds when compared to similar applicants that do have pubs.
In that case, research is not going to be what keeps you out of medical school. Assuming the rest of your package is up to snuff, you should be applying to big name research programs. As @efle points out, the vast majority of matriculants are exactly like you. Moderate to strong research experience, zero publications. This is a non-issue for you and you should not waste any more of your time worrying about it being a deciding factor.
 

getdown

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Where you go to medical school matters. It plays a roll in where people go for residency. People from HMS are much more likely to end up at a Harvard affiliated residency than any other school. Is it nearly as important as your step 1 score? No. Are the best residencies in the country littered with people from schools from across the country said:
When you say that people from HMS are more likely to end up in Harvard affiliated residencies that's true for almost all programs that take their own graduates so I'm not very surprised about that. I guess you're implying that the Harvard affiliated residency programs are the best in the country?

Ok, I agree completely with you that the clinical experience is variable between different schools. And that is going to be faculty dependent. One school may have a strong IM department, another a strong Ortho and yet another a strong psych experience. But I highly doubt that given significant increases in resources that it suddenly makes every single clinical experience out of this world even for the Harvard and Yales of the world. There will always be plenty of people complaining of that one poorly run rotation regardless of which school you go. That being said, looking back at what I wrote, it occurred to me that I was not exactly clear on what I meant. I had in mind the first 2 years of medical school when I initially wrote that response above. Now before anyone else flies into a tizzy I understand there are different grading mechanisms ( P/F vs H/HP/P) schools that may or may not affect your experience in your basic science years but ultimately those 2 years are supposed to get yo to do well on the boards so the material they teach is the same even if how they teach it may be different.

Anyway I'm done on this thread. Anyone who wants to believe that Harvard is the end all be all, penultimate goal can go ahead and believe that. It has no bearing on what I'm doing, I was just trying to provide a different point of view.
 

RogueUnicorn

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This is only in regard to academic/research powerhouses and is completely irrelevant for most schools... I am more concerned that you have "done research for ~3 years" and have zero to show from it. Zero publications, zero presentations, zero posters, etc. It may not stop you from interviewing, but that guy on the committee that interviews you and is very research based is going to ask you, "So you spent 3 years 'doing research', why didn't you produce something of substance." Research is important, especially at the top research oriented schools. What you do isn't particularly important, but having a basic feel for scientific method is. But, with anything that you do, whether it be volunteering or research or whatever, we don't want to get the sense that you were showing up, punching a card, washing some dishes and peacing out. Of what benefit is that to your development?
Not an impossible scenario in basic sciences and a PI that actually follows authorship rules. Just saying. People get unlucky.

Where you go to medical school matters. It plays a roll in where people go for residency. People from HMS are much more likely to end up at a Harvard affiliated residency than any other school. Is it nearly as important as your step 1 score? No. Are the best residencies in the country littered with people from schools from across the country, yes. The difference between a 220 and a 260 is huge. A 220 from HMS is not even close to the same class as 260 from state U based on those two characteristics alone.
Seriously. I haven't been around SDN in a bit but is it still the groupthink that school makes no difference? I've said this elsewhere, but you junior guys have to understand - everyone who interviews at big time fields/programs (ortho, ENT, uro, derm, integrated gen surg stuff) have the scores. Literally thousands of people score 250+ every year on step 1. The score is a bare minimum that everyone meets. Afterwards it's all intangibles. Is it fair? Not really. And this isn't to say you can't match at a super plastics place coming from a no name school (although some programs will be closed doors because of prestige ***** PDs). But it is what it is.
 
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RogueUnicorn

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So...basically just like MCAT and alma mater for med admissions
In a lot of ways, worse. If you dropped a 45/4.0 (or whatever the new score is these days) from bumblefck U, you're going to get a real look from even the snootiest med school. But even if you get like a 270 from a place like NYMC (a very fine school, btw) some PDs won't even look at your application

Dont know how you can quote a resident and call him a junior to your experience.
I'm continuing his post to talk to the rest of you.
 
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