Does Class Rank really matter?

Discussion in 'Podiatry Students' started by densmore22, Apr 20, 2007.

  1. densmore22

    densmore22 Member
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    So I was talking to our Dean yesterday and just asking him random questions and I asked him about class rank and how important it is in determining residency placement and externship availability and he pretty much told me that it doesn't matter at all. He gave specific examples to me where people who weren't in the top "20%" externed, interviewed and even got those spots. So I am wondering what other people think and also why do we (students) put so much emphasis on it if it really doesn't matter? Or why do programs put a minimum out there if they'll take most people?
     
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  3. Feli

    Feli ACFAS Member
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    Many competitive programs might not even give you a clerkship or an interview if your rank doesn't fit their standards. With all due respect to your dean, how recently has he participated in the interview and match process? I'm sure he has seen a few students who were very bright and good yet had a family or job during school and managed to get a good residency despite maybe even a sub-3.0 gpa or sub-50% rank since by compensating with great clinical and social/interview skills. You have to remember that they are the exception, not the rule.

    Keep in mind that any program's standards would have to rapidly drop if they went to scramble, and 2007 marks the lowest national number of graduating DPMs in almost 30 years. A mediocre or poor student might get a fairly good residency in that fashion (and maybe your dean was using an example like that?), but the best residencies never do scramble and definetly won't as annual national class sizes increase now that AZPod will be putting out finished students - very good ones from all accounts. Your best bet is to do your own research or talk to upperclassmen who worked hard and got the residency they wanted. Chances are that they'll tell you to do the very best you can in school to leave yourself many options when interview and match time rolls around.

    http://www.casprcrip.org/html/casprcrip/pdf/Dir_Pgs/Yale_DVA-WestHavenResPrg.pdf

    http://www.casprcrip.org/html/casprcrip/pdf/Dir_Pgs/Inova_Fairfax.pdf

    It is true that many other top programs don't specify a GPA or class rank requirement because they know that there is the occasional "sleeper" candidate whose GPA/rank don't show their true aptitude, but if a program has 60 people who ask for an interview yet only 25 time slots, how do you think they choose who to meet with? I doubt they're going to invite the guy who showed up late on half of his days and never answered his pager while externing there, the woman whose recommendation letters aren't exactly glowing, the guy with a 2.7gpa, or a girl who hasn't passed pt1 boards yet...

    I haven't been through the process yet either and could be wrong, but I'd certainly say that you won't go wrong by doing as well as possible in classes and working as hard as you can to represent yourself well in rotations and externships. I agree to some extent that you don't need to go crazy about grades or compete "against" classmates, but thinking/hoping that rank and grades don't matter very much could be dangerous. I certainly want to do as much as I can to show my aptitude on tests and gain the respect of my intelligent colleagues and supervisors with my work ethic and knowledge.
     
  4. narkotiks

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  5. krabmas

    krabmas Senior Member
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  6. Feli

    Feli ACFAS Member
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    I guess I didn't realize that it was so common. When the CASPR/CRIP rep visited us to talk us through the process, she implied that there will be almost nothing left (especially in terms of PMS-36s) to scramble for in a couple years as annual DPM grad numbers increase and COTH tightens up accreditation on residencies that go unfilled or aren't able to provide required surgical volume. She underscored the importance of ranking and interviewing enough programs and stated the average number of programs each student ranks as 8-point-something (I forget the exact number).

    I'd think that GPA and class rank would be even more important for scramblers than matchers, though. Most people who match have clerked or at least visited the programs they are interested in. On the other hand, many of those who scramble didn't extern or even visit the programs they are now rushing away to interview with, and it would seem that basically all the program has to decide from is a the student's grades and the brief interview experience?
     
  7. krabmas

    krabmas Senior Member
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    What Feli does not realize is that DMU has a very small class. The top 20 percent is only about 8 or 10 students. At NYCPM the top 20 percent is the top 15-20 students.

    Also when your school has a 100% or close pass rate on the boards and year after year places people in top programs the school gains a reputation. Once this is acheived programs no longer require that school's students to be in the top 20% for their program.

    There are programs out there that stick to their high class ranks but you'll never know until you apply.



    I heard a residency director tell a DMU student to tell the next classes that they can apply for externship and should apply even if they are not in the top 20%. This is due to the reputation that has been built for DMU.

    So Densmore - work hard, know your stuff and get the best grades that you can but if you want a program that says you need to be at a certain level, apply anyway. The worst that happens is they say no.

    If I trusted the top 20% thing I would not be going to the program I am. I was rejected for an externship but heard that as long as I visited I'd get an interview. So I visited for the minimum 3 days and got the interview then the program.
     
  8. gustydoc

    gustydoc Senior Member
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    The key thing to keep in mind is that while GPA and class rank may get you a clerkship, but it is how you perform while you are there that will get you a program.
     
  9. densmore22

    densmore22 Member
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    So I'm all about doing the best you can do. I study hard, I'm toward the top end of my class (although there is a LOOOONG time for something like this to change, of course). I was merely stating a question because I felt that what my dean said, obviously, applies to people at DMU. Not to sound arrogant, but just because he's the dean at our school and he's only accountable to know stuff for his students. I think that the top programs SHOULD be for those people that show the best promise. Whether that be gpa, class rank, evaluation of rotations, etc, etc. I know that not many people in my class are too concerned with class rank and maybe that is because of DMU's reputation. Do I think it's right? Not neccessarily. I mean, if you attend a great school, then so be it, but just because you attend that great school doesn't make you great. Your knowledge and work ethic and what you do with the first 2 are what make you great. I didn't mean to ruffle any feathers on here. But yeah, I'm in complete agreeance (is that even a word?) that you should work your butt off and you should earn a top spot, not have it given to you.
     
  10. Feli

    Feli ACFAS Member
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    Well, yes, I agree that DMU's top 50% ranked student in a smaller class might be more like the top 25% ranked student in another program, but you never really know. AZPod seems to have a solid program, and every school has good students - some schools more than others.

    I just felt that it might be dangerous for pre-pods or other first year students to read that rank and GPA might not matter very much, and I'm sure you would agree. Everyone should do the best they can, gain useful knowledge, and acheive the best rank/gpa they can to have many PG options. I just feel that the "everybody gets a good residency" or "just pass the classes and you'll be fine" attitude hazardous, yet you see it from time to time in podiatry. I know that those were not what you were trying to imply, but it could easily be misinterpreted that way.

    I agree with this. Also keep in mind the reciprocal of what you stated: just because you attend a not-so-great school, it doesn't make you not-so-great. Students from every pod school have landed top residencies, and there are famous and very well respected alumni from all of them also (except AZPod since it's too new). You never know if you might want a residency that top students from other schools want also.

    I just think it's important to never be complacent. Some students just aren't going to be able to get many "A"s or high marks, but they should still do the best they can. You're never going to look back and say, "man, I wish I wouldn't have studied so hard in pod school. I should've drank and partied more!" :laugh:
     
  11. jonwill

    jonwill Podiatrist
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    In my experience, there is an extremely poor correlation between academics and clinical abilities. Concerning DMU students, you can take the top 10 students and the bottom 10 students from a class and put them in clinic or surgery. You'd be shocked at which students belonged to which group.

    I always tell students that their GPA should be good enough to not exclude them from externing at a particular program. But for 99% of the programs out there, the GPA minimum is extremely reasonable. As far as class rank is concerned, very few programs have any requirements about it and I'd be willing to bet that not many of them actually abide by it. Class rank really doesn't matter very much. It is more determined by the number of individuals in a class than it is anything else and is therefore a poor indicator. GPA matters more but as long as it isn't extremely low, it usually won't really pull much weight either.

    I'd say the biggest single factor in determining your fate with a program is your rotation there. Every year follows a similar trend. Of the top students, some get exactly what they want, some don't get their first choice but still match, and some scramble. This is no different than anyone else in the class.
     
  12. densmore22

    densmore22 Member
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    Oh totally. I didn't mean to imply that DMU was the come all end all. Like stated before, I felt most comfortable at DMU. If location was a major concern for me, I'd be at AZPOD or Cali hands down. Anyways, I agree. I have met a few alums from my school that are up there (granted I'm not out and about like 3rd and 4th years are), but I've met far more from other schools. Education is what you make of it. I guess the reason for my post was that I was surprised to hear my Dean say something like is, it sort of caught me off guard. But he's a very knowledgeable person and I think his info is pretty good. But the most important thing I've learned from this first year, way more than any class I've taken, is to not believe anything until you've witnessed, experienced, seen, etc it first hand. I have heard SOOO many rumors and thought that it was dead serious, come to find out it was complete BS. Sorry, I got off subject yet again. :D
     
  13. jonwill

    jonwill Podiatrist
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  14. doclm

    doclm Senior Member
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    Do you DMU'ers get a class rank. I think that Scholl students, just get a GPA. I thought that Podiatry schools don't rank their students.
     
  15. krabmas

    krabmas Senior Member
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    NYCPM hangs class rank in the hall at the end of each year. by codes of course.

    Barry does not do class rank and DMU does not tell the students either.
     
  16. densmore22

    densmore22 Member
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    DMU has class ranks. You have to wait until the semester grades are all processed, then you email the registrar and you can request your cumulative gpa (0.0-4.0 scale), percentage grade (0-100% scale) and class rank. They do not make these available to the whole class, just on an individual basis.
     
  17. Feli

    Feli ACFAS Member
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    Barry doesn't tell the students their exact number, but they will provide info like "top 20%," "top third," "top 50%," etc for purposes such as scholarship apps, clerkship or residency apps, graduating with honors, etc.

    When there's only about 40-50 students graduating each year, it's not hard to do the math and see roughly where you stand.
     

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