Sep 11, 2014
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I'm sure this question comes up a lot, but I've read a lot of different opinions about it.

I live on the Illinois Side of the Saint Louis, MO area, and I'm currently in the process of deciding whether or not I can pursue medical school. My question for you is, "Does my Undergraduate School matter?". I don't have much money, so right now I'm leaning towards doing my first two years of my pre-med at a community college (SWIC) and then transferring over to a local university (SUIE) to finish things up. Would starting out at a community college really come to bite me in the back later when I'm applying for medical schools though?

While I'm here, does anybody know if Washington University's medical school is decent and/or particularly hard to get accepted into?

And, do medical schools care about your high school history? I schooled through an accredited online high school called Penn Foster and received a 3.5 GPA. I felt like I got a decent high school education, but as you might imagine I was never involved in any extracurriculars or anything that a school might find impressive.
 
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Winged Scapula

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I'm sure this question comes up a lot, but I've read a lot of different opinions about it.

I live on the Illinois Side of the Saint Louis, MO area, and I'm currently in the process of deciding whether or not I can pursue medical school. My question for you is, "Does my Undergraduate School matter?". I don't have much money, so right now I'm leaning towards doing my first two years of my pre-med at a community college (SWIC) and then transferring over to a local university (SUIE) to finish things up. Would starting out at a community college really come to bite me in the back later when I'm applying for medical schools though?

While I'm here, does anybody know if Washington University's medical school is decent and/or particularly hard to get accepted into?

And, do medical schools care about your high school history? I schooled through an accredited online called Penn Foster and received a 3.5 GPA. I felt like I got a decent high school education, but as you might imagine I was never involved in any extracurriculars or anything that a school might find impressive.
There are a lot of different opinions but the truth is that it matters to some extent. There is a reason why Ivy League medical schools are populated with students from Ivy League undergraduate universities.

You should go to the best school you can afford and where you will do well.

Wash U is considered (including by themselves) one of the better medical schools in the US. It is fairly highly competitive, although I do not have the acceptance rates in front of me, those are available from the MSAR (Medical School Admissions Requirements).

Medical schools do not care about your HS history, as long as you graduated/hold a GED.
 
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Sep 2, 2014
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I'm sure this question comes up a lot, but I've read a lot of different opinions about it.

I live on the Illinois Side of the Saint Louis, MO area, and I'm currently in the process of deciding whether or not I can pursue medical school. My question for you is, "Does my Undergraduate School matter?". I don't have much money, so right now I'm leaning towards doing my first two years of my pre-med at a community college (SWIC) and then transferring over to a local university (SUIE) to finish things up. Would starting out at a community college really come to bite me in the back later when I'm applying for medical schools though?

While I'm here, does anybody know if Washington University's medical school is decent and/or particularly hard to get accepted into?

And, do medical schools care about your high school history? I schooled through an accredited online called Penn Foster and received a 3.5 GPA. I felt like I got a decent high school education, but as you might imagine I was never involved in any extracurriculars or anything that a school might find impressive.
It only matters if you want to go to a top notch medical school. I went to community college and am currently an M2 at a average/slightly above average (depending on the year) Chicago-land MD school. I know several of my classmates took the same route as well. The fact that I went to community college didn't come up once in my application process other than sending in the transcripts for the primary application. What actually matters is HOW WELL you do in college. While getting a 3.8 at WashU might look a little better than a 3.8 cumulative from CC and SIUE together, you're better off with that combined CC/SIUE 3.8 (which would likely be easier to attain) than a 3.5 at a big university alone. The two biggest contributing factors to medical school applications that are directly related to college education are your GPA, and your MCAT score. Extracurriculars that schools care about (hospital volunteering, shadowing, research) can for the most part all be pursued regardless of where you attend college. And I can say from personal experience that I feel as though the education I got at my CC was much better than what I received at UIUC afterwards, because I got a lot more personal attention and the teachers were there to teach me and not just to do their research. I attribute my success on the MCAT pretty much entirely to the education I received at CC.

Especially with the long expensive road that medical education requires, I would personally advise you to take the most economical route possible. With a community college education and then a more affordable in state public tuition bill, you're liable to save yourself upwards of 100K+ in the long run. And to be perfectly honest, where you go to medical school holds a lot less weight than what most people think. At the end of your second year, you take your first round of board exams, and that score alone pretty much entirely dictates your career potential in medicine (the higher the score, the more competitive the medical specialty you're eligible for).

If you have any questions, feel free to PM me. Best of luck in your decision.
 

Funke

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I don't know if this is true, but I've had several people tell me it helps to go to an undergrad of a medical school you want. The admissions committee is familiar with the faculty and course difficulty and your LORs will have name recognition. I can see this working out in my own situation because my pre-med adviser and the med school admissions team have regular contact, and I can go visit the medical school admissions team a few times before I apply next year, so they'll already know me when they see my application come up.
 

organdonor

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As far as the prestige of your undergrad that matters little. My best advice to you would be to NOT plan on transferring schools. You set yourself up for the receiving school to not accept all your transfer credits (guaranteed you'll lose some. Had a friend transfer from the main campus to a satellite campus of the SAME university and They still didn't take all the credits) and all the contacts friends and time you've spent networking those first two years will be for naught.

I would recommend going to an affordable state school preferably with an established pre med program. A med school on campus is a plus but not required. It worked for me.
 
Sep 2, 2014
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As far as the prestige of your undergrad that matters little. My best advice to you would be to NOT plan on transferring schools. You set yourself up for the receiving school to not accept all your transfer credits (guaranteed you'll lose some. Had a friend transfer from the main campus to a satellite campus of the SAME university and They still didn't take all the credits) and all the contacts friends and time you've spent networking those first two years will be for naught.

I would recommend going to an affordable state school preferably with an established pre med program. A med school on campus is a plus but not required. It worked for me.
Don't worry about that so much. If you plan it all well, it will work out just fine. I actually finished undergrad in 3 years, because I took a ton of classes at community college and all of them transferred. While I'm sure this may be an issue depending on the school, in Illinois (where this individual stated they are from) there's a website that can help you organize which classes transfer for what, and it's guaranteed by all public universities in Illinois.

Also, the other point above is a good one for sure. It might help to go to a school where there is a medical school that you really want to attend so you can network and all that. However I wouldn't think too much about where you want to attend medical school just yet. A lot can change in 4 years, and in the end any difference that would make is minimal. Just stay focused on your grades, MCAT and other extracurriculars, and worry about where you would like to go down the road when you're applying.
 

MarylandMatt

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I don't think it directly matters, but it does have an effect.

What matters is what you do, not where you go. However that doesn't go to say going to a top undergraduate school won't put you in a position to be the best you that you can be. Are the professors engaging and good? Are the other students your academic peers which will motivate you and satisfy you socially? How early can you get into a research lab and the hospital and what are the opportunities the school offers outside of the classroom? Do you like the school? These are just a few questions you need to answer to assess your choices.

That being said, you say money is an issue and it's not like you're giving up UChicago or Northwestern to go to community college. If your end goal is the state university then the community college might be the best choice.
 
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bonedoc82

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Yes, the name of your school holds a lot of weight! I sat on the admissions board and saw that students from better institutions were more likely to get looked at

Good luck!

Dr. Webb
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This is one of those questions that has no one answer. Do some admissions comittee's care? SURE they do. Do some not care at all? SURE. Do the best you can where you are at, that's all you can do. At my medical school there are people from all different kinds of different schools and pathways. A bad GPA will be bad anywhere you go. It's not like the committee will look at your GPA and say "Oh this would have only been a 3.2 at Harvard".
 
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j4pac

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I believe that the most significant benefit of starting at a non-community college is that you are more likely to find other pre-med students at a major university. Your connections are priceless. I can say with certainty that I would have never made it to medical school if it wasn't for my friends (and now wife) in Undergrad. They help keep you motivated and on track.
 

sat0ri

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Your alma does not matter! :naughty: huh? HUH?! Anybody?!

Except for opportunities they have and the price you pay for your degree; or if you went HYPMS among a select few of others--and no, that you're a public ivy does not matter. Other than that, the name in and of itself does not carry substantial weight for med school admissions.
 

Strudel19

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The top students from my undergrad (small, relatively unknown private university) with near 4.0's and MCAT scores approaching 40 with great EC's still never get into the top programs. If you'd like to go to top medical schools, in my experiences it seems like it matters. If not, it doesn't matter as much.