Does the medical school you attended have any effect on chances for residency?

Discussion in 'General Residency Issues' started by Vasiley Zaitsev, Oct 31, 2001.

  1. Vasiley Zaitsev

    Vasiley Zaitsev Senior Member

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    Hey all.


    Does the medical school that one attends have any effect on whether or not they get a competitive residency? Example: Could one get into a top-notch neurosurgery or other specialty residency from a school like University of South Alabama?

    Thanks in advance,

    owcc16
     
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  3. Vasiley Zaitsev

    Vasiley Zaitsev Senior Member

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    oops, sorry for the typos. I'm getting over lack of sleep and pneumonia :)

    owcc16
     
  4. arthur v

    arthur v Member

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    It does matter, especially for the most competitive specialties (ortho, ENT, derm, rads, rad onc, ophtho, combined plastics, urology) at the most prestigious programs. Look on the web pages of these programs at their current house staff and there is nary a state med school to be found. Hard work and determination will win you a good residency spot no matter where you graduate from, but the reality is that it IS a more difficult endeavor to secure a residency spot at Harvard, Stanford, or Hopkins if you come from a lesser known school.

    AV
     
  5. Whisker Barrel Cortex

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    I agree with the above post. However, it is still possible to find a residency in a competitive specialty from a less known medical school. The programs that are not in the top 1/4 of residencies do take students from state schools. You do have to prove your worth, so to speak, by getting great grades and board scores.
     
  6. Winged Scapula

    Winged Scapula Cougariffic!
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    It does make a difference especially with the Ivy League and other top tier schools. However, if you are considering turning down a school which might afford you fewer students loans and allow you to stay closer to home for one which might be marginally better ranked (in the hopes that it might increase your chances at getting into neurosurg), I would caution you to investigate this further.

    The bottom line is that while the school you attend *may* make a difference, your grades and USMLE scores will make the most. Therefore, if you can do better at a school with a slightly lesser reputation and be happier, it might be the best choice - then again, if the choice is between UAB and Harvard, I'd go with the latter in a heartbeat.

    Hope this helps.
     
  7. droliver

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    owcc16,

    As a graduate of South Alabama COM and current resident in Surgery I would like to add my two cents worth on this.

    Yes, as others have pointed out, I think it makes a huge difference in where you graduate from as far as being competative for the most competative spots in a few selected subspecialties (Plastics, Derm,ENT, ortho primarily). Coming from a smaller state school does not make it impossible to match at most very competative programs however. From my class one of my friends is at Pittsburgh in neurosurgery, two went to Mayo Clinic for Ortho, one went to UAB for opthomology, and two of us ended up In Louisville for Surgery.
     
  8. godfather

    godfather Member

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    i totally disagree with everybody that thinks what med school you went to will greatly affect the residency you get. Go to any medical school and you will see that the top students of any allopathic med school almost always get very competitive residencies. I gurantee you that midlevel or lower tier student from the ivy league are not going to outrank an aoa from lets say medical college of ohio or university of south alabama. Facts are if you get good board scores and are in the top one third of any medical school you'll in all likelyhood get one of the top residencies.(of course this is dependant on a decent personality). BElieve me i was really gung ho about trying to get into like the topranked med school when i was an undergraduate, now i thank god i ended up in my state school. the facts are medicine doesn't change from school to school. you learn the same things in your first 2 years and you hold the same stupid retracors in your last 2 years, whether you go to harvard or if you go south alabama. furthermore most schools will let you do most of your rotations in years 3and 4 at the hospital of your liking. Thus if you feel that the boys at columbia are holding a special type of retractor made out of gold during their surgery month, you'll be welcomed by the ivy league docs to come their and be thier slave for a month and rotate with the chosen ones from the ivy league med school. i on the other hand would rather save on the tuition and stay at home.
     
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  9. Vasiley Zaitsev

    Vasiley Zaitsev Senior Member

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    Ok....so, let's look at this..


    The name of the med school really helps with the residency process...

    however, without a big name undergrad, getting into a big name med school is nearly impossible..I know many people @ unranked undergrads with 4.0/35+ who can't get anywhere but a top regional school @ best..and these people have great files!

    So, does this mean that the undergrad institution which one attends has a drastic effect on the quality of residency programs that one attends?

    Let's say I do in fact go to Uni of South AL..which I dearly love, and would like to attend..

    If I am AOA, with good board scores and research, do I have a snowball's chance in afghanistan of getting a top neurosurgery residency? Or even one at all that is decent?

    Ya'll might say..oh..he's too young to be thinking about his specialty...but it's a question I must find an answer to!


    thanks in advance,


    owcc16
     
  10. droliver

    Moderator Emeritus

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    owcc16,

    One of my best friends (whom was #1 in my class at South Alabama w/ a 4.0,AOA,etc.) matched @ Pittsburgh in Neurosurg which was his first choice & one of the two few programs in the country. So yes you can match at a place like that from a smaller school if you have impeccable credentials. However, two of my other friends (who were also tied for #1 in our class of 67) ended up at the Mayo Clinic in orthopedics which was their forth choice respectively. I (and they)remember being surprised at the time that they got their 4th choices despite both having perfect GPA's, in AOA, published research, and both over 265 on step I. I hazzard to say that if they came from Hopkins, Duke, or Harvard with similar credentials they would have probably been even more attractive candidates
     
  11. cardigan

    cardigan Member

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    Hi owcc16,

    I agree that where you go to medical school is important insofar as residency programs LOVE to recruit kids with "ivy league" credentials. There is a perception that recruiting these hot commodities raises the prestige of a program. I believe this is especially true at big academic/ research institutions. But perhaps this is not so unreasonable, as most of the top ten schools (as listed in US News, for example) are research oriented schools, they do gently push their students towards a career in academics. Maybe they are better bets in terms of training future academic physicians. However, they may not always be the best residents.

    Top programs will respect and recruit students who perform at a high level at less known schools. Listen, I go to one of these ivy league med schools, and I know that most state schoolers who do rotations with us outshine us in an instant with their practical knowledge. I think our major advantage is exposure to "names". My advice: obviously, you should try to excel academically. If you are interested in neurosurgery , you can probably try to level the playing field with your Columbia educated peers by getting to know prominent faculty in the field through research and away clerkships. If you enjoy research, you many consider dedicating a significant amount of time to it (maybe even an extra year). I mean, research excellence is precisely what program directors at top residencies will value. This combined with clinical and academic excellence will make you a choice candidate. Planning ahead is key, and you seem so motivated I think you can probably do quite well.

    -cardigan
     
  12. arthur v

    arthur v Member

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    Godfather is correct, of course: if you are an average student at a top school, you're just that - an average student. My point is that while, yes, #1 at MCO is impressive, #4 or 5 at a "Tiffany" school may be considered moreso, mainly because of the quality of the competition. And, come on, you can't count on being #1, even at a lesser known school.

    To owcc16: no one can predict where neurosurgery will be when you get ready to apply for the match, but the trend is very encouraging for those crazy individuals who want to do it. In the past 10 years, the match rate has been >75%, with match rates of 89 - 93% (!) most recently. Compare this with radiology or dermatology, where currently the REAL match rate (considering those who have backup specialties) is below 50%.

    AV
     
  13. godfather

    godfather Member

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    I totally disagree my friend. Board scores are the great equalizer. The fact that the top premeds go to the ivy league and thus making those schools more competitive is a myth. the facts are most people will choose thier state school over private schools just to save on tuition. i know of countless examples of people turning down columbia, yale,... for msu, osu...Furthermore the reality is every med school with a sizable class(>100 students) is going to have multiple students represented in every specialty and their also going to have students that didn't get into their specialty of choice. Facts are every medical school has their share of people that score over 250 on the boards just as they have thier share of people scoring under 200. Fellows i gurantee you that the top 20 students don't change from med school to med school. They're basically exact replicas of one another.
     
  14. 7ontheline

    7ontheline Member

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    I agree that a stellar student with AOA, 260 Step 1, etc. will do well almost wherever he/she tries. However, not all students are like that, and I think that this is where your medical school helps you. All things being equal, I believe residency directors, especially at "high-powered" programs, will lean toward the big-name school. Also, as cardigan mentioned, many top programs are research-oriented. It's easier to get top-level research at a big academic center. Finally, a lot of these selective residencies (ENT, ortho, derm, etc.) are very insular. All the big names know each other, so if you get a letter from one of them, it helps your chances so much more. Look, I'm not trying to denigrate state schools, (I go to one), but I'm not in denial either. Fair or not, it's the perception that counts.
     
  15. 7ontheline

    7ontheline Member

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    P.S.

    If anyone is wondering why I'm posting here on Friday night at 10 PM, it's because I'm on a slow ER shift. I'm not a loser. Well, not too much of one.
     
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  17. jylu

    jylu Junior Member

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    I agree with 7ontheline 100%.

    I've gone through the match process and I've participated [in a very, very minor role] in the selection of new house staff in my surgery program. So, these are my feelings, whatever they're worth...

    A better name school gives you an edge over people with the same scores and similar LORs, especially with highly competitive programs. Program directors want hard workers, but they would prefer to get ones with a pedigree, if possible.

    I know that sucks, but appearances, even those only seen on paper, carry a lot of weight, especially if the program doesn't know you from jack. A bunch of Harvard grads on the resident staff helps make a program look good when you're trying to sell it to 4th year med students; likewise, a program loaded with FMGs, no matter how good those individuals are clinically, are a major, major turn-off to American grads.

    At many places, your medical school also gives you an "in" on many of your affiliated hospital's programs because you're a "known quantity." This is certainly an added plus when you're trying for a difficult residency.
     
  18. I think it's worth reiterating that the importance of a pedigree greatly depends on the programs you apply to. Some "ivy league" neurosurgery programs will favor their own- just look at where their current residents come from. Other outstanding programs seek the best candidates, period, and ivy leaguers are conspicuously absent. As an MS4 at a state school myself, in my own situation and from that of my colleages already matched, I assure you that a good letter from an away clerkship completely levels the playing field.
     
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  19. Vasiley Zaitsev

    Vasiley Zaitsev Senior Member

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    Hey Everyone-

    Thanks for the comments and ideas. I'm currently taking it all in, and strategizing the best route I can take for success. Right now, the plan is to keep working my @$$ off, have fun when I can, and just live life. :) In order to better my chances of neurosurgery, I suppose that all I can do right now is just make myself the best med school candidate I can be, and get in where I can.

    Thanks again! If anyone has anymore comments, etc, then pls keep posting!

    Owcc16

    P.S. DrOliver, you are telling me that someone who was AOA, 260+, 4.0, and published didn't get their first match choice!? How much do you think the med school name (USA) played into that equation? dang..
     
  20. Fast Eddie

    Fast Eddie Junior Member

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    Hey owcc16 (whatever that acronym means),

    Why so set on neurosurgery, if you don't mind me asking?
     
  21. droliver

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    owcc16,

    yes I'm telling you exactly that about my two classmates. They were real all-stars but still did not get their first THREE choices for orthopedics that year (I think one want to go to Vanderbilt & the other UT-Memphis as their top choices). I can't help but think that their not having come from a more prestigious school hurt them in this case
     
  22. Vasiley Zaitsev

    Vasiley Zaitsev Senior Member

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    Fast Eddie,

    I've done research in neurosurgery and neuro-related fields, I've shadowed them (and many others), and like it, and have many friends and family who have been effected by this field of med. In addition, I think it would be challenging in all ways imaginable.

    It's just a goal I have set..Perhaps I shall change my mind later on, but for now, it's a good goal to shoot for, IMHO.

    owcc16
     
  23. Mr. Furious

    Mr. Furious Member

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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by Fast Eddie:
    <strong>Hey owcc16 (whatever that acronym means)</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">That means that somebody injected him with a 16cc syringe and he screamed "Ow!".

    Mr. :mad:
     
  24. kamya

    kamya Member

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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif"> </font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">likewise, a program loaded with FMGs, no matter how good those individuals are clinically, are a major, major turn-off to American grads.

    Hey jylu, Why do you think so. Just curious
     

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