Efle's Most Premedical Universities, 2019-2020 Edition

efle

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    Hey all,

    College acceptance season is nigh. Type A high schoolers with an interest in biomed will soon, if they haven't already, begin flocking to SDN to begin planning the rest of their life. One question they may be asking themselves as they decide between similar universities or librul arts colleges may be, "is one of these options stronger in pre-med?"

    Back in 2014, and again in 2016, I ran some quick analyses of which undergraduate institutions churn out the highest numbers of premeds per capita - in other words, which schools had the largest proportion of their students applying to medical schools.

    Here for another update: the Most Premedical Universities, 2019-2020 Edition.

    Total applicants from each institution was taken from the AAMC FACTS Table A-2, and undergraduate enrollment values and "top 25 rank" status both from US News 2019-2020.

    The 10 schools with the highest % of graduates applying to MD Schools in 2019-2020:

    1. Johns Hopkins - 28.2% (wow!)
    2. Duke - 20.7%
    3. Emory - 19.7%
    4. Rice - 19.6%
    5. WashU - 19.1%
    6. Harvard - 16.7%
    7. Brown - 16.4%
    8. Xavier - 16.0%
    9. Vanderbilt - 15.3%
    10. Pomona - 15.2%

    Here is a chart displaying all colleges and universities for which 10% or greater applied to MD schools:

    b9O3THC.png


    One of the things that jumps out right away is that the "top ranked" universities are almost all represented. However, there are some notable exceptions and a lot of distance between the extremes. Even schools with very similar admissions stats can differ a great deal. For example, a student choosing between Duke and U Chicago would have more than double as many premed classmates at the former.

    Here is a bonus chart displaying only the "Top 25" colleges by their medical applicant percentages:

    MWw150Z.png


    Clearly, the caliber of the student body isn't the only driving factor for these numbers - some institutions either admit or enroll more premeds, or better foster the premed pathway. Comparing to the similar charts 4-6 years ago, it's the same set of usual suspects that are churning out the greatest proportion every year.
     
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    enchantments

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      At WashU ~950 people start out premed in general chem 1, and 370 ultimately apply. That's 50% --> 20% of the students. If Hopkins follows a similar ratio, their starting class is 70% premed!

      That's pretty crazy, but then again I remember that something like 1/4 of incoming freshmen at USC self-identity as pre-med, which then get narrowed down to 6-7% (per your graph) also.
       
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      efle

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        Some more fun facts:

        The universities on the 10% chart collectively contributed 9,569 applicants, or 17.9% of the national pool!
        The "Top 25" universities collectively contributed 7,951 applicants, or 14.9% of the national pool!
        The University of California system collectively contributed 3,593 applicants, or 6.7% of the national pool!

        And, as usual, UCLA alone graduated enough medical applicants to fill every single MD seat in the entire state of California.
         
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        sunshinefl

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          OfMiceAndWomen

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            Just out of curiosity, in y'all's personal preferences, how would this have impacted your decision to attend a certain university? This data doesn't indicate the success rate of applicants to med school, which of course, is much harder to find unless you're privy to internal sources. I'm not sure if I would have liked a college experience where so many of peers were also pre-med.
             

            efle

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              Just out of curiosity, in y'all's personal preferences, how would this have impacted your decision to attend a certain university? This data doesn't indicate the success rate of applicants to med school, which of course, is much harder to find unless you're privy to internal sources. I'm not sure if I would have liked a college experience where so many of peers were also pre-med.
              At the extremes, yeah I think it matters. I went to one of those 20% schools and there was no shortage of resources for me - huge list of labs that take on students for research credits, giant hospital 1 metro stop away to volunteer and shadow at, plenty of biomed lab jobs for Federal Work-Study, I even got my gap year job over at the hospital via the premed emails. Prereqs covered everything in the MCAT and were much much harder.

              My sibling on the other hand went to a rural liberal arts college with a arts/humanities bent, and had none of that. No hospital within reasonable driving range to get any clinic exposure. Not much in the way of biomed lab opportunities. Certainly no good paid work in biomed. Their prereqs had only like a 50% overlap with MCAT content and were as easy or even easier than her AP high school sciences had been.

              Something like Rice 20% vs UPenn 12% though? Nah. Much bigger differences to think about there. Unless it's an outlier like Carnegie Mellon, there's a bunch of other differences that are going to matter a lot more in your college experience.
               
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              sunshinefl

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                Just out of curiosity, in y'all's personal preferences, how would this have impacted your decision to attend a certain university? This data doesn't indicate the success rate of applicants to med school, which of course, is much harder to find unless you're privy to internal sources. I'm not sure if I would have liked a college experience where so many of peers were also pre-med.
                I thought about that too...is it a list of schools to be preferred or to be avoided? Lol.
                 
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                efle

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                  I thought about that too...is it a list of schools to be preferred or to be avoided? Lol.
                  It's a mix. I've met a bunch of alums of Hopkins undergrad and none of them had good things to say about the premed experience there. Others on that list can have pretty brutal reputations too (e.g. U Chicago, "where fun goes to die").

                  Then on the flip side you have schools like Harvard and Brown where the median grade is an A- and the mode is an A. Gonna be a very different experience there, despite having such similar student bodies.
                   
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                  LizzyM

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                    I do think that an important consideration is the location of the school, the capacity of local resources (hospitals, clinics, organizations serving the poor) to absorb the number of pre-meds looking for experiences and whether transportation can be a barrier to getting cilnical and non-clinical volunteering.

                    Also consider that some schools are the only game in town whereas others will have students from neighboring schools competing for the same pool of experiences.

                    Class size in upper-level classes and whether one gets to know faculty in small group settings can be important in terms of getting a really useful LOR. Whether it is worth the price (costly liberal arts college vs flagship state school) is debatable.

                    If you want to get into the nitty-gritty, you might also find out if the school has a pre-med advisor or pre-med committee letter and if that letter is available to every student or only those who meet certain benchmarks.
                     
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                    xkcd6330

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                      At the extremes, yeah I think it matters. I went to one of those 20% schools and there was no shortage of resources for me - huge list of labs that take on students for research credits, giant hospital 1 metro stop away to volunteer and shadow at, plenty of biomed lab jobs for Federal Work-Study, I even got my gap year job over at the hospital via the premed emails. Prereqs covered everything in the MCAT and were much much harder.

                      My sibling on the other hand went to a rural liberal arts college with a arts/humanities bent, and had none of that. No hospital within reasonable driving range to get any clinic exposure. Not much in the way of biomed lab opportunities. Certainly no good paid work in biomed. Their prereqs had only like a 50% overlap with MCAT content and were as easy or even easier than her AP high school sciences had been.

                      Something like Rice 20% vs UPenn 12% though? Nah. Much bigger differences to think about there. Unless it's an outlier like Carnegie Mellon, there's a bunch of other differences that are going to matter a lot more in your college experience.

                      I think saying "it matters" might be slightly misleading. It's probably not because there are lots of pre-meds that there are more research/clinical opportunities. I would imagine that the causality is mostly in the other direction. i.e. a big part of the reason why Rice is 20% pre-med is because premeds are drawn to the Texas Med Center.

                      So I'd agree that you should probably looking more directly at what pre-med opportunities exist, rather than what proportion of the school is pre-med
                       
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                      efle

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                        I think saying "it matters" might be slightly misleading. It's probably not because there are lots of pre-meds that there are more research/clinical opportunities. I would imagine that the causality is mostly in the other direction. i.e. a big part of the reason why Rice is 20% pre-med is because premeds are drawn to the Texas Med Center.

                        So I'd agree that you should probably looking more directly at what pre-med opportunities exist, rather than what proportion of the school is pre-med
                        I wouldnt discount the role of school cultures. Hopkins undergrad is on the opposite side of the city from the hospital; they're just strong in biomed. USC isnt secluded away from plenty of resources and has its own MD school, it's just a business/econ/non-STEM oriented school. Berkeley has no med school and is across the bay from UCSF. Cornell is big on it despite the undergrad being in Ithaca. Etc
                         

                        Lucca

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                          Pipeline / honors programs *can* potentially make a big difference if they have a successful track record. At my UG if you looked at the overall premed success rate it wasn’t much different from the national average, slightly higher. But coming out of the honors programs the med school acceptance rate was >95% year to year. At many large institutions mentorship, funding, scholarships, grooming is funneled into these kinds of programs.

                          ideally id advise someone to go a school replete with resources, connections, and opportunities connected to a major academic center, that also has grade inflation and a name-brand reputation. Practically, there’s a lot more to consider and I wouldn’t advise someone to pick a school just because it would be a good place to be a premed.
                           
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                          ArteryStudyPainting

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                            From Baltimore. Hopkins is good, but not the end-all-be-all. Now, talking about their graduate schools, you start getting into the heaviest of heavy hitters.

                            A lot of people choose Hopkins undergrad b/c of its name (which, let's be honest, does have it's merits to most people asking "where did you go to undergrad").
                             
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                            Rachapkis

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                              Not that anyone needs my approval, but I found this post to be helpful and worthwhile. It’s nice to have data, rather than speculation based on gut instinct. Thanks.
                               
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                              DokterMom

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                                From Baltimore. Hopkins is good, but not the end-all-be-all. Now, talking about their graduate schools, you start getting into the heaviest of heavy hitters.

                                A lot of people choose Hopkins undergrad b/c of its name (which, let's be honest, does have it's merits to most people asking "where did you go to undergrad").

                                Definitely agree. When you hear the name Johns Hopkins, what do you think of? The medical school. So if medical school is your aim, going to JHU for undergrad seems like a "no brainer". And for many, "no brainer" is an apt description since JHU is notoriously difficult for pre-meds with brutal pre-req curves and known grade deflation. And to make matters worse, for "not quite good enough" pre-meds who end up in other fields, JHU is not all that well-regarded. So, in short, it's a very high-stakes bet as a choice for undergrad, which for many, reflects a lack of research...
                                 
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                                MyOdyssey

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                                  Definitely agree. When you hear the name Johns Hopkins, what do you think of? The medical school. So if medical school is your aim, going to JHU for undergrad seems like a "no brainer". And for many, "no brainer" is an apt description since JHU is notoriously difficult for pre-meds with brutal pre-req curves and known grade deflation. And to make matters worse, for "not quite good enough" pre-meds who end up in other fields, JHU is not all that well-regarded. So, in short, it's a very high-stakes bet as a choice for undergrad, which for many, reflects a lack of research...

                                  How would one research whether an undergrad is grade deflationary or grade inflationary without already being a student there? @efle
                                   

                                  efle

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                                    How would one research whether an undergrad is grade deflationary or grade inflationary without already being a student there? @efle
                                    Word of mouth among students is your best bet, pretty much anyone you ask about weed out at a place like Hopkins will clue you in. Off the top of my head, deflators include Hopkins, MIT, Chicago, WashU, Princeton, Cornell, Berkeley/UCLA. Inflators include most of the other ivies esp Harvard, Yale and Brown. Havent heard bad things about stanford, Duke, rice, vandy or northwestern.

                                    And keep in mind even the relatively chill places are still full of brilliant students. Being above average is hard at them all. But at some places average is a 3.7 and others it's half a point lower.
                                     
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                                    MyOdyssey

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                                      Word of mouth among students is your best bet, pretty much anyone you ask about weed out at a place like Hopkins will clue you in. Off the top of my head, deflators include Hopkins, MIT, Chicago, WashU, Princeton, Cornell, Berkeley/UCLA. Inflators include most of the other ivies esp Harvard, Yale and Brown. Havent heard bad things about stanford, Duke, rice, vandy or northwestern.

                                      And keep in mind even the relatively chill places are still full of brilliant students. Being above average is hard at them all. But at some places average is a 3.7 and others it's half a point lower.

                                      My impression is that, even at shameless inflators like Harvard and Brown, the premed STEM courses are graded more stringently. On the other hand, Harvard also offers multiple flavors of its intro STEM courses including those geared toward premed v those geared toward serious and highly accomplished science students (Regeneron Science Fair and Olympiad winners for example). Am I wrong about this?
                                       

                                      DokterMom

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                                        How would one research whether an undergrad is grade deflationary or grade inflationary without already being a student there? @efle

                                        The post from @efle about asking current students is dead-on. That said, sometimes attending a known grade-deflator is an excellent choice despite the GPA-hickey. A degree from a school like MIT, Princeton, Cornell or Berkeley will never do you wrong. That name on your diploma will open a wide variety of doors for the rest of your life.

                                        The thing is, as an 18 year-old high school senior, I'd suggest you'd never want to "put all of your eggs in one basket" so to speak. I'm re-posting @efle again about the drop from starting pre-meds to applicants:

                                        At WashU ~950 people start out premed in general chem 1, and 370 ultimately apply. That's 50% --> 20% of the students. If Hopkins follows a similar ratio, their starting class is 70% premed!
                                        'edited to clarify where efle ended and my own opinion starts
                                        ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                        The key takeaway is that the overwhelming majority of entering pre-meds will not become doctors for one reason or another. Sometimes it's the 'weedout' courses. Sometimes it's the overall GPA requirement. Often it's the realization that continuing as a pre-med means sacrificing what many consider to be the four most enjoyable years of your life. Sometimes it's realizing that you actually hate the material. Or love something else. Or can't imagine actually spending your life dealing with bodily fluids and vile odors of one sort or another, mountains of bureaucratic paperwork and bottomless pits of liability for often-frivolous reasons.

                                        So always, always have a viable Plan B. And the further away from med school you are, the more consideration you should give to your Plan B, because as a college freshman, odds of ending up in Plan B are far greater than Plan A. So select your college major around Plan B, adding med school prerequisites if needed. Explore Plan B career options, because they may be great and not require an additional 7-10 years of hamster-wheel post-graduate training and $300K of debt. Shift your priorities toward medicine if it's still realistic and appealing after freshman year.
                                         
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                                        MyOdyssey

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                                          The post from @efle about asking current students is dead-on. That said, sometimes attending a known grade-deflator is an excellent choice despite the GPA-hickey. A degree from a school like MIT, Princeton, Cornell or Berkeley will never do you wrong. That name on your diploma will open a wide variety of doors for the rest of your life.

                                          The thing is, as an 18 year-old high school senior, I'd suggest you'd never want to "put all of your eggs in one basket" so to speak. I'm re-posting @efle again about the drop from starting pre-meds to applicants:

                                          I predict that Berkeley’s plan to abolish the SAT will deflate the value of its diploma in the years to come. The academic quality of Berkeley‘s incoming classes will drop. That in turn will force Berkeley to become more grade inflationary and/or its 4 and 6 year graduation rates will drop.
                                           

                                          EdgeTrimmer

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                                            The post from @efle about asking current students is dead-on. That said, sometimes attending a known grade-deflator is an excellent choice despite the GPA-hickey. A degree from a school like MIT, Princeton, Cornell or Berkeley will never do you wrong. That name on your diploma will open a wide variety of doors for the rest of your life.

                                            The thing is, as an 18 year-old high school senior, I'd suggest you'd never want to "put all of your eggs in one basket" so to speak. I'm re-posting @efle again about the drop from starting pre-meds to applicants:
                                            If you are premed only door you need is medical school door and degree without required GPA from those schools won't help open that strong door.
                                             
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                                              I predict that Berkeley’s plan to abolish the SAT will deflate the value of its diploma in the years to come. The academic quality of Berkeley‘s incoming classes will drop. That in turn will force Berkeley to become more grade inflationary and/or its 4 and 6 year graduation rates will drop.

                                              I'll counter this with a prediction that the classes will end up being stronger without the SAT. It's not a great predictor of college success, especially (from my opinion) for students in the sciences. Removing it as a confound will also remove a financial barrier from students applying, and will focus admission on other factors that are better predictors of college success.

                                              If I could push my school to get rid of the SAT, I absolutely would. But then, I'd also push for us to stop looking at AP/IB/Honors coursework and other things that are generally not good predictors of success of students in STEM fields.
                                               
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                                                If you are premed only door you need is medical school door and degree without required GPA from those schools won't help open that strong door.

                                                This advice perfectly ignores the large thrust of the post you're responding to, which is that putting all of your eggs in the pre-med basket at 18 is not a smart move.

                                                Very few students that I see as first-years have a coherent enough understanding about the possible fields that will be open to them post-graduation that they should be deciding to go to a school exclusively based on one post-graduation plan.

                                                I would hope rather than pushing their children (who are deciding on schools) to do so based on some amorphous chance of post-graduate success in an already chosen field of study, that they would instead help them find a school that would broadly expose them to other potentially valid and interesting career options so they could make an intelligent choice as an adult after they've gained experience in those different areas.
                                                 
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                                                efle

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                                                  @efle do you have any data about what percentage of graduating students in each of these undergraduate colleges get accepted at their own medical school ?
                                                  This used to be available in the MSAR on each school's page, something like "percentage of matriculants who attended this institution for undergrad"

                                                  Maybe that's still in there somewhere?

                                                  I'll counter this with a prediction that the classes will end up being stronger without the SAT. It's not a great predictor of college success, especially (from my opinion) for students in the sciences. Removing it as a confound will also remove a financial barrier from students applying, and will focus admission on other factors that are better predictors of college success.

                                                  If I could push my school to get rid of the SAT, I absolutely would. But then, I'd also push for us to stop looking at AP/IB/Honors coursework and other things that are generally not good predictors of success of students in STEM fields.
                                                  This advice perfectly ignores the large thrust of the post you're responding to, which is that putting all of your eggs in the pre-med basket at 18 is not a smart move.

                                                  Very few students that I see as first-years have a coherent enough understanding about the possible fields that will be open to them post-graduation that they should be deciding to go to a school exclusively based on one post-graduation plan.

                                                  I would hope rather than pushing their children (who are deciding on schools) to do so based on some amorphous chance of post-graduate success in an already chosen field of study, that they would instead help them find a school that would broadly expose them to other potentially valid and interesting career options so they could make an intelligent choice as an adult after they've gained experience in those different areas.
                                                  While SAT and science AP performance are imperfect predictors, I have a hard time believing that personal statements or highschool extracurriculars will do any better.
                                                   
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                                                  KnightDoc

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                                                    @efle do you have any data about what percentage of graduating students in each of these undergraduate colleges get accepted at their own medical school ?
                                                    I'm not sure how relevant this number would be, due to the huge disparities between the size of a typical med school class and the number of premeds applying from each school. From my somewhat limited observation, the answer would be that the number of students accepted from UG to its med school is disproportionately high as compared to all other UGs, and is still very low as a percent of premeds applying each year.
                                                     

                                                    EdgeTrimmer

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                                                      This advice perfectly ignores the large thrust of the post you're responding to, which is that putting all of your eggs in the pre-med basket at 18 is not a smart move.

                                                      Very few students that I see as first-years have a coherent enough understanding about the possible fields that will be open to them post-graduation that they should be deciding to go to a school exclusively based on one post-graduation plan.

                                                      I would hope rather than pushing their children (who are deciding on schools) to do so based on some amorphous chance of post-graduate success in an already chosen field of study, that they would instead help them find a school that would broadly expose them to other potentially valid and interesting career options so they could make an intelligent choice as an adult after they've gained experience in those different areas.
                                                      Do you think going to slightly lower ranked school (than schools like JHU) to study the same or similar major to preserve GPA for medical school admissions is putting all your eggs in pre-med basket?
                                                       

                                                      PigsHaveWings

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                                                        This used to be available in the MSAR on each school's page, something like "percentage of matriculants who attended this institution for undergrad"

                                                        Maybe that's still in there somewhere?



                                                        While SAT and science AP performance are imperfect predictors, I have a hard time believing that personal statements or highschool extracurriculars will do any better.

                                                        i agree with you. Replacing an objective test with very subjective measures of performance may not be the best option.
                                                         
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                                                        KnightDoc

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                                                          Do you think going to slightly lower ranked school (than schools like JHU) to study the same or similar major to preserve GPA for medical school admissions is putting all your eggs in pre-med basket?
                                                          I think what he's saying is that going "all in" at age 18 based on what you think you are going to be doing for the rest of your life (going to JHU for reputation, going somewhere else to get a high GPA, etc.) is putting all your eggs in one basket. What if premed doesn't work out, for whatever reason, but all of your eggs are in that basket (e.g., you are a 4.0 bio grad who is not going to med school)?????
                                                           
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                                                          brockhamptonfanacct

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                                                            I'll counter this with a prediction that the classes will end up being stronger without the SAT. It's not a great predictor of college success, especially (from my opinion) for students in the sciences. Removing it as a confound will also remove a financial barrier from students applying, and will focus admission on other factors that are better predictors of college success.

                                                            If I could push my school to get rid of the SAT, I absolutely would. But then, I'd also push for us to stop looking at AP/IB/Honors coursework and other things that are generally not good predictors of success of students in STEM fields.

                                                            I agree with the general idea that some predictors put already disadvantaged student at a further disadvantage during the college admissions process. Out of curiosity, what do you think are good predictors of success of students in STEM fields? I’ve thought about this often myself, realizing the system is imperfect, but have not arrived at any solution that settles with me well.
                                                             
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                                                              I agree with the general idea that some predictors put already disadvantaged student at a further disadvantage during the college admissions process. Out of curiosity, what do you think are good predictors of success of students in STEM fields? I’ve thought about this often myself, realizing the system is imperfect, but have not arrived at any solution that settles with me well.

                                                              It's honestly really difficult. The biggest trend I see is the contribution of "grit", or generally the ability to push against something that is difficulty with seemingly minimal returns without quitting or getting emotional/frustrated. Writing ability is the other strong factor that I see as important, generally, with success.

                                                              I see a lot of arguments that we should use the SAT because even though it's bad, other predictors are also bad. And I strongly disagree with that. If something is not a useful predictor, keeping it in likely biases the selection to using it, even if you know it's not right. This is especially true when the "measure" you're using is a financial barrier.

                                                              Personally, I think this discussion is great: why selection bias is the most powerful force in education

                                                              I liken this to the growing move away from GRE scores for graduate programs in the sciences. They're not very predictive, and using them "because they're not always bad" isn't a good reason to keep using them. If you stop using bad tools, then it might actually motivate people to design good ones.

                                                              I would also say that undergrad/graduate admissions are strongly different from medical school admissions in this regard. Neither undergraduate or graduate programs routinely assess performance by nationally standardized exams, and what the SAT/ACT/GRE largely show is how well students do on a standardized exam. Since standardized exams are so important in medical school, the MCAT has additional utility in predictive power *when used correctly*.
                                                               
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                                                              May 19, 2020
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                                                                Do you think going to slightly lower ranked school (than schools like JHU) to study the same or similar major to preserve GPA for medical school admissions is putting all your eggs in pre-med basket?

                                                                Yes. It's making a decision based entirely on a very minor impact on an application for one particular thing.

                                                                If another school is equally valuable for other reasons, then go for it. But deciding on a school based on protecting a potential GPA for a potential application to medical school at some point in the future, rather than for any of the other opportunities those schools offer, is not a move I would support. Also, "ranking" is a bad reason to choose a school in general. You don't choose JHU for the "ranking", you choose it for the network and opportunities it will offer.
                                                                 

                                                                EdgeTrimmer

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                                                                  I think what he's saying is that going "all in" at age 18 based on what you think you are going to be doing for the rest of your life (going to JHU for reputation, going somewhere else to get a high GPA, etc.) is putting all your eggs in one basket. What if premed doesn't work out, for whatever reason, but all of your eggs are in that basket (e.g., you are a 4.0 bio grad who is not going to med school)?????
                                                                  got it. You should never go "all in" on anything, not just education :)
                                                                   
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                                                                  brockhamptonfanacct

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                                                                    It's honestly really difficult. The biggest trend I see is the contribution of "grit", or generally the ability to push against something that is difficulty with seemingly minimal returns without quitting or getting emotional/frustrated. Writing ability is the other strong factor that I see as important, generally, with success.

                                                                    I see a lot of arguments that we should use the SAT because even though it's bad, other predictors are also bad. And I strongly disagree with that. If something is not a useful predictor, keeping it in likely biases the selection to using it, even if you know it's not right. This is especially true when the "measure" you're using is a financial barrier.

                                                                    Personally, I think this discussion is great: why selection bias is the most powerful force in education

                                                                    I liken this to the growing move away from GRE scores for graduate programs in the sciences. They're not very predictive, and using them "because they're not always bad" isn't a good reason to keep using them. If you stop using bad tools, then it might actually motivate people to design good ones.

                                                                    I would also say that undergrad/graduate admissions are strongly different from medical school admissions in this regard. Neither undergraduate or graduate programs routinely assess performance by nationally standardized exams, and what the SAT/ACT/GRE largely show is how well students do on a standardized exam. Since standardized exams are so important in medical school, the MCAT has additional utility in predictive power *when used correctly*.

                                                                    Great read, thank you. I hope there’s a cultural shift towards seeing grit in as important of a light as other metrics of intelligence. I was also a high school senior who patted myself on the back after a nice ACT score, told myself I’d be fine because I’m smart when I entered college, had no idea how to study or persevere since high school had just intuitively made sense, and then left first semester with a lovely 2.7 GPA. Definitely had to buckle down, do some mindset-shifting, and get my grit in gear after that.
                                                                     
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                                                                    EdgeTrimmer

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                                                                      Yes. It's making a decision based entirely on a very minor impact on an application for one particular thing.

                                                                      If another school is equally valuable for other reasons, then go for it. But deciding on a school based on protecting a potential GPA for a potential application to medical school at some point in the future, rather than for any of the other opportunities those schools offer, is not a move I would support. Also, "ranking" is a bad reason to choose a school in general. You don't choose JHU for the "ranking", you choose it for the network and opportunities it will offer.
                                                                      Unfortunately you need to be conscious of GPA if you are premed. I agree just selecting based on ranking is bad. Isn't rank almost synonymous with network and opportunities?
                                                                       

                                                                      brockhamptonfanacct

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                                                                        It's honestly really difficult. The biggest trend I see is the contribution of "grit", or generally the ability to push against something that is difficulty with seemingly minimal returns without quitting or getting emotional/frustrated. Writing ability is the other strong factor that I see as important, generally, with success.

                                                                        I see a lot of arguments that we should use the SAT because even though it's bad, other predictors are also bad. And I strongly disagree with that. If something is not a useful predictor, keeping it in likely biases the selection to using it, even if you know it's not right. This is especially true when the "measure" you're using is a financial barrier.

                                                                        Personally, I think this discussion is great: why selection bias is the most powerful force in education

                                                                        I liken this to the growing move away from GRE scores for graduate programs in the sciences. They're not very predictive, and using them "because they're not always bad" isn't a good reason to keep using them. If you stop using bad tools, then it might actually motivate people to design good ones.

                                                                        I would also say that undergrad/graduate admissions are strongly different from medical school admissions in this regard. Neither undergraduate or graduate programs routinely assess performance by nationally standardized exams, and what the SAT/ACT/GRE largely show is how well students do on a standardized exam. Since standardized exams are so important in medical school, the MCAT has additional utility in predictive power *when used correctly*.

                                                                        Also, could you elaborate on the correct usage of the MCAT? I do understand that if the MCAT effectively predicts Step scores, then it’s a valuable tool for medical schools to use. What would you say is the correct way of implementing and considering the MCAT in admissions decisions?
                                                                         
                                                                        May 19, 2020
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                                                                          Unfortunately you need to be conscious of GPA if you are premed. I agree just selecting based on ranking is bad. Isn't rank almost synonymous with network and opportunities?

                                                                          Depends what ranking you're referring to. But I'd say most undergraduate rankings are not well alligned with networking and opportunities, they're usually well alligned with size of school endowments and financial expenditures. While there are some correlations there, I certainly don't think it's 1:1.

                                                                          You say "you need to be conscious of your GPA", and I'd rephrase that to "you need to show you can excel". I see more students held back from being competitive because they are too GPA conscious than I see students held back because they are unaware of the importance.
                                                                           
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