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good med school or bad? what's the difference?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by CU_buffalo, Jun 18, 2002.

  1. CU_buffalo

    CU_buffalo Member 7+ Year Member

    Jun 16, 2002
    I'm filling out the last parts of my application and trying to figure out which schools to apply to. My question to all of you is: what's the major difference in going to a top school ie. Harvard, than one's whose reputation is lower? I'm thinking if I graduate near the top at my state med school, I should be just as competitive in landing strong residencies than if I went to some top 10 school and graduated in the top 10%.

    Thoughts anyone?
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  3. DW

    DW Fix me some sandwiches Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    well, unless you want to be chief of surgery at beth israel or something, the tier of your school should not matter too much, as long as you go to a school that emphasizes what you want out of your education, and you do well on the boards. You should always aim high, and if you want to do something extraoridinary by all means give the top 10 a shot, but if you really want to be a doc then any accredited med (or even osteo) school should suffice.
    also, there are some other grave considerations...
    how much will it cost (if it comes to any non top 10 school versus MCG for me, its 10K tuition a year for me all the way)
    where do you want to live? how is the social climate at the school?
  4. sluox

    sluox Physician 10+ Year Member

    Jan 4, 2002
    If you want to be an academic physician, the choice of school may become important since the direction of research is often guidedn by a few big names in the field. Keep that in mind. Also, bigger, better known schools may give you more connections later on. If you are more into primary care, the particular choice of school matters less; although I imagine it's probably easier to get clients if you can throw a diploma from a school with a high "WOW" factor. Thus, it may even be better to go to your state school over schools that are not well known by the general public.
  5. oldman

    oldman Senior Citizen 10+ Year Member

    Feb 3, 2002
    glad you know what's up.

    if you finish top in your class at any med school, you can be competitive for top residencies.
  6. The Fly

    The Fly Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Going to a better school allows you to more easily land more competitive residencies at better hospitals.

    It's not true that top schools are only for those who have chief of surgery aspirations. . . if you want to go into supercompetitive fields like derm, optho or other very competitive fields like radiology, plastics, neurosurg, other surgical subspecialities then it is a lot easier to do this from top tiered schools than from less well regarded schools.

    This isn't to say it's not possible to land residencies in desirable locations from these schools, but you'll need to do a lot better on the boards than you would at HMS and other top 10/25 schools. . . you'll also need better evaluations, etc. . .
  7. SMW

    SMW Grand Member 7+ Year Member

    Jul 12, 2001
    anchorage, ak
    However you come down on this question, make sure to apply to a wide variety of schools. I did not get into my state school, and did get into a top 10, much to my surprise.
  8. Doctor Pepper

    Doctor Pepper Member 7+ Year Member

    Jun 11, 2002
    I would advise you to consider more than just rankings when selecting a medical school.. I the end you will still earn your degree and you will still be a doctor.. I have been advised by residency directors even that the USMLE is the great equalizer of medical schools and not to be concerned too much about where you end up.. Take into account factors such a cost, and the friendliness of the faculty and students that you meet at a particular school.. Wether you are happy at a school can certainly affect your performance and the next four years of your life..
    Just my two cents.
  9. KU Brendan

    KU Brendan Member 10+ Year Member

    Jun 11, 2002
    Quite frankly (and granted this is going to sound snotty), I think the rankings really matter mostly to premeds who like to compare where they got in and others got in. People from state schools who want to get into competitive residencies are not at a disadvantage if they've done well; in fact, they can really stand out academically since, in theory, the "top tier" schools accept people with higher numbers (not that this makes one a better physician). Not to mention that unless you're doing an MD/PhD, your important research is done in residency (in response to the academic medicine comment).

    We've all heard (or know personally) stories of people who have gone to a top ranked school undergrad, did well, yet couldn't even get in their state school; or those who went to a lower ranked undergrad and got into a top tier school. In the same light, residencies are the same way.

    Patients have often been asked in studies to rank what the find important in a physician. Where the physician went to medical school or residency always ranks near the bottom of these studies. The bottom line is that it is those physicians who have the proverbial good bedside manner who get the patients and keep them (because they tell all their friends about their great doctor). Unless you put your diploma on your wall, it's unlikely that any patients will even know from where you graduated.

    Remember that rankings are arbitrary and are made by one or two sources. People like to have a number, but how can you put a number or ranking on a school when there are so many variables and each person's experience will differ? Once you're in, no one cares about rankings. I just wish this madness and egotism over how good one's school is and so much focus on a subjective number would end--whatever you do, don't base your entire future on what some magazine thinks about a school. Check it out; talk to students; and figure out what's important to you.

    Sorry this is more pointed than my normal posts :) Any hate mail or comments can be sent to me.

  10. Nuclearrabbit

    Nuclearrabbit Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Apr 25, 2002
    I whole-heartedly agree with KU Brendan.
  11. johne

    johne Member 7+ Year Member

    Feb 25, 2002
    I had to print out that answer. It is what I have been saying for years in good writing.
  12. none

    none 1K Member 10+ Year Member

    Jul 27, 2001
    Reputation for med schools has roughly the same effect as reputation for undergrad. It can help you land more competitive positions, but you're definitely not guaranteed anything.

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