Apr 3, 2010
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Hi!
I'm a high school senior and I'm currently trying to decide which undergraduate school I should go to... I'm deciding between Emory, Swarthmore, and Amherst. I had originally thought I wanted to go to a top liberal arts college, but now I think I'd be happier at someplace like Emory. My only concern is will any of them give me an upper hand in getting into med school??? How much does undergraduate really matter?? I know Emory is reputable, but Amherst and Swarthmore are ranked 2 and 3 top in the nation for LACs...

Also, if anyone here knows anything about about these schools premed programs/average mcat scores/average gpa that would be awesome!
I know Emory has a surprisingly low acceptance rate into med school - 55% compared to Swarthmore's 88%... but I know if I was there I would make the grades and do everything I could to make myself a good candidate.

Oh and also, when I say med school, I mean like top med schools. I would really love to do the MD/PhD program at Stanford, but that's basically impossible to get into, So any foreseeable upperhand I could have would be great.

Thanks!!!
 

armybound

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Welcome. I recommend doing a search for this type of thing before making a new thread. These sorts of topics have been discussed ad nauseum.

Undergrad institution won't majorly affect your chances at getting into any school. Your grades and activities will.

Go wherever you're happiest, since that will probably give you the best chance at performing the best academically, which gives you the best chance at getting into medical school.
 
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I am a graduating MD/PhD student. Every one of my graduating MD/PhD colleagues matched into their first choice residency. 80% of us went to our state University for undergrad including me.

Go where you will be happiest and do as well as you can. A 3.95 from State U is a lot better than a 3.0 from Famous Private College X....not to mention cost. Another thing I highly reccomend is at least having good summer research opportunities...even if they aren't at your undergrad institution. Having sat on my own MD/PhD program's admissions committee, all serious applicants did real research during or after undergrad.

Again...go where you will be happiest, do well academically, have opportunities to grow and do great things. ...and remember, peoples' ideas of what they want to do in life evolves during undergrad. Its great you have a plan but make sure it is what you love.
 

Drrrrrr. Celty

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Go to which one gives you the most money and the one where your happiest at. All of those colleges scream 40k a year lol. But yah, have you decided what you'll be majoring in? Emory has a amazing litt department and has amazing humanities departments from what i've heard. So also depending on what your interested in majoring should also be put into consideration. Do some research and see which college has a more interesting or comfortable program.
Otherwise just do some research and from there figure out which place would you enjoy being at for 4 years.

>Mod's move this to HSDN<.
 

Drrrrrr. Celty

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I am a graduating MD/PhD student. Every one of my graduating MD/PhD colleagues matched into their first choice residency. 80% of us went to our state University for undergrad including me.

Go where you will be happiest and do as well as you can. A 3.95 from State U is a lot better than a 3.0 from Famous Private College X....not to mention cost. Another thing I highly reccomend is at least having good summer research opportunities...even if they aren't at your undergrad institution. Having sat on my own MD/PhD program's admissions committee, all serious applicants did real research during or after undergrad.

Again...go where you will be happiest, do well academically, have opportunities to grow and do great things. ...and remember, peoples' ideas of what they want to do in life evolves during undergrad. Its great you have a plan but make sure it is what you love.
:thumbup:
Agreed
 

searun

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OP, personally I would choose Amherst. I think that Williams and Amherst are tied for providing the best undergraduate education and experience in the entire country. Princeton gets third.

As far as med school, it does not matter at all. If you excel at any of these schools, and do well on the MCAT, it will have zero effect on your med school admissions.

But I would think long and hard about kissing Amherst goodbye, it is a fantastic place for undergrads. Harvard is not even close. On second thought, Yale and Princeton are tied for third.

But seriously, this has nothing to do with med school. This has to do with the next four years of your life. You can go to any med school in the USA if you do well and rock the MCAT, so do not factor med school admissions into your decision. You probably will not even want to be a doctor in four years.

Think about freshman orientation, and where you want to be when college starts, and where you want to be for the next four years of your life.

In my opinion, I would want to be at Amherst. A fantastic school.
 

ILikeDrugs

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Will you end up paying for your entire undergrad or will you receive grants? Med school costs can go up to the $200-250k range. In the end you could end up with $400k+ debt if you choose the private university for undergrad route. Unless you're sure that you can get into a MSTP program sponsored by the NIH, then you would only have to pay for private undergrad years.
 
OP
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Apr 3, 2010
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Hey thanks for the replies everyone!
Yeah I agree I definantly think I would be happiest at Emory or possibly Amherst - I still need to visit to be sure.
Cost isn't an issue - they all have amazing financial aid packages.
@ searun You're right, Amherst is absolutely amazing academically! That's the main reason why I was originally interested in going and still am haha.
@EMMudphud that's really awesome - congradultions!!! Where are you graduating from?
And I'm sure I seem like a really intense person for asking this, but I am positive this is what I am working towards haha.
Thanks again everyone! You have helped me immensly.
 
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Three of my cousins have attended Amherst. Two like it, one transferred to USC. Different strokes for different folks. It's a small, cute campus and the gi-normous Zoo-Mass is close by.

In my view, Amherst and Swarthmore are comparable in intensity and reputation. It's like choosing between Yale and Princeton.

I had a chance to visit Emory. I would expect the student body to be slightly less intense than Amherst/Swarthmore, but Emory has been steadily climbing in the ranks since the last time I visited. They do attract top-tier students with those Woodruff scholarships.
 

searun

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Hey thanks for the replies everyone!
Yeah I agree I definantly think I would be happiest at Emory or possibly Amherst - I still need to visit to be sure.
Cost isn't an issue - they all have amazing financial aid packages.
@ searun You're right, Amherst is absolutely amazing academically! That's the main reason why I was originally interested in going and still am haha.
@EMMudphud that's really awesome - congradultions!!! Where are you graduating from?
And I'm sure I seem like a really intense person for asking this, but I am positive this is what I am working towards haha.
Thanks again everyone! You have helped me immensly.

If you grew up in the South, I would get out of my comfort zone and go to New England for college and not Emory. New environments make for new experiences and new perspectives, a good thing for a young person.

I grew up in Oregon, went to college in the Northwest, and now am attending med school in the Northeast. I really value these years on the East Coast, so much different than my environment growing up.

Take a chance. Leave the familiar and test yourself. If you have self confidence, it will be a wonderul experience.
 

surftheiop

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I wouldn't stress too much.

If there is one thing I've learned in undergrad is that you can have a great experience whereever you go to school. I go to an Ivy, but have also taken some summer classes at a small state school and have enjoyed both.
 

Ravendown

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Hi!
I'm a high school senior and I'm currently trying to decide which undergraduate school I should go to... I'm deciding between Emory, Swarthmore, and Amherst. I had originally thought I wanted to go to a top liberal arts college, but now I think I'd be happier at someplace like Emory. My only concern is will any of them give me an upper hand in getting into med school??? How much does undergraduate really matter?? I know Emory is reputable, but Amherst and Swarthmore are ranked 2 and 3 top in the nation for LACs...

Also, if anyone here knows anything about about these schools premed programs/average mcat scores/average gpa that would be awesome!
I know Emory has a surprisingly low acceptance rate into med school - 55% compared to Swarthmore's 88%... but I know if I was there I would make the grades and do everything I could to make myself a good candidate.

Oh and also, when I say med school, I mean like top med schools. I would really love to do the MD/PhD program at Stanford, but that's basically impossible to get into, So any foreseeable upperhand I could have would be great.

Thanks!!!
Remember, it's not the school, but the student. If i were you i'd go to whichever school's the cheapest. If none of those are cheap, then pick other schools, or schools where you can get a scholarship. There are opportunities to succeed no matter where you go [except really bad places]. And really what is a pre-med program anyway? just take the required classes, do this, do that, apply to med-school? Alot of people would love to go to top med-schools, but chances are against you [considering the amount of applicants and rejections]. Have you called the schools and asked about their statistics for medical school acceptances? maybe they'll shed some light on the large difference in numbers?
 

whitesox24

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All 3 of those schools would provide you a great undergraduate education that would allow you to go to med school if you perform well. Just pick which ever one you feel most comfortable at and feel you can afford. Good luck.
 

Anonymous01

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I know Emory has a surprisingly low acceptance rate into med school - 55% compared to Swarthmore's 88%... but I know if I was there I would make the grades and do everything I could to make myself a good candidate.
***
 
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ButImLETired

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Location is also fairly important in this case. Emory is really within Atlanta, in a really cute neighborhood, so if you're a fan of really big, spread out cities, it's a great option. I hear Atlanta is a really fun city because there are a ton of schools there.
Also, the beauty of a place like Emory is that it has its own med school, and its own hospital on the premises, plus there's Grady downtown. It would be easy to volunteer, shadow, and do research at a graduate level with everything being on your campus or within a short driving distance.
That being said, you can't go wrong with Swarthmore and Amherst. A family member went to Swarthmore so I know it well, and I had a couple of friends at Amherst. I think they're really rather similar as far as academic strength, size of student body, etc. Swarthmore is a little more "political" and has a lot of really strong-minded, alternative people. You will become very politically conscious and likely very liberal there. Amherst is a little less out there in that sense. In my experience, too, it's easier to get from Swarthmore to Philly than it is to get from Amherst to Boston- I don't know if it's a public transportation thing, or a distance thing, but I went to college in Boston and never saw Amherst kids unless I personally went over there, while my family member went to Philly almost every weekend. On the other hand, Amherst has more to offer as a town than Swarthmore does, so maybe they just don't really need to go downtown as often.
However, what the two colleges don't have that Emory has is the opportunities of having a city next to you. To volunteer or shadow at MGH or Brigham or all the other awesome Boston hospitals while you're at Amherst is extremely ambitious- it's just too far, you won't have time to go on a regular basis. Same for Swarthmore and Philly. You won't have a med school near you so it'll be harder to get those kinds of research opportunities which are so important as an MD/PhD. It'll definitely be up to you to get hooked up to an undergrad lab that is very prolific, and spend your summers shadowing in hospitals and stuff.

Anyway, just some food for thought. Hope it helps.
 
OP
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Apr 3, 2010
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Oh in case anyone was wondering - I chose Amherst =)
Thanks for the advise everyone. Hopefully I'll be able to figure out a way to get some research opprotunities haha.
 

Ischemic

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Personally, I'd suggest that you DON'T go to college. Why waste so much money for a piece of paper. Just forge it and when your employer/med schools ask for transcripts and recs, just make it all up and hence everything will be real chill. Well, that's what I'd do if I had to redo the process...

Even better, I'd make my own college and name it South Harmon Institute of Technology...
 
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Personally, I'd suggest that you DON'T go to college. Why waste so much money for a piece of paper. Just forge it and when your employer/med schools ask for transcripts and recs, just make it all up and hence everything will be real chill. Well, that's what I'd do if I had to redo the process...

Even better, I'd make my own college and name it South Harmon Institute of Technology...
Wow, very original :rolleyes:.
 

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Me If I was going to go to college again I'd pick a party school, where the girls are well you know... Go where you'll be happy but don't lose sight of the prize
 

mrdrdrjp

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I'd say go where you'd be most comfortable and leave with the least amount of debt. Many times debt can hold you back from being a great student b/c you're so worried about loans and money. The least debt you have going into medical school the less stressful that process will be.
 

Neuronix

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However, Emory doesn't directly discourage anyone from applying (some schools...I'm not sure if any of the schools you're considering do this...actively tell the professors not to bother writing letters for people who don't meet certain minimum criteria...these students aren't even afforded a chance to determine their own destiny).
I wanted to re-emphasize this point for any high school students that are reading. The schools boasting these high medical school acceptance rates are playing with their statistics. They just don't recommend you for medical school if they aren't nearly certain you can get in.

Let's say you end up having a 3.5 GPA an a 30 MCAT from a big name, extremely competitive undergrad. You have a borderline chance of getting into med school. Your undergrad could come along and just not write you a committee letter. A lack of a committee letter will SINK your medical school chances. This happened to a friend of mine from a really big name pre-med undergrad/med school. He spent 2 more years at my state school undergrad in an unofficial post-bacc, got a letter from them, and did extremely well at a very strong med school. Another friend of mine almost did not get the recommendation from her undergrad. They advised her she had little chance of getting in, and highly discouraged her from applying. She's now a medical student at a top-20 med school on a full scholarship.

This practice is despicable in my opinion. My undergrad has a less than 50% rate of getting people into med school. They basically discourage nobody and write letters for every body. Every year they put the best students into the best medical schools. It's about YOUR performance people. Don't be suckered into an expensive private school by rigged statistics that could hurt you in the end.

Now back to my life at big name med school, where I'm allowed to talk to pre-meds about what medical school is like, but not supposed to tell you about how to get in or your chances of getting in. :laugh: Yeah sure pre-med advisor douchebag. What med school did you attend exactly?!