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How Important Is the Prestige of Your College to Med Schools?

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h_granger

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Basically, I'm a high school senior whose dream is to go to Harvard Med. But, unfortunately, my high school grades weren't that great, but not bad. I'm going to a state school next year (NC State University), and was wondering if this would be acceptable when I apply to Harvard Med (granted I have the grades). I wish I would've tried harder in high school, and been able to go to a top ten school, but for a good bit of it, I was going through major depression, and was severely apathetic. But, I'm recovering, and realizing my goals, and I don't want to screw up college like I did high school. So, if anyone has anything to say about this, or about getting into Harvard Med (or really any top med school) in general, it'd be more than welcome!
 

Mutterkuchen

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NC State is a solid university. Get good grades, have fun, and do interesting things. Study abroad. Do some research. Learn a language.

If you do some, or all of these things, and get a good MCAT, you should get into a good medical school.

While Harvard is a wonderful school, don't concentrate solely on this university. There are many great med schools, some ranked, some not, and to pin your hopes on just one is setting yourself up for failure.

Above all, enjoy college. Trust me when I say, you only get to do it once, so have a good time.
 

vixenell

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This topic has been covered atleast a dozen times...

NC State is a very good school, especially research wise. While I always thought of it as an engineering school (when compared to other UNC schools), they do have strong science programs. Just because its a state school doesn't mean its subpar-- especially when it comes to NC State or UNC. And its not completely unheard of for individuals from no-name schools to get into harvard med-- and NC State is hardly a no-name school. Just make sure that you keep your grades up, stay involved, volunteer, study something that you're truly interested in and passionate about, and make sure that you, as a candidate, stand out from every one else. No one can get into med school on school reputation alone, so that should be the least of your worries. You have graduation to look forward to.

As far as your high school grades go, most med schools (correct me if I'm wrong) don't consider them, so think of college as a fresh start... college isn't going to be easy, but if you are determined to become a doctor, you will.

What are your reasons for wanting to go to Harvard Med? Like jbj said, harvard isn't the only good med school out there... Even going to Harplunkit School of Medicine will result in the same M.D. Both college and Med School are what you make of it... If you want an Ivy League education at NC State, work at an Ivy League level, put forth 110% and you will be just as well off as anyone at Harvard Undergrad (perhaps even moreso). Same thing with med school.
 

Scooby Doo

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Nice first post..wanna know my thoughts..

Get drunk off your ass in college for your first few years....Hook up with wild ass sorority girls....do lots of drugs....

Yea...basically....don't worry about "harvard med" ...PBL sucks..don't do it....those are my feelings...def not shared by many people here...

but yea....get a life...then worry about getting into med school...

*not saying you don't have a life...but make sure you keep it in college*
 

irlandesa

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I agree with Scooby, having a life in undergrad and in med school is crucial especially if you have depression (believe me, I know on that one). NC State is pretty well-respected, but if you are concerned about prestige and staying in NC you may want to consider transferring to UNC-CH after 1st year since it is probably one of the most prestigious state schools in the country. I got into med school (albeit not Harvard) from my state school (also in the ACC conference with NC State), and my stats were right around the national average for admitted students. good luck!
 

Jeffy

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To a high school student, talk about this process being a crapshoot and the complexities of what it takes to get into any med school is probably a bunch of jibberish. H_granger, you'll find that the whole medical school process is often times contradictory and random, i.e. great stats and application but not even a single acceptance. I'm sure that if you scoped this site out long enough, you'll find a handful of overqualified ivy league students with what seems like impeccable stats not even getting into Podunk Medical College. And then, you'll find people from No-name undergrads getting accepted to UPenn or UCSF for medical school. To reiterate what's been said, just go to whatever school you'll be comfortable at, be succesful at, and be happy at. As long as you work hard and do what you gotta do to prove your worth, some medical school will pick you up. Believe me, I once dreamed of Harvard Med one day, but then, I got into college . . .
 

DarkChild

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honestly i think the best piece of advice to give you is to get over Harvard med. when people refer to the med school admissions process as a crap shoot, its difficult to explain to people who havent been through it just how random it can be. If you do well in college, do well on the MCATs and do all the other things your supposed to, you'll get into a top ranked med school - maybe ;)
but as for which med school you'll actually get in to - i dont think there is a way of predicting or targeting one school in particular. it really just wont work (unless you are very lucky)
i have a friend who'll be applying next year and she too is pretty hung up on harvard med. she should really know better :rolleyes: :(
 

poloace

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when JBJ says 'interesting things' i'm sure the reference is towards girls. yes, do intersting things indeed....

p
 

MDDreamer

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I think it's awesome that you have set your goal so early, and having a goal will help you prepare to apply to school while help you keep motivated through your classes. Harvard Med is definitely reachable. Key things that you wanna consider doing;
1. Keep GPA high. Do well in your science classes, since they will help you in your MCAT prep as well.
2. Get clinical experience, it helps you decide whether medicine is for you, and verifies your determination to the med school admission committee
3. Harvard is an research intensive school. So they value research experience. Be sure to find a good lab to work for and where you can get a good letter of recommendation from
4. Get drunk once a while... have fun

there are people getting into harvard med from state schools, so make sure you keep your goal in the back of your head, and work toward it
 

Gumshoe

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God, posters from high school ... this med school thing IS getting SAD. But hey, it's an F'ed up process and maybe one should think that long. Anyway, my inclination is to agree with Scooby Doo (I always do, because I'm Shaggy) and say have fun forget this bullsh*t "I have to go to harvard med" mentality ... have a great time in college and just find a way to get into a decent med school. THEN become a doctor. Undergrad isn't just for being a doctor, man, it's about finding out more about yourself. Think about the Dr. thing, but dont' put that at the forefront. Just do your best and slack off a while or else you won't have any fun, and you'll have wasted the most precious time of your life, man, I'm serious

As Scoob said, do the sex/drugs/rockn'roll thing
haha

"let's get outta here Scoob ... boy am I hungry"

Gumshoe
 

h_granger

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Thanks for the advice! Looking back on why I posted the original post, I think I was just really upset that day because I had found out that I got waitlisted at UNC-Chapel Hill. Really, I'd be happy to go to Podunk Medical School, as long as I get my MD. Harvard appeals to me for the reasons it appeals to most other people. It would be great to be able to say, "Yeah, I went to Harvard," and it would give my family something to be really proud of. I know it's a long ways off, but really I just don't want to screw up college like I did high school. However, I will have fun at college and try not to let homework rule my life, but I probably won't have sex with hot sorierty girls since I'm a straight female. ;) I was thinking of majoring in Biochemisty and minoring in Creative Writing or English. I do have some more questions though. First, would med schools look down on you if you opted to take non-calculus based science classes? And what ec's should I have to make me a competitive candidate for med school?
 

Blitzkrieg

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dont listen to these *****s..work hard..college is a time to prep for your future, not to waste opportunities like many of these people obviously did...
 

truth617

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Don't just shoot for Harvard med. There are plenty of other great schools out there. You should also ask yourself whether or not you have the work ethic and ability to be an HMS student. Med school is like undergrad; the schools also want to be sure to choose students that they believe will thrive in their program. A place accepting you isn't automatically going to make you smarter or more dedicated than you already are.

Wanting to go to Harvard for the prestige and family pride is one of the worst reasons I can think of wanting to attend Harvard. It's true that HMS students basically can choose whereever they want to go for residency, but besides that, the whole Harvard experience in general isn't that much more magical than other places. Really, Harvard's not on this pedestal far above other programs.
 

Brewster

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Clearly many Harvard students match well. Of course, many of them match at Harvard programs (not necessarily the best thing for everyone). However, as other posters have said, there are lots of other schools from which students match well.

I agree with everything that has been said. I think it is great to "know" that you want to go into medicine when you start college. This desire can give you focus to do well and allows to get started on the premed requirements. I "knew" I wanted to be a doctor in high school and now I am about to head off to residency.

That being said, I know quite a few people who also "knew" they wanted to be doctors when we started college who are now in grad school, law school, etc. So, even if you think you want medicine now, be sure to approach college with an open mind. Don't just take classes to prepare you for medicine (or more immediately the MCAT). Take classes of all sorts. Test the waters. You can't know that medicine is what you want if you don't try other things as well.

Even if you settle on medicine early in college (after trying other disciplines), take advantage of the opportunity to learn things you will never have the opportunity for formal education in again. I was a chem major, did all the premed requirements, but one of the best classes I took was constitutional law. Medical schools like it if you are multidimensional.

If you are serious about medicine, there are other things you can do as well (research, extra curriculars, volunteering, etc) but you school's premed advisor can help with this (and I suppose SDN folks can chime in as well).

Hope this helps and best of luck!
 

paean

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As for science classes, as long as you take ones that are specified for science majors, you will be fine. You can take the physics aimed for bio science majors rather than physics majors, it that is what you are alluding to in your "non-calculus" reference. Just don't take classes aimed at humanities majors, because they don't have enough depth to prepare you for the MCAT.

Brewster is very right about contacting your school's pre-med advisor and asking their opinion about class choice and EC opportunities, but also do research on your own. A great book to buy is the Medical School Admission Requirements. They update it yearly, but the content doesn't change significantly for most schools most years. That way you can see what all the US and Canadian allopathic schools say about course requirements.

As to planning ahead, if you want to go straight from undergrad to med school (or within 1-3 years), it's wise to think about stuff now. Being a sucessful applicant comes from the same thing as enjoying your life without regrets: acheiving a balance that is right for you. Enjoying college and having all sorts of wonderful new experiences (and some challenges, inevitably) isn't at all exclusive of doing well in class and doing research and/or clinical work you love.
 

Asclepius

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H - Don't set these arbitrary standards for yourself...don't worry about Harvard; the goal is nice, but it's not your decision whether or not you get in there. The worry you could cause yourself over the next 4 years is, indeed, depressing. Rather, be h_granger...find some work that really excites you and keeps you up at night. Do it 'cause you love it, not because some people respect Harvard...(i.e. don't be an r_weasley)
 
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