how intense/competitive is JHU, really?

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by rackd8ball, Apr 20, 2004.

  1. rackd8ball

    rackd8ball Member
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    ok, so i just had a two hour conversation with someone who's a third year at YSM. She basically said that Hopkins is just a little too intense and competitive for most people, and she gave a lot of reasons to back it up.

    To start, this is all anecdotal, based on friends she has at hopkins and residents she's met from hopkins. Furthermore, these are not my own opinions. I'm most likely attending, and so far I love Hopkins, but I would love someone who knows firsthand about the school to offer their opinions about the following...

    First off, having the H/HP/P/F tiers already sets the bar high. People study harder, people fight harder to stay at mean or above, even. People who have useful materials (tests, study notes) only pass them out to friends. This would all be especially true at a place like hopkins, where the kids who get in have been doing that their whole lives, or so they say.

    Internal rankings. She said that once people start getting ranked, and they know their ranks, it makes for some real intense competition. Since rankings will no doubt play some role in the residency match, someone can't take it too easy or go with the flow for the first two years. That just sucks, if its true.

    To dispute all this, I brought up a conversation I had with a Hopkins grad. I happen to be great friends with her cousin. Anyways, this girl spent her plastic surgery residency at Yale, became chief resident, and is now practicing in New haven. This grad said she loved Hopkins and everything about it. My friend tells me not to listen to her cousin, considering shes a typical surgeon type--she thrives on intense competition. The YSM girl agreed, saying that Hopkins students aren't going to tell you not to go, because it takes a certain competitive type of person to go in the first place. Bottom line here: its hard to take the advice of some students from hopkins cuz they themselves are of a certain breed.

    Disputable points: do preclinical year grades matter thaaaat much? Can, say, #120 in the class still land a spot in a top notch surgery program or derm residency (i use these as markers of competitiveness) in NYC?

    If that were true, nothing I've said would hold water. Kids would study hard, but all be confident that they'd do well in match. Gunners can gun for whatever suits them. To each his own.

    OK, so that's preclinical. now onto clinical...

    She said that the third year at hopkins is set up so that residents arent spread out enough (say, only one resident for many units) and interns have a ton on their plates. With med students working with these overworked interns, they will surely get a lot of their own time to learn first hand. But it also means having interns who are overworked and make for grumpy/bad teachers. Overall, when your interns are overworked and not there to watch with you often, it makes for a bad learning experience.

    Can anyone from hopkins corroborate or disprove this? I heard much better of the program.. there has to be some concrete reason for why people say Hopkins clinical training is second to none. Something more than the simple fact that they seemingly throw you into the trenches to learn on your own.

    Finally, she said that the people she's met from hopkins are "dicks." Residents and interns who just walk around like they own Yale New Haven and work the med students according to their old school culture. Listening to her, it sounded like these people were just coming out of a hard-core old school system where it's dog eat dog and hierarchy is how it is.

    Again, can anyone comment on this?

    Thanks in advance for any constructive thoughts anyone can offer.
     
  2. lotanna

    lotanna Child of God
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    I've 2 friends at Hopkins. One is graduating in a few weeks, but took a yr to do a fellowship, and another finishes next yr, and took a yr to get an MPH. Granted they are smart students but they also had a life outside of med schl and have done so much other cool stuff(global traveling, whole 9) while in med schl, so that said, med schl is what YOU make of it regardless of where you go.
     
  3. doepug

    doepug Senior Member
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    Gosh... I had no idea that the gossip surrounding Hopkins was so antagonistic! There's a good bit of misinformation here, so bear with me as I go through your post.

    The idea that "Hopkins is ultra-competitive" is a decades-old myth, and anyone who has visited should be able to dispel that. Medical students all over the country are competitive to some degree -- after all, that's what it takes to get into medical school. In my opinion, the only real competition at Hopkins is trying to meet our own goals and expectations. Take a look for yourself -- I'd argue that Hopkins is, in fact, far less competitive than a hundred other medical schools where you have to be in AOA/top 10% of the class to match into the field of your choice.

    ok, so i just had a two hour conversation with someone who's a third year at YSM. She basically said that Hopkins is just a little too intense and competitive for most people, and she gave a lot of reasons to back it up.

    To start, this is all anecdotal, based on friends she has at hopkins and residents she's met from hopkins. Furthermore, these are not my own opinions. I'm most likely attending, and so far I love Hopkins, but I would love someone who knows firsthand about the school to offer their opinions about the following...

    First off, having the H/HP/P/F tiers already sets the bar high. People study harder, people fight harder to stay at mean or above, even. People who have useful materials (tests, study notes) only pass them out to friends. This would all be especially true at a place like hopkins, where the kids who get in have been doing that their whole lives, or so they say.


    Most all medical schools have grading schemes of some type. As you probably know, the idea at Hopkins is that a large majority of the class will earn a P, which represents a solid achievement.

    More importantly, grades really don't matter here, for reasons you outlined later in your post. Preclinical grades truly don't matter anywhere, unless you fail a course.

    Internal rankings. She said that once people start getting ranked, and they know their ranks, it makes for some real intense competition. Since rankings will no doubt play some role in the residency match, someone can't take it too easy or go with the flow for the first two years. That just sucks, if its true.

    This is 100% false.

    1) If we are ranked, we aren't told about it.
    2) The dean's letter makes no reference to class rank for any Hopkins student.
    3) The transcript makes no reference to class rank.
    4) I asked the registrar for my class rank, and was told that it'd be calculated after I graduate.

    To dispute all this, I brought up a conversation I had with a Hopkins grad. I happen to be great friends with her cousin. Anyways, this girl spent her plastic surgery residency at Yale, became chief resident, and is now practicing in New haven. This grad said she loved Hopkins and everything about it. My friend tells me not to listen to her cousin, considering shes a typical surgeon type--she thrives on intense competition. The YSM girl agreed, saying that Hopkins students aren't going to tell you not to go, because it takes a certain competitive type of person to go in the first place. Bottom line here: its hard to take the advice of some students from hopkins cuz they themselves are of a certain breed.

    I'd take that with a grain of salt. The students at Hopkins are the same people who get into places like Penn, Harvard, Columbia, UCSF, Duke, and Yale. To say that our collective personalities are significantly different from those of any other school is a farce.

    Disputable points: do preclinical year grades matter thaaaat much? Can, say, #120 in the class still land a spot in a top notch surgery program or derm residency (i use these as markers of competitiveness) in NYC?

    1. Preclinical grades don't matter at all, unless you fail.
    2. If you graduate #120 in the class, (a) you won't know, and (b) you have an outstanding chance of matching into your top choice for residency.

    If that were true, nothing I've said would hold water. Kids would study hard, but all be confident that they'd do well in match. Gunners can gun for whatever suits them. To each his own.

    There's no point in being a gunner here. Everyone matches well, and AOA status is announced at graduation. It's much more fun to enjoy medical school, no?

    OK, so that's preclinical. now onto clinical...

    She said that the third year at hopkins is set up so that residents arent spread out enough (say, only one resident for many units) and interns have a ton on their plates. With med students working with these overworked interns, they will surely get a lot of their own time to learn first hand. But it also means having interns who are overworked and make for grumpy/bad teachers. Overall, when your interns are overworked and not there to watch with you often, it makes for a bad learning experience.


    This is garbage, for many reasons.

    I would argue that the clinical experiences at Hopkins are second to none. Clerkships are under constant scrutiny, and are uniformly excellent learning experiences. Interns here are busy (aren't they everywhere?), so it's a good thing that the responsibility for teaching is largely the realm of the senior residents and teaching attendings. The exception to this is call, when your intern can teach you all about being efficient yet thorough.

    As a medical student, your job is to learn. Scut is rare, and clinical time is usually high-yield. If someone isn't learning a tremendous amount during their clerkships, it means that (a) they were sleeping, (b) they were absent, or (c) they're dead.

    Can anyone from hopkins corroborate or disprove this? I heard much better of the program.. there has to be some concrete reason for why people say Hopkins clinical training is second to none. Something more than the simple fact that they seemingly throw you into the trenches to learn on your own.

    You won't be thrown in the trenches. You'll be challenged, but never over your head. After all, you're just a student.

    Finally, she said that the people she's met from hopkins are "dicks." Residents and interns who just walk around like they own Yale New Haven and work the med students according to their old school culture. Listening to her, it sounded like these people were just coming out of a hard-core old school system where it's dog eat dog and hierarchy is how it is.

    It's unfortunate that your friend has had bad experiences with people from Hopkins. It's also unfortunate that she extrapolates those experiences to judge her future colleagues.

    I hope that you had a chance to come to the revisit weekend. Hopkins isn't for everyone, but it's truly a phenomenal place. I'd advise you to trust your own instincts and impressions and ignore the gossip that other people spread. Hopkins is a fantastic place to be a medical student. You'll make wonderful friends, you'll learn more than you can imagine, you'll match into the program of your choice, and you'll be well-equipped to be a truly excellent physician.

    Hope this helps,
    doepug (MS IV, Johns Hopkins)
     
  4. noclouds

    noclouds Member
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    thank you for the detailed comments on the rumors flying around.

    what i'm curious about is, who ISN'T Hopkins right for?

    ...just wondering, and hoping that i don't fit that description. :D
     

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