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IVY or NOT???

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by bigdaddy30, Mar 25, 2000.

  1. bigdaddy30

    bigdaddy30 New Member

    Mar 25, 2000
    I was recently accepted to an undergrad program at Penn . I am somewhat of a non traditional student and was wondering if maybe going to a lesser known school and getting better grades is better than going to Penn? Or does Penn's rep hold some weight? Thanks
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  3. turtleboard

    turtleboard SDN Advisor 10+ Year Member

    Jun 3, 1999
    New York, New York
    Definitely holds weight if you go to Penn over a no-name school, but you still have to do reasonably well if you're headed to med school. If not, then going to Gonzaga University and getting a 4.0 may be a better option (although from there, you'd probably have to ROCK your MCATs).

    Tim of New York City.
  4. Dr'04

    Dr'04 Member 10+ Year Member

    Feb 16, 2000
    New York, NY
    I say if you know that all you want to do is go to med school, going to an Ivy may be a lot more work than you need to endure. It's true that the name will matter when applying to med school. However, I think the adcomms understand that some people may have chosen a non-Ivy over an Ivy for purely financial reasons. And if your scores are comparable (or better) than those who went to Ivy League schools, where you went probably won't matter too much.
  5. Besyonek

    Besyonek Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Feb 13, 2000
    I did a post-bacc program at Penn and thought it was superb. Yes, the classes are tough and competitive. Yes, you have to really work to get an A. So what's wrong with that? When I took an MCAT prep course, I quickly noticed that the level of teaching I had experienced was definitely higher than that of students from other Philly area schools - Temple, Villanova, West Chester, etc. I think that this more rigorous education helped me a great deal for the MCATs. While your education is certainly what you make of it, go to a school that will challenge you -- be it Penn or whatever. If you don't like the atmosphere at Penn, that's something to consider as well. Four years at a place you don't like, to the tune of $120,000, is a mistake.

    Don't be intimidated by the place. Penn wouldn't have accepted you if they didn't think you could do the work. I was somewhat nervous when I started there, thinking,"this is Ivy, everyone here must be brilliant." Well, I found the students to be no more intelligent or capable than my undergrad school (a private liberal arts college), although most were wealthier.

    You may surprise yourself by how well you do there. I found that good study habits and self-discipline went a long way toward getting those A's. I was frequently amazed by how many undergrad students skipped class, didn't study, didn't keep up on the reading, etc. and were baffled as to why they weren't at the top of the class.

    [This message has been edited by Besyonek (edited 03-26-2000).]
  6. Simul

    Simul Member 10+ Year Member


    I had to decide between UMich and Northwestern (not Ivy, but top 10 when I went). I chose NU, but I am almost positive that if I knew I was going to stay premed, I should have went with the state school. I thought I was a good student, got high grades in high school, 1500+ SAT scores, Nat'l Merit, all of that ****... but I got to NU and got rocked. I could not pull higher than Bs and B+s in the sciences. At my school, getting a 30+ on the MCAT is expected, anything less is failure. I had to rock the feckin' test last August (34S, nothing lower than 10), yet I am still ****ting my pants about admissions (I only have a 3.1-3.2), which means I will probably not get in this time (applying this June, expecting to have to do something else after graduation). I tell all my younger nieces, nephews, cousins that if they want med school (we are indian, of course we want med school! hehe), go to the state school, and rock there. I have taken classes at other schools (MSU, rigorous study abroad program) and have rocked those classes. Just my .02, because in my experience with adcoms, the weight given to school is a lot lower then people think (because how do you compare 3.8s at different school without using pure subjectivity?). Unless you are excited about cutthroat kids (don't share notes, don't tell you if they have past exam copies) who do nothing to do but study, go to the state school. Undergrad doesn't matter, I payed 120,000 for 12 letters on the degree.

    A little jaded,
  7. bigdaddy30

    bigdaddy30 New Member

    Mar 25, 2000
  8. Hey Simul,

    While NW may have slightly higher SAT averages than Michigan, you way out of line to say that you would have done much better at Mich over NW. Michigan is every bit as competitive and cutthroat as northwestern. There are tons of undergrads who were hot stuff in high school and don't do as well in college. If you had gone to say Wayne State for undergrad there may have been a significant difference in your gpa , but not Mich.
  9. Simul

    Simul Member 10+ Year Member

    Yeah, I shouldn't really slight UMich, but there are differeces. Many LSA classes are a blow off. I'm an Econ major at NU, and I know that they are far less math intensive at UMich (almost zero calculus). They accept lower AP scores for credit. Their Intro Biology is the repeat of my AP Biology. Our intro Bio requires Organic Chemistry as a pre-req.
    I not saying NU is a better school, because I hated every minute of it, and I honestly think that the best schools in the middle west is UMich and Wash U, but being premed there isn't quite as difficult.
    BTW, the average SAT at NU is 1280-1460, and at UMich 1160-1380 (from USNews)... not that it matters, but it is nearly a 100 points.
  10. Seanmd

    Seanmd Junior Member 10+ Year Member

    May 25, 2000

    I have to disagree with you. Northwestern University is a very competitive institution for premeds. However, the University of Michigan is just as competitive for premeds.
    I know of many premeds at Michigan who will be attending Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Columbia, and Washington next year. Many of these students had a 3.5-3.8 GPA. In fact, I know of one student with at 3.3 GPA who will be attending Northwestern next year. So, please do not belittle the Michigan GPA ... it is worth more than you think.

    (I believe that your 3.1 would be equivalent to a 3.3 at the University of Michigan. And, by the way, the upper level economics courses at Michigan are also calculus intensive.)

    Just my two cents.

  11. Seanmd

    Seanmd Junior Member 10+ Year Member

    May 25, 2000

    I don't mean to attack you and your comments. But you should know that you would have probably experienced the same problems at Michigan.

    I know many premeds at Michigan and Northwestern, and the correlation between GPA and MCAT scores is roughly the same between both schools.


    [This message has been edited by Seanmd (edited 05-26-2000).]
  12. Seanmd

    Seanmd Junior Member 10+ Year Member

    May 25, 2000
  13. Seanmd

    Seanmd Junior Member 10+ Year Member

    May 25, 2000

    [This message has been edited by Seanmd (edited 05-26-2000).]
  14. euhsa

    euhsa Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Jan 21, 2000
    somehere near NYC
    I definitely hear you. Although I did not go to an Ivy league school, I went to a fairly competitive state school with an Honors program that has students that mirrors any ivy league school (with the exception of maybe the big three- Harvard, Princeton, Yale). In fact, most students in the program were validictorians or very close to being one who were accepted at more prestigious institutions, but decided to come to our school. I was a pretty good student myself. When I got to my school, I was convinced that the students were not as intelligient as I was. Boy, was I in for a surprise... I rocked first semester without studying because I was basically taking classes that I took during my senior year of High School. And then in the second semester, we started to learn things that were not covered in my HS/AP classes. I got crushed! After four years, I really never recovered... I graduated with a 3.0 and were hard pressed to get into med school. I then went onto do some post bac and some grad school work. I pulled off 4.0s in the following two years, and I got into med school. Bottom line... there are a lot of people in the same situation as you. Bottom line 2... trust me, state schools are not easy. I really can't speak for MSU, but our school was fairly competitive. You simply cannot judge the difficulty of the school based on a summer program or even a couple classes. Did you even do a full semester at MSU? I highly doubt that.

    [This message has been edited by euhsa (edited 05-27-2000).]
  15. beth

    beth Junior Member 10+ Year Member

    May 26, 2000
    I may be idealistic and naive, but: all this talk over whether going IVY will get you into med school gets me upset. I went to a small, public, undergraduate institution in Michigan near my home. When I entered, I was not pre-med, so the far-off question of will this school look better to admissions commits was not in my head. As a recent admit and year one next year, I believe what gets you into med school is YOU. It is more who you are and what you do, rather than the school you went to. Your school may grab their attention, but if your grades and personality fall short, then you might as well stay at your IVY undergrad for a few extra years. My no-name school had 100% placement of applicants this year. This school is "Right-to-Try" which means anyone can get in. You don't even need to have taken the ACT or SAT. Were my classes challenging? You bet. And I did well on my MCAT, too, THE FIRST TIME. I am also a multiple accept. So- choose the school that is best for YOU, not just your application. Admissions Commits look at YOU during an interview, not just your application.
  16. 1918

    1918 Member 10+ Year Member

    Apr 9, 2000
    Beth - I agree with most of what you have said. The only time your undergraduate school name carries weight is when one applies to a top shelf med school (i.e. ivy/top ten). The adcomms at those schools do look at the name of applicants' undergrad school -- often times because they want to be able to say x% of our students are ivy league grads.

    As long as your school is not a completely unknown quantity, as you said, do well and if you have the character traits they're looking for, you're in [​IMG]

    [This message has been edited by 1918 (edited 05-31-2000).]
  17. Parmoset

    Parmoset Junior Member

    Jun 9, 2000
    Philadelphia, PA

    I've just completed my freshman undergrad year at Penn and I can attest to the fact that the pre-med curriculum here is tougher than that of most other undergraduate programs. Like at other schools, the class mean is set at a B-/C+, but you must keep in mind that the greater majority of people taking science classes here are gpa-driven science majors, engineers, and pre-meds satisfying their grad requirements. Wharton and Humanities students take an easy courses like "what every businessman needs to know about the environment" for their "living world" requirement, not Bio 101. And premeds here are thinking of top tier MD programs. If you're looking for mercy upon the gpa and an easy admit into med school, don't come here. But if you're willing to work your ass off on weekend nights while your History major roommate with a blow-off 12-15hr class week goes out drinking at smokey joe's, then...okay. The benefits: excellent hospitals and research facilities including the Wistar institute right at the center of campus and a chance to gain hands-on experience in clinical or research work with reknowned MDs/Phds; cutting edge issues brought into the classroom, etc., etc.; they teach you the basic **** you need to know (you get to do tons of PCR & electrophoresis your very first semester - whoo hoo! Not. - while at other schools they spend lab periods learning how to look at slides under a microscope); you get to see HUP residents walking around with their names embroidered on their perfectly tailored lab coats - gods, I say. Sometimes I wish that I went to a school with a good name but a less-competitive science program so I could be a bumming procrastinator, but then I figure, well hell, I'm going to have to slave away like this in med school and for years beyond, so why not start now? Thank God for the English major.

    Good Luck,

  18. SimulD

    SimulD Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Apr 22, 2001
    Alexandria, VA
    I'm sure this concept has been beaten to death on other posts, but I just wanted to add a post script (in case people were confused, because I did receive an email recently).

    I ended up at Northwestern undergrad with about a 3.0. I did well on the MCAT and then bulked up with a few study abroad courses. I ended up getting into two MD schools. I am at Tulane University School of Medicine now. I do far better (relatively) than I did at NU, but maybe that is because I like the subject a lot better.

    I still think that if you are POSITIVE about pre-med, you should consider schools 'below your level'. I say it in quotes, because it is all b/s anyways. I think you will do well at any level, as long as you are very passionate about it.

    I wish everybody good luck,

  19. CaNEM

    CaNEM Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Jun 11, 2002
    If you're looking in the eastern PA area, consider the University of Scranton. We have a good science department and the most successful pre-med program I've ever seen, numbers-wise. Last year, the acceptance rate was 100% of those who applied (and no, this is not because there were like 5 people applying - the program has 50-100 or more per year). Over the last few years before that, the acceptace rate was around 80% - significantly higher than the national average at around 30-40%.

    See our website:

    Sorry, but I had to plug my own school.
  20. missmod

    missmod Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Jun 15, 2002
    Penn has some good programs for premeds and post-bac's. Many of their majors cater to premeds and the requirements we need to take. And it's good at the two hospitals (HUP and CHOP) are right there so you don't have to go far for volunteering and research. The problem with smaller universities is that they may not offer you as many opportunities on campus. For example, I'm taking this one class where they teach you how to do clinical research in the ER of Penn's hospital. It's basically volunteer work there (though you get to do a lot more) and you get class credit that counts towards your major (AND supposedly very interesting and impressive to adcoms). It's stuff like that that may make an Ivy worth going to. There will be a lot of premeds and though some may say thats a bad thing, it could also be good in terms of how understand your profs (my Phys prof realized his final was a day before the MCAT's so he postponed it).
  21. rajneel1

    rajneel1 Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Oct 29, 2001
    I'm soooooo glad that you have spoken for all the indians out there in the whole entire world!

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