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AntsInMyEyes_Johnson

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What is the allure of top-tier med schools as opposed to mid-tier/state schools?

I've been doing a lot of thinking lately, especially in regards to my strange notion of having to go to the best possible medical school. I had it in my head that I needed to be at some top-tier medical school in order to get into a superb residency program afterward. Then, once realizing that this sounded both stupid and uninformed, I began to do some digging and asking around. I came to the conclusion that Step-1 scores and Research are what separate superior candidates from the rest when applying to residency programs (of course, LoRs and clinical rotations grades are also extremely important, but let's set that aside for a second because this based on your relationships formed during medical school for the former, and your own ability to do well during the clinical rotations for the later). Technically, medical school curriculums should help prep you for the Step-1, but they aren't the only factor in Step-1 success, right? We have prep materials aside from our med school curriculum and each student has their own level of intellect that would supposedly shine through in their Step-1 score, given proper preparation, right? If that's the case, then how much would it matter if someone goes to a mid-tier/state school versus a top-tier school (in terms of doing well on the Step-1)?

As for Research, I definitely understand that top-tier medical schools have superior research opportunities that are most likely more varied and "better" to some degree. But, why wouldn't a strong mid-tier/state school that has a good amount of research opportunities and distinction programs still give applicants a fighting chance for top residency programs? Not to mention the money some people save going to a state school, and the benefits of being close to home (if you end up going to a medical school in your home state).

What I'm trying to ask is, are my assumptions correct? Can a student with superb talent go to a state school, even a low-tier med school and still come out on top as a superior residency candidate? If so, is this a good thing that I've come to this realization, or am I overthinking it and trying to rationalize my situation as not being a strong applicant for top schools?

Thank you in advance!
 

Lawpy

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It's for the same reason why top medical schools like applicants fron top undergrads. They are hungry for prestige and brand name. Going to a top medical school matters for getting into a super competitive residency where there are limited seats, applicant pool is competitive, and so there are some discerning factors that have to be taken into account.

That doesn't mean going to a low tier or state school prevents you from matching into a super competitive specialty. You would just need to work harder since you don't have a name brand/prestige support of your school.
 
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bananafish94

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Going to a super prestigious medical school may give you some advantage with the most "prestigious" residency programs within a given specialty. You can still definitely get into any residency from a state school.
 

Danny L

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It's for the same reason why top medical schools like applicants fron top undergrads. They are hungry for prestige and brand name. Going to a top medical school matters for getting into a super competitive residency where there are limited seats, applicant pool is competitive, and so there are some discerning factors that have to be taken into account.

That doesn't mean going to a low tier or state school prevents you from matching into a super competitive specialty. You would just need to work harder since you don't have a name brand/prestige support of your school.

Does your residency give you a better shot at getting a job at a competitive private practice/hospital then?
 

freak7

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How can you be looking ahead with all those ants in your eyes?
 
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GnothiSeauton

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There are benefits to your career from going a to a prestigious institution, some marginal and some significant. Also, people put a lot of work into this career path, and they appreciate recognition. That's not really such a bad thing.
 

BeddingfieldMD

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Going to a "top-tier" medical school never hurts, just like attending a top-tier undergraduate education certainly wouldn't hurt your med school application. For example, which do you think the med school admissions officer would be most impressed by: a 3.9 GPA from Harvard or North Central Idaho State? Similarly, being AOA and having numerous honors rotations from Stanford Med is going to be more impressive to the average residency admissions committee than Michigan State--though both are certainly fine medical schools. The comparison is going to be even more significant for a DO program or a Caribbean school, obviously.

It all depends on what you want to do with your career--and of course that may change over the next four years. If you can get a scholarship at a local, "mid-tier" state school and you're dead set on doing family practice somewhere in your state, then perhaps the better move would be to save the money and go to the state school? On the other hand, if you want to go into a surgical subspecialty or some other very competitive residency--or aspire to be a successful academic physician, then I would recommend going to the best and most respected medical school you can get into.

I hope you do actually have such choices; that's a first world problem, to be sure! Good luck!
 
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sliceofbread136

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A top medical school is quite a large boost to your residency application. It is anything but neglible
 
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sliceofbread136

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Probably not. It matters more if you want to pursue academic medicine.

No it definitely will help you be recruited into higher prestige private practices and in some cases can shoot you to partner track
 

Lawpy

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No it definitely will help you be recruited into higher prestige private practices and in some cases can shoot you to partner track

That's actually very surprising to hear. I read so many threads on allo and gen res forums saying that private practice jobs (even the best ones) do not care where you go to medical school and where you do your residency. I guess that stuff is bad information.
 

sliceofbread136

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That's actually very surprising to hear. I read so many threads on allo and gen res forums saying that private practice jobs (even the best ones) do not care where you go to medical school and where you do your residency. I guess that stuff is bad information.

I think it's most important for that first job, afterwards you prior experience starts to win out
 

Anicetus

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That's actually very surprising to hear. I read so many threads on allo and gen res forums saying that private practice jobs (even the best ones) do not care where you go to medical school and where you do your residency. I guess that stuff is bad information.

That rumor is one of the "poisonous" rumors of SDN, most likely to help some of us sleep at night that won't be matching at top top tier residencies.

So it actually varies on specialty with the job thing. The ones with not-as-great job markets tend to care more about your residency prestige. Ie if you went to Syracuse for radiology (don't even know if that particular program exists) and you apply for the limited # of jobs in SF, California if that's your end goal, you are going to be beat out by any Stanford, UCLA, UCSF radiology grad all day every day unless your parent is the director or best friend.

With specialties where the job market isn't a big deal you'll have more flexibility with where you would want to live. This is stuff so far down the line tho so worry about it one step at a time.
 
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