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Medical School Reputation (Again) [Residents and doctors please advise]

Discussion in 'General Residency Issues' started by yaoming, Aug 13, 2002.

  1. yaoming

    yaoming Banned
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    Hi,
    This is a part 2 of the long thread about Does prestige of the med school matter for residency.

    So Drako, did you choose UCI or Univ of Pittsburg?

    I was wondering, what is the reputation of UCI in the field of medicine? I had a friend who interviewed at UCSD and UCI. He said if he's accepted to both, he'd pick UCI. The reason being that the students at UCI do better on the boards than UCSD. Also, the students at UCI are less competitive with each other and more helpful.

    In that case, is my friend's reasoning legitimate? Dropping the USNews crap, how is the reputation of UCI amongst doctors and for residency? For placement into good residency programs, should one sacrifice the research reputation at a medical school for high boards score reputation at another? Residents and others, please advise. Thank you.
     
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  3. kenfused

    kenfused Senior Member
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    I'd say it helps to be in the general area where you plan to do residency. ALL the UC schools have a very good rep in California, so if you are looking to stay in CA for residency and maybe beyond, I'd have to go with UCI. On the West Coast, the U of PIttsburg probably doesn't carry much weight either negatively or positively...

    My opinion...
     
  4. yaoming

    yaoming Banned
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    Thanks Kenfused. How about that questions about reputation of research vs reputation of board scores? What would you go with?
     
  5. Renovar

    Renovar Senior Member

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    I'd go with general reputation. (ie. the reputation column on US News, although subjective and random, does give a general ballpark of comparative reputation.)

    Board score averages between institutions vary only very slightly. (ie. a school with board scores of 225-230 would be high while a school with a below average boards, like 210 would be considered low. Almost all med schools in the country fall within this range.) It's how YOU do on the boards that's important, not how your school does. A school with relatively high average and relatively low reputation will invariably put more pressure on you to do well on the boards, and if you dont, you'll look bad because you'll be preceived as below average compared to your classmates.

    Ultimately, you can do extremely well on the boards no matter which med school you are from if you work hard - it's something you can control in your own hands. Every med school have their share of gunners every year that put up fantastic board numbers. You will need to work hard to get through ANY med school anyways. But reputation is something you can't control. So I think everything else being equal (ie. personal fit, preferences, etc. aside) it's a better idea to go to the good reputation school rather than a school with high board scores.

    Just my 2 cents... :)
     
  6. Winged Scapula

    Winged Scapula Cougariffic!
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    I concur with kenfused. The *vast* majority of variation on the USMLEs are due to the individual, not where he went to medical school. Schools which post higher than average board scores may have also selected students with higher than average MCAT scores, or higher than average gpas, etc. The preparation for boards varies very little between schools - the individuals who make up a class do. Check the amount of time available for study as well - I'd imagine students with more last minute study time would do better.

    So I wouldn't pick UCI because its students have higher board scores but because it sounds as if your friend found the student body there more receptive and friendly.

    I don't think I would choose a school based on its research reputation. It matters little when coming time to apply for residency. Your USMLE scores will matter more - and these are likely to be higher at a school you're happier with and at. Research reputation is nice to have but often it doesn't offer any benefits to students - ie, money spent in the lab and grants awarded doesn't necessarily translate into good facilities for students, career opportunities, etc.
     
  7. Renovar

    Renovar Senior Member

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    I agree. Go to a school that you feel that you are the most comfortable in. After you interviews you should make some mental notes on the positives and the negatives for each school, and how well do you see yourself doing well in that school. At the end, if you are fortunate, you will have been accepted by 2 or 3 schools that you like, and visit them again, talk to people and re-evaluate. Go with your gut feelings.

    My post above made the assumption that everything else (ie. all of the above) being equal, going to a school with a higher overall reputation should be a higher priority than going to a school for their board averages. You will work hard at any med school - and every med school have their share of people do well on the boards and secure top residencies. It's just that if you do go to a highly esteemed school, your pressure of doing extremely well on the boards/getting high grades can be considerably less than going to a less-known school. If you graduated middle of the pack from Hopkins with a 220 boards, you will tend to match better than someone from U of Nebraska with the same credentials - just because you go to a better school. In fact, if you go to a lesser-known school and want to go into the top programs for a competitive residency position, the pressure for you to do well and to stand-out can be considerable.
     
  8. yaoming

    yaoming Banned
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    Thank you guys for your input.
     

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