old macdonald

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Hi all,

Pardon my ignorance...I figured that a discussion of the impact of a medical school's "reputation" and its correlation with residencies belongs in the Allopathic forum. I'm sure this topic has been revisited over and over, but if you have any insight into this question, please provide it!

Would it be better to go to a lower-ranked medical school with a full-ride, or go to a top 10 med school without one in terms of securing a top residency? Is it really all about the boards?

Thanks again for your input...it's most appreciated!
 

automaton

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full ride all about boards
 

doc05

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Depends on which schools you're considering, and what your personal/family financial situation is.

No, it is NOT all about the boards. There are plenty of students at average/no name medical schools who do well/very well on the boards (though certainly not the majority of students there), but students at top schools who score the same -- or even somewhat lower -- tend to get better residency positions. There are numerous reasons for this, not the least of which is school reputation.

Clearly, automaton does not know what he (she) is talking about. As much as everyone would like it, there never really is a level playing field...and going to a top school does give you the advantage.

Good luck.

p.s. it also depends on what specialties you are considering.
 

automaton

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dude i don't know why you say i clearly know nothing and then come up with an obvious hypothetical case as if it proves your point. of course all else being equal or similar the applicant from the better school will probably get the nod. ok so maybe it's not 100% boards but i doubt anyone interpreted it that way. if someone gets a 250 from a US medical school then s/he is going to be competitive for anything. if someone at a top ten gets 220 his/her options are more limited than the avg school guy who got 250. granted i haven't applied yet but i do know that step1 score is in the top 2 of what residency directors consider. the school you go to is way down on that list. i would love to think that by going to a top ten school i'm set for whatever residency i want but i know that's not the case.
 

worriedwell

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while speculation is nice from medical students who always seem to have strong opinions that are rarely grounded in factual knowledge, it seems like nobody really has the magic formula for success.

but maybe this will give some insight into the fact that going to a name place does matter to some degree (and i readily admit that the following is an example of the most extreme competitiveness and not a reflection of the vast majority of career options)....

i have personal knowledge of the residency director at one of the top five plastic surgery residencies in the country factoring in the "pedigree" of a student when he is rating his applicants. Granted, plastics is the most competive residency to obtain as there are only 77 spots in the entire country and each residency has no more than 3 spots. And this program is at the top of the field, but something to think about. And by the way, this guy actually cares where you went to college too, not just med school.

In some circles, people believe it is a general reflection of one's ability, drive, maybe even social status, that people do judge others by. It is a fact of life. And people don't take the time to determine whether or not you were able to get into harvard but decided against it for financial reasons. they just notice the name of the school on your resume and make judgements about you.

thats not to say great people and great successes don't come from the no name places. there are numerous stories of those successes, and often those people have their hearts and minds in the right places and are that exceptional as humans that it shines through such that they must be noticed, but lets not be naive either. where you train absolutely is a factor. not only for the name, but also because it puts you in touch with big researchers/clinicians who will write you a letter and you can network with in the fields of your choice. These same people will be able to have a positive impact on getting into your residency of choice. If you are at all thinking about academic careers or competitive specialties, it behooves you to think very hard about aiming as high as you can, with the knowledge that if you don't get into harvard (most people don't), it doesn't end your chances at anything, but it still would be better to go to harvard if you can.

Then again, most doctors in the world trained at their local in state med school, got excellent cheap training, are in primary care type fields and are treating the community in their surrounding area and are capable happy physicians who are respected in their community. Its a matter of the scale of what you want to do and where you want to be ten years down the road.

The process is self selective as well such that people who choose to pedigree themselves into scenarios that lend themselves to flourishing in a more local clinical practice do so by their own volition, while "gunners" (whatever that means) tend to pedigree themselves "higher" because they're bred that way or because they have a burning desire to achieve something competitive or academic. Thats why people sometimes find different "vibes" at differently oriented medical schools. Are you more comfortable around the students at Columbia or the students at State School U where all the students are from that state? Its not a better worse thing, its a choice for many talented students, and a fair share choose either option based on what is important to them. What is important to you?
 

synapse lapse

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worriedwell said:
while speculation is nice from medical students who always seem to have strong opinions that are rarely grounded in factual knowledge, it seems like nobody really has the magic formula for success.

but maybe this will give some insight into the fact that going to a name place does matter to some degree (and i readily admit that the following is an example of the most extreme competitiveness and not a reflection of the vast majority of career options)....

i have personal knowledge of the residency director at one of the top five plastic surgery residencies in the country factoring in the "pedigree" of a student when he is rating his applicants. Granted, plastics is the most competive residency to obtain as there are only 77 spots in the entire country and each residency has no more than 3 spots. And this program is at the top of the field, but something to think about. And by the way, this guy actually cares where you went to college too, not just med school.

In some circles, people believe it is a general reflection of one's ability, drive, maybe even social status, that people do judge others by. It is a fact of life. And people don't take the time to determine whether or not you were able to get into harvard but decided against it for financial reasons. they just notice the name of the school on your resume and make judgements about you.

thats not to say great people and great successes don't come from the no name places. there are numerous stories of those successes, and often those people have their hearts and minds in the right places and are that exceptional as humans that it shines through such that they must be noticed, but lets not be naive either. where you train absolutely is a factor. not only for the name, but also because it puts you in touch with big researchers/clinicians who will write you a letter and you can network with in the fields of your choice. These same people will be able to have a positive impact on getting into your residency of choice. If you are at all thinking about academic careers or competitive specialties, it behooves you to think very hard about aiming as high as you can, with the knowledge that if you don't get into harvard (most people don't), it doesn't end your chances at anything, but it still would be better to go to harvard if you can.

Then again, most doctors in the world trained at their local in state med school, got excellent cheap training, are in primary care type fields and are treating the community in their surrounding area and are capable happy physicians who are respected in their community. Its a matter of the scale of what you want to do and where you want to be ten years down the road.

The process is self selective as well such that people who choose to pedigree themselves into scenarios that lend themselves to flourishing in a more local clinical practice do so by their own volition, while "gunners" (whatever that means) tend to pedigree themselves "higher" because they're bred that way or because they have a burning desire to achieve something competitive or academic. Thats why people sometimes find different "vibes" at differently oriented medical schools. Are you more comfortable around the students at Columbia or the students at State School U where all the students are from that state? Its not a better worse thing, its a choice for many talented students, and a fair share choose either option based on what is important to them. What is important to you?
Good Post :thumbup:
 

fang

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I had that decision to make and went with the state school. It's a well-respected state-school, but not top-10. My decision was primarily based on the fact that I liked the state school quite a bit more than the top-10 when I visited-- the 2 schools were VERY different from each other both socially and academically. We have grades here, which personally helps me stay motivated, and the clinical instruction is supposed to be excellent (don't know yet b/c I'm in my 2nd year.) I've done a ton of research and wanted to broaden my experiences beyond that realm. I also went to a very well-respected undergrad insitution and I have never felt that that alone has opened doors for me... it's always a combination of your accomplishments, scores, and pedigree, not just the name.

So far I'm happy with my decision-- I have confidence that if I continue to do well I'll have a good chance at matching in a top-10 residency... that's my goal. I'm sure an impressive medical school name would help, but it's not required; boards, 3rd year grades and recommendations are more important according to all of the sources I've seen/talked with (Iverson's, residency directors). Residency directors do consider the reputation of your school, and some will think like doc05. However, I think it's easier to excel here than it would be at a more competative school, and my thinking is that being an excellent student at a good school will serve me better than being an average student at an excellent school.

If you look at match lists, keep in mind that many people at top-ranked schools WANT top-ranked residency programs; many people at my school are more interested in location. That said, we always send people to top-notch programs each year.

good luck with your decision!