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Premed at UTDallas or UPenn

bigreddawgie

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So I've basically read through a lot of threads and many have said the undergrad school does not matter in getting into med school.

Right now, I am leaning towards UT Dallas since I dont have to pay a dime for college (I get 1100 a month stipend). For Penn, I would have to pay around 15k after fin aid with loans and work study. Would going to UTD lower my chances of getting into say Harvard Med School?
 

SStorm

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So I've basically read through a lot of threads and many have said the undergrad school does not matter in getting into med school.

Right now, I am leaning towards UT Dallas since I dont have to pay a dime for college (I get 1100 a month stipend). For Penn, I would have to pay around 15k after fin aid with loans and work study. Would going to UTD lower my chances of getting into say Harvard Med School?

Going to UPenn over UTD would not affect your chances much. I'd say go with the money. Free is better than 60k of loans over 4 years.
 
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QuantumMechanic

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There's a reason why UTD is giving you money and its to woo you from making the right decision to attend UPenn.

It'd be different if UTD were a more highly regarded institution (like UTA), but the connections and the name of UPenn would take you alot further than you'd think. As much as people on SDN like to downplay the quality of your undergrad, it is the case most of the time (and its like this in the real world, not just med school) that you are judged on your predecessors. Your predecessors at UPenn have been quite successful and are spread across the country and they do speak volumes about you, as long as you are a good student in the future. On the other hand, you don't have such an advantage at UTD and consequently doors may be shut or at least harder to open even if you are a stellar student there.

Remember that education is investment in yourself and that educational debt is good debt since you are going to get a return on the investment. In the end, you can pay off debt, but you cannot change where you went to college.
 
It wouldn't matter as much if you were comparing a UT or A&M to UPenn. But UTD is quite low on the totem poll. I think it would definitely have an effect on the overall strength of your application (barring a 4.0 and a 38 or better MCAT at UTD).

You also have to look at how well the classes at UTD would prepare you for the MCAT. To get into HMS, you're going to have to blow the MCAT out of the water. I think there's less of a possibility of this happening via prepping at UTD.

If you'd like to go in-state (possibly Baylor?), UTD wouldn't have been a hurdle. But looking at your ambitions, looks like Penn's the way to go.
 

scarletgirl777

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There's a reason why UTD is giving you money and its to woo you from making the right decision to attend UPenn.

It'd be different if UTD were a more highly regarded institution (like UTA), but the connections and the name of UPenn would take you alot further than you'd think. As much as people on SDN like to downplay the quality of your undergrad, it is the case most of the time (and its like this in the real world, not just med school) that you are judged on your predecessors. Your predecessors at UPenn have been quite successful and are spread across the country and they do speak volumes about you, as long as you are a good student in the future. On the other hand, you don't have such an advantage at UTD and consequently doors may be shut or at least harder to open even if you are a stellar student there.

Remember that education is investment in yourself and that educational debt is good debt since you are going to get a return on the investment. In the end, you can pay off debt, but you cannot change where you went to college.

This guy knows what he's talking about. Also, in case you decide not to apply to med school (I know you don't want to hear this :) but still) then I really do believe that where you went to undergrad REALLY can make a huge difference. A difference you can't even begin to comprehend. And I think if you are going to Wharton or doing liberal arts at Penn, these connections can be yours (I left out Penn Nursing because I'm unsure how people see that, I'm not trying to be condescending, I just don't know) and you will be very grateful for them.
 

jtdallas

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It wouldn't matter as much if you were comparing a UT or A&M to UPenn. But UTD is quite low on the totem poll. I think it would definitely have an effect on the overall strength of your application (barring a 4.0 and a 38 or better MCAT at UTD).

You also have to look at how well the classes at UTD would prepare you for the MCAT. To get into HMS, you're going to have to blow the MCAT out of the water. I think there's less of a possibility of this happening via prepping at UTD.

If you'd like to go in-state (possibly Baylor?), UTD wouldn't have been a hurdle. But looking at your ambitions, looks like Penn's the way to go.


This is not just geared towards you TexasMD, but like most journalists, it is very important to do your research before you report. For your information, UTD had 202 students apply to medical school last year (2007) and 65% were admitted into a medical school. The national average last year was roughly 49%, I doubt there are many universities, let alone Texas universities that can claim this.
Not to mention, UTD has an extensive Health Professions Advising Center that is led by Dr. Scott Wright, the former UT Southwestern Medical School director of admissions (he held this position for close to 10 years). In my opinion, that is worth the price of tuition alone. UTD is probably still a secret, but it is slowly emerging as a top school for pre-meds in Texas.
In the end, I promise you I would not talk bad about about a university I knew nothing about.
The average SAT score of UTD students is 1248 which is indeed the highest of any Texas state schools. My evidence: http://www.utdallas.edu/pre-health/
This is no jab at anyone just merely defending my university.
 

bigreddawgie

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It seems UTD is going to give me a lot of experiences that will be harder to come by at a larger university like UPenn. But it seems like the majority of the premeds there end up at UT Southwestern, which is a really good med school, but thats all I hear of.
I just checked my fin aid package for UPenn and yea there are no loans. just like a 30k grant and 3k work study.

jtdallas, how well does utd prepare their students for the mcat?
 

jtdallas

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jtdallas, how well does utd prepare their students for the mcat?

bigred-
You will be pleasantly surprised as to how great UTD is. The pre-reqs are honestly so extensive that they prepare you for the information necessary for the MCAT. UTD offers a really tough genetics course, biochemistry I/II, and a massive nueroscience department and its associated courses. All of these courses among others contribute to making a more well-rounded pre-medical student which essentially equates to better MCAT preparation. So well, that taking a Kaplan or Princeton review is typically a nice supplement, merely a review. The HPAC office has many programs that also help students along this path as well. They are very hands on, and this might be one of the reasons the success rate at UTD is so high. Good Luck bigred, you will not be disappointed. Also, by no means am I claiming UTD better the Penn, I am simply tooting UTD's horn. It's obvious not many people are familiar with this university, and no that is not necessarily their fault.
 
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TheRealMD

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This is the scholarship ill be getting at UTD. http://www.utdallas.edu/mcdermott/
This summer, Im also researching at the Center for Brain Health http://agingmind.utdallas.edu/index.php

It seems UTD is going to give me a lot of experiences that will be harder to come by at a larger university like UPenn. But it seems like the majority of the premeds there end up at UT Southwestern, which is a really good med school, but thats all I hear of.
I just checked my fin aid package for UPenn and yea there are no loans. just like a 30k grant and 3k work study.

jtdallas, how well does utd prepare their students for the mcat?

No loans = UPenn, without a doubt. If your aim is UTSW, then either will do fine. However, if you ever do get that desire for "something more", the Penn name will probably give you a better leg to stand on.

If nothing else, get out of Texas for 4 years. You'll probably be back for med school anyway. You're pre-med friends at Penn will envy you when you get to apply to med schools as a Texas resident. :smuggrin:
 

BrainBuff

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This is not about comparing UT Dallas to other Texas colleges but comparing it to one of the most prestigious schools in the nation. I think about my undergrad experience not just in terms of getting me to med school. The experience, networking and the resources that you will have attending an ivy league school is invaluable and let's not forget the prestige. All that counts out there. You will also find that more UPenn graduates get into HMS than UTDallas (just take a look at a few years back). It is inaccurate to say that the "undergrad school does not count". It does.

Why did u apply to UPenn anyway? You must have known it is was not going to be a free ride. If you found you were a "fit" with the school....go for it!..If you hated it, then go some place else!
 

TexanGirl

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I have several friends currently at UTD, and from what I've heard, the school is VERY challenging and no joke. It is the most selective public university in Texas and that reflects in its programs. If you're interested in the hard sciences/comp sci, UTD is a strong contender.

If your goal is to get into a prestigious medical school, then I would say go to UPenn, although you would be able to accomplish that from either school. UPenn has national recognition as an Ivy League school that UTD would never be able to have. Undergrad prestige only helps somewhat though, and very minimally from what I know.

Also, just heads up. UTD is a suburban commuter school. If you're looking for a real college experience, I would caution against it and advise you to attend UPenn, lest you miss out on some major life experience. Philly's pretty cool and UPenn has some good parties from what I've heard. You might enjoy UPenn more and be more satisfied in the long run there, so I would highly consider it.
 

vicinihil

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For med school the ugrad school name DOES MATTER.

Also for med schools associated with ivy schools, they are very, very cliquey. Harvard takes care of Yale and vice versa. Dartmouth take care of Brown who takes care of Columbia who in turn takes care of Cornell and its a circle that goes round and round.

15K a year? That's less than minimum wage for a IVY education. More pride and prestige comes from an app that states UPENN vs. UTD o_O.
 

MsJLewis

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I would pick Penn. You're still in high school. You may get into college and HATE science and drop medicine like a hot potato. Penn is world renowned in many other fields (which may spark your interests). You never know where you may end up in life but I think that the Penn name would give you an edge for whatever field you choose to go into (esp. business and law) if you decide against medicine.

Edit: 15k isn't too bad. I went to another IVY and had many friends (who were mid to upper middle class) paying the FULL sticker price just for a chance to go there.
 
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jtdallas

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I would have to disagree. If you took the same courses at UTD at SMU or Baylor you would find that the latter are much more challenging. I know several people who went to UTD just for the sake of cushioning a GPA.

If you plan to go to school for pre-med in Texas, you should stick to the Big 12 schools. SMU & TCU would be my next picks after them....


Lortab-
You could not be more wrong. I know several students in SMU's pre-med program and a few have attended both SMU and UTD and they constantly claim how UTD's program is exceedingly harder. They say all the time how easy SMU's science department is and how ill-prepared they feel. As far as "big 12" schools and TCU, I cannot speak of, but you should really try to research before you make lofty claims.
 

nomoreplz

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I feel like Penn will give you a better chance of getting into a "big name" school like Harvard, which you mentioned was important to you. Coming from Texas didn't hurt me, but UTD is not exactly the same thing as UT. Quite a bit different, actually. Some schools, like Michigan, I think, give you an automatic interview if you are above a certain MCAT and GPA *and* your school is on their "recognized" list of good schools. I feel like UTD might end up hurting you a little bit due to total lack of recognition elsewhere.

While the money is great, I think Penn might be the better option if your aims are really high. And a lack of experiences due to a large campus??? Impossible! Haha, of course, I come from UT, so I'm partial, but that was one of the best things about going to school here - all the different opportunities available.
 

mtd0130

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I would pick Penn. You're still in high school. You may get into college and HATE science and drop medicine like a hot potato. Penn is world renowned in many other fields (which may spark your interests). You never know where you may end up in life but I think that the Penn name would give you an edge for whatever field you choose to go into (esp. business and law) if you decide against medicine.

Edit: 15k isn't too bad. I went to another IVY and had many friends (who were mid to upper middle class) paying the FULL sticker price just for a chance to go there.

I agree. I know quite a few people that thought they were destined for med school since birth and then went to college and found that they either didn't like science as much as they thought or found something else that inspired them. Going to a school like Penn leaves you prepared to do anything because of the name, the liberal arts education and pretty much the experience in general.

As one of those people who paid full sticker price for an Ivy, I'd say 15k is a steal.

Put on that Quaker hat.
 

aanihc

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I love Texas, but leave the state for college.

I gave up a free ride to UT Austin to attend school in California. Trust me, the quality of your undergraduate education will be reflected in your ultimate chances of getting into medical school.

While UTD is becoming a better and better school, I still think paying 15k a year for UPenn is a worthy investment. You won't regret it. There are several tiers of difference between the two schools that admissions committee will consider. A 4.0 gpa at UTD is not the same as a 4.0 gpa at UPenn.
 

Jolie South

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I love Texas, but leave the state for college.

I gave up a free ride to UT Austin to attend school in California. Trust me, the quality of your undergraduate education will be reflected in your ultimate chances of getting into medical school.

While UTD is becoming a better and better school, I still think paying 15k a year for UPenn is a worthy investment. You won't regret it. There are several tiers of difference between the two schools that admissions committee will consider. A 4.0 gpa at UTD is not the same as a 4.0 gpa at UPenn.

with all due respect, UT Austin doesn't offer many full rides, so you must already be a rockstar. you would've gotten into Harvard anyways.
 

xeulee

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Also, just heads up. UTD is a suburban commuter school. If you're looking for a real college experience, I would caution against it and advise you to attend UPenn, lest you miss out on some major life experience.

I went to UTD for a couple of semesters and it definately felt like a commuter school. If you haven't already, visit the campuses and decide which one you like better. I don't think going to UTD would lower your chances but going to UPenn would probably increase them. You could talk to the health careers office at UTD and see how many people went to Harvard.
 

Mx300

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I'm going to UTD in the fall and I have been researching it for awhile and I know for a fact that it is currently one of the most selective schools in Texas.

To the op, I think that you should think about what would make you happy at a certain school. I've been to UTD's campus several times and it definitely has a very mature atmosphere. Most people who go there are obviously really down to earth. Also I have heard from people who go there that UTD is NOT a party school, almost zero social life. For me this is perfect but would you be happy there? Also like what previous posters have mentioned if you decide to have a major in the humanities or decide not to go to med school you might be screwed. UTD has really good science, math and business schools but their humanities department really sucks.

It really depends on what you want from a school, I chose money over prestige. From what I've heard prestige does matter but not enough for me to be 60k in debt before med school even begins....
 
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riceman04

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He said he's not going to rack up debt. He's getting 30k in grants and 3k in work-study. Again, he will have ZERO debt. UPenn all the way.

Oh!!! Well, in that case "Bigreddawggie": I hope you have a chance to take my course here at Penn!!!! WELCOME TO KILLADELPHIA!!!


BTW: Bigreddawggie, did you apply to Rice??????
 

little pebble

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Chiming in here as a graduate of a large state university.

As much as I love my ugrad institution, I definitely think that it screwed me a little when I applied to medical school. Most of the premeds at my ugrad went on to our state medical school, which isn't a bad school, but it's definitely no UNC. I have a feeling since most of the premeds here applied EDP to State Med, not many schools know about our students outside of the state.

Of course, I was ridiculously hopeful with my application as well. However, a lot of mid-range schools ignored me as well.

Take away message? If you do well at UTD and apply to HMS, they may look at you askance and put you aside, expecting that you'll stay in Texas. If you do well at Penn, they'll take a good hard look at you, and you may make it to the next stage.

Totally anecdotal, but if I could go back 5 years, I'd try and go to one of the other schools I got into.
 

QuantumMechanic

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bigred-
You will be pleasantly surprised as to how great UTD is. The pre-reqs are honestly so extensive that they prepare you for the information necessary for the MCAT. UTD offers a really tough genetics course, biochemistry I/II, and a massive nueroscience department and its associated courses. All of these courses among others contribute to making a more well-rounded pre-medical student which essentially equates to better MCAT preparation. So well, that taking a Kaplan or Princeton review is typically a nice supplement, merely a review. The HPAC office has many programs that also help students along this path as well. They are very hands on, and this might be one of the reasons the success rate at UTD is so high. Good Luck bigred, you will not be disappointed. Also, by no means am I claiming UTD better the Penn, I am simply tooting UTD's horn. It's obvious not many people are familiar with this university, and no that is not necessarily their fault.

Those programs at UTD are nothing unique nor impressive, except for the fact that they are things usually not found at a largely commuter-student serving school. The 65% acceptance number you cited earlier is meaningless. Regardless, a top private college/university is going to have a much higher acceptance rate (my undergrad was about 95%).
 

bigreddawgie

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My family is in a really tough financial situation, so i would have to take the 15k out in loans.
riceman, i did apply to rice, and got in, interviewed for rice baylor, and was rejected. and plus rice is more expensive than penn after fin aid.
I have been to utd since i live like 20 min away, but if i go there, i would be staying on campus cuz of the scholarship.
so it seems like everyone suggests to go to penn.
 

TexanGirl

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I don't even come from texas and I'm sure UTD is not the most selective Texas University. If you think it's the hardest, I wonder if admission counselors know o_O

In terms of acceptance rates for freshman admissions and average SAT scores for freshman, it is the most selective public, buddy. If you're not familiar with the schools or region in question, I suggest not making hasty conclusions based on what little you know.
 

TexanGirl

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My family is in a really tough financial situation, so i would have to take the 15k out in loans.
riceman, i did apply to rice, and got in, interviewed for rice baylor, and was rejected. and plus rice is more expensive than penn after fin aid.
I have been to utd since i live like 20 min away, but if i go there, i would be staying on campus cuz of the scholarship.
so it seems like everyone suggests to go to penn.

In that case, 60k is a huge chunk of change. With no parental help, UTD seems more attractive. If you're a stellar student, you should be able to excel anywhere, whether that be at UTD or UPenn. Oh, and another thing: don't be so fixated on the prestige of going to Harvard Med. There are other schools that you may find that you might like better. Keep an open mind.
 

riceman04

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My family is in a really tough financial situation, so i would have to take the 15k out in loans.
riceman, i did apply to rice, and got in, interviewed for rice baylor, and was rejected. and plus rice is more expensive than penn after fin aid.
I have been to utd since i live like 20 min away, but if i go there, i would be staying on campus cuz of the scholarship.
so it seems like everyone suggests to go to penn.

whoa...you did not get any aid from Rice?
 

Character

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wow. you will kick youself if you dont go to penn. name of school doesnt matter much, but when your comparing an ivy to utd....big difference.if you wanna go to harvard med or the likes...do yourself a favor.go to upenn. if you change your mind and want to go into buisness instead...go to upenn, it has the top buisness program in the country. If you change your mind and want to go to law....go to penn. yadda yadda yadda. If you want to end up working for a consulting firm instead of medicine...go to upenn, as the top programs only hire graduates from top pedigrees(upenn, dartmouth, harvard, yale, princetone, mit)...talking about companies like mckinsey, goldman...etc...do yourself a favor, go to penn and have the ability to fall back on something else if you choose to. that ivy degree will pay for itself in the future.
 

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i still had to pay like 20k out of pocket after their fin aid which includes loans.

and i was just using harvard med as an example, i think its too early to think where i wanna go to med school. gotta take care of undergrad first
 

Character

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In terms of acceptance rates for freshman admissions and average SAT scores for freshman, it is the most selective public, buddy. If you're not familiar with the schools or region in question, I suggest not making hasty conclusions based on what little you know.

i am assuming you mean public as in texas schools public. then that is true. but its admission rate is 51%...not the most selective public by any means..
 

Character

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i still had to pay like 20k out of pocket after their fin aid which includes loans.

and i was just using harvard med as an example, i think its too early to think where i wanna go to med school. gotta take care of undergrad first
i know, but those top tier med schools are pretty ivy/tier 1 heavy in representation.
 

TexanGirl

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i am assuming you mean public as in texas schools public. then that is true. but its admission rate is 51%...not the most selective public by any means..

Yes, I meant most selective only by Texas public university standards. I agree, 51% isn't very selective, but Texas public universities are required by state law to guarantee admission to anyone graduating in the top 10% of his/her high school class. It's unfair to compare their admission rates to other reputable publics (UC Berkeley, Michigan, etc) when schools like UTD and UT Austin have to limit their selectivity just to comply with state law.
 

Character

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Yes, I meant most selective only by Texas public university standards. I agree, 51% isn't very selective, but Texas public universities are required by state law to guarantee admission to anyone graduating in the top 10% of his/her high school class. It's unfair to compare their admission rates to other reputable publics (UC Berkeley, Michigan, etc) when schools like UTD and UT Austin have to limit their selectivity just to comply with state law.
oh yeah, i totally understand. i went to a uc, and the uc system has the same issues.
 

Character

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Yes, I meant most selective only by Texas public university standards. I agree, 51% isn't very selective, but Texas public universities are required by state law to guarantee admission to anyone graduating in the top 10% of his/her high school class. It's unfair to compare their admission rates to other reputable publics (UC Berkeley, Michigan, etc) when schools like UTD and UT Austin have to limit their selectivity just to comply with state law.

michigan actually accepts 63% of applicants. isnt that amazing!
 

BTC

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go to penn if only for yourself. At an ivy you can interact with other very intelligent people, take advantage of their location and facilities, and possibly discover being a doctor is not all you want to do with your life. the potential for personal growth is much greater at a well funded ivy league school.

Since you are from dallas this is probably falling on deaf ears, but you will most likely never have an opportunity to spend time outside of texas again.
 
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