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Prestige of school and your GPA?

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yodudedudeyo

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When applying to medical school, will the prestige, or lack thereof, of your undergrad institution have any effect? Will the med school admissions board look at your GPA and then compensate/boost it a bit if you went to a school that was well known for its academics/curve/difficulty?

I'm an undergrad at the University of Michigan right now, and it's a pretty academic school (some of you might now think so), but I also don't know what others outside of michigan think about the school. Since U of Michigan is competitive and the classes/grading are more difficult than say, Michigan's other big school, Michigan State (so how about that riot eh?), will the board compensate the GPA a bit? Or should I have gone to some smaller school that would have given me a full ride where I could have had a much higher GPA?
 

John Hops

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I'm in exactly the same boat as you - down to being a U of M undergrad - and I think ultimately it would have been better if I had gone to an easier school.

There is definitely an adjustment that gets made both for major and for university. The average GPA of a portuguese major at U of M is 3.98, the average for an MCDB is below a 3.0. So some fixing goes on.

I talked to one advisor who said that the difference between MSU and U of M was about a .2 onto your GPA. So a 3.4 at U of M would be about equivalent to a 3.6 at MSU.
 
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135892

Okay, first of all this question really is pointless, as you're already at UM. So unless you're planning to transfer, you can't really change anything. As far as the importance of u-grad institution, of course it matters to an extent but ultimately it won't really make a difference. Given 2 students with equal stats, one from Harvard, the other from some podunk college in the middle of nowhere, any adcom is going to choose the Harvard guy. But as long as you do well at UM, you shouldn't have any problem getting a shot at some decent schools. However, if you're heart is set on some top-notch Ivy or something, then yeah, going to UM will probably hurt you a bit.
 

RySerr21

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Okay, first of all this question really is pointless, as you're already at UM. So unless you're planning to transfer, you can't really change anything. As far as the importance of u-grad institution, of course it matters to an extent but ultimately it won't really make a difference. Given 2 students with equal stats, one from Harvard, the other from some podunk college in the middle of nowhere, any adcom is going to choose the Harvard guy. But as long as you do well at UM, you shouldn't have any problem getting a shot at some decent schools. However, if you're heart is set on some top-notch Ivy or something, then yeah, going to UM will probably hurt you a bit.


probably true. but the excuse "I go to Harvard so I'm allowed to have a 3.0 overall GPA cuz its really hard" isn't going to fly. If someone from any state school has a 3.8 and the guy/girl from Harvard has a 3.0...... state student every time.

the fact is, most people go to "competetive" undergrads, so you can't use the fact that you might have a lower GPA as a result of a competetive school. there are too many peopel at your institution and at others that have done well and dont need that excuse.

OP: don't expect U of M to make up for a lower GPA. theres no point in dwelling on it now, but retospectively, it would have been better to go the "easier" school and gotten a much higher GPA.
 
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135892

probably true. but the excuse "I go to Harvard so I'm allowed to have a 3.0 overall GPA cuz its really hard" isn't going to fly. If someone from any state school has a 3.8 and the guy/girl from Harvard has a 3.0...... state student every time.

the fact is, most people go to "competetive" undergrads, so you can't use the fact that you might have a lower GPA as a result of a competetive school. there are too many peopel at your institution and at others that have done well and dont need that excuse.

OP: don't expect U of M to make up for a lower GPA. theres no point in dwelling on it now, but retospectively, it would have been better to go the "easier" school and gotten a much higher GPA.

Yeah, definitely don't rely on the fact that going to UM is going to make up for a mediocre GPA. When you're applying to med schools, especially at the more decent ones, you'll be competing with people who had better scores from more competitive schools
 

yodudedudeyo

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So I won't be use it as an excuse, but say that it were between a student at a student at a lesser known/less prestigious school and myself, and all other points being equal, I have a 3.4 GPA and the other applicant has 3.65, would I be given any leeway and possibly be chosen over this other applicant?
 
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135892

So I won't be use it as an excuse, but say that it were between a student at a student at a lesser known/less prestigious school and myself, and all other points being equal, I have a 3.4 GPA and the other applicant has 3.65, would I be given any leeway and possibly be chosen over this other applicant?

Look, just do the best you can, and forget about these ridiculous hypotheticals. There are numerous facets to an application where which u-grad instituion you attend makes absolutely no difference. If you really feel that it is "unfair" that you attend such a "competitive" school, then focus on these other parts of an application, i.e. the MCAT, clinical experience, service to the community, etc...
 

RySerr21

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So I won't be use it as an excuse, but say that it were between a student at a student at a lesser known/less prestigious school and myself, and all other points being equal, I have a 3.4 GPA and the other applicant has 3.65, would I be given any leeway and possibly be chosen over this other applicant?

3.65 will likely take the seat, its a numbers game..sorry. but that being said, no need to make all these hypothetical situations...itll just stress you out and really doesnt accomplish anything. itll work out.
 

coffeebythelake

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So I won't be use it as an excuse, but say that it were between a student at a student at a lesser known/less prestigious school and myself, and all other points being equal, I have a 3.4 GPA and the other applicant has 3.65, would I be given any leeway and possibly be chosen over this other applicant?

I think you need to realize that life is unfair sometimes.
 

wizenedone

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This is why admission to medical school is based on several factors such as uGPA, MCAT, ECs, LORs, PS etc. Adcoms realize that you probably can't compare uGPA's of two separate applicants from two different schools. Thus, MCAT is that great equalizer.
 

John Hops

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This is why admission to medical school is based on several factors such as uGPA, MCAT, ECs, LORs, PS etc. Adcoms realize that you probably can't compare uGPA's of two separate applicants from two different schools. Thus, MCAT is that great equalizer.

Agreed.

If you have a 3.4 and the other student has a 3.7, that student is going to get priority based on GPA. BUT, if you have a 35 and that student as a 30, it is safe to say that the adcom is going to look at the large deficit between your MCAT scores and give give greater weight to the fact that you went to a much more difficult school.

So...do well on your MCAT.
 

wizenedone

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Agreed.

If you have a 3.4 and the other student has a 3.7, that student is going to get priority based on GPA. BUT, if you have a 35 and that student as a 30, it is safe to say that the adcom is going to look at the large deficit between your MCAT scores and give give greater weight to the fact that you went to a much more difficult school.

So...do well on your MCAT.

I want to stress that uGPA's are still important (like you said). Adcoms look at the total package and understand some uGPA's need to be validated by MCAT scores and LORs. The weight uGPA's get varies from applicant to applicant, IMO.
 
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1956Goldtop

If you are within the normal range, you will probably get a boost, but if it is too low, your UG reputation probably will not make up for it.
 

Vihsadas

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Look, just do the best you can, and forget about these ridiculous hypotheticals...

I agree. All that you can do now is to do the best that you can from here on out. Worry about your won application and make it the absolute best that you can. Worrying about how your application will stack up against other people is both fruitless and can be emotionally draining. Just do your absolute best so that your chances are as good as possible.
 

RoadRunner17

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You tell me. I went to Hopkins and did my post-bac at Penn. We'll see if the "prestige" associated with these schools mean anything.. personally I don't expect it to matter that much.. wish it would, though.. if I'm successful this application cycle, it'll probably be because of my MCAT score/PS/LORs.
 

ironman7

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Ben Campbell graduate of MIT has as 4.0/44 and early acceptance to HMS plus full ride.
:p you gotta love movies.
 

riceman04

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Definitely do not rely on hypotheticals. However, I do want to emphasize that many schools to allocate "bonus" points" to students who attended a so called "elite" university.

BUTTTTTTTTT, the allocation of such points is still too minimal to actually make up for any significant diffs in gpa

SO, the point is not to rely on your institutions prestige to carry you throught this process.

I know I am not going to at all


best of luck to ya
 

Obnoxious Dad

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When applying to medical school, will the prestige, or lack thereof, of your undergrad institution have any effect? Will the med school admissions board look at your GPA and then compensate/boost it a bit if you went to a school that was well known for its academics/curve/difficulty?

I'm an undergrad at the University of Michigan right now, and it's a pretty academic school (some of you might now think so), but I also don't know what others outside of michigan think about the school. Since U of Michigan is competitive and the classes/grading are more difficult than say, Michigan's other big school, Michigan State (so how about that riot eh?), will the board compensate the GPA a bit? Or should I have gone to some smaller school that would have given me a full ride where I could have had a much higher GPA?

Why don't you quote the the recent series in the Ann Arbor News concerning the utter corruption of the University of Michigan's treatment of jocks? Why don't you refer to the dozen or so criminals (e.g. Larry Harrison, Shonte Peoples, the Fab Five etc) who played for the U of M?
 

littlealex

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Why don't you quote the the recent series in the Ann Arbor News concerning the utter corruption of the University of Michigan's treatment of jocks? Why don't you refer to the dozen or so criminals (e.g. Larry Harrison, Shonte Peoples, the Fab Five etc) who played for the U of M?

wtf does the athletic department have to do with the quality of the undergrad education?
 

surfstarj

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it probably does. i know for law school it does. heres a ranking that cal berkeley used to use for comparing gpa's from other schools.link:

http://web.archive.org/web/20000829094953/http://www.pcmagic.net/abe/gradeadj.htm

basically, the higher the percent rank, the harder the school is perceived to be.

I love the question, "Is this fair?"

Is it fair to compare someone from Dartmouth with a 3.7 to someone from CCNY with a 3.7?

If it were even possible to standardize undergraduate GPAs, we wouldn't even be having this discussion. Obviously some schools are harder and more prestigious than others and adcoms will take it into consideration.

Now, a low GPA won't be overcome by having a big crimson H on your degree. Stay in the 3.5 range and you won't have any explaining to do or anything to worry about (other than all those other U of M students with 4.0s, that is).
 

iluvpuppies

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i think the above posts pretty much cover everything.

i agree that the hypotheticals r overtly simplistic since a lot of other stuff goes in besides gpa, mcat, and undergrad school. basically, u have to get the right combo of these to be considerable/get an interview, etc. and a ton of other things will go into the equation as well. i know ive been at interviews with a ton of ppl from schools that are better known than mine and also less known than mine. im sure some of the students from "better" schools had higher stats than mine, and we were there the same. for each of these students there are probably others with equally if not more impressing stats who didnt even get there to interview. they arent the sole predictor. after a point i dont think a lil higher mcat or a lil higher gpa will matter even if the undergrad schools hold different rankings-- they may be looking for other qualifications they want in their student body. it may even come to what part of the stack u were in or when u turned in ur app.

overall: dont worry about this. ur ugrad school is set. do the best u can there, get involved in stuff that interests u, and enjoy college. good things will follow.
 

dienekes88

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Don't worry about it. U of M has a good rep.

Just do the premed thing: rock your classes, beast the MCAT, and hit up all the necessary ECs.
 

mynamewastaken

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I've got a fun hypothetical...

I heard (I actually did) that the Philly schools use a formula where when they multiply in your GPA they calibrate them around 1.0.....for example: where a USP/Lasalle grad would be given a .80 X GPA and a Penn grad would be given a 1.2 x GPA.

Who knows...do your best and if your school really is harder it will probably not affect you significantly in the long run because everyone still has to do well.
 

fisko82

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wtf does the athletic department have to do with the quality of the undergrad education?

The OP took a shot at MSU, so I think obnox dad was replying in kind. :smuggrin:



However, if you're heart is set on some top-notch Ivy or something, then yeah, going to UM will probably hurt you a bit.

Disagree. In my experience, most schools viewed going to UM (and doing well there) favorably. However, I doubt just going there will do you any favors OP. The emphasis is "doing well" there.
 
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167649

Why don't you quote the the recent series in the Ann Arbor News concerning the utter corruption of the University of Michigan's treatment of jocks? Why don't you refer to the dozen or so criminals (e.g. Larry Harrison, Shonte Peoples, the Fab Five etc) who played for the U of M?

I don't see how this has much to do with the discussion at hand.

I've got a fun hypothetical...

I heard (I actually did) that the Philly schools use a formula where when they multiply in your GPA they calibrate them around 1.0.....for example: where a USP/Lasalle grad would be given a .80 X GPA and a Penn grad would be given a 1.2 x GPA.

Who knows...do your best and if your school really is harder it will probably not affect you significantly in the long run because everyone still has to do well.

Quite a few medical schools do this. This study called it the "Institutional Adjustment Index":

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/...ez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum

They concluded that: "The adjusted GPA enhanced prediction of USMLE and medical school grades only for students from institutions which required large adjustments." So it is taken into account, but for most people, instead of worrying about how your uGrad is going to help or hurt you, time is much better spent working towards a higher GPA regardless of where you are.
 

RoadRunner17

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Damn, I hate Springerlink. Can someone get a link to the PDF or post it? It looks like it'd be an interesting paper to read.
 

Decicco

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Look, just do the best you can, and forget about these ridiculous hypotheticals.

This statement has been my guiding light recently. Worrying about something is 100% unproductive.
 

tncekm

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it probably does. i know for law school it does. heres a ranking that cal berkeley used to use for comparing gpa's from other schools.link:

http://web.archive.org/web/20000829094953/http://www.pcmagic.net/abe/gradeadj.htm

basically, the higher the percent rank, the harder the school is perceived to be.

That seems relatively fair, however, the differences in grades would need to be even further broken into majors to be fair. My school is a liberal arts school, largely, and its possible our "overall" grading system may be a little bit inflated b/c of the relatively lax requirements on the liberal arts majors here. However, the science majors can have it pretty rough sometimes. The teachers are rarely lenient!
 

SketchLazy

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JVielma

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probably true. but the excuse "I go to Harvard so I'm allowed to have a 3.0 overall GPA cuz its really hard" isn't going to fly. If someone from any state school has a 3.8 and the guy/girl from Harvard has a 3.0...... state student every time.

the fact is, most people go to "competetive" undergrads, so you can't use the fact that you might have a lower GPA as a result of a competetive school. there are too many peopel at your institution and at others that have done well and dont need that excuse.

OP: don't expect U of M to make up for a lower GPA. theres no point in dwelling on it now, but retospectively, it would have been better to go the "easier" school and gotten a much higher GPA.

He speaks the truth.... What I've learned from my meetings with a former associate dean of admissions to Johns Hopkins Medical School is that it doesn't matter what institution you go to, it matters what you did while you were at that institution. I asked him if I should transfer one of two schools in maryland from University of Texas (where I was prior) and he directed me to the lesser known school because of the MB3 Program they had. He then explained how he had attended Tennessee State University, according to him it was known as the poor black local college, and ended up being the first african american ever admitted to vanderbilt medical school and later attended harvard.

GPA is one thing... but of more importance is the all around package. GPA, MCAT, Student Involvement/Leadership positions, Community Service. Try to make a name for yourself with accomplishments at the university to stand out from everyone else and no matter how small it is... they will take you over someone with just a good GPA from an ivy league school.
 

al112987

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I think the best answer to this question is simply do well no matter where you will go. Do well on your MCAT and no one is going to question your 3.9 regardless of where you went to college.

I like how Cal puts itself in the same range as the other UCs. Sweet...

Always thought Cal was supposed to be pretty hard?
 

SageFrancis

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I like how Cal puts itself in the same range as the other UCs. Sweet...

interesting to see Cal and SD equal, yet slightly higher than LA. Of course, this is old isn't it? And based on LSAT performance?

But if you rank it, pre-meds will compare...
 

yodudedudeyo

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It's great when some of you medical students come and spit upon lowly pre-meds from your high horse.

i know, isn't it lovely? i hope i get the chance to do the same when i get into med school one day...
 

Vihsadas

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As far as I can tell, that can only get you so far. But it's a nice thought to think this is possible.

Agree. There are some levels of 'bad' that are hard to come back from. If either your GPA or your MCAT is severely low it may not matter how good the other one is.
 
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135892

Disagree. In my experience, most schools viewed going to UM (and doing well there) favorably. However, I doubt just going there will do you any favors OP. The emphasis is "doing well" there.

Well, just looking at your numbers, I think you had a little more going for you than just attending Michigan. But I agree, if you do well at whatever school you attend, you'll have no problem.
 
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